What is sales outsourcing and how could it help my company during these uncertain times? Sales outsourcing allows you to take advantage of untapped opportunities by leveraging additional salespeople through an outsourcing partnership.
Sales teams have a pivotal role to play in helping companies adapt to driving revenue in the ‘new normal’ that has been wrought by COVID-19. The new normal includes adjusting to a primarily digital way of selling and interacting with clients and prospects, among other changes.
From a sales perspective, as businesses regroup, readjust, and refocus, outsourcing sales can help you target new or underserved markets, support new product and service rollouts, and provide expertise within a specific industry focus. From an operational standpoint, a sales outsourcing company can help you leapfrog technology constraints and break out of silos within your own organisation, to better implement omnichannel and data analytics best practices.
However, despite the fact that it is a great opportunity to augment your sales team and grow your business, many organisational decision makers are often reluctant to outsource any of their sales functions. Relinquishing any control over an aspect of the sales process can be tough. Even more so when sales leaders are on the hook for hitting performance goals.
In other cases, there’s a fear of the unknown. Business leaders, for example, have a hard time envisioning another sales company representing their brand well. Leadership feels they need to manage and control the customer experience. Yet despite these concerns, there are numerous business and operational advantages to outsourcing sales activities to a dedicated team.
What outsourcing sales can do for your company
Buyers have access to more information than ever. Knowledgeable sales agents can help cut through the noise, answer perspective customers' questions and help guide the buyer's journey.
Also, many sales organisations struggle to increase lead generation, improve conversion rates of qualified leads, and shorten protracted sales cycles. Along with a lack of product or vertical industry expertise within the sales organisation, these constraints hurt overall sales execution. Consider that nearly two out of five (37 percent) sales reps fail to make their quotas, according to CSO Insights. While there are numerous reasons for these shortcomings, the bottom line is that an outsourced team can help strengthen operational and business results.
In our experience, there are 10 main ways sales outsourcing can help transform your business. In this article, we outline the 10 benefits of outsourcing sales, the importance of creating a clear sales roadmap to achieve your sales goals, and highlight some survey results.
1. Sales outsourcing can help you target new or underserved markets
Small businesses, mid-market, and even enterprise companies are often stretched when it comes to having enough salespeople to cover different territories and industries—especially in COVID-19’s wake. Companies often have numerous business leads available to them that they’re unable to pursue due to resource constraints.
As part of your long-term market strategy, an outsourced sales agency can focus on developing specific vertical or geographic markets. Meanwhile, companies can also use an outsourced sales team to test new approaches to sales and product positioning. From there, the results can be analysed and fine-tuned before being extended to a larger base of customers and prospects.
2. Outsourcing sales operations can help you leapfrog technology constraints
Investing in the latest tools is one thing. Having the knowledge and expertise to leverage those tools is another. It’s not just about having the tools, it’s about knowing how to get the most value out of them. That's why you need sales professionals who are experts at cutting edge sales and analytics tools.
As sales teams transition to primarily digital selling, they can save time and achieve time-to-market benefits by outsourcing to a partner with state-of-the-art data and technology environments. For example, companies can benefit from the use of an outsourced partner’s analytics tools. Data analytics can provide salespeople many insights, such as the best time to call a customer or to extend an offer. Also, artificial intelligence combined with analytics can help sales leaders analyse thousands of data points. This, in turn, provides a deeper understanding of prospect needs.
3. A sales outsourcing business model can help you break out of silos
The reality is many teams operate in a silo. Most internal sales teams, for instance, don’t regularly collaborate with marketing or other departments. Additionally, each team may not approach issues holistically and instead maintains a laser focus on departmental tasks. Outsourcing sales often helps companies manage to outcomes in a more direct way. An external team is better positioned to work cross-functionally within an organisation, to improve the overall sales execution. An outsourcer may also be able to work with shorter timeframes that are difficult to accomplish internally.
4. Outsourcing sales and marketing can help support new product or service rollouts
One advantage to outsourcing sales is to leverage the outsourcing company as a sandbox to test out new campaigns and promotions.
For example, a technology company partnered with us to call customers and prospects about new products it’s testing. The company then analyses the results and feedback to determine whether to launch the product into the market or make revisions. In some cases, we help to assess how a product is being received in the market. This helps determine an effective price point and what the sales cycle is going to look like for that product.
5. Sales outsourcing services can improve omnichannel customer engagement
Organisations that tap into the expertise of sales reps with proven performance in digital channels such as web, chat, and social will strengthen their omnichannel results.
Meanwhile, many sales leaders are just beginning to recognise the engagement opportunities that messaging can create with customers and prospects. Companies that lean on outsourced partners with proven digital engagement skills among their sales reps can achieve dramatic results in improving unit volume and Net Promoter Score (NPS) by connecting with customers who prefer to use messaging apps.
6. A sales outsourcing team can provide expertise
The buying landscape has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic. A company’s product and service needs may have changed and lucrative deals may be placed on hold indefinitely. Leveraging a sales outsourcing boutique can enable a company to draw on best practices and lessons learned from a partner’s vast experience with other clients across multiple industries. This is extremely useful for quickly picking up new ideas for sales techniques, especially for companies in industries that are rather insular. It’s also a great way for sales leaders to add bench strength with reps who have demonstrated experience in specific vertical industries (e.g., healthcare, financial services, technology).
