The way we sell goods and services has completely changed in recent years. Just look at the B2B space. The tech at our fingertips – not to mention the unrelenting mass of data and myriad ways to connect with prospects – has kicked the door wide open. There is now a much wider array of strategies inside sales team can employ to engage with customers and get results.
If you want to thrive then keeping pace isn’t enough. It’s vital for companies to continually test and refine their inside sales strategies. This is essential to better understand your prospects, analyze their behaviors, and engage them in genuine conversations. In turn, this will generate results, accelerate revenue, and ultimately drive growth while reaching new markets.
Navigating the complex world of inside sales can be challenging for fast-growing companies and startups. Even for large businesses, it can prove daunting, especially when expanding into new markets.
Establishing an inside sales team can draw your focus away from core objectives and comes at a considerable cost. That’s not to mention the risks involved, and how time-consuming this process can be. If you’re operating in dynamic, fast-moving markets, you won’t have time to build an inside sales team, let alone ramp them up to the level of efficiency your business needs.
Outsourcing can help tackle these challenges
When you outsource part of your company’s operations, you contract a third party to take the reins. The number of companies who choose to outsource has only continued to grow as businesses look to streamline and reduce costs. Roughly 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the US annually, the global outsourcing market valued at a staggering $92.5 billion in 2019.
When it comes to inside sales, outsourcing offers a wide range of benefits we aim to explore throughout this blog. We’ll demonstrate how these can help you reach new markets while also boosting efficiency and ultimately driving revenue for your brand.
Does my company need to outsource?
While enterprise companies are 66% more likely to outsource than a fast-growing startup, the value of minimizing risk while evolving your sales strategy is impossible to ignore.
According to Neil Patel, the top five challenges small businesses face in particular are:
- Hiring new employees
- Increasing profit
- Employee healthcare
- Growing revenue
- Managing cash flow
Outsourcing can help combat that number one problem by eliminating the need for hiring, effectively bypassing new employee hassles.
So, why not establish your own inside sales organization?
Up top, there’s the cost of creating your own inside sales team from scratch: building the infrastructure, recruiting SDRs, training them, and ramping them up. Even if your company can easily afford it, who’s going to oversee this process? Let’s say you’re the head of marketing and you’ve been tasked with building an inside sales team. What impact will that then have on your marketing? Shifting focus and reallocating resources comes with a real risk.
If you’re a fast-growing startup then outsourcing your inside sales team allows you to focus on what matters most: product development and marketing campaigns. Let someone else focus on the actual execution of setting up appointments and helping you reach those lucrative new markets. Delegate your sales to a company that has already built and trained a team of inside sales experts. Access a much wider talent pool without the headache of managing their development, productivity, or retention.
Outsourcing your inside sales can help eliminate or at least dramatically reduce the amount of time, resources and risk involved by establishing a reliable team to help execute your sales plan. Never built an inside sales organization? Based on our experience of working with fast-growing startups, there’s a strong chance you will fail. This can cause devastating setbacks for your go-to-market or attempts to reach new markets.
Time is ticking
Ok, so you’ve committed to building your own SDR organization internally. How long is it going to take?
Who will lead them?
Realistically, hiring a head of inside sales to lead this team is going to take you at least three to six months in itself, making sure you find a suitable candidate who understands your business. Depending on where you base your team will determine the talent pool available.
Finding the right people
From there, your company will then need to recruit a reliable team of sales reps who can help you meet your sales goals. Job listings need to created, posted, and monitored. Applicants require multiple rounds of interviews and vetting, all of which can be very time consuming.
Training and development
Even if you manage to avoid any major pitfalls, you’re still looking at a year – if not longer – to implement, onboard, and train your inside sales team. They will need to learn about your business culture, the products and services you sell, and your target prospects. In the meantime, time and resources will be spent setting up their working environment and a robust tech stack.
Waiting for results
Ramping them up will also take time too. It can take months for new reps to find their footing and refine their inside sales techniques through practice. Can you afford to wait for this newly formed team to hit a level of productivity that will make them a truly effective part of your company? There’s also high turnover and retention to worry about.
Deliver results faster with outsourcing. Dramatically shorten your ramp-up time by leveraging the experience of an already established inside sales team.
At Harte Hanks Demand Generation, we can have a team of SDRs primed and ready to go in 30 days after an SOW is signed. Without the need for preliminary training, talented reps can focus on learning your business offerings.
They will identify the complex needs of your prospects before connecting with executives and decision makers to achieve results.
As you can see, there’s a huge difference in the time it would take to build an SDR organization internally and outsourcing one. Regardless of whether you are a fast-growing startup or global enterprise, the time it takes to build internal teams could be used more effectively. Building your own inside sales team becomes even less appealing when you consider the impact it can have on your product development and marketing efforts. Shifting focus and reallocating headcount will slow down your go to market strategy.
You could be wasting months before you’re able to hit the market with your messaging. In that time, customers will have found other solutions from companies who have streamlined their own inside sales efforts, either by having their own experienced team of sales reps or – as you might have guessed – through outsourcing. Outsourcing can offer the flexibility required to become more adaptable and take advantage of fast emerging market opportunities.
