DIY Commercial Debt Collection

Salespeople as Collectors

Should you use your salespeople as a commercial debt collector?  This is a subject which occasionally arises when the credit department completes
its automatic procedures and when the company policy is heavily sales oriented.

The sales management theory is that the salespeople know their customer and, therefore, can ask them for the past due money. The theory may be valid, but in practice, it is not usually successful.

In fact, it may be very costly. Consider these factors:

  • The good salesperson has been trained to sell their company’s goods and services and is not trained for
    collection work.
  • The poor salesperson may have been a source of the delinquency because of promises made in order to get
    the sale.
  • Time spent on collection of an account may detract from time allotted for selling.
  • The credit department must set a follow-up system to watch for the salesperson’s reports.
    Adjustment of the account should be the responsibility of a salesperson’s supervisor in consultation with the
    credit department.
  • There may be a 30- to 45-day additional delay before more positive action can be taken by the credit department.
  • There may be inter-departmental resentment. The salesperson is being asked to do a credit department job, and this should not be their responsibility.


In summary, there are some exceptional salespeople who can sell and collect accounts. Usually, the combined duty is not a good policy because of delay, cost and resentment.



This series of articles come from a fantastic publication published by the IACC  (International Association of Credit Collectors).   It is well grounded and fundamental advise that should be ready by any professional involved in credit collections.


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