Tips to evaluate a good outsourcing partner

You’ve performed the math and made the decision to scale up your business to new territory. And you want to speed up your time-to-market and partner up with a sales agency who can take some of the heat away with the ability to provide a sales outsourcing service. Outsourcing is efficient. It can, in the long run, save you a lot of hassle and expense, especially when making the move to a new market. 

Examine the pros and cons of using an outsourcing partner and then decide what you need to know about them to help you choose the right one. Choosing any service provider is like starting any relationship.

Before you 'swipe right', take the time to evaluate the how, who, what and why and don’t go in blindly. Solid and long-lasting partnerships start with good relationship management, so don’t rush it, first read our tips to evaluate a good outsourcing partner.

First date: Self-evaluation and a customized plan

Look first at your own needs. It’s impossible to know how you want an outsourced sales agency to perform if you don’t have clarification of your own needs. The first 'getting to know you' conversation should be to tick off on your current sales and positioning stance and evaluate your requirements, so the prospective agency can best serve your needs.

Where do you want to be in six months or a year from now? Look at the picture of where your business currently stands and what you need next to ensure solid growth in a new market. Being specific now about what you want to build means everyone will be on the same page.

So don’t be vague, be clear and honest and objectively define your goals in order to clarify if the outsourced sales agency is up to the job. Nobody knows your business better than you. You need to be able to sit down — their senior agents and your key team members — and thrash out the finer details. Work together and create a repeatable strategy that puts you in front of qualified prospects sooner. A custom sales and B2B lead generation strategy beats any out-of-the box sales outsourcing plan hands down. 

Once you’ve talked about you and what you want, ask them about themselves. Can they deliver an effective and persuasive elevator pitch about their own business? If they can’t, then how can they possibly translate your business to a new European market?

Background: Check out their previous outsourcing relationships

Market reputation is everything. If you are trusting your business with an outsourcing partner then ensure they are creditable. Who else have they provided for and to what measure of success? Check out their client base and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. The internet makes it easy to check out claims of success. 

You need to be absolutely convinced of the reputation of a good outsourcing partner before you engage them. As well as hearing from their satisfied clients, ask about any issues they encountered and how quickly and efficiently they were solved. If the outsourced agency is unwilling to share previous client history then that’s a red flag. Walk away. If they have a good market standing, align with your goals and have a history of delivering on time, as well as the ability to problem-solve, it’s usually a green, good to go flag.

Common denominators: Relevant tech industry expertise

If you have nothing in common then it’s not going to work. Their industry level experience must match yours. To know the tech industry is to fully understand it, and they must have more than adequate knowledge and experience. To successfully expand your tech product or service to Europe you must choose an outsourced sales agency who has that exact, specialized experience. 

A tech specialist outsourced sales agency will provide experienced tech sales agents, who sell tech/SaaS all day long. Your personalized, multi-channel B2B lead generation and marketing strategy will put qualified prospects in front of the international sales representatives agents, who will turn those SQLs into new customers in one sixth of the time it normally takes. 

If you hired a European sales representative, the minimum qualifications you would look for should be:

  • Ample experience selling in your niche market or to your target job profile locally
  • Tech domain knowledge and an ability to give persuasive demos
  • Significant sales experience — 10+ years for senior field reps; 5-7 years for inside sales agents; 3+ years for European business development, lead generation and SDRs

Your sales agents are the face of your brand abroad, the first introduction of your brand and your reputation in a new market. Don’t blow it by second-guessing bad hires.

Cost: Agree with your outsourcing partner what you intend to spend

We all have that friend, the one who agrees to the night out, the dinner, the drinks and dessert, and then has an argument over the bill. Don’t be that friend. Agree what your budget is right at the assessment stage — and a reliable outsourcing partner will be able to assist you and work with that. Together, sit down and work out how much of the scale-up budget is available to hire local sales representatives and B2B lead generation and marketing. Maybe you don’t need everything to start. Start small and scale up as necessary, or start with the full package and scale down if you find you don't need it. But, be clear from the offset on the maximum available costs, and don’t get talked into something you cannot afford.

A clear tip to evaluate a good outsourcing partner is their flexibility and how willing they are to fit their business solutions to suit your individual requirements. Recognise that one-size-fits-all is for cheap out-of-the-box solutions that really don’t work well at all. 

Communication and reports: Are you both on the same page?

One often-reported hesitancy of using the services of an outsourced sales agency is the loss of control. If you are used to a team directly reporting to you, then that’s how you will want it to be, so that you remain firmly in the driver’s seat for the whole journey. 

As well as solid planning, you need to see the results regularly. If you cannot measure it, then you cannot improve it. 

Get reflective feedback, regular reports, metrics of how you are doing and suggested improvements for future business. Sales reps, field sales agents, channel management all reporting to you with the support of a European regional sales management. Ask how all of this will be delivered and how often. In these days of uncertainty and hybrid working you need to have the reassurance of good and reliable feedback delivered with regularity. 

Good communication is key to a good and long-lasting relationship and helps you to both evaluate a good outsourcing partner and more importantly decide where your business is headed next.

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