How to choose the best sales outsourcing partner for your business?
Outsourcing your sales is a flexible option to scale your company’s international sales. Whether you’re looking to outsource sales in your current or new market, it is a much more cost-effective method than spending the time and money on recruiting, hiring employees, renting office spaces, figuring out compliances, etc. Especially companies looking to grow fast, cannot afford to allocate more tasks to their leadership team. You already know this, that’s why you’re here.
There can be some problems if you don’t choose your sales outsourcing partner wisely. Especially when outsourcing your sales in a new market such as a European country can be catastrophic. Wasted money, time, and little to show for results.
That’s why in this article, we’ll go over 10 of the best practices, tips, and pitfalls to look out for when choosing your sales outsourcing partner, so you’ll have the best chances of succeeding.
1. Years in business
It is important to find reliable partners to work with, especially when it comes to outsourcing your sales. That’s why a company that has been in business for a long time is usually a good sign of its trustworthiness and quality.
The quality of the service is not the only thing that matters when it comes to choosing a sales outsourcing partner. The team behind the company should also be taken into consideration. They should be knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate about their work, as well as be able to provide great customer service.
2. References and case studies
When you’re looking to work with a potential partner previously unknown to you, having a look through their case studies relevant to your business and asking for references from other companies they’ve worked with in the past, is a good idea.
Case studies and references should clarify what to expect and form realistic expectations of what your cooperation can potentially yield.
3. Geographic location
The geographic location of your sales outsourcing partner is a crucial factor that will affect the success of scaling your sales. If you are a US-based business looking to open new revenue sources in Europe, you want to have a partner that is local to your target region.
We have seen companies hiring somebody from their home market to take them across the world, even though they had no clue about the target market. A partner, who is not only in your target market, but also has profound knowledge of the local markets, sales ecosystems, and cultural differences, as well as speaks the same language as your potential customers, are paramount.
Geographic location shouldn’t be a crutch when it comes to communication either. If you are in the US and want to find a sales outsourcing partner in Europe, the time difference can be 5 hours, or worst case scenario 10 hours. Your potential partner should have established processes when it comes to means of communication, time-zone differences, reporting, and meetings.
4. Domain expertise; B2B, B2C, Partner channels, etc.
This one is an obvious one. Depending on whether your business is B2B, B2C, and or works through partners, having a partner that has expertise in that area is key. Even considering if they are more focused on high-volume B2B sales or Enterprise B2B sales is important. The difference is huge so it should be taken into consideration and the more you can narrow it down with whom you work based on their focus, the better.
5. Ability to assist throughout the process, from strategy to execution
You need someone who can help you throughout the process, from strategy to execution. Consider a partner who can assist with the entire sales process, from planning and preparation, to closing and post-sales support.
A good partner strives to understand your business and has a good understanding of how you run it. This is important because when you’re outsourcing your sales team, you want them to be part of your company culture and committed to a long-term relationship. An understanding that they are in it for the long haul and truly believe in your company’s vision.
They should have an understanding of what makes your company tick and be able to work alongside you on cross-functional projects. They should have a thorough understanding of your products or services and be able to demonstrate this knowledge while they are working with their clients.
How we believe it should be done
One thing we do here at Rinne & Partners is to make sure to support our clients in every possible way. At the end of the day, you want someone who will be there for you and your business every step of the way.
While we talk about sales outsourcing, we are big proponents of doing it strategically. If you don’t have the necessary knowledge and expertise when it comes to international sales and expansion, chances are that a sales outsourcing partner is not going to bring the results you want. Oftentimes they are done hastily, ill-prepared, and end in a lot of wasted time and money wasted.
That’s why we spend a lot of time and resources on our end to make sure our clients are ready for international expansion. Then plan and prepare everything from market entry strategy to the tools that the salespeople will use.
Our mission is simply to be a one-stop shop for international expansion. Whether that’s because our client’s company leadership lacks the knowledge and expertise or simply doesn’t have enough bandwidth to plan and execute it themselves.
If you want to learn whether your company is ready for entering a new market, download the checklist below. It could save you hundreds of thousands, if not millions, depending on the size of your company. Enough about us though!
Download our checklist to make sure your company is ready to expand internationally!Download Now
6. A sales outsourcing partner will have a wide network of capable local sales professionals
One of the biggest and most valuable things about a partner that enables your business to enter a new international market is their local networks of sales professionals and partners that are in your relevant industry. These networks allow you to enter a new market faster, as they have the sales experience and local network of potential customers.
Imagine flying to Italy where you don’t know the language, culture, or anything really. You meet a potential client after 11 am and order a cappuccino at a cafe, only to be met with a look of disbelief in your prospect’s eyes. Sales in Italy are better left to the Italians!
The best sales outsourcing partner will be able to find a great local sales professional to work with. Ones that will be an extension of your company’s international sales team.
Hiring a call center from a country with cheap labor to “help” a US company find leads in Europe, is generally not a good idea.
7. Can build teams with diverse functions from lead generation to inside and field sales
What really makes an exceptional sales outsourcing partner, is their ability to craft and build sales teams that fit perfectly into your go-to-market strategy.
Whether that’s lead generation, demand generation, inside sales, field sales, or all of the above, a good partner knows how to build a cohesive team that complements each other and works optimally.
8. Is able to offer customer-friendly business terms
As sales outsourcing is a flexible way of selling in new markets, you need to be careful when negotiating business terms with your provider. Watch out for example termination clauses and the period for commission payments. Cooperation should be win-win, and both parties should feel that they have agreed to good terms.
9. Ability to support with market scanning
The function of market research is usually to hone down on your potential target markets from a wide selection and validate the potential. At this point, you most likely have a good idea what are the best markets for you to go after, ones you’re already getting sales from but need more steam.
A good partner will be able to provide a more detailed market potential validation of those markets, to find out localization requirements, competitors, sales ecosystems, partner ecosystems, local legislation issues, etc. As a bonus, they could offer customer interviews.
10. International team
Being able to support you when entering unknown territories is crucial and requires that professionals with whom you work with are experts in these markets. This not only applies to local salespeople, but for example, a team who is building a GTM plan for you for specific markets needs to understand those markets. You need to execute your sales with local salespeople and with a solid and credible plan.
Conclusion on choosing the right sales outsourcing partner
The list is long, but you should not leave your homework undone. Failing to comply with key factors when choosing the right partner, can delay your market entry, increase costs and even kill the whole project. When planning to work with your sales outsourcing partner, you need to have your internal team aligned and possess enough cash in the bank to be able to execute consistently, for at least 12 months. Sales outsourcing is a great way to rapidly expand your business to new markets, and if done right, will give you results faster compared to the “traditional” way of doing things.