Let’s face some harsh facts. In today's incredibly delicate, disruptive and dynamic B2B sales landscape, every founder and revenue leader is scrambling to figure out the secret sauce to winning more new revenue, faster, without spending every penny of profit to do it. Quotas aren’t being met, so growth has stalled or regressed. Sales reps are frustrated and burned out, or worse, out of a job for lack of results. Sales can never take a break, so what’s a business to do?
If you’re a founder or revenue leader asking yourself this question, perhaps it’s time to take another hard look (or first look) at sales outsourcing. Specifically, partnering with external experts and teams to oversee and perform key functions of your sales operations.
Should you outsource sales?
Let’s examine some pros & cons of sales outsourcing. Before doing so, you need to forever bury the outdated opinion that outsourcing sales means you lose control of your revenue lifeline. That’s only true if you never had control of it to begin with.
Now that we’ve gotten past the formalities, let’s weigh out the elements to see if outsourcing sales is a good strategy for your business.
1. Faster Deployment Means Faster Results
The biggest advantage of sales outsourcing is the potential for rapid results - if you engage the right partner. Make sure the team you choose is equipped with everything needed to find, engage, qualify and develop high-win probability deals. The right sales partner can be up and running - and producing new revenue growth - much sooner than recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training and managing in-house employees. This is especially important for early stage startups, or emerging growth businesses looking to scale. Produce more, faster, with less effort. A smart sales model for every business.
2. Cost Savings
Unlike hiring full-time employees, outsourced sales services are engaged on a contract basis and come without bloated labor costs and employment taxes. This flexible arrangement enables you to right-size sales resources and expenses as needed, without the commitments and costs of hiring and maintaining in-house teams. Again, a strong case for outsourcing sales in early or emerging growth stages.
3. Reduced Operational Burden
Managing an in-house sales team is time-consuming and operationally intensive. Sales outsourcing allows you to focus on your core business activities while experts handle sales functions. Leaner operations can free up key resources for other strategic growth initiatives. Ever heard of the lean startup model?
What are the drawbacks of outsourcing sales?
1. Customer Experience
One notable concern with sales outsourcing is the question of who controls the customer journey. A critical aspect of sales is maintaining and nurturing customer relationships.
When you outsource sales, there may be questions about whether an external team can effectively represent your brand and maintain a high standard of customer interaction. This can be addressed by defining and managing a clear set of responsibilities of who owns and does what parts of the sales process throughout the customer lifecycle, from initial engagement and qualification, to proposal and negotiation, to close/win and onboarding.
Building a sound RevOps process will ensure a consistent, repeatable and successful customer experience through the entire flywheel.
2. Transactional vs. Relational Sales
Sales models can be divided into two main categories: transactional and relational. Transactional sales require efficient systems and processes, followed consistently and at volume. It doesn't necessarily matter whether you have an in-house revenue operations (RevOps) staff or an outsourced team; the function remains the same. However, when it comes to relational sales, building and maintaining trust with customers is vital.
Will an external team struggle to establish and nurture these relationships? Considering how the emergence of partner ecosystem led growth has evolved from the traditional MSP, distributor or reseller-VAR models that drove sales growth for decades, it’s safe to say the right outsourced sales partner will successfully develop revenue-building relationships.
In the end, while sales outsourcing offers numerous advantages, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. If your sales model leans heavily towards the relational side — such as enterprise markets with longer sales cycles and high six-figure or seven-figure deals being the norm — then relying solely on an outsourced sales partner may not be the most effective strategy.
Find the Right Balance
Effectively leveraging sales outsourcing simply requires striking a balance that aligns with your sales model, process and existing staff resources and skills. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process effectively:
Clearly define and thoroughly document your expectations, goals, and execution of the sales process. This is especially important when bringing in external sales teams and partners. In many cases, the right partner will help you build, implement and oversee your entire sales strategy, process and operations. It’s never a bad idea to get an outside set of expert eyes to assess the efficacy of your sales operations.
Foster open communication channels between your in-house and outsourced teams. Regular meetings and updates can help ensure everyone is on the same page.
Choose the Right Partner
Look for a partner with a proven track record, industry expertise, and a strong cultural fit with your organization.
Regularly assess the performance and ROI of your entire sales staff - both in-house and outsourced teams. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed to optimize your strategy. You have much greater flexibility with outsourced sales teams, so use that leverage to your advantage.
The Heartbeat of Sales Operations: CRM Empowerment
When it comes to the dynamics of sales, whether you're managing an in-house team, a blended approach, or fully outsourcing your sales function, there's one critical component that holds everything together: the CRM system. Think of your CRM as the engine that powers your sales vehicle, steering it toward success.
When you choose your outsourced sales team, ask about their expertise with CRM systems like HubSpot. If you’re a startup or emerging growth company poised to make the leap from pre-revenue to $1m to $10m and beyond, the right CRM system and setup becomes paramount.
Automating the Repetitive
The best outsourced sales teams know how to effectively automate the repetitive tasks that can consume valuable sales time. Ask your outsourced sales partner to show you how their teams execute every sales action from top of funnel intake to lead nurturing, so you can see the sales efforts and energy focused on high value sales activities.
Tailoring Content for Success
One of the cornerstones of effective sales is delivering the right message at the right time. Imagine you attend an industry event and capture prospects with a badge scanner. Your sales team should be able to effectively channel that lead data into the CRM, enabling personalized yet automated follow-ups and nurture campaigns tailored to individual responses, open rates, and click rates within post event email campaigns. This level of precision and automation ensures your communication hits the mark precisely when your prospects are most engaged.
Whether your sales strategy leans heavily on outbound tactics or is a blend of inbound and outbound campaigns, your CRM lets you segment, score and engage your prospects with surgical precision. Your sales reps can isolate and target sales enablement efforts by industry, category, buying motivations, and pain points. Armed with this data, your sales experts can execute highly targeted sales communications. The result? Outreach that exponentially increases prospect engagement and conversion rates.
Grow Revenue with Sales Outsourcing
Sales outsourcing can be a valuable strategy for businesses looking to accelerate growth and streamline operations. Any potential drawbacks can often be mitigated with careful planning and the right partner. By finding the right balance between control, integration, and expertise, you can harness the power of sales outsourcing to drive your business forward to launch, scale, and thrive.