Your team needs more pipeline. The first you think about is headcount:
- Do we need to hire (more) SDRs?
- Should our sales reps do more prospecting?
- Is outsourcing our prospecting the right option?
There are several things to consider, so let’s dive right in.
Outsource vs. Hire
1. You have a small sales team and no SDRs.
Having your sales team be responsible for both sales prospecting AND selling is asking a lot of them. First off, prospecting and selling are two different skill sets. The best SDRs don’t always graduate into excellent sales reps (and vice versa). 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. You aren’t in time-crunch to solve pipeline issues
Hiring an in-house sales team, or even a single salesperson, takes time. Placing ads, phone screens, one-on-one interviews, the 2-week notice and THEN the onboarding and training. It takes 3 months for a new sales rep to ramp up and 9 months to be fully competent. Depending on the length of your sales cycle, it could be over a year before a new rep brings in revenue. But if you have the luxury of time and believe that an in-house team is right for you, then by all means take the time to find the right new hires.
The landscape for SDRs has changed dramatically since Covid. Quality candidates are harder to find and starting salaries are higher than ever. If you are looking for experienced SDRs, plan for a base salary of at least $50k and an incentive/bonus program as well.
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, building awareness of your company and your value proposition.
4. You’re a startup and have 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.
(It would be irresponsible not to mention how many start-ups receive funding and rely heavily on outsourced prospecting in order to ramp quickly. Investment firms tend to push for a quick ROI, one that may be challenging to create when building an internal team.)
5. You need more opportunities, fast
Hiring is no small task. Not only does it take time to find the right candidate, but the average length of an SDR in a role is 14 months. It takes on average 9 months for them to be productive and if they move on at 14 months, that leaves you with a negative investment. Not to mention the horror of having to start the hiring process all over again! Outsourcing your prospecting ensure a consistent presence in the market; one you can rely on.
Remember that SDRs leaving a role isn’t the only challenge. 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.
Choosing to outsource can significantly reduce your time to ROI. We’re not suggesting that outsourced prospecting is cheap – quality organizations are not typically the cost leaders. Of course, 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 (and thus incentivized by the wrong metrics)! 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.
6. 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 a 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.
7. You need market insights.
One of the benefits of outsourcing your prospecting is having another party analyze data to provide you with valuable insights. Market response to your message is critical to understanding your target market. An outsourced company’s focus is executing consistent activity on your behalf and paying close attention to not only the results, but what they are hearing in your market. This is not always possible with an internal team who is focused simply on securing first conversations.
There is also a third option between hiring and outsourcing: both! At FRONTLINE, we help clients by quickly onboarding them into an outsourced plan while they build their internal team. This enables them to start building pipeline quickly, while taking the time to build the right team.
FRONTLINE Selling provides clients with the ability to launch a prospecting program quickly, with the option to bring our proven methodology and technology ‘in-house’ once you’ve built your internal team. We provide you with the flexibility you need to achieve your unique goals. Let’s discuss your goals and see if we can help!