These days, many companies outsource their sales operations to third-party agencies. For those who don’t know, an agency is a company that functions as a go-between. The agency will coordinate with the company to sell their product or service. The agency takes a commission fee for their services.
This guide isn’t about the company you work for, or the industry you’re in. It’s about the people you’re working with, and the relationships that develop with them over time. You first need to be able to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and then you need to be able to earn the trust of your clients.
As time-to-close begins to take over your business, you’ll want to ask yourself: is this the best use of my time? If you’re not sure, here are 6 steps to make it a certainty.
To acquire scale, increase revenue, generate cost savings, or supplement sales force architectures, a sales leader or organization may use a variety of levers. Outsourcing part or all of your sales activities to outsourced sales experts is a realistic and proven alternative. We’ll go through how to outsource sales in this tutorial.
It’s true that entrusting your sales to a third-party supplier may help you achieve better outcomes. However, without both sides’ preparation and setting of expectations, the process may not go well.
- There are a lot of outsourcing businesses out there, but which ones can really keep a sales quota and provide results?
- How do you know you’re picking the correct one?
- Will collaborating with an outsourced sales provider have a significant effect on your revenue and profits?
- And how can you be sure you’re getting the most out of your sales partnership after you’ve chosen one?
First, we’ll go over the definitions of outsourced sales, as well as what to outsource and how to outsource, as well as when sales outsourcing makes sense and when it doesn’t. Then we’ll go over some pointers to help you choose the finest sales solution provider for your requirements and get started generating money.
Use these jump links to go directly to the Do’s and Don’ts of sales outsourcing.
1) Put a higher value on skills than on price. 2) Participate actively in the relationship. 3) Ensure that sales and marketing are on the same page. 4) DON’T GET TIRED OF THE SEARCH PROCESS. 5) DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE RESULTS RIGHT AWAY. 6) DON’T CONTACT A SIMPLE CALL CENTER. Look for a genuine sales company.
What is Sales Outsourcing, and how does it work?
When a company outsources portions of its sales process to outside people or organizations, it is known as sales outsourcing. If the internal team does not have the time, resources, or experience to manage all of their sales procedures in-house, this may be done. Outsourcing sales may let sales teams concentrate on higher-level tactical duties or strategy while increasing flexibility.
The following are some of the benefits of outsourcing:
- In certain sales roles, there is a lack of knowledge and experience (e.g. Lead Generation).
- Issues with scalability (you need SDRs only for some campaigns).
- Efficiency in terms of costs (e.g. Account Executives doing cold calling).
What should not be outsourced sales:
- Resellers, solution partners, and other indirect sales channels
- Signing up some commission-only sales agents is an opportunistic side play.
- Assigning sales functions to other departments (we’ve seen R&D doing sourcing)
Flexibility is a benefit of outsourcing sales.
When one sales function is changed or outsourced, it causes changes in other sales functions. And that’s a good thing!
As an example, consider the following:
As a result, outsourcing sales development has an effect on your Account Executives. As a result, SDRs will request entirely different sales materials than your Account Executives are used to.
Account executives concentrate on meeting discussions. They describe the features and advantages of the product. SDRs are primarily concerned with securing such a meeting.
You may not be patient enough to listen to their problems, comments, and objections if you don’t view this sales outsourcing as strategic. This may cause you to overlook each team’s unique requirements.
Is it possible to outsource sales?
Surprisingly, there are several choices for external expertise-as-a-service! Some functions are self-evident (for example, lead generation), while others are less so:
Finding the right product for the right market
This is a larger part of my own company than I anticipated when we first started.
By speaking with actual customer personas inside their Ideal Customer Profile, we help companies realign their current value offering to market specifics (ICP).
What are their true aches and pains? What other options (internal and external) do they have to alleviate their discomfort right now? How well does your solution blend in with the rest of the group? Is there a significant rival? Would the product be appropriate for the target market?
Every new market you intend to penetrate as part of your Go-To-Market plan requires a product/market fit assessment (geographically and target-segment).
