Whether your company sells intricate software systems or simple cardboard boxes, having a talented sales team is integral to growing and driving the success of your brand. One of the greatest challenges reps face is actually starting the sales cycle through prospecting. Some companies employ business development reps, some rely on inside sales teams, and others choose to outsource sales prospecting. Which is right for you? There pros and cons to both options–there is no right or wrong method!
When You Should Outsource
You should consider outsourcing if:
1. You Want to Maximize Your Existing Resources
It’s not always the best option to have your sales team be responsible for both sales prospecting AND selling. Why? Because they are two different skill sets! When you choose to outsource your sales prospecting activities, you enable your sales team to focus solely on selling. You are likely paying a hefty base salary to your sales professionals so you can maximize your ROI by ensuring they are focused on actively working and closing deals.
2. Budgets are Tight
Hiring an in-house sales team, or even a single salesperson, doesn’t just include paying a salary. It also means paying for health, dental and 401(k) benefits as well as office equipment such as desks, laptops and phone lines. Outsourcing will save your business those expenses in addition to the overhead costs associated with a physical office location.
However, it’s important to consider that not ALL outsourcing solutions will save you money. There are pay-for-performance companies, where you only pay for appointments created. But that opens the door for lesser quality meetings, since the company is getting paid for any appointments they set! Other available solutions are comprehensive and not just focused on ‘dialing for dollars’ so to speak. Be clear about your desired outcomes, and hold the outsourcing company accountable to meeting those goals.
3. You Need Brand Awareness
When you hire an outside company to prospect, they are 100% focused on reaching out to new targets who likely haven’t heard of you. Every conversation, voicemail and email they leave is a branded touchpoint. If you have sales reps who are prospecting AND selling, the number of outreaches will be reduced, simply due to their need to work active deals to generate revenue. Outsourcing that outreach means your message will be delivered hundreds of times each week and build awareness of your company and your value proposition.
4. Your Pipeline Gap is Critical
According to a Brainshark study, it takes a minimum of 10 months for a sales representative to become fully productive. It takes a long time to interview, hire, onboard, train and get a new rep ramped up to full productivity. When you choose to outsource sales prospecting, ramp time is rapid and you can start securing first conversations with your target audience quickly.
The other advantage is continuity of execution. Vacations, sick days and personal time dramatically impact outbound sales activities. When you outsource, the company is responsible for covering those absences within the team and ensuring someone is always working on your behalf.
When You Shouldn’t Outsource
1. You’re an Entrepreneur with Few Employees
Starting a business can be a hectic time and you will be wearing many hats. If you outsource sales prospecting and can’t keep up with the meetings they set for you, it’s worse than having no meetings at all. It IS possible to have too much of a good thing! Missed meetings, arriving unprepared for calls or being unable to deliver on promises does more to hurt your reputation than build revenue. Be honest with yourself about what you can handle. It may make more sense to have one or two internal reps prospecting and developing sales at a pace you can comfortably accommodate.
2. You Want Greater Control of Your Sales Staff
Outsourcing your sales prospecting is similar to sending your kids off to college. You can still call and Facetime them, but you also have to trust that they are capable of succeeding on their own. Keeping your sales staff in-house is the equivalent of having your children live at home. You can talk to them at any time and guide them through life with face-to-face interaction. You should hire your own salespeople if you want to directly manage or have a closer impact on your staff.
3. You Already Have a Large Number of High-Quality Leads
A big portion of a salesperson’s job is finding leads. However, many businesses have widely known brand and a highly-successful inbound marketing program. If your company is generating a large number of inbound inquiries, it may not be necessary to outsource your sales. Instead of outsourcing, it may make more sense to have one internal sales rep focused on qualifying those inquiries and delivering sales qualified leads to the sales team.
4. You Are Uncomfortable With Virtual Sales Monitoring
One of the cons of outsourcing your sales staff is that your business is one of many clients. While you may have dedicated reps for your account, they are likely not solely focused on your business. And if they aren’t highly qualified or comfortable pitching your value proposition, outsourcing won’t be successful. Successful outsourcing requires more of a hands-on approach than you may imagine, as that partnership requires consistent input and collaboration to ensure you are on track for your goals. If you aren’t comfortable with reviewing your sales program over the phone or through Powerpoints, outsourcing isn’t for you. Outsourcing takes a leap of faith and trust in the company you choose, and that simply isn’t possible for some. If you have any question about your ability to commit to this, train your in-house team instead. It will be much more effective for you in the long run.
Choosing to outsource your sales team truly depends on the current state of your business. Before deciding to outsource, ask yourself a few questions: Do you know what your sales goals are? Do you have a pool of existing leads? Do you need a fast solution to fill pipeline? Do you want to manage a sales team of your own? Let your answers lead you to the path that best suits your business’s needs.