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The Differences Between an Outsourced SDR Team and a Freelance SDR

What are the differences between outsourcing and freelance SDRs? Let’s figure out what will work best for your business.

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Studies show that partnering with an outsourced SDR company or SDR freelancer can increase sales and brand awareness faster and more efficiently than hiring, building, and managing an internal team. 
And while both options can provide your company with massive benefits, there are good reasons for choosing one over the other.

Which is suitable for your company?

What is an Outsourced SDR Team or Freelance SDR?

A critical role in almost every company, sales development reps are responsible for prospecting, setting qualified appointments, booking demos, and other forms of cold outreach. Largely, your revenue depends on your prospecting success and the impact of your SDR.

Let’s talk about why hiring an outsourced sales team or a freelancer can help you maximize your sales pipeline over an internal team. 

An Outsourced Sales Development company is a third-party company that acts as an extension of your sales team to increase your prospecting, appointment setting, or other top-of-the-funnel lead generation efforts. 

These companies hire sales development reps (SDRs) that reach out to your prospects on your behalf, using a specific sales methodology that will help you reach your lead generation goals.

All outsourced SDRs should act accordingly to your set company standards and defined workplace values. They are simply an extension of your sales team, representing your brand at the highest level. 

A freelance SDR is an independent sales professional who meets the necessary qualifications to move your project forward. They are not necessarily tied to a third-party company but can be found through freelance platforms, such as Upwork or Workana.  There, you can search for the freelance SDR that fits your company best by looking through their portfolios and reviews from work that is similar to yours. 

Why are these options better than hiring an internal SDR? 

We all know sales teams carry extremely high expectations. Too often companies hire SDRs expecting them to deliver results straight away, without giving them the adequate training and knowledge to succeed.

According to Hubspot, most SDRs require over 3 months of training before they are fully trained after onboarding. Many organizations take it for granted that their sales leaders know how to effectively manage SDR training and performance. Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. 

chart showing the cost of hiring an internal sales development representative versus a freelance SDR or outsourced SDR team.

The average SDR hire comes with less than 12 months of experience and an average tenure of under 16 months, carrying one of the highest turnover rates in sales. When this happens you lose more than just your time and resources- you also lose your culture, which weakens your brand identity and hurts your outreach. 

By choosing an outsourced SDR team or a freelance SDR, you also are forgoing the high costs associated with hiring, building – and managing – an internal sales team. Using the average pay data, we know that the average SDR base salary ranges from $50k to $80K. Add in the high costs of software, hardware, overhead, and allocation of human resources – and it all adds up fast. 

The Bridge Group indicates statistically that to have better revenues, you must have a higher quality of software and technology to optimize—starting with the sales workflow. High-growth companies almost always deploy more technologies compared with laggard ones. So, if you want to “win” in cold outreach, chances are, you will need to spend more money to be successful. 

Choosing between an outsourcing team or freelance SDR are two of the most popular options for companies looking to advance their sales pipeline and lead generation efforts. Let’s get into the pros and cons of each. 

Hiring an Outsourced SDR vs Freelance SDR 

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of choosing an outsourced SDR team vs a freelance SDR. Some of the biggest differences are:  

1. Proven Sales Methodology

Successful sales teams continuously refine their processes based on measurable data and constant feedback. When you have one or multiple freelance SDRs, they aren’t normally in communication with each other about what is working or not. And if you aren’t measuring, or don’t have all your metrics in one place, you won’t be able to improve your results as easily.

A good outsourced SDR company will bring a proven methodology with standard processes that can help improve your contact lists, target audiences, messaging, and overall marketing strategy. They have worked in multiple industries and have years of experience testing formulas and strategies.

While freelance SDRs may need more setup time to study your industry, outsourced SDRs are experienced with proven methods of success. Having this formalized sales process ensures that your team focuses its efforts on the activities that generate the most revenue.

2. Sales Tech Stack

A sales technology stack is a combination of software tools that’ll improve the way you manage your sales process. According to a recent Linkedin State of Sales report, 73% of salespeople said they use technology to close more deals while 97% of respondents said that technology is either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their sales process.

This is because a large part of prospecting and cold outreach depends on the quality of tools and data your sales team is using. Without proper tech stack integrations and management, sales could be slipping away. That’s one positive about using an outsourced SDR team – they have an expert sales stack that is managed at the highest level. This allows them to constantly refine and sharpen your campaign performance from start to finish.

Trying to hire freelance SDRs without the tech stack? It can be done, but it certainly won’t be to the standard of an outsourced team. Doing it on your own? Most technologies take some time to learn, while others can be hard to keep organized. And unfortunately, none of them are cheap. Outsourced SDRs give you the most transparency with their sales tech stack. It is important to take advantage of it.

