When You Outsource Sales You Increase Visibility

Many small businesses are built on the backs and carried by their founders.  They build the business through their professional relationships, hard work and skill as sales professionals and strong account management and customer service skills.

We also find that many successful early stage businesses are successful because the entrepreneur that founded that business touches every area of the business.  We have found that when a founder starts to consider what happens when they outsource sales they are drawn by the speed to market and the infrastructure cost savings but they have some trepidation about loss of control.  This article will address several areas where control of the sales process is actually enhanced when you outsource.

When You Outsource Sales You Can More Control of the Sales Process
Concern “When I outsource sales, I may lose control of my sales process.”

When a company has closed are there initial deals it is sometimes unsettling to hand the keys to an outsource sales partner. This will not occur especially if your outsource sales and marketing partner is committed to helping you build modern sales and marketing operations.  Most successful outsource sales and marketing in 2017 are committed to helping their customers build a repeatable sales process.  At Gabriel Sales we actually help our clients document each stage of their buyer process and their sales process. And in 90% of the cases we find that when our clients outsource sales and we document this process they actually have more control of the process itself.  .

When You Outsource Sales You Can Gain Visibility
Concern- “When I outsource sales I will lose visibility.”

10 years ago this may have been the case.  But with the advent of CRMs and Automation Technologies the opposite is now true.  When you outsource sales and marketing you can expect your outsource sales partner to provide these technologies as part of their package and you will probably experience even greater visibility.  You will know exactly:

  • How many calls are being made
  • How many buyers are entering the sales funnel
  • How many buyers are converting through cold calling, email marketing and content marketing
  • What content is helping them to convert
  • And what tactics and markets are working and what tactics and targets are now working

Technologies and the ability to measure customer engagement at every stage of the sales process has been put on steroids over the past several years and you can expect your outsource sales and marketing partner to be help to help with the implementation of these costs saving and intelligence enhancing technologies.

When You Outsource Sales You Are Fully Represented
Concern “Hiring an outsourcing company builds the sales outsourcer’s brand, not mine.”

This is probably the number one unspoken concern founders have.  And it is completely valid.  And an outsource sales and marketing company that helps our clients build modern sales and marketing operations this is the fundamental difference between we see between hiring an outsource sales and marketing company vs.  hiring a rep company or a commission only solution.

When you hire a rep company their goal is to own that customer and sell them as many solutions as possible. Their goal is to brand their organization as a one stop shop for multiple solutions.

When you hire and an outsource sales and marketing company their goal is to build your brand and your sales operation and not theirs.  When you outsource to Gabriel Sales your sales reps use your systems, your email addresses and act as your employees during all business calls and interactions.  We define our success in terms of your success.

We hope this blog helps to answer a couple of questions about how an outsource sales and marketing organization can help you increase your executive control of your sales and marketing operations. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact us.

Top 10 Sales Strategies for New Product Launches Sales Outsourcing Best Practices

Top 10 Sales Strategies for New Product Launches Sales Outsourcing Best Practices

Magic bullet for sales outsourcingTop 10 Sales Outsourcing Strategies for New Products

There is no grey area for Gabriel Sales that sales outsourcing for new product launches is ultimately about closing business.  However as a sales consulting firm that has driven millions in closed deals and over 200M in exits with successful new product and service launches over the past 10 years we also understand that we can drive wealth for the entrepreneurs, executives and investors that we serve by empowering the entire organization. This is done with the right feedback loops and insights so our clients can make the right strategic decisions for their business. Below are ten business intelligence and strategic areas that the right sales outsourcing partner for new product launches can  and should execute against as sales consultants drive the entire enterprise.  For additional resource for new products launches and go to market strategies please visit our Sales Strategies for New Product Launches Resource Page.

Sales Strategies for New Products

Rapid Communication – It’s critical that direct feedback loops are created from the sales team directly back to product development, the marketing team, and the CFO.  These feedback loops need to be available all the time.  Speed directly from the market back to the team is critical.  One of the advantages of a sales outsourcing firm that specializes is new product launches is that we have designed our internal systems to provide these feedback loops and are contractually accountable for them. The right internal feedback loops will improve the product and align sales and marketing for shared success.

