As a multinational firm expanding into the Nigerian market, developing a local connection is essential to increasing and maintaining impressive sales numbers. You can achieve this by setting up a local entity in Nigeria or working with local business partners. While there are many partnership options available, undergoing the sales agent hiring process to employ a local sales agent is a strategic partnership that can truly benefit your company.
Even though working with specific business partners in Nigeria has its pros and cons, hiring a sales agent still serves as a very cost-effective way to grow your business in this area. The main advantage of employing a sales agent is that it is considered a low-risk investment for many multinational companies.
This particular investment is advantageous because of the sales agent’s payment structure, in which they are paid a commission for each sale they conduct. Therefore, the payment structure incentivizes the sales agent to sell more merchandise and the agent is only paid when they succeed at selling your products.
If you are thinking of moving forward with the sales agent hiring process, here are a few things you should consider:
The sales agent’s history. Yes, good salespeople can sell anything. However, it is still helpful to know whether or not the sales agent you are interested in hiring has experience selling products that were similar to your company’s merchandise by using the right strategy. If they have had a successful run at selling similar products, then that’s a good sign as to whether or not they’ll be able to sell your merchandise.
The sales agent’s understanding of the market. One of the main reasons why you’re looking into sales agent hiring is because you want local insight into the Nigerian market. Therefore, employing a sales agent who has relevant geographic or industry expertise when it comes to selling products in Nigeria is imperative. Most of the successful sales agents in Nigeria possess a great understanding of the industry or are familiar with the key players in the region and, therefore, know whom to target.
Commission-based incentives. Due to their unique payment structure, sales agents are motivated to sell more products when they have agreed upon a healthy commission initially. Therefore, agreeing upon a good commission rate, in the beginning, is crucial to your business’s success in the long run. As for rates, the commission can start at a 5% “finder’s fee” or go as high 20% depending on the sales agent’s level of expertise and any additional services they might provide.
A base salary. Although commission-based pay is to be expected for a sales agent. Some firms offer their sales agent a base salary, as well as commission, to motivate their agent during low-sales periods. Maintaining consistent sales can be difficult, and ensuring that your sales agent is still covered financially during down periods can also work as an incentive.
Their expertise and other services provided. Some companies look for sales agent’s who can provide other professional services or offer expertise beyond standard sales skills to tend to their company’s needs. For example, some multinational firms sell merchandise that requires hands-on support after the sale has been made. If you are one of those companies you might, therefore, look for a sales agent who has technical experience and can offer after-sales support as needed.
Their current portfolio. One common misconception about sales agents is the belief that they only handle one client’s product sales at a time. However, that is untrue. The reality is that the sales agent you hire will most likely have multiple products from various clients in their sales portfolio as a way to maximize their earnings. Therefore, it is important that you know what products are in their portfolio and whether or not they compete with or complement your own. This will help you avoid hiring a sales agent who is also serving a competing company.
While you go through the sales agent hiring process, it is essential that you figure out what works best for you and your potential business partner. It is also important to remember that because this is a partnership you should, therefore, figure out how much responsibility you would like to give them. For example, outside of simply selling products, you can also make your sales agent your channel manager. Once you have decided what exact duties your agent’s job will entail, make sure you settle on the right incentives that will keep them motivated to sell your products, and which will ultimately help ensure your business’s success in the Nigerian market.