Closing sales is becoming increasingly difficult. Competition is getting fiercer by the minute. To top it off, budgets are only getting tighter. And that isn’t just happening to companies selling cars, gas boilers or tangible products.
Software development, cloud computing, and many other sectors that mostly operate in the B2B realm are also feeling the squeeze. If your team is struggling, you can’t expect your sales funnel to sing. So what’s the best way to deal with the pressure of meeting targets?
Outsourcing B2B sales could be the way to cover all the crucial activities. We’re here to guide you through the ins and outs of the process and help you decide whether this is the right option for your enterprise.
The world of business-to-business sales is unique. You don’t deal directly with end customers but instead try (and hopefully succeed) to sell your products or services to other enterprises. In today’s world, this sort of thing is fundamental to the supply chain.
Planning, negotiation, relationship-building, and meeting often very specific needs all must function like clockwork. So what happens if some of these aren’t a part of your competencies? What if your team is great at developing AI-based apps but has no idea how to sell them? Contracting or hiring external third-party team(s) can be a good way to handle sales activities.
Why do it?
In addition to accessing expertise not directly available to you, there are other reasons why you might want to give outsourcing B2B sales a try. Here are some of the main benefits that can help you reach your core objectives:
- Cost-effective customer acquisition and reduction of overhead expenses.
- Systematic and efficient lead generation resulting in a shorter sales cycle.
- A chance to overcome technology constraints and compensate for a lack of in-house resources.
- A way to tap into a wealth of data and spend less time on analytics.
- An opportunity to explore new markets and find a loyal audience.
Building a robust strategy
The main premise is simple enough. In-house sales are partially or completely outsourced to a third-party provider. This team then deals with establishing connections between businesses. The purpose of this move isn’t to duplicate work but, instead, to have specific teams focus on specific tasks. So how do you build a strategy that works?
In order to decide on in-house vs. outsourced sales, you’ll need to carefully audit operations before committing to any solution. Can external contractors add value? If so, it’s time to look for their help.
There are plenty of dangers along the way. In order to navigate the complex relationship from beginning to end, you’ll need to establish clear and honest communication with the new team. A complete understanding of the task at hand is essential.
To help you succeed, we’ve listed some non-negotiables you should insist on when outsourcing B2B sales.
1. What’s their industry expertise?
Outsourcing B2B sales is all about filling the gaps in your own team. It’s great if the outsourced salespeople have experience in online banking or the blockchain but, if your niche is AI-powered healthcare software, this won’t do.
Industry expertise is of paramount importance. We’re talking about knowledge, specific skill sets, and access to relevant resources. Make sure whoever you’re outsourcing your sales to has them in spades. Not having to explain everything will save you a lot of time.
2. Do they have a proven track record?
Every savvy shopper reads the reviews before making a purchase. If you’re shopping around for a new sales team, you’ll do the same. Of course, a bigger investment will require you to dig a bit deeper. Make sure the team really can do what it claims.
Nothing beats a proven track record, especially if it comes in the form of testimonials from past customers. Don’t be afraid to go so far as to reach out to the clients and ask questions. Case studies are also great, especially if they showcase a range of projects and problem resolutions.
3. What’s their sales process like?
Each team has a unique workflow. It can be highly structured or flexible, prioritizing speed or sales volume, and tracking progress in a myriad of ways. All this stuff happens behind the scenes. Make sure you pull the curtain and take a good hard look. Pay attention to both operations and analytics, learning both how things work and how you can make them work for you.
4. Inquire about dedicated experts
This is where you should assess the size and scope of the business. Are you dealing with one team managing multiple clients or multiple dedicated teams you can rely on? There are two reasons for this. The first is the ability of the team (or rather its members) to specialize and narrowly focus on your unique needs.
The other reason is fluctuations. After all, you want to be able to scale up and down without having to switch vendors. This is where sales become quite akin to software development. The ability to adapt to any situation is paramount.
5. Learn about the tech stack
When picking a team to handle your sales, you’ll mainly focus on the human resources side of things. However, note that this isn’t the beginning nor the end of it. In outsourcing B2B sales, tech matters a lot. Prospecting, appointment generation, and nurturing all require different approaches — and different tools.
In short, you need a vendor with a fully integrated tech stack so as to avoid system hopping. For example, they should be able to access customer information across all relevant platforms — all while maintaining the highest levels of online safety and security.
6. Focus on data-driven methodology
Last but not least, your team will need a way to measure and address customer touchpoints. This includes lead scoring, customer segmentation, personalized messaging, sales trends, and customer feedback. Make sure the vendor has enough resources to perform this crucial task and present it in the form of weekly and monthly progress reports.
The best time to do it
The above can serve as a blueprint for successful outsourcing. So what happens if you’re still unable to decide? That’s fine. Before we wrap this up, we’ll give you a few additional questions you can use to determine whether you want to take this step. Ask yourself:
- Is your sales department producing inconsistent results or are you perhaps losing customers?
- Do you sense a lack of tools or platforms necessary for success?
- Is the traffic on your website or social media low?
- Do you need assistance with lead generation or reaching your targeted audience?
Are you nodding to any (or all) of these? In that case, you definitely need to give outsourcing B2B sales a try.
Striking the perfect balance when outsourcing B2B sales
Stagnant sales figures, a distinct lag behind the competition, or an inability to keep up with the latest trends will mean that your business meets the criteria for outsourcing. You can opt for it as a temporary solution or a long-term replacement, delegating any or all parts of the process. This can include research, prospecting, qualifying, nurturing, closing deals, and maintaining relationships.
Your mission is to perfect the art of outsourcing B2B sales, benefiting from insider knowledge and experience, as well as tech stack. It’s a chance to revolutionize your inbound marketing systems, expand your sales, and help you scale up. Don’t miss it.