Here at CommissionCrowd we only work with independent, self-employed sales reps who work on a commission-only basis. And we only recruit from our own platform.
We do this for a few reasons. Firstly, we like to eat our own dog food, it's also important to be seen to be recruiting from our own community and lastly, it just works. We've built something very special to push the B2B commission-only sales industry forward and it reflects in the quality of our registered freelance sales reps and company members.
Additionally, our sales partners play two very important roles when selling CommissionCrowd memberships to companies. Not only are they able to help prospective members understand the platform, navigate membership options and the process of joining but they also are able to provide invaluable education for companies that may have never worked with freelance sales reps before.
CommissionCrowd sales agents are able to explain the way in which they work, what they expect from a commission-only sales partnership structure and sometimes even help to restructure a company's opportunity so that it's suitable and attractive to sales agents when they become part of the CommissionCrowd network.
Today we're bringing you the story of Michael, a top performing B2B commission-only sales rep who started his journey with CommissionCrowd as a member on the company side before selling his company and transitioning into the role of freelance sales rep.
Michael joined our independent sales team and quickly became a top performing sales partner before we invited him to become our Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
The interview below will give you an insight into his journey and the effect that even a single commission-based sales rep can have on the bottom line for a company. There's also a link to book a call with Michael at the end of this interview.
Qn. Who is Michael J Ringer?
Hi everyone, I'm Michael, an award winning Sales Trainer and now Chief Revenue Officer at CommissionCrowd. I've built several businesses over my entrepreneurial journey, helped thousands of clients grow their revenues across more than 100 countries. I'm also a motivational speaker who has spoken across numerous public forums and inspired thousands to become better and more productive.
Qn. Can you tell us a little about your background as an entrepreneur?
My journey initially started when I realised I wasn't being paid my worth. Despite being good at what I was doing, I wasn't able to financially support my family, my friends, and certainly not even myself!
I decided that something had to change and I made the decision to build my first company which was an e-commerce store selling furniture... I was only 16 at the time.
To achieve this I enrolled in many online courses, videos, read over 70 books and sought mentorship from people who were able to teach me what I needed to know about business, sales, marketing and development. A period of time later I managed to successfully launch my business. Then something magical happened... the phone started ringing and the enquiries started coming in.
Now it was obvious... I HAD to become good at selling. I made the decision to continue learning and through that process, quickly realised that sales was where my true passion lay. Sales isn't about trickery or manipulation which is why it's so important to sell a product or service you truly believe in however, there is a high level of skill involved ensuring you do right by your customers and helping them to make the right type of decisions that truly impact their business moving forward.
To improve my closing ratios, I started by taking award winning sales courses and eventually I became so good at selling that my clients would ask me "how did you do that?".
My business partners also started asking me to teach them and their teams the art of sales. That's when I decided to start another company, Lion Sales Training to help others learn.
Qn. Why did you decide to become a member of CommissionCrowd initially?
Lion Sales Training started to gain traction however, being the sole salesperson for the company I realized very quickly that the process of running a company was too much for one person to deal with. Funnily enough I hadn't even thought about partnering with independent sales professionals until one of my friends asked if I knew of anywhere to find commission-only sales people.
I already knew the risks associated with hiring in-house sales employees. Firstly there's the time and expense of recruiting. Remember, you're going to be paying a salary regardless of performance so there will be many hours sifting through CV's, telephone conversations and multiple interviews to conduct.
Then there's the initial outlay of a salary regardless of performance or time it takes to complete training. Holiday and sick pay, benefit contributions, office space and rates, company car and various miscellaneous expenses are also necessary. Infact on average, one in-house sales employee costs a company over $65,000 (or equivalent currency) every year, minus their sales commissions... REGARDLESS OF PERFORMANCE.
After a few weeks searching for clients I began looking for additional clientele. This is when I stumbled upon CommissionCrowd for the first time. After reading into what they were achieving in the industry I quickly realised they were so much more than a job website like many of the other companies I considered competitors at that time.
Not only were they drawing in some of the top freelance sales talent globally, but they had also built a platform that enable companies to easily connect, train and manage their teams effortlessly and eliminate all of the time consuming pain points that were associated with running an outsourced commission-only sales team. I called them immediately and spoke with Laura the CEO... I was sold the second she said "How can I help"!
Qn. Why did you transition into a commission-only sales professional?
For me, knowing that I had the sales skills and a vast network of business partners and affiliates who I knew, needed products and services to help their company grow, it was a natural step to make.
Why wouldn't I be helping my network, and receiving commissions on giving them exactly what they were looking for. It just made sense. I was also now using CommissionCrowd and was logged in pretty much all day!
Sales were flooding in from all of the channels I had built, but I decided now should be a time for me to focus more on my quality of life. I was working 24/7, struggling to focus on any particular task at hand as there were too many fronts for me to be managing and growing, and all I really wanted to do was take a step back and do some traveling while I worked. Due to my networks and the ability to work remotely it made sense to take the leap into becoming a full time commission-only sales agent.
