Companies’ common misconceptions about sales outsourcing
Among the concerns that prevent managers and companies from delegating their sales are the following:
1. Outsourced salespeople can’t “feel” the product or service as your team does. The salesperson must know the product or service like the back of their hand and be well versed in the company’s background. So business owners and directors are assured that this is an impossible mission for the outsourcing company.
2. You’re less trustworthy if you outsource sales than you would be with a proper sales team. Some prospects might feel uncomfortable when realizing that a third-party vendor markets a product to them. This requires strict confidentiality, and sales professionals aren’t ready to spend valuable time monitoring this when working with agencies.
3. Outsourcing sales is just a quick and temporary fix, not a long-term solution. In the eyes of many, hiring a client acquisition partner to revitalize sales is like applying a patch when you need surgery. Some say you will need an in-house sales team sooner or later, so it’s better to start early and hire knowledgeable employees who will be with your company for years.
4. When you outsource sales, you lose close control over the tactical side of sales. When your contractor makes sales, you can’t be aware of every step of their process and don’t know how they deal with particular prospects.
5. Finding the right sales provider and onboarding them takes a lot of time and effort. There are many companies offering sales operations. You may be overwhelmed thinking about all the reviews you have to sift through and background checks you have to do.
These fears are not groundless. Yet, a mature market of sales acquisition companies means there are established leaders who can take any sales process off your shoulders and do it effectively. Later in this post, we’ll show how to build a sales outsourcing process to get the max results. But first, let’s address the stats.
Is it possible to outsource sales effectively?
The joint research by Operatix and Tenbound revealed that over 85% of B2B decision-makers find sales outsourcing valuable. Almost 70% of respondents agreed that outsourced SDRs performed better than their internal teams.
The key — responsible and wise choice of your sales agency. If you follow the best practices, work closely with your contractor, do your homework preparing the value proposition, and apply data-driven decisions, sales outsourcing is a smart way to invest your money. With the right vendor, you can expect at least 100% ROI, and often way more than that.
For example, for a retail non-broker agency, Belkins managed to land $1.5M in closed deals and secured several more contracts with expected revenue of $3M — all within 9 months. To discover more successful sales outsourcing examples, check out our case studies.
More than ROI: Other reasons to outsource sales teams
From the business point of view, numerous factors apart from revenue impact the reasonability of having the sales outsourced vs. building an internal department:
- Keeping the team lean
- Focusing on the company’s strong suits or strategic goals
- Hiring top professionals instantly
- Getting access to reps’ sales networks
- Testing out new territories, products, or markets quickly
- Receiving feedback on marketing and promotion efforts
- Faster sales cycle
- Increased interest from investors by showing your startup is in demand and generating clients
- A fresh perspective on the company’s sales functions
- Clear UVP and sales playbook
- A honed sales pitch that you can use and improve months after the collaboration
All of these benefits will stay with your company after you’re done working with the outsourcing company, adding to the delivered value.
The sales processes companies can outsource
You can outsource different parts of your sales process. For example:
- Outsourcing lead generation and appointment setting. This implies working with the outsourced team that will study your ideal customers, value proposition (VP), and the market. Their task is to sift through the thousands of qualified leads and do all the cold outreach and follow-ups, presenting your VP the right way, until they can set you up for a meeting with a warm opportunity. All you need to do is jump on the call.
- Outsourcing sales development and account management. This refers to hiring a team of professionals that will run sales presentations on behalf of your company and bring the deals. It also includes nurturing the prospective qualified leads through all the stages of consideration until the contract is signed. After that, the outsourced team acts as an account manager and the client’s primary touchpoint.
- Outsourcing upsell and renewal campaigns for existing customers. The hired team of account managers will keep your clients engaged, interest them with more products your company has, maintain your accounts from going astray, and increase your bottom line.
Outsourcing lead generation and lead research are the most common approaches on the market, with plenty of companies offering their services.
How to make sure your business will benefit from sales outsourcing
In practice, you can outsource any sales process to a competent vendor. But depending on your business type, size, or age, sales outsourcing has nuances you need to consider.
If you are a fresh founder, outsourcing your sales is not recommended. Business savviness requires personal experience, so meeting customers face-to-face to close sales is invaluable when learning the ropes. It allows you to better understand who you are selling to, what you are selling, and the best way to sell it. Take advantage of getting this most crucial feedback first-hand.
However, an excellent approach to consider at this point is outsourcing sales consultancy. Getting advice from a specialist on your pricing, sales model, and customer approach can push your processes.
