On the surface, outsourcing your sales development or lead generation team seems like a great idea. Sales Development Representatives are expensive to acquire, train, and maintain, and when you have a robust sales team, your sales reps’ time could be spent in much more productive ways than making cold calls all day just to attempt to land a meeting C-level execs that they may or may not show up to.
Outsourcing sales development to a third-party provider seemingly alleviates this issue. You’ll be handed a set number of appointments every month, and all your stellar sales team has to do is show up on a conference bridge and close the sale. Your sales reps get to do what they do best, and the ROI will come pouring in.
It’s that easy, right?
When you outsource to a third-party vendor, you do lose some degree of control, but more significantly than that, you lose visibility. With an internal sales rep sitting in the office, you can poke your head in their cubicle and see them hard at work making dials and mining LinkedIn for any hint of insight. When they come across an issue in their calling, you can intervene within moments to ensure they’re on the right track.
“But you made the case for using outsourced Sales Development Representatives,” you say. “I can’t afford to recruit and onboard another fully burdened employee who won’t be closing sales.”
There’s an easy answer, though. And it comes in the form of a tool every sales manager knows very, very well.
Think about how your CRM has changed the way you interact with your sales reps. Salesforce and similar SaaS tools afford a new level of visibility into the day-to-day actions your sales reps perform as they work prospects through the sales funnel.
Most importantly, CRM allows reps to track and interact with customers and prospects with a level of detail never before achieved. Now reps can quickly anticipate the customer’s needs and initiate conceptual selling, laying out a full vision that addresses future problems and enables new avenues for future growth. Agile selling can be a reality with this degree of insight into and control of prospects’ needs and expectations.
Why wouldn’t you expect the same CRM visibility from your outsourced Sales Development Representatives?
When a third-party vendor works inside your firewall, as well as your CRM instance, instead of a list of appointments each month, you actively see Sales Development Representatives interacting with prospects. With conventional wisdom that says an average of 7 touches is required to get a sales-ready appointment with a prospect, Sales Development Representatives spend much of their time doing work you can’t see from just a list of appointments. For that very reason, technology can change the way sales management works at the Sales Development Representative level.
The same radical transparency that changed the way we as a society approach corporate structure is necessary to get the most out of outsourced sales development and lead generation teams. And we have entered the age where that level of transparency is possible.
Keeping your outsourced sales development within your CRM also prevents one very real dilemma: Should you choose to end the relationship, you get to keep the record of all the work done by your Sales Development Representatives. No more fear of brand damage from contacting prospects after the end of the relationship. No more losing a valuable pipeline full of prospects almost ready to speak with your reps.
With an increasingly outsourced work environment, it doesn’t make sense to keep Sales Development Representatives on full-time. But as technology enables the radical transparency we could only dream of in science fiction, you can demand the same quality and visibility you would expect from a warm body in your office.
We live in the future. Let’s sell in the future, too.
By Tim Edwards, CEO of EBQ