Outsourced Sales for Start-ups


Sales Outsourcing and Inside Sales

For decades the typical sales organization was comprised of sales reps cold calling and working in the field.  They set their appointments and then meet face-to-face with potential buyers.  And in recent years we have started to see a transition to those outside reps getting support from “inside reps” who assist in setting the appointments.  And once again typically a company would build this organization internally.

However over the past several years both CRM and marketing automation technologies have become technology staples of most modern B2B sales operations. These technologies enable companies to control visibility of each stage of their sales process.  These same technologies now allow companies to seamlessly consider sales outsourcing for their inside sales activities. Here are a few of the advantages to evaluate to help you decide if an inside sales outsourcing team is a good fit for your company:

Sales Training – There are multiple benefits that can be realized from shifting to an inside sales outsourcing model. One of the biggest advantages is that your sales training will become more effective with inside sales outsourcing.  When a company uses an outside sales model, sales reps do not come into contact with each other on a regular basis. But with an inside sales outsourcing team your reps will be working in the same office space. It’s much easier to quality control sales training for new reps, share “best practice” sales tips, and disseminate new information.  For smaller businesses that only have the need for one or two inside reps this advantage can be even more significant because your inside sales outsourcing team will be surrounded by other reps selling other products.  You will gain access to a part time sales manager that will keep your team on track and well trained without the expense of staffing a full time sales manager.

Scaling Faster – As an inside sales outsourcing company we believe when a company is just getting off the ground it makes sense to staff a closer on the client side to gain insights into the entire sales process start to finish. An internal sales executive also allow you to more effectively build the personal relationships a company just getting off the ground needs. In many cases this resource is also one of the executives in the company, often the founder.  And then as the company understands its sales process an inside sales outsourcing company can craft a repeatable sales process to generate the lead, develop the lead and qualify the lead using content and well trained business development reps. Switching to an inside sales outsourcing model may make sense, since it provides the ability to integrate new staff more effectively and allows for more rapid growth.

Complexity of the Sale Another highly influential factor that determines how to deploy an inside sales outsourcing team is the complexity of the company’s sales cycle – how many buyers and influencers are involved, deal size and value, and the complexity of the product itself.

For example – an enterprise sale is a long cycle involving multiple individuals at various levels of the organization. In these cases, external sales reps are required – again, because selling extremely high-value products over a long period of time is something that relies on the development of more personal business relationships.  If this is the type of sale you need we typically recommend using inside sales outsourcing for the initial lead generation and the early stage introduction of your solution to multiple buyers across the target organizations.  Once the buyer becomes engaged your outside sales rep should take full ownership of the sale.

On the other hand if you have a short and simple sales cycle this is where an inside sales outsourcing model can take the sale further.  Inside sales outsourcing can generate the lead, develop the lead and educate the buyer.  In some cases you can simply staff a sales engineer with technical or business domain expertise to answer technical or deep domain questions and your inside sales outsourcing team can manage the final close of the sale.

If outsourcing sales makes sense for your business then choosing the right inside sales outsourcing model is key to ensuring it sales outsourcing will help to grow your business. In many cases a hybrid model may make the most sense.  To learn more about how Gabriel Sales approach sales outsourcing and marketing feel free to visit our sales outsourcing services page.

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

Sales Strategies for New ProductsThere 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 Products 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.  Sales outsourcing 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. It’s 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.

The Unique Challenges of Professional Services Sales

The world of professional services sales is changing rapidly. Changing with it are the challenges faced by the members of your team. This blog will talk about several challenges and the opportunity they present in selling professional services to clients in today’s environment.

Whether you are considering outsourcing services sales or further developing your own internal services sales team, the challenges that all of us face in selling professional services and solutions are the same. Gone are the days of discretionary or experimental budgets. If they still exist, they are typically dramatically reduced. You have to sell to both a technical buyer and a business buyer in every organization. Companies are running leaner at top levels, and as a result the decision makers that you need to sell to are picking up the phone 30% less. Once you do connect and start to engage the prospect in your sales cycle and with your content, their schedules are so tight that it takes much longer to move them through your sales funnel.

Here’s the bottom line: lead generation, lead qualifying and sales engagement can take twice the time and energy they did in the past. Markets are flooded with buyers and sellers of all types, and it’s your job to weed through it all. For the professional service firms that we provide services sales outsourcing and lead generation services to, it’s more important now than ever that we sell smarter and do our best to maximize top producer’s sales efficiency and effectiveness. We also have to help make the process easier for the buyers we are selling to. They have less time and demand a more efficient way to buy.

