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5 Myths About Outsourcing B2B Inside Sales

With over 20 years of helping companies outsource their inside sales function, we’ve fielded a lot of questions from prospective clients.  We’ve also spent quite a bit of time correcting some misunderstandings about the outsourcing process.  Here are some of the most common myths we’ve addressed over the years.

  1. Outsourcing the inside sales function won’t work for organizations with complex B2B sales environments.  In fact, it’s organizations that have complex sales environments which are experiencing the greatest success with inside sales execution.  It’s important to understand that an inside sales team doesn’t have to be tasked with closing business over the phone.  Although, that’s certainly a possibility.  Many organizations are deploying a “division of labor” approach to their sales process.  This means that they’re making different groups responsible for various elements of the sales process.  A simplistic example is Marketing generates leads; Inside Sales Qualifies the leads; Field Sales closes the deals.  It’s rare to find sales people who have the ability to effectively generate, qualify, nurture and close their own deals.  Dividing the labor allows an organization to optimize their efforts by deploying resources who have the required skill sets to meet their specific objectives.
  1. It’s critical that you select the team.  When organizations decide to outsource their inside sales team to a third-party partner, they often forget to let go of the reigns.  They try to control the process as if they’re managing an internal team.  This often first manifests itself when the team at the outsourced provider is selected.  They want to be involved in interviewing and selecting the individuals for their team.  Remember, one of the reasons you decided to outsource in the first place was because you don’t have the time to properly manage an inside sales team on a day-to-day basis.  Let your outsourced partner do what they do best.  They’re experts at identifying the skill sets and talents required for a successful implementation.  It’s in their best interest to build the best team possible.  Let them do what you hired them to do.
  1. In-depth product training is critical to success.  Many sales organizations provide the same training for both their field and inside sales teams.  If the purpose of your inside sales team is to qualify leads and schedule appointments for the field, it’s not necessary that they have the same in-depth product training.  They’ll likely never have the same level of discussions related to the details of your products/solutions as a field sales person will.  Your inside sales team needs to have only a general understanding of the products.  The bulk of their training should be on building an understanding of the business problems your solutions solve, the business impact of these problems/solutions, identifying key decision-makers, and how to engage a decision-maker in a dialog to uncover and qualify opportunities.
  1. The most important metric to measure is cost per lead/appointment. Understanding the cost of a lead, appointment, and sale is important, but it doesn’t give you the entire picture of the effectiveness of your inside sales team.  It’s also important to measure the quality of the inside sales team’s output.  What percentage of their leads are accepted and worked by the sales team?  How efficient is the lead hand-off process?  Do the leads/appointments advance to the next stage of the sales process?  Is the information in the lead summary complete and accurate?  It’s important to measure and monitor metrics that provide these insights as well.
  1. All third-party providers are the same.  Are all of the competitors in your industry the same as your firm?  Probably not.  The same holds true for the sales and marketing outsource industry.  Each potential third-party partner has strengths and weaknesses.  Some are focused on Business-to-Consumer (B2C) work, and others are exclusively involved in the Business-to-Business (B2B) sector. Some leverage only U.S.-based resources and others use near shore (Latin America) or offshore (India or The Philippines) resources.  The elite providers have built business processes for recruiting, onboarding, training, data management, coaching, etc.  They all work for their particular client base, but it doesn’t mean they will all work for your business.  It’s important to do your homework and select the partner that best fits your objectives.

Outsourcing your inside sales function is not for everyone.  Sometimes it’s best to keep it in-house and leverage internal resources to build and manage your inside sales team.  Before you make that decision, however, make sure you have all the facts and know the truth about outsourcing.


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