Outsourcing the sales process lets the core startup team focus on product or service quality and customer satisfaction, helping speed growth and allowing founders to focus on strategic goals. Besides, a sales expert can help a startup set up the funnel and make sure all leads get assigned, converted into opportunities, and recycled — and are never left out or forgotten.
Does your sales cycle involve working the prospects through the funnel and convincing multiple decision-makers? Suppose your best bet is continuously contacting high-level executives and talking them into hearing your offer. In that case, B2B sales outsourcing companies can cover all your bases faster and more efficiently than you or your fresh hire.
Assess if your business model can fit an outsourced sales department. Does your average sale have enough margin to sustain sales reps and account executives? How long is your sales cycle? If your business’s volumes of reached public matters more than catering to the buyer personas, outsourcing your sales may not be a good idea.
In this case, keeping significant overheads for hired personnel during low periods can be costly. Sales outsourcing allows these businesses to scale up or down based on seasonal swings without hiring and training new employees for a short period.
International organizations looking to bring their brand, service, or solution to the new region will benefit from the outsourcers’ deep knowledge of the domestic markets in the countries of interest. Besides, having a local team helps overcome the time zone difference barrier.
How to make sales outsourcing work for you: 6 key factors
Here is the step-by-step algorithm to help you hire the best and make the most.
1. Go the extra mile choosing your provider. Look at their experience, niche, track record, market, and reviews. A great point to start is to ask other people from your industry for recommendations and then do your research on the candidates. Examine their case studies to see if they have experience with the kind of challenges that your sales process implies.
2. Agree about the basics on the shore. Define the task with ruthless scrutiny. Set your priorities very clearly, for yourself and the contractor. Provide extensive documentation on the product, describe your “good” explicitly, and write down what you are trying to achieve. Consider the sales ROI you need to maintain and other KPIs you will set for your service provider.
3. Set up a close collaboration between in-house and outsourced teams. Both parties must work closely to define personas and unique value propositions, create and fine-tune ICP, assess and improve marketing campaigns, and sometimes even work on the pricing models. Moreover, it’s important your in-house specialists don’t compete with the vendor’s team: They should proactively help and treat them as partners.
4. Communicate actively. If you hire an agency, you must be aware of their every step. One good way to do it is to run regular online check-ins with the vendor. During these meetings, you should communicate the latest actions and efforts, analyze the freshest results, articulate your concerns, and come to an agreement with your partner. We use this practice at Belkins, and on top of that, our clients can ask us a question on a dedicated Slack channel anytime.
5. Don’t get discouraged when there are no immediate results. Though onboarding a well-oiled sales team is faster than waiting out the learning curve of a new hire, it still takes time. Provide enough learning materials, encourage immersion in your product, and work closely with your contracted reps to help them hone their pitch and fine-tune the outreach.
How much does outsourcing sales cost?
Outsourcing sales comes in various formats, depending on the number of leads you need, the team members you’ll require, your industry, campaign length, etc. The good news here is you can tailor your hire precisely to your business requirements. Yet, it also means there is no flat rate.
Here is how much the sales outsourcing may cost you, depending on the format:
The typical hourly charge for quality lead generation, database refinement, appointment setting, and customer management is from $25 to $50.
Pay per appointment
You only pay for appointments that get scheduled. The average price will vary according to the difficulty of setting up the meeting, starting with $150-$300 for the low-tier managers and reaching $800-$1000 for the C-level. Also, other agencies charge a certain percentage of the total offer cost.
This is a typical model for customized services. The cost varies according to the industry, the difficulty of the project, and the sales appointment setting company caliber. Retainers for sales appointment setting and lead generation can cost you about $4,000-$10,000 monthly.
This model involves hiring an agency or a sales team to run a defined time-framed campaign (to bring a considerable return, it should be no less than 3 months). Most lead generation and appointment scheduling campaigns cost between $10,000 and $50,000. If you want to add marketing strategy, pricing consultancy, and automation setup here, be ready to pay up to $200,000 or more.
Outsourced sales reps get a percentage from sales, so they are interested in selling in volumes. Their fees can range depending on the business and the effort necessary.
Are you ready to take action?
Sales outsourcing is not a magic pill that will solve all your problems, yet it can solve many. It makes the most sense as an addition to your internal product team to take care of whatever you don’t have the expertise in or don’t have the time to cover. It is also an excellent solution for seasonal businesses and international brands entering new markets.
Before googling the best sales provider in your region, do your homework — think through your value proposition and lay out the expected results. With clear KPIs, an established process, and a reliable provider, you will likely hit ROIs that will get you bragging rights and pack your pipeline chock-full.