When a professional service firm comes to us (as opposed to product sales companies) to have a discussion about outsourcing sales, they often voice additional unique complexities that they are now facing in the professional service market:

    1. The roles of seller and deliverer are often merging. More time spent selling means less time dedicated to delivery and/or available for sales pipe development efforts.
    2. The professional service sale is growing increasingly complex, and requires an investment in education and solution selling.
    3. Education is required because professional services engagements are perceived as high risk investments for buyers, since they can’t hold the product in their hand. Consequently, buyers take longer to make decisions and often want to break up adoption so that there is a pilot or proof of concept stage.
    4. Professional services selling requires communication of intangible benefits – character, thinking style and personality of lead consultants and top producers – to effectively close deals.
    5. Top producing professional service executives are predisposed to “solutioning” and solving customer problems, rather than “selling” and sales management.
    6. Professional service sales are high risk for the Seller due to the need to acquire real return and margins that only stem from long-term engagements, beyond initial pilots

If you take all of these emerging complexities into account, they point to “time” as the single, largest issue. Time is still quite literally money, as they say – and this is especially true for the professional service business model. For us at Gabriel Sales, the challenge in outsourcing the professional service sale lies in identifying how best to customize a program to make your top producers operate at their highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

Gabriel Sales has been providing outsourced sales and lead generation services successfully to professional service providers across a wide variety of verticals and target markets – for over 15 years. In the last few years we’ve seen a large market shift in the approach buyers take to engage and make decisions surrounding professional service solutions. This has led to the creation of a viable opportunity for increased efficiency and effectiveness in designing a sales engine and cloning your top producers.

The Opportunity:

Sales and marketing interactions have changed drastically due to the proliferation of the internet and digital communication. Buyers have always actively leveraged content, but now it is being digested specifically through digital and social media. Buyers are streamlining their process on their own time. You now have the ability to leverage lead generation and sales reps that are skilled in communicating your solutions effectiveness and value in the digital space. These reps can manage more of your sale and replicate larger pieces of what was previously required of your top producer. Professional service firms can make it easier for buyers to buy by alleviating the buyer’s time constraints, while simultaneously opening up bandwidth for their top producers. Sales productivity skyrockets by as much as two times within a year, and as high as three times within eighteen months.

This opportunity is significant. But what is even more significant is that taking advantage of this shift does not require completely changing your existing sales process. However, it does require that you effectively align your sales and marketing teams, and get them to stop living in the silos that is typically tradition. This allows for you to be able to engage in a one-to-many dialogue as you generate leads and communicate effectively with both the technical buyer and business buyer. Your sales reps will need to be trained and managed effectively in using these new tools.

Please feel free to contact us or visit “Why Professional Services Firms Use Outsourcing Sales and Marketing” for more information.

What is an Ideal Customer Profile?

This is part one of a two part series that explains how being strategic in planning how you target customers will produce significantly better results on the back end. Part two can be found here, How to Build a Winning Ideal Customer Profile.

An Ideal Customer Profile is a process for identifying what customers you should be targeting to get the best return from your sales lead generation efforts.  As an outsourcing sales organization this is one of the key areas we focus on when providing our initial sales consulting during the launch of a client. We believe this aspect of the sales process deserves careful attention because what goes into the sales funnel is going to have a huge impact on what comes out of the funnel.   It is also the critical first step in building an aligned sales and marketing effort, so you can create a sales machine.

Ultimately, an Ideal Customer Profile should allow you to find and target your potential customers based on a number of hard criteria related to both the company and the specific decision maker:

  • Annual revenue of the company
  • Number of employees
  • Level of Contact – C-level,  senior Manager, middle manager
  • Functional Area –  business Area, technical Area
  • Title
  • Revenue Responsibility – budget maker or budget spender
  • Geography – global, national, local
  • Technology Adopted –  in some cases knowing what  ERP, CRM, and if they have virtualized may be critical
  • Their Clients – e.g.  are they doing business with a Procter and Gamble, Federal government, education (local gov.)  Walmart, Intel,  EMC etc.

In addition, there well could be some softer qualitative criteria:

  • Business Pain/Need
  • Vertical Industry Trend –  established or in transition,  growth or decline
  • Competitive –  large competitors or a volume of competitors
  • Psychographics – company culture, leadership style, corporate values

It is also important to know who you don’t want to sell to:

  • Decision makers whose jobs could be threatened
  • Internal Support Functions – for example, if you are selling data analytics you may want to avoid MR groups, or if you are selling operational efficiency services you may want to stay away from operations managers and start with supply chain directors

The purpose of this type of hard and soft segmentation is to establish clear, hard criteria that can be leveraged across your sales and marketing machine to:

  • Purchase  direct dial contacts for cold calling
  • Purchase direct mail and Electronic direct mail contact information
  • Filter leads from publishers
  • Leverage for a “Cost Per Click Campaign” like Google Adwords
  • Decide where to place your online advertising budget
  • Instruct your social media outreach program

We realize this can look like a daunting task.  But, as an outsourcing sales organization with 10 years of data we can guarantee that if you give this the attention it deserves upfront, you will see significant returns within 6 -12 months. You will see exponential returns in months 12-18 when your first wave of nurturing deals start to fall out of your pipe as closed deals.

For additional information on how to build and Ideal Customer Profile, we recommend you check out our companion piece entitled, interestingly enough, How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile.