Why It’s a Good Idea to Outsource Your Sales Team
Having a good B2B sales strategy is quintessential to widening audience reach and getting the market share a company deserves. A customer-centered sales philosophy will lead to faster growth while allowing the organization to create its own niche market. However, not all companies can undertake sales processes in-house. For one, it’s challenging to find the budget to hire, and second (should a budget be available), getting the right people to do sales can affect workplace productivity. It’s at this point that companies start to ask, “Is outsourcing a sales team a good move?”
Outsourcing a Sales Team: The Pros and Cons
Outsourcing business operations and processes is a common practice. It can help cut costs, deliver ROI, and add a wider pool of expertise to your business culture. But like any decision you need to make, it is important to look into the pros and cons of outsourcing a sales team.
An outsourced sales team helps save business time significantly. You can delegate the time-consuming and complex tasks related to sales so you can focus on your core business. But an outsourced rep will not necessarily think the way you do. It will be difficult for them to fill your shoes, especially when making decisions and creating strategies. The truth is, no one knows our service as well as you do.
It can be more cost-effective to hire experienced sales representatives on a part-time basis. As the budget allows, you can slowly transition this to a full-time arrangement. However, deciding on the hourly rate of part-time sales reps can present a concern. The hourly rate you pay may be higher compared to paying someone hired permanently. Then again, the soft costs of hiring full-time salespeople will also include benefits, desk space, government compliances, and more. Just be sure you take a look at your company situation and decide if outsource sales is possible.
Nurturing Leads and Branding
An outsourced sales team will have all the knowledge, skills, and tools to build relationships and nurture leads effectively. The main thing to be particular with, though, is that the outsourced team should ensure they deliver a consistent message across your communication channels that match your brand and voice. In other words, your outsourced sales team should be able to build relationships with your clients the way you would, the way your brand would.
If, after weighing both pros and cons, you’re still not sure whether to outsource your sales team, there are alternative options. One example is utilizing in-house tools to support your sales team and boost productivity. Another is hiring additional temporary staff that can help bridge the skills gap between your current team and the ideal team deemed experts. Third, you can take a combined approach. Use both your internal resources and hire an agency that allows you to delegate tasks while maintaining your brand voice.
Outsourcing Appointment Setting Programs as a Combined Approach
Going deeper into the combined approach brings us to outsourcing AS (Appointment Setting). According to B2B Marketing, one of the key success parameters for AS programs are “synchronizing the messaging between the marketing/sales and the outsourced sales development resource.” This means that you’re maximizing your internal resources and being consistent with your brand while having extra hands through outsourced sales representatives.
If your company is looking to outsourcing the function of appointment set-up, you need to be familiar with the process for a better success rate. The AS function has a distinct framework that ensures that the aspects of People-Process-Technology are signed off during this outsourced function. This framework has four phases: Define, Design, Implement, and Analyze. Each stage is discussed in detail by Satish Sadasivan, Chief mentor and advisor for EvolveBPM.
The first phase is the most critical phase of the Appointment Setting program. You’d need to sit down with your stakeholders and decide on the desired outcome from this arrangement. Outcomes can either be revenue impact or defined revenue outcome. Questions you can ask at this phase are:
- Why set up this campaign?
- What product or service are we selling?
- Who are we selling these to?
- What are our timelines?
- Where are we targeting?
The Design phase is ideally a joint workshop with the stakeholders from both Sales and Marketing. It is crucial to arrive at the suitable skill set of Sales Development Resources (SDRs) to be engaged depending on the product or service of the company. This phase also includes determining training timelines, certification processes, mock calls, and ramping up productivity numbers.
During the Design Phase, the focus is given to the campaign calendar and the activities to be implemented during the defined timeline. The critical aspect here is to sign off on the target buyer demographics like geography focus, industry focus, job functions to be identified and grouped under (buyer/influencer/decision-maker), and titles. Most importantly, defining the intent topics that can be used for determining buyer intent surge should be accomplished in this phase. Business research and heat map research are integral to this phase.
The questions that need answers here are:
- What should the key focus of the campaign be? (Messaging themes, value proposition, assessment of current assets)
- What are the training timelines and related documentation needed?
- What is the certification process of the SDR? Key evaluation metrics and scores
- What are the key topics for webinar initiatives? Who are the speakers?
Also, the Design phase includes establishing an initial draft of the campaign calendar, drafting calling scripts, designing initial email templates, landing pages, and creatives for programmatic advertisements.
The third phase includes training the SDRs, mock calls, certification of the SDRs, and going live with the pilot phase. Data capturing should be done within this period from program efforts like email, engaging on ads, and calling dispositions. The first cold call must be made after at least two to three touchpoints with a prospective client.
The fourth and last phase has something to do with setting up weekly reviews with the client stakeholders. The Analyze phase would allow concerned individuals to identify trends, messaging impact analysis, and changes to be done that is to be implemented after the sign-off by all stakeholders involved.
Given the complexity of outsourced AS programs, Satish Sadasivan says that both partners will need to invest in making it work. As a combined option to outsourcing your sales team, the OS AS program should “effectively function as a virtual back-end office for the sales folks with complete clarity on the roles and hand-off points.”
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