Selling well in your own country does not necessarily imply that you will be able to grow abroad.
Creating a sales approach that can be replicated
Do you like to sell directly to consumers or via a variety of channels? Is it better to work in inside sales or out in the field? Outbound cold calling or inbound lead generation?
All of them are possibilities. First and foremost, what is the ideal pattern for your company that can be effectively reproduced many times? Where do you plan to put your money in order to grow your company? How can you ensure a steady stream of income?
It’s not a given that if you sell directly to the United States, you’ll also sell directly to Germany. There are sales professionals that can assist you in this area in a non-consulting, first-hand, prospect-facing way.
Creating leads in a systematic manner
This is the most outsourced part of the sales process.
There are a variety of lead generating services available:
- Lead generating firms that work with inbound leads (content marketing, social selling, SEO experts)
- Services for sourcing (identifying and prequalifying named target companies and real buyer personas according to your ICP)
- Lead generating firms that work with outbound leads (cold calling and email prospecting)
- SDR (sales development) services are used to qualify, follow up on, and nurture leads through email and phone, as well as to uncover sales possibilities for your own account executives (AE).
Closing the deal, also known as sales execution, is the process of completing a transaction.
Depending on the complexity of the product, the target market, and the sales process, Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) may be handled by field sales or inside sales.
Inside salespeople are product presenters and salespeople who work over the phone and through web conferencing.
Field sales (Account Executives) are required for high-touch, complicated B2B sales to bigger corporations with many decision-makers. Individuals from a certain area and sector are often seen providing this service.
Why Would You Outsource the Part of Sales Execution?
In most lean companies, sales teams lack the time and resources to manage their pipeline, execution, and follow-ups. This is particularly true when companies wish to grow into new regions and industries but haven’t yet hired more salespeople to handle the increased burden.
Lack of contemporary sales execution abilities to sell new goods and services may be another factor.
Luckily, in most cases, there are plenty of service vendors who can become extensions of your sales team, allowing you to scale your sales pipeline with the company’s growth without having to add headcount.
How much does it cost to outsource sales?
While hiring an outside team may seem costly, consider the expenses of growing your in-house staff to do the tasks you’re contemplating outsourcing. The following are examples of in-house costs:
- Benefits from insurance and retirement
- Bonuses and commissions
- Personnel in charge
- Limits and subscriptions for sales tools
Let’s suppose a sales rep’s average pay plus benefits is approximately $60,000, and a sales manager’s average compensation (plus perks) is $120,000.
The following are your additional (and fixed) internal sales staff costs:
($60,000 x Team Size) + $120,000 + Commissions + Bonuses + Tools = FIXED In-House Costs
You may keep your staff size modest while dialing up or down your outsourced sales costs as required when you outsource part of your tasks.
Outsourced sales experts often charge $1,000 to $5,000 per project, or $8,000 to $15,000 a month (or more if you’re an enterprise) if you want a committed extension of your team.
You can hire a complete sales staff to do the tasks you outsource for about the same price as adding an in-house sales manager to your team.
When is it a Good Idea to Outsource Sales?
Get a bird’s-eye perspective of your whole sales process. Then figure out which components you need to retain in-house and which parts may be done as a service by a third party.
If your other sales functions aren’t dedicated to it, don’t outsource portions of your sales. Because failing to return calls after receiving emails or failing to provide a technical session after a demo can harm your company. You don’t want to get a terrible name like that.
The following are common causes and triggers for outsourcing portions of your sales process:
- Introducing an SDR/AE split, Account Based Selling, and other drastic changes to your sales strategy
- Introducing a new product or service that necessitates the use of various sales techniques.
- Getting into new markets (geographically or target-segment).
- Putting your own sales team to the test.
- Increasing the overall amount of sales you make.
Sales outsourcing firms are more likely to outperform your own team in the following areas:
- Extensive expertise in the sales services they provide.
- Processes that are cutting-edge.
- Reporting and analysis have been improved.
- In a scalable company model, matching talents is possible.