Time is crucial when racing against a highly competitive market and industry. In order to achieve both early and long-term success, you need to ensure you aren’t the last to market. As clearly demonstrated, outsourcing can help accelerate your push into new markets.
There’s something else you should also consider…
The value proposition of outsourcing your inside sales
As a company you need to ask yourself the following question: do you want to invest money or invest in people?
It’s cheaper to invest money than people. Of course, investing in people still costs money though there are additional factors beyond paying a salary you need to consider. For example, managing personalities within a team, finding candidates who reflect your culture, and the price of retaining them.
As you can see, investing in people isn’t as straightforward as investing money. It can take forever to find the right sales professionals, scouring for talent in a competitive market. That hiring process can also be expensive. Glassdoor estimates that the average cost of a new hire in the US is $4,000 though you should expect to pay as much as $20,000 for a good hire.
You then need to ask yourself: who is going to interview all of these candidates. Who is going to vet them and make sure they have the required inside sales skills to help you reach new markets?
Can your company do this effectively and even if so, how will this affect your allocation of resources. Will your product development and/or marketing efforts suffer as a result?
Investing in people also comes with a whole number of associated costs. Beyond hiring reps, you need to pay salaries which can fluctuate depending on geography. You also need to build the required infrastructure – office space, equipment, and maintaining an effective tech stack.
The costs don’t stop there. To attract the most talented reps you will need to offer competitive benefits. If you aren’t willing to invest in the best working environment for your sales reps, you shouldn’t expect results.
Through outsourcing, you can plug into a ready-made engine that’s primed to be fired up. Outsourced inside sales teams already have the infrastructure and you won’t need to worry about the additional costs of managing and developing them.
The money you save here can be better spent on other parts of your business, helping you to reach markets without the financial burden of building your own inside sales team.
Reaching international markets
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing is how it can help companies looking to expand internationally. Whether its markets in neighboring countries or on completely different continents, outsourcing can streamline your expansion while also mitigating risk. As we’ve already discussed, setting up an inside sales team can take a considerable amount of time and money – you can expect even more if setting up in a foreign market. Without outsourcing, you will need to remotely hire a workforce local to the region you want to expand into. Inside sales isn’t a one size fits all solution either, meaning that you will need to adapt or completely rework your strategies and messaging to suit prospects in any additional markets you are attempting to enter.
This involves building another HR department, overcoming language barriers, allocating travel expenses, navigating local business regulations, and properly addressing tertiary factors such as local business customs and culture. Outsourcing can dramatically streamline this process for you, making it as effortless as possible.
Testing and experimentation
The ability to experiment and test sales strategies can be just as valuable in the long run as outsourcing, even if you choose to retain your own inside sales team. By using a mixed model you can supplement your existing inside sales team with outsourced reps able to experiment through testing.
Try allocating a small percentage of headcount to testing new tactics and messaging, or perhaps have them explore new markets. The learnings from this experimentation can then be applied to the whole organization if successful.
Inside sales isn’t a one size fits all solution – the only way to evolve your strategy is to constantly adapt. Outsourcing allows you to do this without taking huge risks.
Why shouldn’t you outsource your inside sales?
Let’s look at some of the reasons why businesses can be cautious of outsourcing their inside sales.
One of the biggest concerns companies have is a loss of control over their messaging. There are worries that outsourced inside sales teams are ineffective, using the same sales template regardless of which clients they work with. This can be true for some outsourced companies, forcing businesses to adopt prefab sales programmes that don’t align with their values.
At Harte Hanks Demand Generation we tailor our programme to suit the exact needs of the client. We can help craft your own custom inside sales operations, engineered to minimize your risk and build out your culture internally within our dedicated team. Our bespoke programme is not only built around your company DNA, but also your buyer. This builds an ideal persona within your target market, giving insight into what messaging they respond well towards.
The other value proposition for Harte Hanks is that we are not a fractional inside sales organization. SDRs can shift between programmes, attempting to book appointments without any real knowledge of who they are representing. Meanwhile, our team has an in-depth focus, fully adopting your company DNA as we help you reach new markets.
By outsourcing your inside sales you can not only mitigate your risk but eliminate the overheads and ongoing costs associated with building your own team. There’s also the time element to consider – compared to the months it would take to recruit, train, and ramp up, you can plug into a team of reps ready to start delivering results in a matter of weeks. In rapidly changing markets, having that flexibility to capitalize on emerging opportunities will be vital in keeping pace with your competitors and ensuring both early and long term success.
Outsourcing is also essential in reaching international markets, helping to easily overcome the barriers companies face when expanding into different countries. Also, through testing and experimentation, you can improve your messaging and tactics to evolve your future sales strategy.
The numerous benefits we’ve highlighted easily outweigh the lingering concerns you may have about outsourcing your inside sales. Dynamic solutions, such as those offered by Harte Hanks, can help you reach new markets in a way that is both time and effective. We can help deliver results, and ultimately accelerate your revenue growth.
Originally from Iver in the United Kingdom, Christina has 25+ years in sales and operations, the majority of which has been at board level. Those who have met Christina would agree that she strives for operational excellence on a daily basis, consistently working in her role as SVP of Sales Services to develop the individuals and teams as a whole.