Outsourced Inside Sales: 3 Things to Consider when Choosing a Partner
In today’s digital market, companies looking to scale, grow and drive revenue need to build a confident inside sales team… and fast.
For some businesses, this can be easier said than done. Navigating the complexities of the modern market is no easy feat. Building from scratch can draw your focus away from your sales objectives, reduce headcount in critical revenue areas, and it comes at a notable cost. Not to mention, it can be extremely time-consuming.
If you’re selling in a dynamic, fast-moving market, you won’t have time to build an effective inside sales team. Let alone ramp up to the level of performance your business requires.
The pace to keep up with the sales industry’s changing dynamic has led businesses to outsource their traditional model to a third-party. Thus generating a faster path to scaling, results and revenue.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at inside sales outsourcing and the key points for choosing the right partner.
Why Should you Outsource Sales?
At a time when speed, scalability and focus are critical. Outsourcing your inside sales operation is a proven way for businesses to drive revenue, quickly and successfully. By outsourcing, companies have been able to reach their long term business goals by drawing on the experience and expertise of highly-skilled sales pros.
Outsourcing helps businesses to focus on their core competencies, reducing the dilution of the work being carried out everyday. For some businesses, outsourcing is simply a reason to protect time, headcount and resources. For example, some leaders choose to outsource a specific area of business to a third-party, such as inbound lead generation. This means they can protect the time of their in-house sellers to spend on outbound activities. Or other activities that generate a better ROI for their business.
For others, it can be more complete. Some businesses choose to partner with an outsourcer for a more direct route to market, and therefore results. Despite its fast rise, inside sales is still a fairly new concept to many B2B industries – some of which have relied on the traditional field selling model for decades.
Often, these companies just don’t have the capacity, finance or even experience to build a team from scratch. By outsourcing, they gain critical insight from third-parties that are specially designed to support their teams with data, benchmarking, best practices and industry knowledge. It saves leaders from shooting in the dark and helps them to get to market faster with informed decisions, meaningful insights, and experts who already understand their role in the funnel. Without a training overhaul or huge investment (time and money) in ramping or the onboarding process.
Benefits of Outsourcing Sales
Reduced Risk & Liability
The state of the economy is fraught with concern for business leaders. Inflation rates. Cost of living. Global affairs. Oil prices. All of these factors – to name but a few – have led to attrition issues for major employers.
When businesses choose to employ their own internal sales team, they’re making a finite commitment to that team of people. Plus, the resources needed to support them; leadership, payroll, tech stack. Both people and resources are expensive. Using an outsourced third-party lessens some of the risk posed by economic uncertainty.
No Hiring & Recruitment
Outsourced sales teams enable businesses to grow their sales pipeline. Without needing to spend weeks, months and sometimes years recruiting in an incredibly difficult hiring market.
A good outsource partner will provide a team of proven sales talent, with the expertise and experience to sell in your chosen market. Not only does this decrease the time it takes to actually generate results, it also means that leaders save countless hours searching for best-fit candidates. Let alone the time it takes to actually hire and train.
Reduced Retention Risk
Sellers typically have had lower tenures in companies as they are prone to movement. They’re always high in-demand and companies typically see higher levels of attrition as a result. To employ a sales professional only for them to leave within the first year is extremely damaging for a brand. Firstly due to the expense of getting this person onboarded properly. Secondly because it means additional effort needs to be spent recruiting again. With a range of live sales roles at any one time, this can quickly become a vicious cycle.
Outsourcing offers certainty in a testing retention model. It reduces the glaring risk of significant workforce gaps that can roadblock a business’ revenue potential. With the right partner, companies can hugely limit the financial and HR headaches attached to low retention and invest their capital in business growth. Rather than recruitment, onboarding and culture.
The inside sales market is ever-changing. Being agile in a rapidly shifting environment is therefore essential to your success as a business. Whether due to limited time, resources or headcount, keeping on-top of market trends and resources just isn’t a reality for most business leaders in small-to-medium businesses.
Outsourced sales firms offer resilience in this sense. A good partner will bring the knowledge, data and experience that is honed to your industry and market. Fine-tuned to the latest innovations and industry trends as they happen. This means businesses are always able to benchmark against best practices and shift to newer sales strategies in-line with changing buyer habits and engagement response.
Fast Path to Market
As mentioned above, one of the most attractive benefits to inside sales outsourcing is that it helps businesses to take a faster path to market. Armed with rich data insight and a vast experience of selling into different industries, the right partner will be able to take your product or service to market far quicker. They already have the methods and practices to ramp a team faster.
Once ramped fully , outsourcers also soften the landing for poor performance or unexpected changes. Many companies see inside sales team building as a plug-and-play process. Build the team, set the sales process and generate revenue. It isn’t that simple. With a strong outsourcing partner, businesses can commit to sales program experimentation to boost performance without sacrificing a percentage of their workforce. Outsourcing, therefore, can be plug-and-play in many cases.