7. Outsourcing lowers the cost of sales
Prior to the pandemic, a field salesperson’s job was to travel to different sites, conventions, and other locations where he or she could broker in-person deals. However, the need for field salespeople was already diminishing as deals were increasingly conducted digitally. The pandemic merely accelerated the trend. But companies that have historically invested in field sales staff might not be prepared to build and manage a robust inside sales team. Outsourcing the inside sales function enables sales leaders to slash overhead costs while expanding sales coverage.
8. An outsourcing sales business model provides greater accountability, analysis, and dependable performance management
Outsourcers are typically paid on a success-fee basis. The conditions of payment largely depend on whether the outsourcer successfully closes deals with new clients. As such, outsourcers are incentivized to take greater accountability for the sales process and well positioned to bring forward new ideas that will continuously improve the results of their sales efforts. Outsourcers must also meet contractual service level agreements and expectations, which give them “skin in the game.”
9. Outsourcing sales can help promote greater performance
An outsourced sales organisation can spur internal teams to ramp up their operations. Adding an outsourced sales partner to work alongside an internal team provides an external benchmark for excellent performance that can help raise the performance level across the board. An outsourcer also brings fresh ideas, new perspectives, and best practices to the table. For example, sales organisations that need to make substantive changes, such as an overhaul to its sales strategy or the implementation of a digital marketing plan, can gain from working with a third-party provider that can offer innovative suggestions based on practical experience with other clients.
10. Outsourcing sales operations lets you leverage data insights to increase profits and revenues
Lastly, companies can maximise all sales opportunities and increase revenue by leveraging an outsourcer’s data insights platform. Customer data and analytics can help create statistical models that can be used to identify the best customers and prospects along with developing an effective touch cadence throughout the customer lifecycle. If you would like to explore the data analytics benefits of outsourcing sales in more detail, please visit our CX Analytics and Insights page.
The infographic to the right shows some of the benefits of outsourcing sales. Based on research findings, in a traditional sales team, many sales reps (37%, or nearly two out of five), fail to make their quotas. On the other hand, of the companies surveyed that utilise sales outsourcing services, 79% feel they have been able to scale faster as a result. Similarly, 78% of decision makers have taken an appointment or attended an event that came from an email or cold call.
This is a great example of one of the reasons to outsource sales prospecting. A highly specialised inside sales team, with a sales outsourcing industry focus, product focus, or region specific focus, can provide much more extensive outreach than a company could hope to accomplish on their own. Also, sales operations outsourcing brings with it more than just the sales team, as technical infrastructure and expertise, particularly in customer and data analytics, is another key benefit. This is particularly helpful in driving sales results, as research shows customer journey data aligned with sales processes can lead to 12% higher win rates.
A sales team also needs a clear roadmap for its sales efforts and marketing plan
In today’s new normal, a cutthroat market is putting increased pressure on sales and marketing teams to increase sales volumes and achieve growth. Being successful requires more than just a strong sales team. Organisations need to have a clear roadmap that helps them get the desired results. Our Customer Acquisition Services team believes in the following five-step approach to optimize sales growth:
1. Develop a clearly focused and executable strategy. Many companies have problems developing sales programs and strategies that are aimed at the right customer segments. Therefore, business leaders need to first leverage data to understand customers’ needs. Only then can they determine which segments should be treated with which products or services.
2. Develop feasible processes. In order to attract and engage customers, organisations need to have executable processes. We often meet executives who complain that their organisation’s sales processes are outdated. Increasing the problem, their inefficient processes make it difficult to meet the changing demands of customers and the market. Rather than tackling the entire process problem in one go, we recommend focusing on a single process first. For example, a process related to a particular geography or customer segment or product.
3. Select the right tools. Business leaders need to evaluate technologies used to support the sales process and determine which ones are, and are not, working. This insight will allow organisations to identify gaps within the sales process and determine what other technologies are needed.
4. Ensure the right execution. Having the right tools is just the start. You need to know how to use them to be successful in helping the sales organisation reach its objectives. We recommend evaluating the organisation’s objectives and assessing the readiness of the tools and processes to achieve these goals.
5. Encourage an adaptable culture. The right business culture is essential for organisations. To quote management expert Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Business leaders who think they can be successful simply by having a robust strategy are wrong.
How do you get started with outsourcing sales?
A good starting point for exploring the advantages of working with an outsourcer is to have a prospective partner conduct an assessment to help identify gaps in your sales processes and opportunities for improvement. Sales leaders can also benefit by identifying and selecting a geography or customer segment that is underserved and start there.
When evaluating potential outsourcing partners, make sure that the philosophy of the partner that’s ultimately selected is closely aligned with your organisation’s culture. Will the salespeople be taught the language or key terms to use with your customers and prospects, as well as obtain a deep understanding of your product positioning and messaging?
Simply put, to find the right sales outsourcing vendor you have to ask the right questions. For more information, read our Strategy Guide, Why Outsource: Optimise your Customer Experience with the Right Partner.
More information about TTEC and our sales outsourcing services
We hope you enjoyed this article and it provided you a view into the many benefits of outsourcing sales. If you would like to learn more about why TTEC is one of the best sales outsourcing companies, please explore our entire Customer Acquisition as a Service offerings, including new customer acquisition, service to sales, and customer retention and loyalty solutions, all powered by advanced growth analytics.