We’re excited to connect with so many highly successful freelance sales agents since our launch.
Today we’ve had an opportunity to catch up with Susan Krautbauer
Name: Susan Krautbauer, Business Development Free Agent – Greater Minneapolis / St. Paul area, USA
Industry experience: High Tech; computing, telecommunications, consumer electronics, healthcare/life sciences and trade show/digital marketing.
Specialist areas: New Business Development, customer acquisition, retention and long term relationship building, understanding the consequences of each and every business activity.
Years experience: 20+
Attitude statement: “I love what I do”
Interview With Susan Krautbauer - Freelance Sales Agent
Ryan Mattock: Susan, thanks for taking the time to share your story with the companies that have signed up to hear about the launch of CommissionCrowd.
With 20 years experience in the Sales Industry you’ve had an accomplished and successful career to date, where did it all begin?
Susan Krautbauer: When you look at my background, you will find that I am not your typical “techie” salesperson.
In the early 90s I owned a trade show design firm that specialized in service logistics, trade show marketing and large format digital printing. This was at a time when digital graphics and printing were not on the cutting edge, but rather the bleeding edge, of graphic technology.
My love of technology prompted me to jump into the computing services business. For the last 15 years this decision has married my love of technology and my passion for complex solution selling, which has been a key factor in my ability to help my clients optimize their businesses.
RM: We see that you’ve won an incredible number of awards including an industry excellence award as a recognised IT industry contributor in 2012. What would you say that your proudest achievement in sales has been to date?
SK: This is a complex question. I successfully reorganized several businesses so they could start achieving sustainable growth again, transforming a traditional sales force into an executive consulting team, planning and executing a launch strategy for an entirely new market penetration, closing a deal that facilitated expansion into the EU from the US, there are many achievements that come to mind.
If I had to pick one from the deck, it would be my role as a founding member of the Advancing Women In IT Community at CompTIA. This helped me apply my skills in the non-profit arena and provided great personal rewards. But I am not focused on past achievements. I would much rather think about what’s coming next.
RM: As you know, this summer we are launching a unique platform that connects professional self-employed sales agents with great companies around the world. In your experience what would you say makes a commission-only opportunity attractive to a sales agent that works independently?
SK: Challenge and variety. As a business development professional, tackling a new product or market provides both a learning opportunity and a new challenge that has great appeal to sales professionals. Certainly the risks and rewards are greater as well—commission only opportunities tend to be higher paying than salary and commission structures, and if you are confident in your abilities as a business development professional, there is much less risk to accepting this type of engagement.
RM: What have been the main challenges you’ve faced transitioning to a self-employed sales agent?
SK: The greatest challenge has been in the due diligence process of accepting a consulting contract. There are plenty of companies that want to hire a seasoned business professional, but the products or services that they offer can be overstated or the financial health of the company is less than optimal. In sales, the ability of the company you are representing to cleanly deliver on their offerings is critical to your on-going industry reputation. Sales are built on relationships and your client offerings are an extension of your own reputation to your Rolodex of clients.
RM: In your opinion what sets a self-employed sales agent apart from an employee?
SK: Drive and risk. As I mentioned earlier, if you are confident in your abilities to sell, then you are more willing to take the up front risk of no salary because you know you will deliver for both yourself and your client.
RM: What would you say are the main benefits of building build a team of self-employed sales agents over a team of employees that work in-house?
SK: The danger of the “Comfort Zone”. Every person has a comfort zone whereby they are achieving the financial or professional success that they are comfortable with and so the desire to excel beyond that level can taper off. Unfortunately, many times the individual’s Comfort Zone is at a performance level that is less than what the company needs out of its sales force. So this situation usually precipitates a negative consequence by the company—territory reorganization/reduction, additional sales reps added, commission structure changes, etc. This reorganization can create additional expense for the company and is usually demoralizing for the sales force. A huge benefit of self-employed agents is that we own our business. Self-employed business development professionals excel because we share the same entrepreneurial objectives with our clients and we understand that closed sales equals shortened time to profitability for both.
RM: Thank you very much for your time Susan. It’s been an absolute pleasure interviewing you and we look forward to working with you when we launch.
Check out Susan’s web site at www.susankrautbauer.com