So you decided to outsource your sales team? Good for you!
You probably feel some uncertainty letting others take care of such an integral part of your organization. But fear not. As long as you know what to expect and how to measure the results, you’ll be fine. There’s an important principle here: that which is measured increases; that which is measured and reported increases exponentially.
In this blog I’d like to give you three success metrics that you can use to evaluate the performance of your outsourced sales team. We call those success metrics Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Before we jump into those three KPIs, it’s important that you know the difference between two types of numbers: leading and lagging indicators.
- Leading Indicators: These are future numbers, which haven’t happened yet, but are used to predict how things will go next month, next quarter or next year.
- Lagging Indicators: These are past numbers, which are used to predict your leading indicators.
The tendency is to focus only on lagging indicators such as number of sales, but we should focus on KPIs, which are leading indicators and tell us about the quality of our sales pipeline.
Let’s look at an example.
- For every 10 contacts (email, phone, live chat, social media), your sales team turns 5 of them into qualified leads (50% conversion rate).
- For every 10 qualified leads, your sales team closes 3 deals – 30% conversion rate.
- If you need 3 new contracts a month, based on the above lagging indicators, you’ll need 10 qualified leads, and to get those, you'll need 20 contacts.
Can you see the trick here? If you focus on the KPIs (the leading indicators), you’ll be able to increase the number of sales (a lagging indicator).
Let’s switch focus then to the 3 KPIs you need to watch for to measure the success of your outsourced sales team.
#1 - Number of Qualified Appointments
It takes an average of eight attempts to reach a prospect - and even then, the best approach is not always to book an appointment right away but to build trust and rapport so the chances of eventually closing the sale will be greater.
In other words, it takes time to book qualified appointments. A great sales team, however, has the expertise and the skills to educate prospects with informative, helpful content even before they’re at the decision stage, so the rest of the sales process flows smoothly.
This KPI is not an exact science - it varies depending on the industry, the type of product or service, the sales techniques used and more. Here’s what to look for in your outsourced sales team:
- Do they promise to match or beat the performance of your prior sales process?
- Do they respond quickly to prospects inquiries? There’s a 10X decrease in your chance of making contact with a prospect after a five-minute wait time.
Appointments are wonderful, but that’s just the first step…
#2 - Number of Appointments that Lead to Closed Deals
As with the above, closing a sale depends on a number of factors. The average outsourced inside sales team succeeds with 18% of pitches. Doesn’t sound like much? Perhaps you could do better.
Watch out for a consistent flow of leads through the sales funnel. If there is a fair number of qualified appointments, but none or very few are closing, it’s time to evaluate that part of the funnel. Some questions you may ask your remote sales team are:
- Do you know the needs of my buyer and are you clear about the buyer’s journey?
- Do you know how to respond to the common objections in our industry?
- Are you using a multi-channel approach and do you know which channels have a higher conversion rate for our product or service?
Finding a great managed services company to outsource your sales can help you beat the industry average. Such was the case for Nierman Practice Management, a software, education, and medical billing solutions company. Their outsourced team scheduled 122 qualified sales meetings in 10 months, and 48 of those led to closed deals - that’s almost a 40% success rate!
And finally, the third KPI...
#3 - Length of Sales Cycle
Time is money, is often said - and since you can measure time, it’s a good KPI to look out for. The shorter the sales cycle, the faster you’ll make money.
What is the total length of time the team is taking to qualify a new prospect? How long do they take to close a deal? You should establish your own benchmarks, compare them to your past sales (your lagging indicators) and be aware of your industry’s standards.
An analysis of the pipelines of hundreds of companies showed that, on average, it takes 84 days to convert a contact into a qualified lead and only 18 days, on average, to convert the leads into clients. Do you know your numbers?
Your sales management team should track and report conversions at each stage of the process.
Use actual data and be objective in your assessments. If you have a strong CRM and the sales team keeps it up-to-date, tracking the length of the sales cycle will be easier. In some cases, you should be able to automate the creation of those reports on your CRM, saving time.
What About Measuring Revenue?
Although revenue is not a KPI per se, you should also measure the success of your outsourced sales work regarding the total revenue generated. What would be the point of outsourcing sales if there’s no revenue?
Some lagging indicators you can measure here are the proposal-to-closed-deals ratio, the average deal size, the number of sales per quarter/year, the annual quota, and the ratio of new vs. existing client sales.
One vital question to ask your outsourced sales team is: What is your track record generating revenue for your clients? Do you have any case studies showing your results?
A great example is the B2B software company Ipswitch. In 2017, Ipswitch was losing thousands of qualified leads every day because it didn’t have a team that could could interact with their visitors on their website. They decided to outsource and began working with a managed sales chat team of six representatives to respond to sales queries, in both english and Spanish, 16 hours a day. The result was more than $1.2 million of closed deals.
Predict Success and Grow
When you outsource sales, pay attention to these 3 KPIs as well as your revenue and you will not only be able to measure your current performance, but you’ll also be able to predict your future success and grow.
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