When it’s not a good idea to outsource a sales function:
Without a product/market fit, we’ve seen businesses with really beautiful items and flashy sales materials. They’ve tried a lot of various methods in their sales process, but they constantly wind up with prospects who say things like, “Your product seems very great, but our top issues right now are in other areas where your product doesn’t help.” “Give me X months and I’ll get back to you.” Have you heard that as well?
There isn’t much you can do except pivot in a totally other direction.
Pro tip: Only outsource a sales function if you get the sense that the partner knows the outsourced function(s) much better than you do! Make sure you understand how their reporting and KPIs are structured.
6 Do’s and Don’ts for Outsourcing Sales
1) Put a greater emphasis on capabilities than on price.
The lowest option isn’t always the greatest option when it comes to selecting a sales provider.
You give up experience, leadership, and the capacity to execute when you choose the low-cost alternative. Is it more essential to save a few bucks by working with a substandard partner or to invest in a specialized team with channel expertise?
When evaluating prospective partners for supplementing or expanding your sales force, there are a number of things to consider.
- Clearly describe your requirements, particularly in terms of results.
- Learn about the capabilities of the partner you’ve chosen.
Perhaps you need help with lead qualifying or renewal management to supplement your in-house sales staff. Perhaps you’ve tried growing into the SMB market but haven’t seen a meaningful return.
In a new area, you may require a staff to manage the whole sales process. It’s important to understand how a prospective sales provider’s procedures, skills, and tools may help your specific situation after you know precisely what your company requirements are. Demand that they demonstrate it to you.
During the screening process, you should ask the following questions to your potential outsources business partner:
- What are your main selling skills? For example, are you in charge of consumer sales, B2B sales, or something else?
- Can you describe your company’s sales experience in my specific vertical/channel and show its breadth?
- Can you show your company’s track record of selling in the enterprise, midmarket, or small business segments?
- How will your business support and allow growth into other markets or geographies? (Marketing Strategy)
- Is your staff well-versed enough to engage in business discussions with executives and decision-makers?
- Why do you use the tools and technology you use for effective sales acceleration?
- What kind of return can I anticipate from our collaboration, and are you prepared to share risk in relation to the outcomes?
2) Participate Actively In The Partnership
You can’t expect the ship to drive itself after you’ve chosen an outsourced sales provider and completed the onboarding procedure.
That’s a certain way to fail. A completely involved and invested collaboration is the key to success. Devote your time and efforts to strengthening your new sales partner’s business connections (s). Communication is beneficial to both sides as the relationship progresses.
You must be an active participant in your newly established sales relationship, just as you must continuously engage with and coach your internal staff.
How to get the most out of your new partner’s engagement:
- From generating leads to completing transactions, you should be aware of their sales process.
- As you would internal employees, train the extension of your sales team. Ascertain that they are well-versed in your company’s strategy, procedures, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Provide relevant and readily accessible sales enablement resources to the team so they don’t have to spend time looking for or duplicating information.
- Meet with your outsourced staff on a frequent basis to discuss their activities, goals, and outcomes. Attend weekly touch-base meetings to keep up to date on performance, gaps, and important projects.
- Incorporate the management of your outsourced sales staff into internal meetings that address forecasts, company strategy, and major sales/marketing goals.
- Hold the outsourced staff accountable when you establish objectives. Examine the actuality of those objectives on a regular basis. Work closely with your outsourced staff to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what success looks like. Don’t just do it once a quarter.
Bonus read: 10 Ways to Build Internal Rapport and Navigate Complex Deals
3) Make certain that sales and marketing are on the same page.
It’s critical that you and your extended sales team are always on the same page. It’s also critical to link them and include them into your marketing operations. If you didn’t have an in-house sales team before adding an outsourced sales team, it’s easy for your new staff to get isolated from your marketing plan.
To accomplish the same objectives, sales and marketing must collaborate. They may assist one another in achieving their own performance goals more rapidly.
