Outsourcing functions to skilled service providers is becoming more and more mainstream. And in today’s business environment it is becoming common in areas like finance, HR, IT support and customer service.
And with the recent requirement for aligned sales and marketing to move deals through each stage of the funnel combined, sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing is now another area that many start-ups and small businesses are considering. Sales outsourcing can drive multiple advantages for a company looking to scale including; removing fixed costs, contributing trained and skilled reps immediately without the delays of recruiting and giving you executive sales oversight and strategy without the full time expense of hiring a sales executive. But how can you tell if you should consider sales outsourcing?
Is Your Cost of Sales % too high?
Sales and marketing all boils down to how much it costs to take a lead from the top of the sales funnel through to closed business. Success now requires you to invest in hard costs like technology, databases, floor space and phone systems. There are also multiple soft costs like training, recruiting and daily management. If you are a small business with only a handful of reps these costs can quickly become a substantial part of your budget. The reality is that when building a sales team you have a great deal of fixed and soft costs that don’t change between 1 to 5 sales reps. A sales outsourcing company will already have these fixed and soft costs covered as part of their operations. If you have a small sales team sales outsourcing will absorb the costs and lower your cost of sales percentage.
Inconsistent Sales Results
Many companies struggle to produce consistent sales results on a quarter by quarter or month to month basis. This then creates a challenge for the executives leading the company. They cannot forecast for sales growth. They struggle to make intelligent forecasts to scale the operations of their business. In many cases for small business this is the direct result of not taking care of the necessary blocking and tackling required to take care of the necessary tasks to move deals forward and generate new deals on a daily basis. Often we see companies spend the first quarter focusing 80% of their energy generating new leads. The next quarter developing leads. And the final quarter spending 80% of their time closing leads. A sales outsourcing company can level the pipe by providing the tools, team and talent allocated to all three tasks on a daily basis.
Not using all the Latest Automation Technologies
99 % of the Fortune 2000 are using sales automation technologies because they work. But many smaller or high growth companies do not have the experience or expertise to implement content marketing and lead scoring technologies on their own. If your sales reps are not supported by these technologies they are spending time on daily tasks that can be automated. They are spending their time working deals that will not close, and they are wasting their time on tasks that can be automated rather than working the phone. A sales outsourcing company can provide the tools and the expertise to maximize the production of your sales reps by helping you to automate your sales process and buyer education whenever possible.
Sales Pipeline Blockage
A proportional flow of deals advancing through your sales funnel is a key driver of success. Having leads consistently move from one stage to the next will provide consistent deal flow but inconsistent performance at any stage will lead to ebbs and flows in deal closure. A sales outsourcing company can help you to determine where leads are getting stuck and why. Once that is determined the problem can be addressed immediately. A sales outsourcing company will be able to walk you through the sales techniques to move deals forward with scripts, improved closing questions and a repeatable sales process. This becomes very powerful when combined with outsourced marketing services to create the sales or marketing materials you need to nurture leads and engage them to push them to the next stage.
Sales outsourcing can be a powerful sales leadership tool for companies looking to scales their sales to the next level. A key to your sale success is for you to clearly communicate where you feel your sales and marketing challenges are when you have your initial discovery sessions with sales outsourcing companies. Gabriel Sales makes this easy during our initial success criteria and discovery sessions prior to crafting a custom approach for every potential client.
“Buyers now complete two-thirds of their purchase journey online before ever contacting a vendor or seriously engaging with sales.”
The seismic shift we are seeing right now in how buyers buy using digital content requires that marketing now needs to remain accountable for the prospect much deeper into their buying process and your sales funnel. The line between sales and marketing as it applies to demand generation and engagement is getting blurred and this trend is not going to abate any time soon. So when outsourcing sales you need to consider who is going to do this work? Do your marketers understand sales outsourcing success? And do sales appreciate marketing? This is where an outsourced sales and marketing company may be able to help.
