It’s important to have a dedicated sales force, however all of your sales reps do not have to be internal hires. Three major benefits to outsourcing sales include:
- Outsourcing sales allows you to start off with a qualified and experienced sales staff without having to hire or train them.
- It gives you access to talent you might not be able to attract otherwise. This is especially true if you are a small business; a star salesperson would attract more competitive job offers.
- The outsourced sales team will also have the ability to support and train your management team, helping you develop internal sales competencies.
Of course, there are some disadvantages to outsourcing your sales force, too. While a third-party sales force will be full of expert salespeople, they won’t have expertise in your particular products. They might also have difficulty positioning it or explaining the ins and outs of your benefits or features. Additionally, these third-parties rarely work with just a single client. Most likely, you’ll be one of many products or services that they’re pitching. Because of this, you might not see the same results that you would with a dedicated team.
Weighing these advantages and disadvantages, it’s clear that there is indeed benefit to outsourcing sales efforts, as long as you’re selective. To do this successfully, here are four helpful tips:
1. Start with cold calling and lead scoring
One great way to optimize the talent and time you have on-hand is by recruiting a sales agency to take over one of the many responsibilities that make up the sales process such as finding qualified leads. That way, you can kickoff an outsourced sales relationship with a small engagement, allowing you to conservatively manage your budget and test the waters with your outsourced team. In this scenario, your outsourced sales reps can cold call targeted customers on your behalf, and then pass on qualified leads to an internal representative at your firm who has deep knowledge of the product and can successfully close the deal. You can lean on your outsourced sales firm’s expertise to start the sale, and your employee’s product knowledge to close it.
2. Focus your training
One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing sales is being able to hit the ground running. That means your training process for your outsourced reps needs to be quick and efficient. The best way to do that is by following the Pareto Principle, and revolving the small bit (20%) of knowledge that’s required to do the majority (80%) of the work. In other words, you will want to avoid obsessing over sales cadences for unique client situations that reps would only encounter once a quarter. Instead, give your outsourced sales team enough information to be effective the majority of the time, and let them pass customers onto your internal sales team if those prospects have more specific concerns.
3. Look for industry experience
Although an outsourced sales firm may have been successful in doubling sales for another company, a critical shortcoming that could compromise their effectiveness may be their lack of expertise in your industry. There’s a huge difference between selling to companies in the manufacturing sector versus selling products to software firms. Lacking certain industry-specific language and vocabulary may also mean your third-party sales reps will struggle when engaging potential customers.
Keep in mind that you also do not necessarily have to find a local outsourced sales team to help you out. Technology has grown to the point where freelance and third-party services can easily be offered globally. Instead of limiting yourself to a small geographic region, take a broader look and find the best fit firm to partner with.
4. Establish your own sales processes first
One big mistake many companies make is hiring a third-party to not only outsource their sales, but to create and document new sales processes. This is problematic because, internally, you have the best idea about who your customers are and what triggers them to make a purchase. Although an outsourced team might be able to provide valuable input on the technical parts of the process, you need to document enough customer-specific information to properly guide them.
Outsourcing any part of the sales process can be a frightening prospect. After all, you’re relinquishing control of critical operations to an external vendor. They’ll be interacting with your customers and prospects on a daily basis. By following the information above, however, you’ll be able to hand off certain processes with peace of mind. You’ll save time and money, and together you’ll grow your revenue and your bottom line.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also does marketing at Conversio (your all-in-one ecommerce marketing dashboard), Tenfold (your modern phone intelligence platform) and Big Drop Inc. (your preferred web design and development partner) . To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.