How to get your internal and external sales and marketing teams to work together:
- Invite key members of your marketing team to meet with your outsourced sales staff on a regular basis. Frontline salespeople’s insights, which have more client contacts than others, will become a significant asset to your company.
- To guarantee that both teams are targeting the same audience, collaborate to create buyer personas. If your marketing team has already created buyer personas, have them deliver the information to sales to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Encourage your sales staff to communicate their results to marketing on a frequent basis. Sales, for example, may provide insight into what makes a lead more valuable and why. This information may then be used by marketing to enhance their lead generation and qualifying process.
Read this bonus article to see how vice presidents of marketing may use call recordings to become better sales partners.
4) Don’t Become Distracted During The Selection Process
It’s easy to become lost in the process of evaluating the greatest match in outsourced partner sales since there are so many choices.
While you don’t want to hurry into choosing the incorrect spouse, dragging out the process may be a turnoff. It will basically burn up your revenue-generating potential quicker than you can affect your top and bottom lines.
During the selecting process, consider the following questions:
- During the proposal process, how effectively does the supplier promote thought leadership and creativity? Are they simply talking about what you asked for, or are they coming up with new ways to meet your sales targets? This is a solid indication of what to anticipate from a collaboration.
- What would my sales staff look like, and what would the manager-to-rep ratio be? Who will be in charge of them?
- Is this supplier familiar with my requirements and a specialist in the field of sales in which I need assistance? Do they have existing teams that are really selling to SMBs if you require experience in selling to them?
- Are we on the same page when it comes to KPIs, and does the sales partner have the appropriate measurements and tools to track progress?
5) Don’t Hold Your Breath for Immediate Results
Just as you account for a learning curve with internal employees, you should give your outsourced sales provider enough time to get to know your company.
While using an as-a-service sales staff can save you a lot of time during onboarding, the process isn’t completely automated. In general, a new team will spend 90 days learning your value proposition, honing their presentation, creating sales sequences, building a funnel, and delivering results.
How to successfully integrate your outsourced sales team:
- Use a variable compensation model that incorporates some fixed remuneration as well as a method to recognize and reward achievement. This offers sales representatives a vested interest in the connection and an incentive to succeed.
- Train representatives thoroughly on your goods and brand up front, and urge your supplier to utilize the data to actively teach reps.
- Establish an open line of communication so that your outsourced sales staff may reach you whenever they need to.
6) Avoid Dealing With A Routine Call Center. Look for a genuine sales company.
There are many consumer-facing call centers masquerading as experienced professional sales providers. The difference between a call center and a sales center is that a call center typically focuses on inbound general customer care or technical support, whereas a sales provider is trained to directly drive revenue.
Expect your approved sales partner to do the following:
- Have quota-carrying sales teams in place.
- Have the capacity to grow or supplement what your existing internal sales teams are doing.
- Cover new regions or time zones that you weren’t aware of before.
- Provide an integrated lead generation strategy that generates opportunities rather than simply warm leads.
- Have developed sales methods that reduce the amount of complexity in today’s sales process
- Have procedures in place to ensure that quotas are met in a predictable manner.
- Provide an innovative sales stack that is flexible enough to integrate your own tried-and-true tools.
- To drive strategy, provide analysis and forecasts rather than simply reporting.
Important Points to Remember
Hiring, onboarding, coaching, process development, and high-yielding sales skills are all part of the outsourced sales trend.
A relationship with a third-party sales supplier has the ability to increase existing income and generate new revenue streams more quickly and effectively than you could on your own.
Follow the dos and don’ts above to get the most out of your relationship, whether you’re looking to supplement your current in-house sales staff or fully outsource your whole sales process.
Also available on Medium.
Outsourced sales are a technique to engage the expertise and relationships of external specialists to help the company grow. Outsourcing involves hiring a firm to perform a function or service for company profits from that function or service. Outsourcing is often used for professional services and business functions, such as accountancy, legal, and systems development.. Read more about outsourced sales meaning and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- what is outsourced sales
- outsourced sales executive
- start a sales outsourcing company
- outsource sales training
- outsourced marketing and sales