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Split Decision

Is hiring part-time sales reps a good idea?

Hiring part-time sales reps seems like a smart proposition--fewer benefits to pay, and lower overhead and salaries than full-time reps. But can a business really score with part-time reps?

Yes. And it's a growing trend, according to Kent Billingsley, president of AIM Sales Group, a Coppell, Texas, company that helps entrepreneurs grow quickly and generate more profitable revenue. He offers the following pros, cons and advice for hiring part-timers.

Pros:

  • Access to great talent at a fraction of the normal rate
  • Limited overhead due to reduced costs

Cons:

  • Prospects and sales opportunities won't wait for a salesperson's schedule.
  • It's difficult to keep part-timers focused, especially if their off time is split up or they have additional jobs.
  • The team may suffer. Says Billingsley, "A company must consider the impact on the whole team when a member isn't always available."

Hiring Guidelines:

  • Find out what experience the candidate has in working in a "fractional" position.
  • Be clear on specific expectations, including number of calls, proposals, meetings, sales targets, quotas and financial achievements.
  • See if the part-timer will be available to answer questions on days off.

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This article was originally published in the November 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Split Decision.

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