3. Scalability

As opposed to other channels like content, PR, and email marketing that can reach a huge number of prospects with a relatively low investment, cold outreach requires you to hire more SDRs to scale and reach more prospects.

When you start to manage multiple freelancers, quality can often take a backseat. But with an outsourced SDR company, ramping or scaling to meet your company’s needs can be as easy as sending an email to your account manager.

Outsourced teams have trained employees that are ready to be placed within your campaign. Some teams can give you the ability to go as low as ½ person capacity up to 25 SDRs, meaning you can pivot faster in either direction without having to hire, fire, or pause your outreach.

4. Team & Culture

In a 2021 study, The Bridge Group found that the median pipeline generated per SDR is around $3 million per year. To keep your sales pipeline growing, you need to focus on the long-term development and culture of your SDR team and recognize the daily challenges they face in their roles. This can be extremely difficult to manage with multiple or even one freelance SDR.

Culture reflects not only those in positions of power but also drives employee engagement and satisfaction. Businesses retain and attract professionals when the company culture values their employees. A business’s culture also defines who it hires.

Superhuman Prospecting CEO, Ryan Pereus, said it best:

“The future of a successful SDR outsourcing company is not just a talented SDR, but highly talented & skilled outsourced SDR leadership. Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, says you should spend the most time with your A players. But closely following, you should spend the second most amount of time with your B players who could be A.

This requires a strong and consistent measurement system and culture. A culture of consistent and quantitative improvement of results ran by strong leadership. How does this happen when companies want to hire and manage multiple freelancers at once? The freelance economy is here, but freelance isn’t a team sport, it’s managing individual companies.

If you’re looking for an outsourced SDR partner? Look for strong sales leadership at the company you’re looking to hire, not just talented SDRs. There might be one or two, but if you have strong leadership, talented SDRs follow.”

5. Performance Management

When it comes to campaign performance, you get what you pay for. You wouldn’t go to the $1 dollar pizza place and ask for a Michelin star meal. When choosing between a freelance SDR and an outsourced SDR team, you need to compare who is going to give you the best results for your money.

With an outsourced SDR team, you can expect real-time data tracking and performance metrics with an unmatched transparency level. And since outsourced SDRs are managed so closely, they are incentivized to only write good leads. At Superhuman Prospecting, all SDR leads go through a safety net and are defined accordingly to lead tracking standards and qualifications.

Freelance work is foundational to independent workers, but the consistency that outsourced SDR leadership can provide to internal sales teams is timeless and unbound to limits.

6. Cost Factors

While freelancing may save you on some costs, a bad partnership can destroy your pipeline and create more pressure to get leads. If it isn’t a good fit, no one is happy, and it just adds another brick on the stack of excuses why cold outreach didn’t work, when really, it was just a bad match.

When looking at cost, it is important to have alignment and the potential for long-term success. With an outsourced SDR company, you can choose from varying packages with levels of time commitment.
Freelance SDRs will often be less expensive, this is because of their low overhead and infrastructure costs.

Additionally, freelancer SDRs can take on multiple tasks and functions from a varied clientele of individuals and there is little accountability, besides results. Since these freelancers are responsible for a number of contracted jobs, the quality of their output could be subpar to your standards.
With the right outsourced SDR company, you get more for your money. You get an experienced SDR team that pays for itself in quality leads.

How do I Find the Right Outsourced SDR Partner? 

Outsourcing your cold outreach can be the right sales solution for your business, but you should consider a few things before choosing a sales partner

Compare Values & Standards

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? Are their SDRs a good fit or representation of your business? 

Looking for strong company values? 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. 

Performance Objectives & Activities

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 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?

Look for Transparency

Be careful of over promises and easy guarantees that will surely underdeliver. Most times, these statements are false and they don’t have the proof or data to back them up. If they try to sell you on guarantees, ask for reports and references on similar campaigns. 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. Trustworthy companies will be able to provide you with the data you need to make a smart decision. The right outsourcing partner will be able to provide you with data transparency on every level of your campaign. 

Are they Data Safety Compliant?

Data safety, security, and compliance are some of the most important factors when choosing an outsourced SDR partner.  Your information and your prospect information should always be secure. Laws are in place for a reason and it can be easy to land yourself in trouble if your outsourcing company isn’t following them. Heavy fines and even loss of business can occur. 

Pay attention to these areas of compliance: 

Do You Want To Learn More About Outsourcing your Cold Calling?

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