Businesses of all sizes have more options than ever when it comes to outsourcing basic services to save time and costs.
IT. Payroll. Shipping. Point-of-sale. Credit checks. Credit card processing. Legal.
I bring this up because at some point, a lot of companies ask the same question about their sales organization: “Can we outsource this?”
The reasons for asking are pretty compelling. For businesses without a lot of experience, building a fully-realized sales team—one that’s aligned with company goals, product, and marketing initiatives—is at best a challenge. At worst it’s Mission: Impossible.
The problem is so pervasive that at least once a month we get a prospect who expresses disappointment that we AREN’T an outsourced sales prospecting company (“Oh, you mean you just sell the product and consulting, you don’t actually make the sales calls? Shoot.”).
But when we get the question “Will you do it for us?” our answer is simple and consistent:
When it comes to sales, outsource infrastructure, don’t outsource people.
If you look at the earlier list of outsourced services, they’re all infrastructure. Services that provide value, but require little to no customer-facing interactions.
Sales, on the other hand, is intensely interactive.
Outsourcing infrastructure is a great because it lets companies avoid sinking trunkloads of cash into the back-end when that cash could be better used elsewhere.
Outsourcing sales, on the other hand, means that one of the most important, long-term functions of business is controlled by someone else.
The one benefit of this, of course, is that “someone else” often has the expertise in the sales process that the people hiring them lack.
But as the old saying goes, “No one cares about your business like you do.” Nobody owns your problems like you do, nobody sees your customers like you do.
Obviously there’s very few business problems that have a “one size fits all” solution, and your company may in fact be a prime candidate for effective sales outsourcing.
But most of the time we recommend instead of handing the sales process off to someone else, hire a “scrappy” sales manager, roll up your sleeves, bring in a good consultant, and do it yourself.