Sales outsourcing success is no longer about hiring reps to bang the phone and then hard close. You cannot expect sales outsourcing success without substantial marketing support. Below are the basic marketing competencies and blended sales outsourcing and marketing team you should expect any sales outsourcing partner to provide.
- Content Strategist: You can no longer depend solely on sales outsourcing reps to move leads through your sales funnel. Sales success now requires a content marketing strategist that can clone what works for your best sales reps – who are the buyers they want to target, what are the best early offers, and what are the most frequent objections or questions in the early stage sales cycle. You then need to create content that replicates that story digitally and create a content calendar to to create and distribute that content. We have developed a simple to use set of tools to help with this process.
- Sales Automation Content Production: It’s cliché but content is king in early stage selling. Content builds trust with your early stage leads and converts leads into prospects. Quality content production should make it easier for your buyer to buy without the need of a sales rep for a buyer to understand what problems you can solve for them and how. Your content does not to be produced with “Clio” award winning production value but it does need to be done professionally and it does need to be done consistently. You need to commit to 1 webcast per quarter (and you can typically turn that webcast into a white paper), and you need to create at least 2-3 shorter pieces of content per month (videos or blog posts). Your sales outsourcing company should have the resources or partners to help you take care of this if you do not have your own production team or resources. You should expect your sales outsourcing team to have a clear vision of the content they will need for success.
- Content Management: The ability to use a CMS like WordPress is just one step in the content management process. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have at least a part time resource to maintain your content calendar, to add and edit content and to publish that content for your sales reps. You also need to have the capability and capacity to create landing pages at will for specific verticals and decision makers. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have a strategy to organize content for their own campaigns.
- Email Management: Learning the rules, regulations and best practices of email marketing and management is now critical. A “Ready Fire Aim” approach doesn’t work for leveraging email to generate leads and is even less productive when using a marketing automation platform to develop leads. Proper messaging, design (e.g. mobile compatibility), list segmentation, spam regulations and rules, auto-responder optimization and more are all major factors in successful email marketing and deliverability.
- CRM Integration: Making sure that your automation and lead scoring information is synchronized with your CRM correctly and spot checking on a regular basis is critical for lead scoring success. Correct sharing of information in your systems can be the difference between converting a hot lead or losing a deal. Your sales outsourcing partner should take ownership of the quality of this integration.
- Database Management: Keeping your database clean and optimized on a weekly basis is critical to maximize the effectiveness of your sales outsourcing team’s calling efforts. Companies spend incredible amounts of money for automation tools and lists but lose a great deal of the ROI by not investing in the staff and education to actually utilize the tools and demonstrate meaningful insights for the sales reps. You should not rely on sales reps to manage the database. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have a resource that over sees the quality output of the tools.
- Social Media Management: Your content should be shared in social media channels. It is a simple step that takes a little extra effort and it will maximize your exposure and brand with content that is already being deployed as part of other sales and marketing efforts. Interested buyers may look in social media channels even after engaged even if it is to simply prove that you are at least addressing younger buyers.
- Marketing Automation: These tools are now critical to score leads to prioritize who callers should spend their time calling. Aside from investing in one of these tools you also need the human resources to optimize your marketing automation. The added intelligence gained by lead scoring, real-time visitor analysis, notifications and drip campaigns will transform your lead generation and sales prospect prioritization beyond anything you’ve done before. If you are unfamiliar with marketing automation that’s ok. Your sales outsourcing partner should be able to completely carry the load.
- Phone Resources: Lead generation, nurturing and selling still require business development reps to pick up the phone. But what is accomplished on the phone changes based on the buying stage your buyer is in. Educating buyers now requires more of a customer service approach. This is now a science. When a buyer wants to buy is when you should start to be more aggressive and break out the art of the close. Having both types of phone resources available from your sales outsourcing partner is now critical.
Gabriel Sales has been supplying both sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing services for SMBs and start-ups since 1999. To learn more about the tactics we use please check out additional educational Sales Outsourcing resources in our Sales Outsourcing Blog. Or to learn more about our philosophy and approach to sales outsourcing success please check out the About Us page.