What to look for when hiring a sales agency? Here are 10 questions to ask.

Whether yours is an established business looking to scale up with some new talent in Europe, or a tech startup that needs some help with outbound lead generation, sales outsourcing is a sensible solution. 

There is no one-size-fits-all, nor any magic formula, as every business and its needs are different. Don’t risk your reputation on cheap out-of-the-box outsourcing. Your aim is to beat the competition. To get to new international markets faster, and start selling. Securing the right business lead generation services and how to hire local sales representatives successfully can be tricky, but you can still pull it off.

First, do your homework, and know what to look for when hiring a sales agency. Here are ten questions to ask, to put you on the right road to selling success in Europe.

[Also Read: Our Guide to Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales Representatives]

1. What do you need from an outsourcing partner?

This first question is one to ask yourself. The most important place to start. Define what it is you need. A well-defined scope of what is achievable and a clear understanding of what is required. Have in mind your budget and a clear division of labor required. Are you going in full throttle and require a whole outsourced sales and marketing team or do you just need just one skillset such as some local sales representatives? Maybe you want to test the waters and start small with the ability to scale as you grow? One thing is clear: Badly-defined expectations lead to misunderstanding and disappointment, so set out your priorities and what you can afford first.

2. How niche is the outsourced sales agency?

How good a fit for your industry and individual business is the prospective sales agency? You need the assurance you can work together well. Create an ideal custom sales and B2B lead generation strategy that’s a smooth transition to qualified prospects and closed sales. B2B and B2C are two different animals. Your attributes and core values should be a good match. Choosing an international sales agency that is close to your B2B vertical is imperative, it means you will understand each other from the starting block to the end of the race.

3. Can they offer you a sales assessment?

What can an outsourcing sales agency bring to the table to instill confidence? A sales assessment is a key start to successful global expansion. You have already decided what you need and what is achievable, now you need assurance that they can deliver it. It’s time to sit down together and map it out: Examine current marketing, sales and positioning. Your repeatable European sales strategy is born from that initial evaluation. 

4. How multi-channel is the outsourcing agency’s approach to B2B lead generation?

If it takes usually at least 12 points of contact to nurture a tech prospect, then multi-channel B2B lead generation to achieve that. Together you will create a multi-channel lead generation strategy that is translated for the local audience, in the local language, communicating for the local culture. Today in 2022, times have changed and we bend our sails and adjust to the business world in the wake of the pandemic. But, every connection with a prospective customer can still be a personal one, and warm handovers are part of that. Zoom may replace a business breakfast but it can still be personal.

Outsourced lead generation is constantly measured and so constantly improved, as it should, so ask if your prospective outsourced sales agency’s lead gen plan is:

  • Multi-channel
  • Personalized 
  • Cohesive
  • Metrics-driven
  • Is continuously improved

5. How transparent is the prospective outsourced sales agency?

The unglazed truth. If the prospective outsourcing sales agency is not prepared to offer you transparency then walk away and knock on another door. Sharing all the data — and sharing it meaningfully — is the root of successful engagement. The metrics and analytics we mentioned in point four, what exactly will you get and how often will you expect to get them? 

6. What is their track record like?

If sales outsourcing companies are truly successful then they will also be transparent about their client list and their partners. Boasting rights are worth their weight in gold and give you the opportunity to check out a few references. Ask general questions as well as some hard-hitting ones. You will want to know how the sales agency reacts when things go wrong —  for example during the pandemic — as well as all the gold.star reviews when things go well. Ask the same questions to two or three clients for consistency and for your own confidence in the agency.

7. What is it all going to cost?

The true cost should be great value for your business, and increase your profits in the long game. Success means investment, and it doesn’t always come cheap. Be prepared to invest in hiring a sales agency that will provide that real value, but also be upfront in discussing what it is going to cost. Your budget may not cover a full package, but discuss first what you can feasibly get, and how you can scale up as you grow. A clear picture and sense of the economic arrangement leaves no red faces or surprise bills. It can be a cost-effective and low-risk approach, say our partners SFE Partners

8. What’s your gut instinct?

This is one to ask yourself. You have investigated and whittled your choices down. Maybe had some initial engagement and a phone call or two. Gut instinct is a good thing. What was that engagement like? Did they answer all your questions thoroughly? Is their own website clean and user-friendly? Did they respond to you quickly or did you have to chase up?

First impressions are often a clue as to how the sales agency will continue to do business once you are a client. 

9. How fast are they at providing what your tech business needs?

Speed is everything. Relationships close deals. Can your chosen sales agency provide you with a smart, go-to-market team who will hit the ground running in a new international environment? Are they capable of leveraging exceptional sales representatives who will be managed locally and ready for you to start making money? Speed means beating the competition, who will step in if you miss a beat. 

By leveraging our existing networks, our technical expertise, and our understanding of local culture, our European distributors get your product or service in front of qualified prospects in just four weeks.

10. Is their message clear and on point?

Your business is B2B and your industry is tech. So is theirs. Hiring sales representatives in Europe is your business, and theirs. Your first hire in a new market is your most important hire. Leverage an expert sales agency and their exceptional experience in that area. If their message on hiring is clear and on point with your requirements, and they are continually improving and expanding their network of talent to fit the ever-changing tech market, then you’re on the right track for working together.

Hiring a sales agency — the bottom line

In the end, you need to be able to fully trust your own judgement. You want transparency and flexibility, and to know that you are hiring a sales agency that will provide real value for your organization. When you know what to look for when hiring a sales agency, ask the right questions, then you can be confident that you made the best choice!

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