Commit to Digital Content…especially Blogging – We are a sales outsourcing firm making 1000s of outbound calls a day.  Customers are not waiting for us to call.  If we get them on the phone being able to share a quick piece of content (video, landing page, short demo) goes a long way to getting them to spend more time with us on call two and the same content can also be leveraged to disqualify prospects.   The average customer leveraged 10.7 pieces of content in their buying decision in 2011 and this is projected to increase in 2012.  If you have a limited budget we have strategies and tactics we leverage for our customers that allow them to take advantage of our sales outsourcing for new product launch tactics that turn your blog into a virtual sales rep.

Be Prepared to Educate the Market – Most new products are offering a new solution that is disruptive to the market.   Many new product companies are enamored with their technology (since they have passionately developed it) and forget that in many cases before you get to share those technical specs you need to help the customer understand and define the business problem they are trying to solve. You also need to be prepared to educate your customer how to calculate return.  Don’t underestimate the value of keeping it simple for the prospect especially in the early stages of the sales cycle.    For more info on how to frame your content strategy, please check out our B2B content framework graphic in our blog What is Successful Sales Collateral?

Sell from Scripts – This is one of several areas where a new product launch sales outsourcing firm has some strategic value over hiring individual internal reps or rolodex reps.  Outsource sales firms are designed to sell using a repeatable process so selling from scripts is critical.  It gives us something to measure and a way to anchor the success of the sale in the message and the story as opposed to the personality.

Commit Focused Energy to your Initial Ideal Customer Profile – If you don’t know what this is we have a short blog series dedicated to this.  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.  You need to take your best guess at what verticals and what decision makers will buy and champion your product.  And then test those assumptions and measure those results.

Document the Buying Process and the Sales Process –  As you take your first customers from MQL or Cold Call through Sales Accepted to Sales Qualified to Closed deal you need to understand the key events in that cycle.   As a sales outsourcing firm this is one of the sales consulting functions we offer our clients.   We believe it’s critical because when combined with the right sales metrics (see below),  mapped to the Ideal Customer Profile (see above) it gives us the ability to start to more accurately forecast dollars in and dollars out investments for the entrepreneurs and boards we serve.  It’s also critical to remember that the same digital content we discussed in point 2 at the top of this blog is contributing to the sale.   You need to get your sales reps and marketing team to score that as part of the buying process as well.   Documenting the buying process allows you to build a sales process that allows the buyer to buy on their terms which means a sales ramp that consistently moves up an to the right and we are all in this entrepreneurial business to build sales machines that turn growth rates into hockey sticks.

Measure the Right Success Metrics – You need to measure the success of your early pipe efforts from day one.   A sales outsourcing solution for new product launches has the advantage of having years (at least 10 years in our case) of historical data to benchmark your efforts against similar sales to similar markets and similar decision makers.   This is especially critical for new product launches that have no historical data to benchmark against.  To learn more about the metrics Gabriel Sales feels are most critical feel free to reach out to us to Learn if you can Build a High Velocity Sales Machine.

Know Why You Win and Why You Lose – If you are measuring the right data you will already be well on the way to knowing why your new product launch is successful.  Its also important to understand why you are not winning when you lose.  One value-add we provide as a sales outsourcing consulting service for new product launches is that after losing a deal we will call the decision maker if possible and ask “ for own learning, is there anything we could’ve done better?”  We will take notes and pass that information on to our clients.

Commit to Marketing Automation and Nurturing Prospects “Not Yet Ready to Buy” – Our clients are investing in more than closed deals when they are choosing to outsource part or all of their sales and marketing operations.  We are not going to win every deal the first shot we take especially for new products.   Some may not have budget immediately, others may be waiting for our clients to have a couple more customers, others may need to champion into their organization.   Data from Forrester states that 70% of Marketing Qualified Leads will buy in a solution area they invest time in exploring within 18 months.  If nurtured correctly 25% of your MQLs will hit your pipe within a year according to Aberdeen.   If you put 400 MQLs into the pipe in your pipe during your initial launch this means (assuming your product hits the mark) that you will have 100 SALs by year if you invest in nurturing out of the gate.  Gabriel Sales provides sales consulting to assist with multiple nurturing from lead scoring, to social media outreach, content testing and marketing automation software implementation.

