The gig economy is in full swing. As of November 2017, 15.8% of Americans were employed in “alternative work” as independent contractors, contract firm workers, on-call workers, or temporary help. Many of these make a full living relying solely on gig-based work.
There are arguments for and against the gig economy, with positive economic effects (like more flexible work opportunities) and negative ones (like lack of access to full-time benefits like health insurance). But, like it or not, it seems as if the gig economy is here to stay, the byproduct of a job market that relies on the global connectivity of the internet and changing cultural attitudes about work.
But don’t get settled into the gig economy for too long. It might be the driving economic influence for decades to come, but it’s about to evolve—and one platform may be the harbinger of what’s to come.
New model for sales
Swarmsales is a platform designed to change the way companies handle sales. In the words of Ankur Srivastava, the CEO and cofounder of the platform, “Swarmsales started because we saw that more and more companies were entering the enterprise market, and were fundamentally changing the product licensing model. However, the sales model itself wasn’t adjusting with the change.” Hiring full-time salespeople can be expensive—especially when you’re paying to recruit top candidates, and you are paying for lead generation on top of that.
Swarmsales allows businesses to hire sales professionals for individual gigs; you can browse available sales professionals, assign them to your target accounts, set milestones (such as landing a meeting, showing a demo, or closing the sale), and pay them according to those milestones. After closing a deal, companies have the option to hire the person full-time, or keep them on their roster for future deals.
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As Srivastava explains, “our biggest competitor is the traditional approach.” There are freelance platforms on the web, like Upwork, designed to connect companies with independent contractors, but few platforms dedicated to sales. There are also sales staff and recruiting websites to help find candidates, like ZipRecruiter, but they don’t offer the milestone-driven methodology that Swarmsales does.
In effect, Swarmsales invents a new kind of sales process for a new era of product sales. They hybridize the traditional and gig-based models, giving companies greater control and more options when searching for candidates, and giving salespeople straightforward milestones—not to mention the possibility of getting hired.
Transforming the gig economy
This platform will likely inspire other competitors to emerge and adopt this approach. If that happens, how could platforms like Swarmsales redefine and transform the gig economy?
- More long-term positions. One of the biggest downsides of freelancing is the inconsistency of the work. You might have a seemingly endless stream of assignments one week, and a total drought the next. Given the milestone-based setup and high demand of platforms like these, professionals could have a predictable stream of assignments on a regular basis—assuming they have the reputation necessary to attract the attention of prospective employers.
- Accessibility and flexibility. These platforms are also highly accessible for both existing gig seekers and professionals who are used to full-time work. It’s possible to treat the platform like an ongoing opportunity to shop for gigs, making it a full-time freelance effort, but it’s also possible to treat the platform like an ongoing job interview, doing your best work to find an employer to hire you full-time.
- Tolerance and support. Various tenets of the gig economy have been met with criticism, noting its effects on the wealth gap, the availability of health insurance, and its effects on job availability. But a hybrid model like this is more likely to be accepted and supported by both sides. It lends companies the ability to save money and find appropriate, flexible workers, and gives employees practically limitless options for their future development.
Swarmsales is one of the first of its kind: a platform that enables companies to hire salespeople as needed for their most important accounts, but also creates an atmosphere favorable to traditional full-time hiring models. Its existence is already a sign that the gig economy is moving in a new direction, and it’s only a matter of time before other platforms—as well as employers and employees—sign on to drive that trend forward.