There are many compelling reasons to consider outsourcing sales as a key element in an organisation’s sales and marketing strategy.
Consider, for example, a startup company that needs to accelerate its sales efforts before an established competitor swallows all available markets. Employing a professional sales outsourcing firm enables the startup to hit the ground running with an experienced sales team, rather than wait six months or longer to recruit and train an internal team.
Another scenario involves market testing a new product or new sales strategy. An outsourced sales team can take on the challenge of selling the new product in current or expanded regions, allowing the internal sales force to stay focused on the established product line. With an outsourced team, you can fine-tune your sales strategies for the new product, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a full-scale launch.
Sales outsourcing can also dramatically improve a company’s list-building capacity, cold-calling efforts, and its ability to identify qualified leads and drive deals through the sales funnel.
How can your company best determine which outsourced sales provider to consider? Here are five tips to help make an informed decision:
1. Evaluate the provider’s credentials
As with any other vendor you choose to work with, it’s important to check references from prior clients and get feedback on the types of solutions the outsourced sales force provided. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the specific sales services you’re likely to need.
2. Determine if there’s strategic alignment
Outsourced sales only works if the vendor’s capabilities align with your organisation’s needs. Research each potential provider’s areas of strength - those that focus primarily on lead generation and management and others with more comprehensive end-to-end sales services. It’s also important to consider a firm’s flexibility in adapting to changes in your sales needs.
3. Examine processes
A close look at the outsourced sales provider’s approach is another necessary step in making your decision. Examine methodologies related to forecasting and pipeline management, strategies for reaching targets and quotas, and the metrics by which the provider (and you) can determine if its approach is successful. The more data you have, the clearer your choice.
4. Assess the provider’s sales resources and technology
An outsourced sales firm’s technology capabilities should be another key factor in the selection process. What type of demand-generation technologies does the firm employ? What’s the quality of its nurturing and marketing automation? Does it integrate social media in its sales strategy? How will it make use of CRM and analytics to achieve your objectives?
5. Avoid making a selection based on price alone
With virtually any outsourced provider, the accepted rule of thumb is not to select a vendor based on price alone. Experts 'always recommend discarding the highest-priced and lowest-priced bids,' writes Keith R. Crosley at About Money. In general, he adds, success comes from 'a balance of good value and quality results.'
Other factors to include in your evaluation of potential outsourced partners:
- Level of experience in your industry and target market
- Capacity for expert, short-term training of your internal sales team
- A feedback system that ensures clear communications between the outsourced provider and your office
Nothing’s more important to the growth of your company than closing deals and establishing a reliable pipeline for future sales. The right outsourced sales provider can play an essential role in attaining these objectives. It’s up to you to choose the one that’s best for your business.
By Darcy Tudor, Executive Vice President and Director of Operations at Marketing Alternatives, INC (MAI). MAI is a marketing support services company that offers value-added solutions that help companies strengthen their customer relationships. Darcy provides overall staff and operations guidance with the contact center.