How To Evaluate Outsourced Inside Sales Providers
Organizations can be apprehensive when it comes to outsourcing inside sales. It is frightening to take the plunge and outsource something as critical to the financial success of your business as your sales function, especially if you’re entering a multi-month agreement with an agency you haven’t previously worked with. You need to be sure that your business is not only ready to outsource, but that you’re choosing the right partner and are entirely confident in your decision. In this blog, we discuss key factors to consider when evaluating potential outsourced inside sales partners, and how to make the final choice.
When evaluating potential outsourcing partners, price tends to be the first thing that comes to mind, and for good reason. No firm wants to overpay for an ultimately subpar outsourced sales partner, and it's incredibly expensive to build an inside sales team on your own. However, many organizations make the mistake of selecting the least expensive provider on the market to save a buck, almost always to the detriment of quality and performance.
When you outsource, you get what you pay for. If you try to cut corners and save a few bucks on your provider, you’re basically guaranteeing that you’re going to be receiving substandard services. For something as critical to your business as inside sales, this is not a prudent strategy. If you spend years jumping back and forth between lower-cost solutions, you’ll have spent more money and wasted more time than you would have if you chose right the first time. One strategy firms often take to make their outsourcing offering more appealing on a price basis is either underpaying their reps, or letting anyone become a rep in order to reduce recruiting and qualification costs, Be wary of firms that pursue this strategy, and check Glassdoor to make sure a potential partner isn't churning and burning through reps, and is actually investing in their success and development.
It’s also important to consider the actual cost of outsourcing when making such a critical decision. If planning to hire internally, you shouldn’t think only about the labor cost, but the cost to recruit, hire, and train sales reps. These costs are baked into the monthly retainer for sales outsourcing organizations, and the burden of hiring and skill training leaves your hands. Companies that fail to recognize this tend to spend more money to keep their sales team totally in-house while missing out on the experience and processes of seasoned experts.
Processes and Mindset
This is what separates an average outsourced inside sales provider from a great one. A best-in-class outsourcing partner will have processes and structures in place to evaluate success, as well as a codified definition of what success looks like that is based on the financial requirements of your business.
Many outsourced inside sales agencies try to distract from the end goal, or avoid setting hard goals for themselves, because hitting financial targets is difficult. Focusing on vanity metrics such as the number of dials or email open rates is much easier than building a comprehensive, scalable sales program. To avoid this outcome, grill your outsourcing candidates on their goal-setting methodology, analytics, and reporting. How do they set per-rep goals? How do they track performance? How do they address underperforming reps? These are critical questions to ask to determine if your potential partner shares your mindset and business sense.
Training and BDR Management
If you don’t trust your outsourcing partner’s acumen or program for training sales reps, chances are it will not be a fruitful relationship. Firms like FullFunnel train their reps on soft skills and bring them from new hires to entry-level sales professionals ready to go onto your firm’s sales team. We work alongside clients to train BDRs on how to sell a firm’s product, without taking over training completely. On the contrary, many outsourcing partners don’t do any training, and just hire and put reps in front of the client. If you aren’t comfortable with your outsourcing partner’s training function (or lack thereof), you probably shouldn’t partner with that organization.
It’s also critical to understand how the organization functions, and how its BDRs are supervised. Never attempt to partner with an outsourced sales organization that is unorganized, or lacks a strong hierarchy and support system for its sales reps. You’ll want to make sure your outsourced reps have strong supervision and a great team around them to learn from and bounce questions off of in their day-to-day.
It goes without saying that you’ll want to select an outsourced inside sales provider with a sterling reputation. It’s incredibly important to scour the internet for reviews, with added emphasis placed on written reviews. It’s one thing to leave a star review on Google, and quite another to write a comprehensive written review detailing your experience and performance. Once you’re deeper in the sales process, it’s also advisable to ask for a reference that you can speak to privately. This way, you get to have an in-depth conversation with an active client that can tell you what it’s like working with the agency first-hand.
Many of the best BDRs on the market also work for outsourced providers, because they are willing to pay top dollar for top talent. Additionally, outsourced partners provide strong training and promotion paths that are extremely attractive to reps who have the ambition to conquer the sales world. The reps working for an outsourced sales firm aren’t your normal reps, they’re the best of the best.
When choosing an outsourcing partner, you must of course consider that firm's industry expertise. While no agency could possibly have experts in every industry under the sun, particularly if you represent a specific niche, most outsourcing partners will have an area of focus. For example, some outsourcing partners focus on B2B tech, while others cater primarily to consumer-focused businesses. Choose according to the experience your outsourced team will need to be successful.
In addition to industry expertise, it’s important to confirm that your outsourced team has the technical expertise necessary to operate seamlessly within your systems. What kind of tech stack is your future partner familiar with? Have they worked in your CRM system or sales enablement tool before? Do they know what the best practices are, and can they approve your internal processes instead of representing an administrative and training burden for your team? FullFunnel works within your own system, so you benefit from the full visibility of activity data and don’t have to worry about your outsourcing partner working in some private secret system that leaves you in the dark.
Diversity of Services
Many firms outsourcing their sales function don’t recognize that they need something until after the fact. If you find you need help rewriting call frameworks, or are in need of higher-level sales consulting, does your outsourced partner have the resources to help? If not, tread lightly, as you’ll want to partner with a firm that can’t only help you today, but tomorrow as well.
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If your firm is considering outsourcing your inside sales, we can help. FullFunnel has years of experience helping companies of every size and industry achieve their sales goals. Request a free consultation today to learn more about our superstar team.