The Ultimate Guide to Outsource Sales: Different Tasks, Management Tips, and Myths Debunked

Charley Mendoza
September 8, 2023
 min read

You wanna outsource your sales team, but you have loads of questions. 

You might’ve seen it gets good results for other businesses online, but you also know that doesn’t just happen overnight. Not without a ton of preparation and due diligence anyway. 

Besides, you don’t wanna fork over $5,000 to $10,000 a month for a five-man sales team unless you’re sure they can get results, right? 

This article is for you. We’ll cover:

  • Different sales tasks you can outsource
  • 4 tips you shouldn’t overlook when outsourcing sales functions
  • Common myths about sales outsourcing
  • Factors to consider in choosing a sales outsourcing provider

What is Sales Outsourcing?

Sales outsourcing is when a business delegates the whole or part of their sales process to an outside provider. It’s usually done when the in-house team lacks resources, expertise, or time to enact the whole system. 

Other reasons to outsource sales tasks include:

  • To stay agile, and increase or decrease the team depending on peak seasons
  • To increase your total sales
  • To implement a new sales model, like introducing account based selling or splitting the work between an Account Executive and a Sales Development Representative
  • When entering new product markets or geographical areas

However, sales outsourcing isn’t for everyone. It shouldn’t be used as:

  • An indirect sales channel like resellers or affiliate marketing
  • Arrangement for commission only sellers
  • To sell fast without testing product-market fit first

Which Parts of the Sales Process can be Outsourced? 

It depends on the client’s needs, existing setup, and goals. In general, there are four types of services that could be outsourced, such as inside sales or sales closing, cold calling or emailing, lead generation, and upsells or cross-sells. 

Let’s discuss the tasks in detail below. 

Systematic Lead Generation

Data from Crunchbase shows that top sellers spend an average of 6 hours a week researching prospects. That’s a lot of time for an important, yet mundane task.

Lead generation services are further categorized into:

  • Data mining or sourcing: Gathering names and contact information of leads that meet the ideal client persona
  • Outbound lead generation: Often refers to outbound emails and LinkedIn relationship building
  • Lead qualification or scoring: Determines how likely a new lead will convert. Remember that even if a lead belongs to the client’s target audience, their likelihood of converting isn’t 100%. 

Cold Calling or Cold Emailing

A sales executive calls a new prospect in an effort to establish primary contact, and if possible, pitch their products and services. Cold calls and emails are normally handled by lead generation specialists or sales development representatives (SDR), depending on the company’s structure. 

And like it or not, cold calling and cold emailing still works. Data from Crunchbase shows that 69% of buyers have accepted cold calls from new vendors, while organizations that don’t do cold calls experience 42% less growth. 

Depending on the arrangement with your sales outsourcing provider, this may also include following up on a previous interaction, like when you’ve gathered emails as a vendor in a conference or trade show.

Inside Sales or Sales Closing

Inside sales specialists handle the calls booked by the SDRs or lead generation specialists. They often present the products or services via a demo call online, and answer any questions a new lead might have.

Inside sales specialists normally work in high-touch B2B deals, or large enterprise sales deals where there are multiple decision-makers involved.  

Customer Onboarding and Upsells

A new client’s onboarding experience seals the deal in how they perceive a brand. 

They’re more likely to renew their business if given a good impression, and if all their questions are answered. This is better than  leaving them to fend for themselves or waiting for them to call your hotline when a problem comes. 

Remember, that even a good customer onboarding program can have flaws, that’s why it’s essential to provide clients with the resources to learn more about the products or services they availed. 

Provide demo, tour, or FAQ page they can visit or proactively schedule a call to help them setup. This opportunity can also be used to discover more of their needs, and upsell or cross-sell as necessary. 

3 Tips for Successfully Outsourcing a Sales Team

Sales outsourcing only works when both parties, your company and the outsourcing provider, work hand in hand to achieve a common goal. 

To that end, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth and productive relationship:

1. Provide Training and Information

Delegating your sales team to a third party provider doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to training. 

While the outsourcing provider may provide sales-specific training, you’ll still need to provide product knowledge and ongoing updates on your promotions. This ensures your outsourced sales representatives are knowledgeable and up to date with your offers.

What to provide:

  • Market and product updates
  • Competitor updates that affect your offer
  • Challenges or market news that your audience might ask about, such as delivery policies, COVID-19 policies, etc.
  • Sales and marketing materials, so your outsourced sales team doesn’t have to re-create the content

Give your team at least 90 days to get over the learning curve. Remember, they’ll have to learn your products, metrics, and even your company culture. It takes time to get the hang of things. 

Allowing them 90 days also gives them time to grow at their own pace, without unjust pressure that could affect performance. 

2. Conduct Regular Meetings

Meet with your outsourced team on a weekly and monthly basis. Ask them to report their performance, challenges, and goals for the coming week. 

Give them best practices, ask them about leads they’re excited about, or things they’re stuck on. Encourage them to ask questions and suggest new ideas too. Nobody wins if you don’t communicate. 

These meetings don’t have to be specific to your outsourced team, though. Loop them into internal team meetings as well, especially those that cover business strategy, key marketing objectives for the quarter, or business forecasting. 

3. Provide Strong Mentorship and Clear Promotion Plans

The average turnover rate for sales people is 35%, way above the average 10% for other industries.  Part of this is due to burn out, and the other part is due to lack of support and a clear career path.

Support your outsourced team with a clear development plan in place both for new recruits and veterans. For instance, you can pair new recruits with junior employees with at least two years experience, and those juniors can be paired with veterans who can give them advice in line with their current challenges or goals. 