Considerations for Choosing a Partner
Once you’ve carefully considered your strategy, capacity and targets and determined that outsourcing is the right way forward… it’s time to choose the right outsourcing partner. Sadly, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all process.
Different providers will offer different advantages based on their specialization, industry, reach and, of course, experience. Equally, this is a partnership. Each outsourcer will have their own unique requirements for working with you. This can range from contract obligations all the way through to financial goals and the types of metrics you’re looking to measure.
Your sales partner’s skills should be matched to your long-term business goals. It’s also important to look for a partner with the resources to meet your immediate needs, and the agility to grow alongside your changing demands.
Here are three crucial concerns before making your decision:
1. Assess Cultural Fit
No different to hiring your own inside team, company culture is critical to outsourcing success. Many businesses are quick to detach themselves from their culture by settling on the cheapest vendor… without any alignment with their values or mission statement. The reality is, culture dictates the structure of that provider. It controls how they work, how they react and how they align with your values.
It’s important to remember that outsourcing doesn’t mean mindlessly offloading work to a remote team. It’s a partnership. The strength of that partnership will move the needle on the end-result. A cultural alignment ensures that your partner is able to fit in and work well with your existing in-house leaders, field sales team and other executives. Outsourced sales reps are not aliens on a different planet. They’re engaging daily in multiple different areas of your business model and sales funnel, just like an employee would.
By aligning culture, both parties are able to create a seamless relationship that boosts collaboration, conversational effectiveness and ultimately a stronger sales cycle for your prospect or customers. It ensures continuity in approach and methodology from top-to-bottom throughout the entire process.
2. Look for Total Transparency
As an extension of your business, a good outsourcing partner should offer complete transparency into their work. No provider will ever admit to being dishonest, in fact, you’re unlikely to find one that doesn’t promote “honesty” as a core value. Regardless, it’s always worth selecting a partner that you can trust, believe to be as honest, acts as direct as possible, and is proactively truthful about what is working and what isn’t.
Whether discussing the outsourcer’s or client’s areas for improvement, you need to work with a partner, NOT a vendor. Ensure that you’re contractually obliged to reporting at an agreed frequency to ensure a full partnership approach is being adhered to.
A transparent provider won’t have anything to hide. Ask your provider the question: “Are you happy with us being able to talk to your team directly on a daily basis?”. If the answer is no, it’s worth steering clear.
Their work is your work. Any limit on visibility is a limit on performance and understanding. There’s no reason why a client shouldn’t be able to contact their outsourcing provider for an update, timelines or data – it should be an ingrained part of the package you’re investing in. If they withhold information or aren’t direct in their reporting, that’s a serious red flag.
3. Agree on Metrics Upfront
Make sure to come prepared to your initial partnership discussions with an idea of the metrics you want to be tracking. It’s always best practice to agree on metrics upfront and determine an authentic approach to quantifying the success of your agreement.
It’s less about a promise to deliver “X” amount of revenue. When you engage in a joint relationship with an outsourcer, it’s unfair to hold one party accountable for the other’s ability to cooperate… but you can hold them accountable for the milestones that need to be achieved – on a person-by-person or teamwide basis.
Metrics should instil confidence and provide evidence that the activity required to deliver results is being performed on a consistent basis. Some providers will offer to take care of the metric-setting independently, on the promise of quality results. As enticing as this sounds, this will cause an undoubted misalignment further down the line, with very little accountability over results. Metrics give clients the tools to measure performance, hold outsourcers accountable, and justify your investment.
When choosing an outsourcing partner, you should want them to be a part of your team. A partnership is an investment, just as it would be hiring a new employee. Remember, successful partnerships can result in long-term, fruitful relationships that drive business success for both parties.
If you’re not confident that the group of individuals is offering enough transparency, insight or subject matter expertise – do not invest. If you wouldn’t want your partner investing – or at the very least, participating in – activities and the growth of your business then you’ve got no business working with them.
Looking for a best-in-market outsourcing solution? Combining the learnings and experience of supporting start-ups through to FT500 companies, InsideOut can help you to bypass the common mistakes that slow down the effective deployment of inside sales operations. We support you in generating more qualified leads and a faster path to revenue growth.
Get in touch with our team today.
Originally from Iver in the United Kingdom, which she will proudly tell you is near where the Queen lives, Christina moved to the U.S.A. in the early 2010s before founding InsideOut in 2015. Fast forward 12 months to 2016 and InsideOut had 150+ employees and a 7,500 square-foot facility based in Florida! With 25+ years in sales and operations, the majority of which has been at board level, those who have met Christina would agree that she strives for operational excellence on a daily basis, consistently working to develop the individuals at InsideOut and help them unlock their full potential.