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I have come to a situation where I have to choose around 10 individuals to do sales for our company. A salesman per department (e.g electronic, cosmetic and so on).

My concern is that the salesman are getting immense flexibility. They are given the right for an entire department, % of commission as their salary and the free to manage it the way the want as long as they comply with our policies. They are pretty much given such flexibility, that could be considered as if they where starting their own business.

As the Project Manager for this new tactic, what is the best way I can continue given they have this freedom and flexibility without decreasing the probability of sales? How can I manage what would be consider contractors, that aren't obligated to report to the team leader?

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flexibility is good as long as rewards are tied to performance(ie. pay for performance). Freedom can help salespeople sell more when setup correctly. I don't however understand your question "I am wondering, what is the best way I can continue given them that freedom and flexibility will reducing any losses?"...let me say you asked "what is the best way I can continue given they have this freedom and flixibility without reducing your losses?" but I am not sure what losses you are talking about? Can you elaborate?

People skills are obviously going to be very important and you want to track progress so get your boss's buy-in first with a plan and then roll it out gathering data from these salespeople...don't command it from them, but just act as the gathering point and hopefully you can also gather data that is useful for them to know as well as then they are more willing to give it. .....sort of like the polls on the internet..you have to feed your data in before you get to see the accumulated data so make it something they would be interested in as well. later, Dean Hiller (http://blog.alvazan.com)

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I see your role as managing the recruitment process, then establishing whatever processes are needed to ensure that the salespeople are complying with whatever rules the company has chosen to apply. On that basis, you need to understand the rules, define the expectations of the salespeople, define the job roles, then (probably with professional HR assistance) carry out the recruitment.

Unless the business model is based on total freedom with no accountability and no constraints on what these guys do - which sounds like a recipe for disaster - there must be someone who they report to. Get that person to validate your project plans before you go ahead to implement them. As PM, your responsibility is to deliver an agreed outcome, so get it agreed before you act!

Consider such matters as: discounts they can give, and how they have to account for them; targets, ethical guidelines (I expect you don't want them lying, badmouthing your competitors, or getting your company sued); forecasts that they have to make, etc etc. - I imagine that once you get under the surface of the job, they will have to follow some processes and won't have 100% total flexibility.

Hope this helps.

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