5 Myths About Outsourcing B2B Inside Sales
Think you’ve heard it all before? Been there and done that with outsourcing? Believe your internal team should do it all? You could be right. However, the risky thing is … what you don’t know, or worse, think you know, but don’t … could limit success or even sabotage your business. Over the past 25 years, we’ve helped companies outsource their inside sales functions. Along the way, prospective clients had misconceptions about it. We figured others might too. So, let’s clarify what’s real by reviewing five common myths about outsourcing B2B inside sales.
- Outsourcing the inside sales function won’t work for organizations with complex B2B sales environments.In fact, businesses with complex B2B sales processes and sales cycles experience the most success. Many companies supplement their inside sales operation with an outsource solution that delivers better results with a significant bonus of lower operational risk and cost. Advanced organizations optimize their approach by assigning responsibility for various stages of the end-to-end sales process to different functional groups. Each has a specific role to play throughout the buyers journey. Research shows that most salespeople can’t do it all; few are successful in generating, qualifying, nurturing and closing their own deals. One or more of those stages of the sales process can be outsourced to bring a high level of focus, expertise and productivity. Often, it’s the first stages, because the right outsourced partner has the expertise, infrastructure and resources to effectively start-up and manage outbound demand generation campaigns for any type of business.
- The most important metric to measure is cost per lead/appointment. Understanding the cost of a lead, appointment and sale is important. However, it doesn’t provide the entire picture of an inside sales team’s effectiveness. Measuring and monitoring the quality of lead output is also important. For example, what percentage of leads are accepted and worked by the sales team? How efficient is the lead hand-off process? How many leads/appointments advance to the next stage of the sales process? To what extent is the information in the lead summary complete and accurate? Visibility into quality and impact on subsequent phases of the sales process matters too. An outsourced partner should positively impact your overall sales process.
- In-depth product training is critical to success. Many sales organizations make the mistake of providing the same training to both their field and inside sales teams. The best practice is to customize training by functional role. If the purpose of your inside sales team is to qualify leads and schedule appointments for the field, in-depth product training is not necessary. While they need a general understanding of your products/solutions, it’s more important to become experts in establishing rapport, fact-finding and introducing/positioning your solution. This means that the bulk of inside sales training should focus on understanding the pain points and problems that your products solve for clients. Training should align the value of your products/solutions to the business impact for clients. Inside salespeople also need to learn a consistent and effective way of identifying key decision-makers, how to build rapport and show empathy that engages decision makers in dialog that uncovers and qualifies opportunities. Focus an outsource partner on security quality leads and setting-up the field team for more effective, detailed product conversations at the appropriate transition to the next buying stage.
- 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 happens right from the start by wanting to be involved in interviewing and selecting the individuals for their team. Remember, you likely chose to outsource because you didn’t have the resources or expertise to effectively manage it internally. Let your outsource 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. Focus your oversight efforts on establishing guidelines, expectations and check points that will keep you informed and assured of outcomes. Then let them do the work and earn the money you’re paying them.
- All third-party providers are the same. All competitors in your industry are probably not the same. Ditto for the sales and marketing outsource industry. All providers are not created equally, nor do they perform at the same level. Each has strengths, specialties and weaknesses. Some are exclusively focused on Business-to-Business (B2B) partnerships, while many others support the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) world. Some leverage only U.S.-based resources and others include a near shore (Latin America) or offshore (India or The Philippines) footprint. The elite providers have established robust business processes for recruiting, onboarding, training, data management, coaching, reporting, etc. It’s important to do your homework and select the partner that best fits your objectives.
Did this bust any myths or generate fresh ideas about outsourcing as an option for your business? We want to connect with you. Let’s discuss how to generate a consistent stream of opportunities for revenue growth, sales pipeline movement and deep visibility into the marketplace. We’ve done it thousands of times and keep getting better results.