Irvine, Calif.-based Local.com has steadily added to its direct sales force, the company announced this week. In June, Local.com had 100 people making sales calls. It now has 150, said president and COO Bruce Crair.
Crair said the new additions to the sales team are all outsourced personnel who work at third-party call centers to sell Local.com subscription ads. He would not reveal the location of the call centers.
"Our outsourced sales personnel are full-time employees engaged by call centers on our behalf," said Crair. He noted the company directly employs a smaller staff of sales personnel at its headquarters in an effort to "keep our fingers on the pulse and get real-time feedback from our customers when we test-market new products and services."
Crair said Local.com currently has no plans to increase the small internal group. In a statement, the company said it prefers to outsource the bulk of its sales staff, rather than employ them directly, as a way of keeping a lid on infrastructure costs " and to tap into a skilled work force that can be expanded quickly."
Local.com sells online ads directly, on a nationwide basis, to small businesses. The company is aiming to reach a goal of 50,000 advertisers by the end of 2009. It has a way to go if that goal is to be met; Crair said his company currently has about 5,000 direct advertiser customers.
However, Local.com has experienced fairly rapid growth. According to Crair, it had only 1,500 direct advertisers at the end of April. By the end of July it had 3,500, he said.
"We see a large number of service related businesses such as drycleaners and plumbers, getting involved in local online advertising," said the president. "Also, we have a large number of home and automotive related advertisers as well."
Through its "Local Promote" product, Local.com aims to bring high-level placement in local search results, in specific categories and regions, to its local business customers. Those companies can also use Local.com to build their own branded Web pages.
Local.com claims its technology serves relevant local business search results to more than 17 million consumers monthly on Local.com and on more than 700 regional media sites.
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