Remember the Dream Team? In 1992, coach Chuck Daly brought together the best and most experienced NBA players at the time: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and others, to win gold at the Barcelona Olympics, outscoring every opponent by an average of 43 points. That was a successful team!
What if you also had the chance to gather a successful sales team for your company? Just as coach Daly had to select players from a variety of teams, you have different managed services companies to choose from when looking for an outsource sales team.
In this blog, I'll describe 6 characteristics of a successful outsourced sales team so you can make an informed decision.
#1 - Successful Outsourced Sales Teams Train Hard
You’ve heard the stories about the hard-core training routines of basketball players like Michael Jordan. No pain, no gain.
It’s the same with your outsourced sales reps. They must be well trained, passionate, positive, empathetic, with great listening skills, the ability to multitask, think on their feet, and provide quick solutions.
The team must stay up-to-date with the latest sales trends and technology, so they can actively incorporate them into their jobs. For instance, they should be trained in the latest cloud-based software and tools for attracting and nurturing leads, such as a CRM to view and edit customer data.
The sales agents should also know how to handle difficult clients and know how to respond to queries and uncomfortable situations. This can be done with pre-written scripts about common objections and extensive training and role plays, for example.
Make sure your outsourced sales force follows some essential aspects of effective sales training and onboarding.
Remember: no work, no money.
#2 - Successful Outsourced Sales Teams Communicate Regularly
While training a team, the coach is constantly yelling instructions and calling plays. Players also communicate on the floor. Communication separates a good team from a great team.
To ensure the success of your sales team, you must have regular communication with them, through an Account Manager (AM) or similar position. The AM will tell you about your team’s performance every week, or every day if you wish.
What should you discuss with your AM? Talk about quality, performance, feedback and follow-up. Set goals, KPIs and plan professional development for your sales agents.
Think of the AM as the team captain. A good captain analyzes the game and his team's strengths and makes decisions accordingly. A good Account Manager interprets customer data and analytics, and uncovers essential insights about your buyer persona — and then passes this information to the sales reps, who can use it in their “game" to create trust and build relationships with prospects.
#3 - Successful Outsourced Sales Teams Improve Continuously
Do you know what assistant basketball coaches do? Besides recruiting players and preparing games, they play an interesting role: they often watch videos of previous games to see where mistakes were made and use them to teach players how to improve for future games.
It’s not unlike the role of a Quality Assurance (QA) Coach within a sales team. He or she keeps track of each agent's performance, and continuously evaluates the quality of the interactions with the clients, so the team can improve and thus increase sales.
As the head coach, you must work with the QA Team to develop an effective quality assurance program for your sales team. Such a program will not only improve the performance of the team but will ensure that the efforts of the outsourced company are aligned with your own company’s objectives.
For your team to be successful, they must improve continuously in different aspects of the sales process: listening, asking probing questions, pitching, presenting, handling objections and closing deals. Sort of like more three-pointers and blocked shots every game.
#4 - Successful Outsourced Sales Teams Are Always Prepared
Many basketball teams use playbooks, which is a compilation of strategies the team can use during games.
Your sales team must also use a sales playbook — a document outlining your sales process, buyer personas, call scripts and agendas, and sample emails. It can also include discovery, qualification, demo, and negotiation questions as well as proposal guidelines.
The key player for this role is the Content Writer, who prepares your team with key templates and transcripts. Sales agents can follow those templates when dealing with specific objections or when faced with difficult clients.
Make sure your outsourced sales team is always prepared with a Content Writer and a great playbook.
#5 - Successful Outsourced Sales Teams Are Flexible & Resourceful
Coach Wooden, the legendary basketball coach and leadership expert, created the Pyramid of Success, to lead his players. One of the pillars of the pyramid is resourcefulness, which he defined as "dreaming up ways to meet our goals."
A successful sales team must be resourceful, using different ways to meet your company’s goals. It’s not just about cold calling or email. It’s about generating leads through an omnichannel sales strategy.
- Use sales chat on your website
- Master outbound calling
- Adopt social selling
- Train your team to use email best practices
- Develop a content marketing strategy
- Implement a 24/7 response strategy
In other words, use all the technological and informational resources at your disposal to reach your sales goals.
Bonus Facet - Successful Outsourced Sales Team Know When To Pull Back and Slow Down
The basketball teams that win are the ones that know how to make smart decisions. If they’re in the lead by the end of the game, then they know to make the clock their ally. It’s important that they slow down and don’t go for the impossible shots. This will ensure victory.
The sales teams that are successful have to learn how to take “No” for an answer. In the world of sales, you are going to get rejected a lot. It’s how you deal with that rejection that will ultimately push you forward. You will grow from your failures and learn from your mistakes.
This doesn’t mean you just hang up on a cold call immediately when the lead turns you down. The key is figuring out when to take the rejection. Learning this skill will save you immense amounts of time and help build your reputation as a sales team.
Time to Play Ball
If you have the right players and the proper processes in your outsourced sales team, you're in a great position to fight for the gold medal.
Use these 6 characteristics to predict and calibrate your team’s chance of success.
Discover how Ipswitch generated $4.5 million in pipeline and $1 million in closed won business: