An outsourced sales model is the process of handing over all or part of your sales to a third-party vendor, whether that’s an outside individual or a sales agency, in order to ideally simplify and speed up your sales. As Revenue Grid points out, outsourcing sales might be an effective way to minimize losses post-pandemic. Who chooses to outsource? Companies who want to reduce or control their costs are the biggest group, according to Proposify, followed by those who want to gain access to skillsets unavailable internally. Also, companies who wish to free up full-time sales staff for special projects, improve their customer focus and accelerate transformation.
Is your next move expanding into Europe? Delegating part or all of your sales model to an outside or third-party sales outsourcing company is definitely worth consideration. It’s vital, as with all investment to your expanding business, to fully understand an outsourced sales model before committing to one. Let’s take a look at what exactly an outsourced sales model is, and the advantages for the decision to move over to one, as opposed to traditional direct hiring.
Sales outsourcing allows an agency to provide external sales reps to successfully cover different aspects of your sales funnel, alleviating the pressure, time and expense of hiring them directly. It’s not a case of one size fits all — sales outsourcing is built with customization in mind. Fit will vary by when, where and what you’re selling. And there are different times in your growth processes when you might use one. If you are a small but rapidly growing tech startup, you probably have the face of the business and the tech savviness, but you may not have the sales side down. It’s lower risk to contract sales reps through an agency. On the other hand, if you are a more established organization, with an existing sales and business development team, but are looking to expand into a new vertical like telecommunications, you may need to contract a few specialized outsourced sales reps and sales engineers, in order to access that new market.
It’s important to remember that some businesses may not benefit from an outsourced sales model. Short sales cycles made of inbound leads, like for low-end SaaS, are not the best match for outsourced sales according to Hubspot because it simply cuts into your profits. However, when you are targeting a new customer base or vertical, or are looking to leverage the networks of account-based sales reps, outsourced sales can be a one-stop shop for much of your sales staffing needs. This is particularly true when expanding to new horizons and getting to know new markets, often in a new language.
An outsourced sales model — whether that’s one sales rep or your whole team — means firstly looking at your key requirements for all areas of the sales process. Perform a thorough sales assessment of where you are to decide where you’re headed. It may offer a different view to how you run things at your existing headquarters or even trigger a complete paradigm shift, resulting in how it will best work for you and for your organization going forward. How people think and get things done in a sales environment is often culture led, and a fresh breath of air from an outsourced sales model can change the way the business thinks and runs, positively. A fresh look at things.
Selling abroad takes the right mix of reflection, planning, and metrics. While an outsourced sales model provides you with flexibility, it’s best to map out your requirements for each of the following areas: local market research, lead generation, everyday routine inside sales such as inbound and outbound calls, and of course, the all-important feet-on-the-ground field sales representatives who are out there and on the phone promoting and selling your product. Be sure to onboard your outsourced sales reps onto your existing tools, so you can see their effect on your existing sales pipeline. By mapping everything out, not just at the start, you can keep your eyes not only on the prize, but for any holes or opportunities for improvement.
Whether you are a startup or simply expanding and looking to scale up across new locations, international expansion is usually a good reason to choose an outsourced sales model. New geographical locations require on-the-ground sales representatives who are able to sell quickly and efficiently, who have an existing tech buyer network, and who will overcome the language barrier for you. It can be hard to immediately gauge the size of the team you will need, so you will be looking firstly at scalability. You may want to pay for a sales rep to only work two days a week while you test out a new area. Different markets will generate different volumes of leads, and you will need sales representatives who will be able to handle any level of volume thrown at them, so it makes sense to outsource to a sales agency in order to accommodate that flexibility in response to market demand. An outsourced sales model gives you the ability to respond and expand or contract as needed, especially while you are testing out a new market, vertical, or target audience.
Previous experience may have shown that your direct hires or existing sales team spend more time filling spreadsheets and timesheets than actually selling. A dedicated sales team, already based in the target sector and market, who are effectively time-managed, will immediately focus on high-volume tactical selling, and in turn doubtlessly increase your profit margins and allow you the flexibility to spend more of your time on strategic decisions. An outsourced sales model also limits your risks because it comes with no long-time employment contracts and other commitments, plus you get the control and flexibility of a single contract, with ample regional management support. They provide an outsourced sales team customized just for you.
An increase in profit margins and eventually ROI is the end game. Every sale starts with a lead and you might consider outsourcing your lead generation sales team. Hot leads should mean guaranteed sales but it’s often the case that an in-house lead generation team simply builds pipeline bloat or doesn’t have the time to properly qualify leads. Is there an advantage to outsourcing your sales staff at this level? At least we have found that outsourced B2B lead generation brings on average a 40% increase in sales return on investment.
Sales development reps (SDRs) are often the unsung heroes of your sales team. They decide if a lead is worthy or not, they are the ones that will prospect, reach out, and sometimes even get the deal done. Once pretty niche and used in few tech companies, your SDR is now a leading position and will be the one to contact your potential and existing clients directly. An outsourced sales model will provide sales development representatives who will be capable of delivering successfully and immediately. And they often come with larger, more qualified lead gen lists across many target audiences.
Your sales team acts as your brand ambassadors, but of course, you don’t want them to mess up an existing client relationship or leave a bad first impression. You might, in this case, feel more secure and in control by hiring and training them yourself. After all, you don’t want someone not fully representing your business and ethos. An outsourced sales model should be treated almost like an internal partnership — the external sales reps should fully integrate on your team. At least for us, that means they work on behalf of your company, from business cards to LinkedIn profiles. Rather than feeling a loss of control over an agency providing your sales representatives, you should still feel in control.
In the end, like all things important to your expanding tech business, it's up to you. A successfully applied outsourced sales model should be a consultancy relationship that advises you and improves your business. But the buck should always stop with you.