Lead with Value Proposition but Sell with Differentiators –   Selling starts when a customer says “No” and arguments are never made in a vacuum. Value propositions are a great lead but they only take you so far.  To close a deal your business case needs to make sense in the context of a category. We take all of our new product launch sales outsourcing clients through a quick and proprietary process that helps us and them to tell that story.  This does not mean that you need to sell directly against the competition it simply means that the story will include what the prospect/marketplace has heard from the competition.  In many cases we find that that competition is an internal competitor.

To see if our Sales Consulting and/or Sales and Marketing Outsourcing Solution is right for taking your new product to market we invite you to visit our New Product Launch Sales Strategies Resource Page.  CLICK HERE

For a custom Go-To-Market Evaluation please feel free to CONTACT US to benchmark the market and see if a High Velocity Sales Machine is a possibility for you.

Multi-Channel Strategy and B2B Marketing Outsourcing

Today’s B2B marketing environment is rapidly progressing with the abundance of tactics that are available and easy to adopt in the digital space. The purpose of this blog series to outline four simple tactics to help boost the effectiveness of your sales and marketing processes, while increasing quality lead generation. This blog, the first in the series, will discuss why you need to shift your channel strategy ib2b marketing outsourcingn order to maximize your marketing efforts, and ultimately close more business. Additionally, the impact of partnering with a company that does B2B marketing outsourcing and how they can sometimes be more effective than even the best internal teams will be discussed.

The first point of note is that it makes sense for any company, large or small, struggling or successful, to consider utilizing an outside partner in executing aspects of their sales, marketing and lead generation processes. Outsourcers can be hyper-effective in managing some or all aspects of a B2B company’s sales and marketing process.

Adopt A Multi-Channel Strategy

In today’s rapidly evolving B2B market, most companies can no longer rely on a single channel to produce enough closed business to stay ahead of the competition. You have to provide the opportunity for your buyers to when and how they so choose as there has been a dramatic shift in how to sell effectively. No longer can you try and drive buyers through your sales process; you have to help them through their buying process. Your choices are numerous and not all channels will generate closed business equally, depending on the nature of your business and the vertical you operate in.

How then is a business to decide which additional channels to pursue when there are so many available especially with the proliferation of the digital space?

First, it is imperative that when you pursue a new channel (or channels), you do so in a way that you are able to measure the effectiveness of the investment, so you can determine downstream whether it is something worth continually pursuing. There are many sources for data on which channels have proven the most effective within specific industries, so entities like Forrester or Marketing Sherpa are a great place to start, as well as analyzing your own historical data. Just remember to design your new approach/strategy in a way that you will be able to return actionable metrics from your efforts.

So then after you have chosen which channels you would like to expand into the question remains: “How should I execute this new strategy? Should I have my internal team try and tackle the extra workload? Should I hire additional personnel with expertise in the area?”

All three options are viable for moving your initiatives forward, which leads to the final question: “What is the most cost effective way to accomplish this new initiative?” The remainder of this blog will discuss how utilizing an outside partner can in many cases be the most cost conscious and effective strategy to expand your channel marketing.

B2B Marketing Outsourcing

Companies that specialize in outsourcing business processes are not a new concept. It is important to select a partner that you trust to handle such a crucial area of your business, because you are going to have to be willing to rely on their experience, expertise and methods to effectively help you close more business – because at the end of the day that’s what matters most for any organization.

Some outsourcers specialize in specific channels while others offer a more full-service approach and have the ability to successfully navigate multiple channels with an integrated approach. First things first, ensure that you select and organization that will provide transparency and robust success metrics of their efforts so you can accurately assess the ROI of your new relationship. However, it is important to point out that the most successful relationships are built on trust, and attempting to micro-manage a partnership like this can many times hurt the success of the campaign – you have to let the experts do what it is they know best, yet hold them accountable through metrics and transparent reporting.

In the next blog in this series, we will discuss the importance of pursuing lead quality over quantity, and how shifting your focus on lead generation can directly result in more effective sales teams and more closed business.

Why CMOs are Spending More than CTOs on Technology

technologyIf you are trying to sell anything in 2013, it is likely you are trying to do so in the digital space. The internet and internet-based technologies have changed the B2B selling and buying process immensely, and you now need to be able to easily find and engage with your customers online.