Resource: 10 Things To Understand When Working With Independent Sales Reps
Qn. How did you end up working with CommissionCrowd over their competitors?
The more I looked into what the team at CommissionCrowd were achieving to push the industry forward, the more it became clear that there really aren't any direct competitors currently.
Sure, there are generic job websites where you can post an advert and hope for the best, but in my experience those places tend to attract a low caliber of sales person who are either currently unemployed and desperate for any opportunity while they look for employment or are perhaps brand new to sales altogether.
While it's tempting to take on anyone who shows the slightest interest in working with you, what tends to end up happening is that these people end up costing your company time and money in training, lost leads and generally don't stick around for long. Another big problem with these cheap job advert sights is the lack of quality control on the company side... it's essentially a free-for-all. Poor quality sales opportunities = poor quality candidates.
I loved that CommissionCrowd vets every single company they bring on and have a strict set of rules that determine whether or not they allow them into the network. Minimum deal values, a comprehensive onboarding process and personal account managers making sure that your sales opportunity is as attractive as possible to reps plus if you've never worked with sales agents they help you to understand the way in which commissioned sales reps operate. These were all attractive qualities for me.
Qn. Since you started selling for CommissionCrowd how have you helped the company grow?
My sales relationship with CommissionCrowd started off slowly. After Lion Sales Training I decided that I needed some time off to figure out my next move.
I had been in contact with Laura, their CEO previously and decided to get back in touch. After a few weeks of unofficial consulting, jokes, laughs, friendship and genuine desire for us both to learn from one another, she finally asked. "Will you come and work with us?"
Of course after such a great experience that I had as a client, and with a strong foundation and mutual respect I decided to work with the team. The role was commission-only of course. I didn't want nor need any training from the team, I wanted to dive into the deep end and the first call I made became a paid client within just 3 hours.
Since then, I have contributed to building our own commission-only sales team and also increased our revenue by around 9X. I was eventually offered the position of Chief Revenue Officer where I continue to support the team around anything that involves the growth of our revenue. It's a busy, hard, but perfect role for me to have and working with such inspirational and supportive people makes it worth it even more.
Qn. From the perspective of a commission-only sales agent, what makes a sales opportunity attractive to agents?
A great question, most agents aren't focused solely on commissions. They are motivated by real, long term meaningful relationships with the companies that make up their sales portfolio.
There are a number of important criteria that agents look for when considering a commission only sales role. Here's a high level list I've put together:
- How long has the company been established and is there demand for their products/services?
- Do they have a good number of case studies and happy clients?
- Can they provide examples of their work to date?
- Is the average deal value high enough for me?
- What percentage commission will I be paid?
- Do they offer residuals on repeat orders from my clients?
- Will they pay my commissions on time?
- How long is the sales cycle (some reps prefer short, quick wins while others enjoy nurturing a longer term sale for higher reward)
- Can the company quickly/easily scale to deliver to an increased client base?
- Does the company understand how we operate and respect my time?
- Does the company carry out Marketing activities to help with brand awareness?
You see, working with agents is all about building real, meaningful, profitable and long lasting relationships. This is all that agents are looking for.
Qn. What advice would you give to companies who have never built an independent sales team before?
The first thing is to speak with myself or a member or our sales team to verify your suitability for membership. We can quickly determine this over the phone and even offer guidance if you aren't quite 'agent ready' yet but have potential. We'll go through everything with you including advice on best practices on contractual agreements with sale reps which is obviously a very important part of the process.
But more importantly, my advice if you haven't worked with agents successfully before is not to try to do it alone. Building and more importantly ensuring the success of your sales team is definitely not as easy as posting an advert on a generic job website and waiting for the applications to come flooding in. You'll more than likely run into many barriers and problems that you may even think commission-only is the wrong way. With our help and support, we can show you exactly how to do it, in the most efficient, effective way, and hold your hand every step of the way.
Qn. How can companies interested in building their own independent sales teams through CommissionCrowd reach you?
One of the most important things we ask of our potential members is the average deal value when selling your products or services. Sales agents incur their own expenses while developing their territory and prospecting for business and will certainly not be willing to put in the work for a ten Pound/Dollar deal!
As a general rule, we don't bring on companies whose products or services are sold for less than £$500 per month or £$5,000 per sale on average. Those figures may fluctuate sure, but around that mark.
Sometimes we get an exceptional company with a slightly lower average deal value but still may be suitable if I, or a member of team can suggest the right course of action.
For us, it's all about making sure that you know exactly what to expect before you even connect with your first sales rep. Allow me to say this, building a solid and lasting independent sales team doesn't happen overnight but it's about getting things right, and getting it right first time. Sure we may reiterate things and change your offering together, but it all comes down to you being successful with the CommissionCrowd family.
That being said you can schedule a quick consultation with me via this link to my calendar: Schedule a call with Michael