Using a CRM to Manage and Support Independent Contractor Sales Agents

For businesses with independent contractor sales reps, a customer relationship management system can help hire, train, deploy and manage these teams.
Using a CRM to Manage and Support Independent Contractor Sales Agents
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The gig economy is here to stay, fueling an increase in the number of independent contractors and reshaping the workforce. A recent report by ADP Research revealed that 1 in 6 enterprise workers are actually gig workers and noted that “from 2010 to 2019, the share of gig workers in businesses has increased by 15 percent, with both short-term W-2 and 1099-M gig workers contributing equally to this growth.” This shift in working paradigms has implications for how businesses optimize their talent management strategies and drive company growth.

For businesses with teams of independent contractor sales reps, a customer relationship management (CRM) is an important part of supporting 1099 sales teams and helping them thrive while providing the added benefits of streamlining operations and driving company growth. A CRM system can help hire, train, deploy and manage these teams. 

Related: For a Business to Survive the COVID-19 Crisis, Flexibility Is Key (and That's Not Going Away)

Supporting independent contractor sales teams

A CRM can more easily integrate 1099 sales representatives into the company, connecting them with tools that increase efficiency and productivity to help them become more successful and effective extensions of the team. For sales reps, time is money, and having the ability to leverage a CRM system to track leads in the field centralizes the process of managing and nurturing these leads. This is key to strengthening relationships, shortening the sales cycle and driving conversions.

Automating processes with CRM allows sales reps to maximize their time and more efficiently manage workflows. For example, a quote calculator that generates quotes based on what the customer is currently paying streamlines the entire quoting process and provides more accurate quoting that can help drive revenue.

Related: 5 Digital Solutions to Help Your Business Take Off

An agent portal built into a CRM system is another feature that can support independent sales agents, helping them manage their commissions, residuals and merchant accounts. Agents can track volume, access monthly statements and enter notes through the portal. Such a portal can also provide real-time access to updated company documents and support sales training initiatives through training modules uploaded in the system.

A robust CRM also makes document submission easier for reps. Submitting new customer applications or orders through the system and building DocuSign ability into the portal can help reps close deals faster, increasing sales productivity.

The ability to use a CRM tool to order supplies like business cards, flyers and company gear through an agent portal is another timesaver that supports agents by allowing them to spend their valuable time on sales activities instead of administrative tasks.

Related: How to Know When It's the Right Time to Scale Your Business

Driving company growth

Supporting independent contractor sales teams with connected tools like a CRM also provides data and analytics that can better inform business decisions. This data provides companies with a 360-degree view of the sales process, pipeline and funnel, including what products and services are successful and where sales strategy might need to be adjusted to more effectively attract and retain customers.

An internal CRM dashboard can also analyze new client signings by industry or sector and provide insight into the types of products and/or services that are generating the most revenue, as well as track new accounts daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. 

In the area of talent management, CRM systems allow companies to track company sales as well as total commissions paid companywide weekly, monthly and yearly. These systems can also provide a granular level of detail that allows the company to follow the ongoing monthly progress of active independent contract sales agents to help determine where they might need more support and/or training.

CRM systems are one strategy that can help companies support their independent contractor sales reps to help them thrive, which directly leads to better outcomes for the agent and for the company.

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