People that see opportunities for learning and growth are 2.9 times more likely to be engaged. Even if they’re third-party hires, make it clear with your outsourced provider that you have metrics, rewards, and career-development plans in place for top-performing people. This way, people who put in the extra effort will feel rewarded, while others will feel inclined to catch up so they can get rewarded, too.

Read this article to learn more about managing a remote sales team.  

Common Misconceptions About Sales Outsourcing

Outsourced sales teams have existed as far back as the early 2000s, but there’s still a lot of misconceptions about it. Let’s debunk those myths here.

Less Control

Some businesses fear that outsourcing the whole or part of their sales team will lessen their control of their sales process, or the relationships they build with customers. 

This isn’t true at all, both in terms of the sales process or the relationships built. 

You’re welcome to listen to your sales provider’s strategies, but you have 100% control over the whole process, including what they do and how they do it. Even the CRM, VOIP, email, and other sales paraphernalia are up to you. 

Yes, you can outsource the things you’re not quite sure about or ask for their advice but the final decision is yours.

If you want to monitor things, get a CRM that will allow you to monitor their activities. This way, you’ll know which stage of the sales process each lead is in, and you’ll know which sales initiatives are working or not. 

You Don’t Need to Outsource Sales Closing or Execution

Any part of the sales process can be outsourced, as long as it can be done via the internet. This includes the closing or sales execution, even upsells and cross-sells.

Did you know that on average, it takes about 8 cold calls to reach a new prospect? If your in-house sales team doesn’t have the bandwidth to do that many follow-ups, then they don’t have enough time to do closings that well either. 

It’s typical for startups or lean organizations not to have a big sales team. It’s also typical for companies entering a new market to not have the headcount for the extra workload. Don’t be afraid to delegate, as this is where you need an extension of your team. 

Salesforce reported that 76% of B2B buyers expect businesses that try selling to them to have an understanding of their unique expectations. That’s a lot of work, especially if you have a small team. You’ll need a dialed down ideal client persona, plus heaps of research into each lead. If you’re not doing this well, the Salesforce study suggests you won’t close a huge chunk of your deals. 

Loss of Data

Like loss of control, some companies also fear security breaches or loss of data. Customer information is understandably sensitive, but if you work with a reputable company with data compliance practices and NDAs in place, there’s no need to worry.

Choose an outsourcing partner that understands your businesses’ data compliance requirements, and get involved with how your CRM and client data will be stored to make sure everything is above board.

Factors to Consider in Choosing an Outsourced Sales Team

Time for some due diligence! Anyone can look good on paper, but it’s important to do a little sleuthing before you partner with any company.

1. The Expensive Option isn’t the Best

The cheaper ones aren’t the best bet either, so don’t let cost be your number one consideration in choosing an outsourced sales team. 

If you select the lowest priced option, you might be sacrificing security, expertise, and leadership for a few hundred dollars in savings. 

Ask yourself, is it more important to save $800 per outsourced SDR or is it better to invest in a specialized sales team? 

What if the more expensive sales team has more experience in your industry or preferred sales channel? 

All that said, the most expensive option isn’t always the best. Balance function and experience with costs when selecting a provider. 

2. Compare Costs with Your In-House Expenses

Consider what it costs to hire someone in-house, vs a third-party provider. Remember that hiring in-house also includes paying for their sales tool subscriptions, insurance and retirement, commissions, and the people who will coach or lead them. 

Let’s just say the average salary for a sales rep is around $60,000, while the average salary for a management executive is around $110,000. The cost of your internal sales team could look like:

$60,000 X Team Size + $110,000 + Bonuses + Tools + Health and Retirement

An outsourced sales professional, on the other hand, can go for as low as $1500 to $5000 per person. If you outsource, you don’t have to worry about medical insurance or even sales tool subscriptions, depending on your arrangement. 

Choosing Easy-Outsource for your sales team allows you to save 50 - 70% on salary expenses, even if you add up commissions. 

3. Consider Your Needs

Define what you need in terms of expertise, skills, and outcome, and understand the limitations of your prospective outsourcing partners too. 

For instance, do you need someone to generate and qualify leads, or do you just need someone to do the calls? Or maybe you need someone to do the full sales cycle. 

Perhaps you’re expanding into a new territory and need sales associates with knowledge of the local area. Whatever it is, find a provider with experienced personnel. 

Ask for case studies, references, or get involved in the interviews of the people who’ll be part of your outsourced sales team. 

4. Think about Your Would-be Sales Leaders 

You have a sales manager for your in-house team, but it’s also important to have someone else dedicated to your outsourced team. 

Salesforce 2023 State of Sales report studied 7,700 sales professionals across 38 countries, and found that 70% of leaders are taking fewer risks now, in part due to budget cuts and high turnover rates among sales associates. So even if you save money outsourcing your sales team, they’re still a resource you have to manage properly to get a return on your investment. 

Ask questions, not just about your would-be sales team but about their leaders and management style as well. 

Ask them to outline their expertise in building pipelines, gathering leads, closing and management. Ask about the specific sales strategies and market channels they have experience in, too. 

Questions to Ask Your Future Sales Outsourcing Partner

  • What are your core sales focus? B2B/B2C? What industry?
  • What is the ratio of sales leaders to sales reps?
  • What kind of training will you provide to new recruits?
  • Will I have control over their coaching or performance improvement plans?
  • How will your company support me in expanding to new product lines or new markets?
  • What kind of tools do you use to ensure productivity? 
  • What sales tools do you currently use for other clients and why?

Have More Questions? 

Yes, this article is titled the Ultimate Guide to Sales Outsourcing but we also know that the sales industry is ever-evolving and unless we write an encyclopedic-length article, we may never truly cover everything there is to know about sales. However, what’s up there is more than enough to get you started. 

But if you have any questions about outsourcing a sales team, just get in touch with one of our consultants. You can also ask a question through our contact form.

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