An outsourced inside sales team works on behalf of your company to prospect, qualify leads, set sales meetings, and win you new business. Outsourcing inside sales takes the responsibility out of your hands, allowing your internal teams to spend more time and effort on the core competencies of your business.
But companies should be aware of the challenges they must address before choosing an outsourced firm and negotiating a partnership.
We’ve identified a few of the main concerns we see from our own clients before making the decision to outsource their inside sales. Read on to find out how you can mitigate these challenges and be prepared to choose the inside sales partner that’s best for your company.
1. Control over the outsourced team
If you outsource your inside sales, exactly how much control will you have over your outsourced sales reps? This is one of the biggest challenges companies face when they decide to outsource.
You want to be sure that your sales team is representing your brand properly, following the appropriate processes in place, and spending their time wisely pursuing leads that are a good fit for your company.
A good outsourced firm will prioritize transparency and frequently review their progress with you, so you are granted control over how their efforts should be adjusted and executed.
One important question to ask during your search for the perfect outsourced firm is, “How are your results tracked and reported?” Look for a firm that is willing to work directly out of your Salesforce instance, so you get visibility into each step of the sales process.
If you go with a firm that only reports on the outcomes of their efforts, you won’t be able to analyze their performance at every step or get insight into all of the metrics that help an inside sales team succeed.
For example, the number of deals closed may sufficiently meet your standards, but there could be a much larger number of opportunities that were generated but not nurtured properly and closed.
With a fully integrated outsourced firm and insight into the entire process, you can ensure any discrepancies between opportunities and actual revenue won are addressed. If you know which part of the process needs to be fixed, you can adjust the outreach strategy and potentially capture more opportunities with your outsourced team.
2. Alignment with your organization
Another concern companies have when looking to outsource their sales is the outsourced firm’s ability to align and adapt to their organization and its established processes. Ease of communication between sales and other teams may be part of this concern, as well.
When you build a sales team internally, sales can be more directly involved with your overall organizational strategy.
The last thing you want is misalignment over messaging, your buyer persona, or what exactly is considered a qualified prospect. The impact that this misalignment might have on your brand could be detrimental. And outsourcing can complicate things further if you have a highly complex product or service to sell.
The right outsourced sales firm will work closely with your internal leadership to integrate fully with your processes and strategy. Many outsourced sales firms are ready to meet with you regularly to review progress of their efforts and continuously improve on the strategy.
When choosing an outsourced firm, we suggest finding out the specifics of the onboarding process beforehand.
You can be more confident in the outsourced team’s ability to align with your internal team if the firm’s onboarding process involves the following:
- Process overview: A full overview of their established sales process to give you a transparent look into what day-to-day duties your outsourced reps will perform
- Client overview: A comprehensive briefing on your company, your product, and your messaging that will guide all efforts for the outsourced firm
- Qualification criteria: Discussion of what is considered a qualified prospect or opportunity for your company, as well as any other discovery information you expect
- Account segmentation: An overview of the state of your database, how it is segmented, and a breakdown of the territories you serve
- Marketing support: A rundown of what marketing initiatives, if any, your company is executing that generates leads for the outsourced team and how intent can be inferred from those initiatives
- Technological alignment: Integration of the outsourced firm through email addresses with your company domain, access to your CRM, access to your reps’ calendars, and an overview of which tools will be used for selling and reporting performance
Make sure you choose an outsourced firm that has an effective onboarding process, so you’re able to set it and forget it. This kick-off period is crucial for ensuring the outsourced team’s success without the need for you to control every element of it.
Onboarding should go well beyond having the outsourced reps read your website then begin selling. Choose an outsourced inside sales team that you trust, so you can allow them to work with you as an extension of your team.
3. Questionable stake in your success
Another question companies often ask themselves when thinking about outsourcing sales is, “why should we trust our sales in the hands of another company?”
Seemingly, the outsourced firm has much less incentive than your company to succeed in sales on your behalf. After all, sales are the lifeblood of your company. Sales are more than important — they pay your rent and your payroll.
You may think that an outsourced sales company has less of a stake in your success. But keep in mind that outsourced firms are incentivized to help you succeed. Retaining your business as a client is just as important to them as winning new business is to you.
Especially for outsourced sales firms who offer month-to-month contracts, keeping clients satisfied in the long-term is the main objective. Compare these firms to ones that pay on a per lead, per sales appointment, year-long contracts, or commission basis.
Pay-per-whatever firms are more likely to prioritize sending you volume of appointments and opportunities no matter the quality. This is why we recommend a time-based outsourced firm who acts as more of a partner vs. just a vendor.
A good outsourced sales firm will act as an extension of your company, representing your brand and product as if it were their own.
Beyond finding a firm with time-based contracts, look to how they represent their own brand. Consider their performance during the sales process of pursuing you as a prospect, look at their onboarding process, and look at the overall effort they put into providing value for their leads and customers.
4. Affordability of outsourcing
One of the most common concerns organizations have when considering outsourcing is, “how much will it cost?”
It’s true that outsourcing a function like sales can be expensive for your company, but your focus should be determining whether the investment will pay off for your particular situation.
Do your due diligence to get an accurate figure of what different service providers will charge. Next, make sure they give you an accurate estimate of the value they will deliver.
- How much pipeline will they build for you?
- How many qualified appointments can they deliver?
- How much will they ultimately contribute to your revenue?
It’s important to anticipate the ROI you’ll get from outsourcing your sales — measure the cost of the service against the amount of value you’ll receive from it.
Talented sales reps and SDRs are in high demand these days, and retaining an effective sales team can be quite costly. You’ll find that many outsourcing firms are able to provide experienced sales talent at a fraction of the cost of building an inside sales team internally.
Take a look at the cost comparison for an outsourced team of SDRs vs. building that team internally:
Take into account the following stats about internal SDR teams that The Bridge Group found in their SDR Metrics Report:
- Base salary for SDRs in 2018 averaged $48K, and OTE can amount to $75k per SDR
- Average salary for SDR managers totaled $127k per year
- Companies report on average spending $371 per SDR per month on technology alone
It’s clear that building and maintaining an internal team of SDRs alone can strain your budget quickly.
But outsourcing your inside sales gives you access to a team of experts, at a fixed or predictable cost. You don’t have to invest in expensive sales tools, and many outsourced sales firms even provide a built-in management structure so that you don’t have to keep somebody to micromanage the team on your payroll.
So should you outsource inside sales?
We say go for it. We’ve worked with thousands of clients who outsource their sales and sales development, and many of them end up seeing a 200% ROI on average.
The key is to choose the right vendor who will work with you to plan and execute a strategy tailored to your customers and solution, and more importantly, collaborate with you to continuously improve the efforts.
If you’re looking for guidance and support when it comes to inside sales for your company, don’t hesitate to contact the sales specialists at EBQ.