Here are several more things to consider and share with your potential B to B Sales Outsourcing and Sales Marketing Partner as you are thinking about engaging.
1. Does Sales need to be a Core Competency? This is a question that only the owners, executives and Board of Directors/Investors of our clients can answer. It is arguably the question the owners and investors we work with sweat over the most. Generally when we integrate into an organization we encourage our clients to retain the product specialists, sales engineers, client service leads and professional service organization as their sales core competency while we manage the execution of the sale. When our client’s own that core competency everyone wins and control of the business and long term customer relationship remains where it belongs which is with our clients. When looking at discrete parts of your sales efforts you may want your existing sales team to focus on closing enterprise deals going after the Fortune 500. Does it make sense to have a team dedicated to generating new business and closing pilot deals while my existing team cherry picks the pipe for the “elephants”?
2. Do I need to focus on my Core Business? – In this economy you need all your talent focused where they can create the most value so you need to ask do my executives and management team need to focus on client satisfaction and product development? To grow the company do we need to grow our delivery along with sales. Is time better spent in business development?
3. Do I have access to the talent I need to ramp my sales and marketing efforts? Sales has gotten much more complicated – with the buyer now controlling the sales process you need to have an aligned sales and marketing effort. This means you need the talent to execute campaigns, manage lead generation efforts, develop messages, manage technology platforms, perform the requisite ROI analysis, train reps and most importantly the talent to close the sale. From our perspective the more complex the sale the more processes you are going to need to manage. An outsourced provider ensures that you focus and drive excellence in every discrete phase of your sales cycle and brings that dedicated or blended team to the table from day 1.
4. Do I have the knowledge to execute?– Sales execution is no longer just about making or scheduling a meeting, making a presentation, scoping and then closing the deals. The combination of more decision makers and influencers on the buyers’ side, the expectations that your company will be bringing experts to the table and the proliferation of adjacent technologies that allows these teams to communicate fluidly means you need to know how to manage processes and technology. Understanding of the technologies and how they can be applied are more critical than ever. Does it make sense for you to commit a full time resource to stay current and knowledgeable?
Over the past 10 years over a half dozen of our Virtual Sales and Marketing engagements have been supporting the complex sales efforts for Call Centers, Business Process Outsourcers and Knowledge Process Outsourcers. We have been the B to B sales outsourcing group for the outsourcers. This has been invaluable in helping us to learn how to provide our clients with operational excellence (we have been able to keep our finger on the pulse of innovations) and it has also given Gabriel Sales a unique perspective of why it helps to consider upfront to ensure successful engagements.
Sales Outsourcing and Marketing (all of it or just parts of it) is unlike any other outsourcing. If done correctly, with the technology now available, it’s a blend of Customer Service, Business Processes and Knowledge Processes—and still the non process Art of the Close. It’s our position that Sales in now 80% Science and 20% Art. That being the case – one thing we have learned working in outsourced models for as long as we have is that there is no one right approach to guarantee success. The more you share with your potential partner upfront the more successful you will be. We will eventually dig into all these areas in detail below.
So, to kick start this dialogue we wanted to touch on the following buckets of questions, thought starters and opinions to help those of you considering outsourcing sales (that are struggling with what to think about) some way to frame your thoughts and conversations with us upfront.
1. What am I looking to change about sales and marketing top line and bottom line? Closed deals and more revenue is just the starting point. We all know it’s about closing business. Help your partner out and go a little deeper. Am I taking a new product to market? Do I want better margins? Do I want clients that can scale? Do I want to be in a growth vertical? Do I want to sell to the budget makers not the budget spenders? Do I want to be in a new geography? Do I want to empower my channels? Is this about pipe velocity – more deals faster, better, more profitable?
2. Is managing sales teams a strength or a weakness? It’s tough to manage sales and marketing folks. Sales people especially are often the most optimistic of professionals because they need to believe to succeed. If they are not closing deals there is always one just around the corner. If you beat them up too much sales end up going sideways because they lose confidence. If you don’t hold them accountable enough the pipe never bears fruit. Does it make sense to delegate that management to a partner that is contractually bound to hit targets and Service Levels from day one?
3. Will outsourcing help me to manage my risk? This is a loaded question because the answer here will almost always be yes. Outsourced sales organizations are bound contractually to targets, reporting requirements, feedback requirements that you never get from employees. Outsourced Sales organizations get rid of your fixed costs and move them to a variable expense on your P&Ls. Outsourced sales organizations get rid of your need for hard infrastructure investments in technologies and marketing platforms. You get a Senior Sales and Marketing Talent, Executive Talent, a functioning sales machine, and marketing support for generally around the fixed cost of a senior enterprise rep. Most importantly if you are launching a new product — outsource partners provide real time market intelligence out of the gate because this is combined with their lead gen activities. You get instant sentiment and instant market pulse. Failure is generally not an option for outsourced providers so they want to fail fast, so they succeed faster.
For more on Gabriel Sales or sales outsourcing, please contact us.