How To Choose An Outsourced Sales Development Partner
How do you choose the right outsourcing partner for your business?
Recruiting and managing an in-house sales development team is expensive. There’s hiring, training, overhead, and technology costs. Not to mention, high turnover rates that can quickly deplete your budget and resources.
Owners, executives, and sales leaders know they need to generate more leads but are also unsure of what to expect when working with a third-party company. Your business needs a reliable partner who will accurately represent your brand, build quality relationships, and provide transparent results.
Outsourcing Your Outbound Prospecting
Outsourced prospecting is a sales solution via a third party to assist or manage your top-of-the-funnel lead generation efforts. The third-party sales development representative (SDR) will represent your company in the process of searching for, identifying, and reaching out to prospects via cold calling.
An important, but difficult role in the sales process, the SDR will be setting appointments so that your team can focus on closing the leads and making higher revenue. Historically, these roles were seen as entry-level, and while that’s still common today, we are seeing major shifts in the perception of SDRs as the role becomes more advanced.
The average annual wage of an SDR ranges from around $60,000 to north of $100,000, with tech sales often landing closer to the higher end. This also doesn’t account for the overhead, tools, or technologies needed to successfully run and manage a lead generation campaign. Many businesses simply don’t have the budget to maintain all aspects of prospecting and generating leads.
Like in every business venture, you must understand how to best mitigate the risks involved to best position yourself to take advantage of the available opportunities. Outsourcing your prospecting can be the right sales solution for your business, but there are few things you should consider before choosing a partner.
Do Your Companies Align?
When choosing an outsourcing partner, you need to clearly define the objectives of your business, state your needs and expectations, and describe how you would like outsourcing to fill areas of opportunity. This will help you align your sales goals and ensure that your outsourcing partner has the best tools and resources to meet your specific industry needs.
Know how you want to be represented in the marketplace and how you want your brand to be associated with potential clients. Does the outsourced partner share your values and vision? Perform a quick search for their content – it could be a podcast, webinar, or their blog and resources pages on their website. Meet the team pages can also give you a good idea of the culture and environment at that company and how it fits with your business.
Most times, you can get a good idea of their brand and the values they stand for by what they are publishing. Social media, like Linkedin profiles, can also help you assess whether they are the right fit for your company. If you can’t find something online, ask them.
Can They Answer These Questions?
It is important to ask the right questions when searching for an outsourcing prospecting partner. Answers to these questions will help to determine whether you’re a good fit.
What size of companies are they currently working with? They don’t have to tell you exactly who, but they should give you an idea about the industry they work in, their campaign’s goals, and the scope of work performed.
How large is their team? How do they train their staff? This is important because you want your prospects to have quality conversations with your outsourcing partner. This will lead you to better feedback and overall understanding of your target market and offering, and how it benefits them. This is extremely useful and beneficial in all areas of sales and marketing.
What industries do they do most work in? You should choose a company that works in a variety of industries. These companies call over a sample of the market and often have better research into what does and doesn’t work on campaigns.
Can they provide you a few references? This can give you direct information about whether the outsourcing relationship would work or not for your company. You are going to be working directly with this company to establish the proper strategy based on your needs.
What type of pricing packages do they have? The outsourcing team should be comfortable running through an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of their outsourced sales services versus your business hiring in-house. Ideally, services should lower costs for your organization and increase profitability. But be careful, the cheapest option is rarely the best in the case of outbound prospecting teams. Your business should emphasize capabilities over cost, as well as the increase of revenue alongside expenses.
Make sure you find out as much as you can about what services they provide and what the benefits are for choosing them over another company.
Here are some more questions you can ask:
- What campaigns or projects are they currently working on?
- How large is their team?
- What sales methodology (or methodologies) do they use?
- Where are the staff located?
- What is their ramp-up time?
- How fast can they scale?
- What do their pricing packages include?
- Do they have an Inside Sales Staff or additional sales touches they can offer?
- How many times do they call each contact?
- Do they provide prospecting lists?
Are They Trustworthy?
Be careful of over promises and guarantees of leads that will surely underdeliver. Most times, these statements are false and they don’t have the proof or data to back them up. Ask for reports on similar campaigns and see how they react. Trustworthy companies will be able to provide you with the data you need to make a smart decision.
You can also discover the quality of service from reading their references and reviews. Do they have a good reputation? The quantity and quality of completed projects in your industry can provide you with some proof of the company’s success.
Search credible platforms like Clutch, Google My Business to read customer reviews and find more information about a prospecting company and its market reputation. Some companies may have profiles on freelance platforms like Upwork, where you can find more information about them, campaign reviews, and the overall work they provided. Try to make conclusions about their strengths and weaknesses, comparing them to your goals and needs to see if they could be a good fit.
Are They Transparent?
Real-time tracking, reporting, and campaign communications are an important part of the prospecting process. Your outsourced sales partner should be open and honest about your campaign and the time it will take to see results. Prospecting should be seen more as an initial investment to ensure your business growth.
Your outsourcing partner should be open to speaking about their team and answering questions based on core competencies, levels of sales expertise, and the technologies they leverage to build out a successful campaign. The more information you have about each call leads to more insight into how your campaigns are performing. A lead status tracker can help you better define the results from your calls to answer the questions above.
Your outsourcing partner should use a call tracking software or coded workbook to display the results of each call activity including round, disposition, time of call, & notes.
Also, take a look into the sales strategies and methodologies they use to train their sales teams. What are their processes?
What SDR metrics are they tracking? Are they trying to rush or push you into a sale? This is all reflective of how they will be on the phones and treating your customers.
Are They Following Data Safety and Compliance?
Your information and your prospect information should be secure. Make sure the company you are choosing to represent your business has high standards for business. This way, the risk is reduced and you will have more peace of mind that your account is in the right hands and all your contacts and phone numbers are clean and compliant
By their commitment to compliance, data scrubs can substantially reduce phone numbers that are either fake numbers (litigator numbers) or Do Not Call numbers. Phone numbers that are either litigator numbers or DNC numbers fundamentally are not quality leads by nature. These numbers have requested no calls or are traps for telemarketing companies.
By eliminating these factors, the quality of targeted contact lists increases, enabling client SDRs to have more conversations, and in turn can produce more appointments or next steps.
Pay attention to these areas of compliance:
Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR)
According to the FTC, “The Telemarketing Sales Rule, requires telemarketers to make specific disclosures of material information; prohibits misrepresentations; sets limits on the times telemarketers may call consumers; prohibits calls to a consumer who has asked not to be called again; sets payment restrictions for the sale of certain goods and services.”
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC is a federal agency that “protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace.”
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)“Regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories”
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
The TCPA is an act made by Congress in 1991 as a part of the FCC. “The TCPA restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. The rules apply to common carriers as well as to other marketers. In 1992, the Commission adopted rules to implement the TCPA, including the requirement that entities making telephone solicitations institute procedures for maintaining company-specific do-not-call lists.”
A web summary pdf of TCPA rules can be found by clicking here.