What comes to mind when you think about outsourcing sales?
You may imagine losing control of your operations and handing your database over to a bunch of 20-year-olds somewhere halfway-around the world. Perhaps something like this scene from Slumdog Millionaire.
Or perhaps you imagine just the opposite -- an expensive New York agency billing you $1,000 per hour for something you could do in-house for pennies on the dollar.
Neither one is a true representation of what outsourcing is really like. However, they are common misconceptions people have about outsourcing.
In this article we address 5 misconceptions about outsourcing sales and what the reality is.
Misconception #1: Outsourcing is low quality
"If you want something well done, you’d have to do it yourself,” is the common belief among high achievers.
The same goes for misconceptions about outsourcing sales — some think that to achieve high quality, sales have to be managed exclusively in-house.
The fact, however, is that low quality is a result of lack of skills and poor communication about goals and expectations of the sales force. These problems can occur both with an in-house or an outsourced team.
It’s true that companies outsource, among other reasons, to save costs, but lower expenses don't mean lower quality. Here are some reasons why it’s cheaper to outsource sales than doing it in-house (and none of these reduce quality):
- - Outsourcing companies hire talent in places where the cost of living is lower than the U.S
- - They have an all inclusive fee that saves you the costs of hiring, training and managing staff
- - They have processes in place to make their sales reps and other supporting staff more efficient
Of course, not every outsourcing company is the same and the quality will vary. Make sure you do your due diligence, checking the track record of each company. Research their reputation and results with past clients and interview multiple managed service providers to find the best fit for your needs.
Misconception #2: Outsourcing staff don't speak English
When some people think about outsourcing, they imagine a crowded call center in a foreign country (perhaps India or the Philippines) with reps who learned English as a second language and speak with a heavy accent.
That may have been the case many years ago, but not today.
English is the universal language for business and the second most-spoken language in the world. So, companies know they must have a very high-level of English. Now, consider this:
- - Many B2B outsourcing sales companies operate in English-speaking countries
- - Even those that operate in countries where English is not the first language, hire English-native speakers or bilingual individuals with demonstrated English proficiency
For instance, the vast majority of sales reps working for sales outsourcing services in foreign countries are either from an English-speaking country or lived in an English-speaking country at some point.
Misconception #3: Outbound or cold calling is dead
Why outsource sales if outbound sales is dead anyway, right?
Outbound is still the best way to reach targeted prospects, especially in the B2B realm. In fact, cold calling is far from dead.
According to research by the RAIN Group, 49% of buyers prefer to be contacted by phone, and the stat is 57% among C-level and VPs.
Outsourcing sales doesn’t mean lining up sales reps to cold call random people and interrupt their dinners or board meetings. The outbound sales process is more sophisticated than that, involving the definition of a target market and proactively contacting qualified leads (not random people).
Outsourced sales reps will have personal contact with prospects and obtain immediate feedback and results. Furthermore, they’ll have control over the pace of marketing and selling throughout their interaction with the prospects.
Although inbound sales evangelists proclaim the death of outbound sales, those who still do it, know it works.
Misconception #4: Only big companies outsource sales
Companies of all sizes need to sell, while decreasing costs. Not just big companies.
According to a 2016 survey from Deloitte, 23% of companies who outsource have an annual revenue of 25 million USD or less. Another survey found that 37% of small businesses outsourced a business process in 2018, and 52% planned to outsource in 2019.
Small and medium-sized companies are perfect fits for outsourcing sales. They need the expertise that established outsourcing companies can provide and they can take advantage of the inclusive packages these companies offer so they can reach their target market quickly.
The startup stage is actually a great time to begin outsourcing sales. Imagine deploying a team of experienced sales reps to offer your product or service instead of having to do everything yourself or having to go through all the work of recruiting, hiring, training and managing an internal team.
Misconception #5: Outsourcing is unpatriotic
Outsourcing has had a bad reputation in the past. Some political views regard outsourcing (particularly when it involves overseas locations) as unpatriotic.
This misconception says that outsourcing is bad for the domestic economies, as it takes jobs overseas, away from local people. Although it’s a useful political argument, it doesn’t make sense from an economist’s point of view.
Because outsourcing is a cost-effective measure that strengthens a company, it actually strengthens the economy. If an American or European company cannot stay competitive in the market, it won’t survive, and even its local employees would lose their jobs. Outsourcing helps companies stay competitive.
For example, outsourcing sales allows a company to reduce costs and focus on high-level activities, while the outsourced team does the heavy lifting of lead generation and appointment setting.
All these factors increase productivity and efficiency. That means that the company can offer its products and services at a better price without affecting profits. Better prices mean more clients can afford them and buy them, which is a sign of a healthy economy. And in a healthy economy, there’s more investment, more employment, and hence, more businesses paying their taxes to the government. All thanks to outsourcing.
Reality is better than fiction
There are widely held oversimplified ideas about outsourcing that don’t match reality. These stereotypes can hold businesses back from taking advantage of outsourcing its sales force and experiencing rapid growth.
Of course, getting started with outsourced sales involves careful consideration of different factors, such as the type of services you’re offering, your business model and the resources your outsourcing partner can provide.
Outsourcing sales is a great fit for tech companies and start-ups that are looking to scale quickly, for businesses with complex products that need larger sales teams, and for established businesses that are expanding into new markets (for example, European companies expanding to the US).
Are you considering outsourcing sales? Then don’t let the above misconceptions stop you.