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Dear Workforce What Policies Should We Have for Outside Salespeople?



   We are recruiting heavily in the sales and service areas. This involves people whoare on the road 4-5 days of the week. As we grow in this area, where should I belooking for concerns? What should I be looking out for? We are presently using acouple of recruiters for this; therefore my involvement has been minimal. 

   Themanager is basically meeting with the applicant first and then I get them afterthey have passed their okay. What pitfalls should I watch out for inestablishing policies/procedures for outside sales people. Which ones should Ilook into first? 

   Also,do you require your employees toget a cell phone for company business or do you let them use their personal cellphone for business purposes and thenreimburse them?  

   Finally,are monthly expensereports really appropriate or should it be a “bank” of money they canpull from and then when that’s gone they have to submit expense reports. 


ADear Denise: 

    Thefirst question a manager should always ask is, ‘Why are you looking to leaveyour current position?’  Many goodsales people are motivated to leave because their current compensation plan isnot adequate, the products are not top notch, or they may want to switch to adifferent industry. 

   Havethe manager ask the applicant what has attracted them to your company and whatthey know about your products. If the applicant has not done their homework onyour company, then that is a major red flag (especially for a sales candidate).Also probe deeply into the applicant’s knowledge of your company’s industry(competitors, market, etc.)  Thisshould show the applicant’s preparation skills, which they will have to exhibitto your customers. 

   Anotherimportant question is whether they’ll travel, since your job requires a lot oftravel. You need to dig deep here to make sure that the applicant understandsyour job requirements. 

   Haveyour managers ask the applicant to describe an example of one of theirsuccessful sales. Also then give an example of one of the failures. 

   Oneof the biggest pitfalls with sales personnel is the compensation plan. Make surethat you have a well-defined plan and that all parties understand it. Your salescandidates will also want to know about a draw, car allowance or company car,etc. You need to have solid policies in these areas. Since you may have remotesales personnel, you need to have a strong policy on home offices and remotecommunications. 

   Thiscan be handled either way. First, I believe that your sales people do need acell phone. My suggestion is to have the company issue the cell phone (bettercost control) and reimburse the employee for all business related calls. Cellphone would be the property of the company and would be required to be turned inat termination. 

   Thepolicies on cell phone use while driving are very hot today. It is very wise for a company to ban cell phone use except with ahands-free unit. In fact, it is law in manyareas already. 

   Monthlyexpense reports are the way to go (with receipts required). This way costs canbe controlled better and you will only reimburse legitimate business expenses.You may want to set the policy that receipts are required for expenses over $25(i.e. business lunches) only.


SOURCE:Mike Sweeny, T. Williams Consulting, Collegeville, PA. 

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