Evidence of this dramatic shift towards digital is everywhere. Let’s take Nike for example. In the past three years, Nike has dropped their print and TV ad spend by 40% and has instead invested $800 million in nontraditional advertising (method10x10.com).   Additionally, Econsultancy’s 2013 marketing survey found that 39% of marketers plan to increase spend on digital marketing without increasing the marketing budget overall.

But the most interesting statistic regarding this shift comes from Gartner, who has predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CTOs.

What this shows is that as we go forward, technology and marketing’s relationship will only become more intertwined. A marketer’s job is no longer purely about branding and positioning.  A marketer must now understand how to integrate a brand story with digital marketing platforms and measure the results of his/her efforts.

To do that, marketers need technology.

With the right technologies, marketers can aggregate and analyze huge amounts of data in order to understand their customers, deliver the right messages in the right platforms at the right times, and measure their success. In other words, technology eliminates the guesswork and subjective opinions that have classically defined marketing and replaces them with statistical data and a clear ROI.

Overall, CMOs are spending more than CTOs on technology because of the value it brings to their companies and themselves.

Marketing automation, social media marketing, customer relationship management and customer analytics are all now permanent fixtures in the B2B sales landscape and are impossible without the right technologies.  When CMOs know how to leverage these technologies to build effective digital marketing content and campaigns, they are able to reach their customers more quickly and effectively while simultaneously collecting data that shows clear ROI for their efforts.

In summary, CMOs now need to be as much of an expert in technology as they are in branding.  CMOs need to be able to come up with a strategic brand story that demonstrates a company’s value and at the same time manage the company’s technology stack, deliver messaging across multiple platforms, analyze social media for trends and insights, assess the effectiveness of new marketing technologies, and show the ROI for all marketing efforts (Experian).

If you would like to know more about the changing B2B sales landscape or why CMOs are spending more than CTOs on technology, you can download our white paper called “New Rules for Sales & Marketing in 2013 & Beyond.” If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

How Marketing Automation Can Help Your B2B Demand Generation Marketing and Your Sales Team

b2b demand generation marketing automation

Technology Will Accelerate Marketing’s Impact on Revenue

In Part 1, Increase B2B Sales Volume and Revenue and Part 2,What Does Your B2B Sales Approach and B2B Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?, we discussed the new situation in B2B sales and how the buying process has changed, how marketing is more important to your sales process than ever, and how you may need to alter your sales process and augment your team.

In part 3, we outlined the 11 core competencies required to build a successful b2b demand generation marketing program that puts your buyers and their buying cycle (as opposed to your sales cycle) at the center of your sales and marketing process.

Now, in part 4, we explain the five key ways that marketing automation and sales technology can quickly shift your culture and help your sales team be more effective.  The five ways are:

  • Lead Capture
  • Lead Qualification
  • Email Automation
  • Lead Intelligence
  • Real Time Lead Alerts

Here’s a brief explanation of how each of these features will help your sales team:

Lead Capture

For example, Pardot Marketing Automation Software allows you to identify companies that are visiting your site without the need for any information to be collected on a form.  There is a database of IPs that identify the company.  The major value here is identifying potential prospects without waiting for contact info to be submitted, using 3rd party data providers like Inside View, LinkedIn, One Source and SalesForceData to more quickly identify the key contacts within the companies visiting your site.  These 3rd party data providers also help you pull in additional missing data points about the company and key contacts.

Just as important is actually capturing leads with landing pages and forms.  That is nothing new, but the ability to then implement strong lead management rules helps hand over qualified prospects automatically.

Lead Qualification

There are two main ways to qualify leads: using implicit behaviors and activities and explicit data and demographics.

Using implicit information and lead scoring, you can rank and score activities (email, web and social) variably by importance and then set up actions to pass the top scoring prospects over to a sales rep automatically.

Using explicit data and lead grading, you can qualify a prospect on who that person is, e.g. a CEO versus a workaholic just trying to learn something new by requesting your content.  You can also change grades up and down based on industry, company size and other factors.  Essentially, it’s grading prospects against an ideal customer profile that your sales and marketing team identifies.

