My start-up is going to provide B2B custom software development services on a project by project basis. I have been talking to a prospective sales agent, who would take over the following responsibilities:
My estimation is that a project would bring in about 50k at first and the turnover rate would be a couple of months.
What would be a fair commissioned-based compensation scheme (i.e. percentage)? Are there any "hard facts" I could use when negotiating this?
Commissions could range anywhere from 5% to 50% depending on your involvement and what you are providing the salesperson.
Let's say he's completely independent and receives no salary. You don't give him any leads or manage him in any way -- only provide the product to sell. In this case, I'd say you'd be looking at 50%.
If you provide him/her an office, a salary with benefits, the leads that they are following up on, as well as training on your product, you could get to 5-10%.
You'd be better off working backwards. Set a minimum target for sales volume for the salesperson, and figure out a total compensation at that level. Set a stretch goal target for amazing sales volume and figure out the total compensation at that level. Then work backwards to figure out what % commission to use.
No offence, but I think you're certifiably insane trying to run with this model with external sales agents and "Custom Software Solutions" rather not a defined product.
So sales person Bob talks to a customer, gathers requirements etc. etc. You (presumably) spec the job and price it. Bob negotiates with customer and is so focused on closing the deal that all sorts of promises are made (some verbal, some written) and discounts given.
Deal Closed! Bob gets his cheque and goes off to spend it however salespeople do.
Now you come along and try and build the thing - its already going to be tight to make a profit cos Bob was more focused on his commission than profit and gave a good discount. Oh and of course he promised everything under the sun and customer now has HUGE expectations. What about the bondoogle thing, what about the wifidooda - that was only a little addition right? You get the idea?