This issue of Agency Sales explores the importance of agency growth to the rep-principal relationship. As you read this month’s issue, I encourage you to think about agency growth as more than just increasing your agency’s head count, and also to think about how you will communicate your agency’s growth to your principals.
Communicating your value to principals is easiest for obvious kinds of growth, like head count or gross sales, but more challenging when the agency grows in more subtle ways. Announcing added head count can be as simple as: “With the addition of June Smith to our sales team, we now have five salespeople, up from three just a year ago, an investment we’ve made in order to grow our mutual business.”
An increase in gross sales dollars is most often communicated from the principal to the rep, but it is still an opportunity for your agency to communicate its growth: “Thanks for letting us know that our sales increased 18.5 percent last year. Your regional manager Tim did a great job of helping us plan the 206 sales calls we made on your behalf last year, and in getting us fully trained to capitalize on those opportunities.”
But when your agency grows in more subtle ways, extra attention to communicating those enhancements is required. Consider the owner of an agency that sells chemicals who discovers that his or her customers now require more technical savvy than the agency’s existing sales force can provide. Replacing three non-technical salespeople with three chemical engineers does not increase head count, but it definitely needs to be announced with pride: “Last year our agency launched an initiative to enhance the service we provide to our mutual customers. With our most recent hire, Tom Jackson, our sales team is now 100 percent degreed chemical engineers.”
What has your agency done to grow its rep/principal relationships this year? Did you invest in test equipment, a demo van, a training room, or new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? Be sure to communicate those investments to your principals so they can fully appreciate your commitment to the growth of your agency and to your rep-principal relationships.