Along with helping your sales team avoid talking to bad prospects, using these grades and scores provides you another way to dynamically pre-qualify and assign the best prospects to your sales rep.

Email Automation

Email automation for sales reps takes their knowledge about and performance with their leads to another level.  Reps can now use email integration tools for Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird to send personal emails through their marketing automation tool,  This allows them to personally track opens and clicks with automatic notifications being sent back to the rep when these actions are taken.

Another powerful email automation component is personalized email marketing campaigns, where the marketing team can craft a message to the companies entire pool of prospects, yet dynamically assign the “From” and “Email” field of the lead’s assigned rep.  This serves two main purposes: 1) the rep will get the credit for a pleased lead being sent valuable content (yet the rep didn’t have to do anything – marketing and software took care of the touch for them) and 2) all replies to the content will go directly back to the rep (plus, the rep can also be notified when their lead interacts with that message).

A bonus aspect to email automation is the sales rep can pass back “not-yet-qualified” leads to be nurtured by marketing and allow for further lead qualification.  The sales rep can be notified again once the lead qualification status has been improved based on the lead’s content interaction activities and scoring rules.

Lead Intelligence

Sales reps will be able to track all online behaviors (email, website and social) and that data can be put directly into the CRM that the sales rep works from, e.g. Salesforce, instead of requiring the sales rep to learn the ins and outs of the marketing automation prospect tracking system (though they probably will want to once they see how much more effective they are).  Activities like original lead source, specific page views, keyword searches, webinar attendance, etc., can all be tracked.  This allows the sales rep to profile and frame the content for conversations, voicemails and follow-up emails based on those specific prospect activities.

Real-Time Lead Alerts

Real-time lead alerts allow sales reps faster response time when companies or leads are actively engaged in the sales education collateral.  Sales reps can receive instant alerts or daily email summaries regarding these activities.  They can receive instant alerts via email, text messaging, mobile apps, and desktop apps, whichever they prefer.

With these alerts and summaries Reps can:

  • Prioritize their day with the most active prospects
  • Perform quick lookups of anonymous visitors in LinkedIn or Jigsaw to identify potential new prospects
  • Click on links to trigger CRM profile lookups
  • Send emails to active prospects with a few quick clicks
  • Filter out unwanted activity

All of these features, Lead Capture, Lead Qualification, Email Automation, Lead Intelligence and Real-Time Lead Alerts, save your reps time and make them more successful.  An effective integration and use of marketing automation can synthesize marketing and sales objectives and improve the effectiveness better than ever.

If you are still a little skeptical that marketing automation and content marketing are going to be critical to your success we invite you to check out our blog Content Marketing is Now Required for Quality B2B Lead Generation that will give you a little background on the risk you are running and the cost of delay.

If you want to learn more about how Gabriel Sales can combine your product knowledge and thought leadership with our sales and marketing automation expertise to get you in the game faster, request a complimentary review.   If you want to review more information, download the White Paper for Tactics you can implement now.

Additional Blogs in this Series:

Part 1Increasing Your B2B Sales Volume and Revenue – What’s Changed?

Part 2What Does Your B2B Sales and Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?

Part 3 –  What Core Competencies do I Need From My Marketing and Lead Generation Team?

Part 4 –  How Can Marketing Automation Improve My B2B Sales Performance?

Part 5 –  Why is Content Marketing is Now Required for Quality B2B Lead Generation?

What Does Your B2B Sales Approach and B2B Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?

Your Team Needs to Support a Buying Decision Not a Sales Process

As a recap of the first blog in this series – we  know that the buying process has changed dramatically over the past several years. The buyer, not the seller, now controls the sales process and that process is being “consumerized”.     In Part 1 of this series we discussed what you need to consider and be prepared for if you are ready to drive some meaningful cultural change and increased revenue for your organization.  Part 2 we will now discuss how your culture, attitude and team dynamics may need to shift to facilitate you customer’s buying process not your sales process.

You need to be prepared for a longer sales cycle. You need to accept that buyers have extended their purchase cycle by 1.5X since 2008 (Sirius-2012) and revenue growth is now going to be both a marathon and a sprint.  Your sales team job still needs to be focused on hitting monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets.  You need to accept that they may get some deals into the pipe that are going to go through the first several stages of their buying cycle and your sales cycle and then the buyer is going to hit the pause button.   You need to have a plan for what happens when this occurs.  Does the lead stay with the sale rep or does it go back to your inside sales team?  Is there a way to stay in front of them without the sales team wasting time and spinning their wheels?

