So, you’re a tech company expanding globally? Should your sales be outsourced? Probably not if your business model won’t fit an outbound model. If your small-ticket product sales normally come inbound on your website, you may just need to translate that page. However, should you decide to outsource, then it’s worth comparing the advantages against traditional hires. Historically, launching into Europe meant firstly opening a HQ. Pre-Brexit this would most likely have been in London — that may or may not be the right choice for your product. Then came the expense of hiring the right employees — with the sales team usually your first hire — with good contacts, expertise and all-important local knowledge. Bad hires cost time and money, and often the process had to be repeated in order to get it right.
Going forward, should sales be outsourced as a complete solution, offering risk reduction and many other advantages? It can be a good way to test the water, when you are testing new marketing abroad.
You could install a European business development director and a dedicated HR team to perform a recruitment process across your target areas of Europe. After all, many organizational decision makers are reluctant to trust sales outsourcing and prefer to be hands-on. This is often due to an unwillingness to relinquish total control. But there is another way, and the answer could be outsourcing your sales team in Europe.
Outsourcing sales can be like having an experienced European business director at your fingertips. You may have field sales reps, inside sales representatives, and, more often as of late, virtual sales requirements. Outsourcing sales provides you with the solution for the perfect blend of launching new business, into new locations, while minimizing any losses. You can even leverage a combination of part-time roles that fulfill the entire sales process, without the cost of a full business development team before you’ve even proven the market.
Traditional hiring means drawing up contracts, agreeing on benefits (often the make or break figure for a prospective candidate) and in some cases having a bricks and mortar physical office space, along with the overheads that entails. Outsourcing pushes all those expenses out of your pocket as well as traditional recruitment fees which can really add up. You might have a really successful sales rep but how well will they do in unfamiliar territory? Again, outsourcing will find and put the right people in the right place.
Hiring takes time. While it’s good to choose and know your prospective employees, recruitment is a long and drawn out process. The usual time it takes to get a sales rep hired and engaged is six months. The steps of finding just ONE ideal salesperson are to search, evaluate, communicate, obtain resumes and cover letters, interview, reference checks, background checks — often long phone calls — and finally to make an offer. And then you have to train them in your specific tech and unique value proposition. Sales outsourcing means you can rely on trusted partners who are already on the ground, already know the local business, and already have a local network of tech buyers.
Lengthy recruitment processes and arduous European permanent contracts mean you’re risking money even before you’ve proven the new market. If the typical sales recruitment process takes six months, that’s a lot of time wasted where your competitor can beat you to it. Whereas if you leverage outsourced sales, you can test the new market quickly, and have the flexibility to change out the sales rep if it’s a bad fit or shift your efforts to a different, more qualified market.
You’re expanding into Europe, which, for many Silicon Valley startups, is unchartered territory. Europe isn’t a country unto itself. It’s learning how to sell abroad in local markets. A different culture doesn’t simply stop at the language barrier — but you can’t sell in English to France, Spain or Italy. It’s much more than that. You will need local sales representatives who can hit the ground running, preferably with their own list of known contacts working in your target roles and verticals. You need local and expert. Deep domain knowledge of your product — whether it’s the Internet of Things, SaaS, AI, Security, consumer electronics, infrastructure or something else.
Using sales outsourcing to contract experienced tech sales representatives, you get more bang for your buck. A deep and savvy knowledge of your tech, with ten or more years in your target verticals, aided by an even deeper knowledge of local in-country markets and a team who can go out there and knock on familiar doors. Some countries can be smaller than they seem when it comes to ‘who’, as well as ‘what’ you know.
How does the argument for sales outsourcing apply when considering the scalability and flexibility of your planned European expansion? So, as an example, you have a field sales role and you decide you need two candidates to fill it. Six months down the line, you realize you need only one to cover the smaller local market. With rigid European contracts to consider, this creates a problem. Instead you can work with just one contract with one sales outsourcing agency that gives you the flexibility to pivot in response to market demand.
Yes, with a conventional hire that may create a difficult situation. With sales outsourcing, it’s just a phone call away to resolve the issue. Add to your team or reduce it with changes or modifications. Other changing situations such as the current pandemic mean that this level of flexibility and scalability offered by outsourcing your sales teams is worth its weight in gold. Scale up or scale down, no problem. Get true scalability with global flexibility.
With sales outsourcing done right, you can remain in control. As sales representatives can onboard your existing CRM and sales tools and are coached by our regional sales managers, you have regular updates and insights into what’s going on, even when you can’t visit yourself. An outsourced model allows you better control over your budget and your team.
Accountability matters. As with all sales teams, accountability counts and outsourced teams are no different. With the right outsourced sales partners for your organization’s expansion into Europe, a fully dedicated and hand-picked team still reports to you. International sales strategy, lead generation, inside sales, field sales, remote sales — or any combination that suits your budget and expansion plans. After all, they may be our staff, but they are representing your brand. Ongoing support will stem from dedicated sales management. KPIs met, and deals closed. Success with the same level of accountability as a traditional hiring process.
Should sales be outsourced? The choice is entirely yours but the evidence around for and against suggests a resounding YES. Once established, you may want to set up a bricks and mortar HQ and hire locally. If you like our team, you always have the option to hire them permanently anyway.