To outsource or not to outsource is a question that most sales leaders ask themselves at one point or another. As a sales leader, I’ve frequently outsourced part of my sales organization. Many companies outsource at least a portion of their sales activities.
However, for outsourcing to be successful, sales leader first need to understand why, when, and how outsourcing can be a good approach for an organization. They also need to know what’s required from them to make it work.
Why and when should sales leaders consider outsourcing?
If you’re putting together a sales organization and don’t have all of your processes or metrics set up, it can be beneficial to outsource. In particular, if the outsourcer is an experienced organization, they can help guide you through putting it together. You may not want to make the investment in hiring salespeople or pay the cost to staff up until you’re clear on how you want to build your team.
Outsourcing allows you to test the waters, you can quickly see what works and what doesn’t work from a sales perspective. Outsourcing lets you recognize what messaging works best with buyers, or test a new marketplace or vertical before staffing up.
You may want to outsource a certain function in your organization, so your team can focus their attention on a different function. For example, if you need extra phone support to qualify MQLs, you could outsource the sales development role. Or, you might want an outsourcer to manage your renewals. This is really the case if you have ongoing maintenance renewals or a cloud-based solution with annual subscriptions.
How to choose an outsourcer?
Before you commit to an outsourcer, be sure to get references or referrals and look at their customer base. Be sure to understand their processes, the types of metrics they use for clients, and their tools. Do they have their own CRM, or would they use yours.
You also want to know what type of training they do internally. What’s their hiring methodology? Do they let you choose reps, or do they choose for you? You want to know the people that will be representing your business.
What are best practices for international outsourcing?
By eliminating the need to hire and staff an international office, using an outsourcer can be a great strategy if you’re expanding abroad. But, if you are considering an outsourcer for international sales, be sure they have locations in the targeted regions. If the outsourcer is in North America, and they’re trying to call in country, they may not have the right language skills or understand the region’s cultural distinctions.
What’s required for outsourcing success?
Outsourcing is only as successful as to how you manage it. Just like you manage your internal team, you need to manage your outsourcer.
Meet with them weekly. If you’re doing any internal training, be sure to include them. Train them as you would an internal organization. Include them on key marketing and forecast calls.
Nine out of 10 outsourcers are offsite. Careful and close management is essential to stay synchronized and focused on the end goal.
If you’re a new sales leader, outsourcing can also be a faster way to learn the ropes. An experienced outsourcer can teach you best practices, the key metrics you should be measuring, and how to effectively manage the sales process.
Outsourcing has become more and more specialized – making it a cost effective solution to fill in a gap on your team or move into a new market or geography. However, before you outsource, make sure that you completely understand the reasons you’re outsourcing, what you want to accomplish, and how to make it work best for your team.