That your buyers want and expect to be educated first.  You may need  to embrace the need to develop some new disciplines and commit to content marketing.  This is probably the most radical change and your most significant opportunity.  Marketing is going to need to take you buyer further through your sales process because that’s what your buyers want.  The days when you generate a lead and toss it over to sales are over.   And marketers can’t do this alone.  They will need the support and contribution of your executives and product specialists as thought leaders.   If your marketers can leverage your thought leaders, they can exponentially support your sales team and keep them focused on selling.  Marketing can take care of early stage engagement.  If you marketer has never been a sales person they may need some help on this front.

Sales and marketing need to work together.  The days of working in a silo are over. For a lot of companies this is the biggest hurdle because it’s cultural.  Sales doesn’t always care what marketing does (they just want more leads) and marketers don’t think sales appreciates or even understands what they do (and they are often correct). Like any successful team to compete and win, you are going to need to align sales and marketing with the tools, content, and processes you need to support your inside sales reps with the content you need to demonstrate your thought leadership and differentiators.  There needs to be mutual respect.

Embrace technology. Because technology can bring the sales and marketing teams together  –  with the advent of marketing automation platforms,  Google Analytics, and CRMs, you can now define and implement a Sales Architecture, Infrastructure, and Technology Platform that provides complete transparency and accountability throughout your entire sales process.   Keeping score helps teams to flourish.  This isn’t rocket science.  Just head out to any Little League or Soccer Field on a Saturday during a game and compare it to what happens during practice.  During practice the energy level and focus waxes and wanes.  Put them on the field when they are accountable for a score and measured on the results and everything changes and it’s a great deal more fun as well.

You need to budget appropriately. As we mentioned previously, sales is now both a marathon and a sprint.  While we appreciate the need and pressure to hit quarterly numbers, don’t expect a process to fall in place that quickly. You need plan on investing in this engine for at least 4 to 6 months until you will start seeing consistent results. As the process becomes imbedded into your culture and your teams align and start firing on all cylinders, revenue will go up and costs of sales will start to decrease.  This double gain allows you to take your new revenue and your cost savings to grow the engine producing exponential results.

Summary – The line between sales and marketing is getting blurred

  • Your buyer now wants to be educated
  • They want access to your thought leadership and your product specialists for deeper education
  • Your thought leaders can’t spend time on deals that just want to be educated
  • Your buyer does not want to engage with sales until they are educated and ready to buy
  • You need to demonstrate you understand their situation and pain before your prospect will engage with sales.

Everyone understands the social contract between salesperson and buyer.  The sales person’s job is to sell and the buyer’s job is to buy.  Pain, gain, and solution selling are still important but, more and more, rather than having a sales rep get on the phone saying “lets understand your situation”,  it’s becoming the job of your inside sales team and your marketers to do this by sharing thought leadership from your product specialists.  Pressing the buyer to buy and introducing a sales rep prematurely before they are ready engage may win you a couple of deals in the short term but, it will drive even more deals into your competitors’ arms.

So the question is what does my sales and marketing organization need to look like to create demand for my sales team now that marketing’s job is to take my buyers well beyond creating awareness and driving leads into my sales funnel?  Here is our next blog in the series that outlines The Core Competencies I Need From My Demand Generation Team.

If you want to learn more about how Gabriel Sales can apply some of what we have learned for your business specifically, request a complimentary review.   If you want to review more information, Download the White Paper for Tactics you can implement now that will jump start your transformation immediately.

Additional Blogs in this Series:

Part 1Increasing Your B2B Sales Volume and Revenue – What’s Changed?

Part 2 – What Does Your B2B Sales and Marketing Culture Need to Look Like?

Part 3 –  What Core Competencies do I Need From My Marketing and Lead Generation Team?

Part 4 –  How Can Marketing Automation Improve My B2B Sales Performance?

Part 5 –  Why is Content Marketing is Now Required for Quality B2B Lead Generation?