5 Important Things To Prepare Before Outsourcing Sales
Get ready for your sales outsourcing partnership with these 5 essential tips
Outsourcing Sales functions is not a one size fits all approach. Every sales team and business is distinctive and requires a tailored plan to deliver the best results. It requires strategic planning with a trusted and credible vendor partner to avoid potential hardships and ensure smooth collaboration and faster development.
In this article, we advise 5 essential elements you should consider when preparing for outsourcing sales functions. Here's what you should prepare, so your new team hits the ground running.
1. Perform an internal sales audit
The first step before outsourcing sales is to assess the state of your current sales team, your practices, and your processes. You should perform an internal audit to evaluate your existing structure's effectiveness and detect improvement opportunities.
Here are some essential areas to look at:
Your sales organization structure:
Review the current setup of your sales team. Each organization is unique, and individuals should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities in the sales process, allowing you to capitalize on each member's capabilities.
Are you distributing sales by region, industry, or account size? Analyze your existing setup to determine where your outsourcing partner could support and deliver the most benefit.
Your sales process:
Break down and document the steps your sales take to convert leads to customers. Having a clear overview of your sales process would be best, enabling your outsourcing partner to understand your current methodology better.
This review should also allow you to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement where your outsourcing vendors could create additional value. It's also an excellent opportunity to update (or create) your sales playbook.
Review your sales tools:
You will be sharing standardized technology with a sales outsourcing partner to ensure visibility over ongoing activities. Get off to a good start and provide your internal tools that are relevant and up to date.
Do your best to centralize your data into one single source of truth for your team. Review your CRM, lead tracking software and other tools your sales executives use. In most cases, this step also allows you to eliminate unused or redundant technology and cut some savings along the way.
2. Set clear expectations with all parties
Reviewing your internal structure should have allowed you to determine where sales outsourcing would best fit to enhance your existing sales organization. Focus on what's expected from all parties for this partnership to work.
That means aligning leadership in your business, your current sales team, and your outsourcing partner to the same objectives. Ensure there is an official communication describing the scope of action, targets, and how the vendor will complement your existing sales structure. This will help you get buy-in from your current team and start the collaboration on the right foot.
Establishing open collaboration and understanding with your internal team is vital so they feel secure and know their roles are not at risk. This also includes your sales reps, but in some cases, it can also impact other departments, such as the marketing or product teams.
3. Create synergies
In strategic partnerships such as sales outsourcing, creating synergies between the in-house and external teams is crucial. Both sales forces should feel like they are part of the same ecosystem, working towards the same goals.
This means having a clear workflow and task distribution that guarantees no overlapping responsibilities or any room for guessing. Think about sharing a common file repository for critical documents to ensure all parties access up-to-date information. Additionally, ensure you implement communication processes to maintain the same level of knowledge on both sides.
Ideally, your current sales team should be involved early in the partner training and onboarding, helping open direct communication channels between both parties and allowing collaboration to flow seamlessly from one group to another.
4. Be ready to manage your outsourcing partner (as an extension of your team)
It's best to have a solid understanding of how the outsourced team will operate. Most outsourced teams are offsite and managed by a project manager that handles reporting, meetings, and general interaction between the sales teams and your company.
Also, it's essential to consider the outsourced partner and the project manager as one of your reporting managers. You should establish regular review meetings to examine the team's objectives, goals, and metrics.
In the ideal collaboration model, your partner is a valid extension of your team. In no case should your outsourced partner be considered a satellite team because they're playing an essential role in your sales process. You must be actively involved and work with them to hit goals and adapt sales processes.
5. Find a solution-oriented vendor
When preparing for outsourcing, you need to identify potential outsourcing partners that can not only follow instructions from your playbook but that are also solution-oriented. One of the advantages of outsourcing sales is to access a new level of expertise from people with a solid experience in your industry, and you don't want to miss out on this.
Your partner should act as a consultant and provide you with insights on how to optimize and improve your current sales practices. This means they should adopt a proactive approach to delivering solutions, tailor their services to your structure and be flexible enough to adapt to your unique organization.
A successful sales outsourcing partnership should ultimately support gathering new knowledge that can be diffused in your whole company and help you grow the business.
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