Sales and marketing directors may be reluctant to relinquish control when outsourcing business critical functions like inside sales. Is it really possible for an external agency to know enough about your organisation to deliver an inside sales job effectively? The reality is that in many cases, they can do just that and they can even improve your bottom line. However, just like insourcing, outsourcing requires best practice to make it work well. Below are some top tips for integrating your outsourced inside sales team so that it performs like a well-oiled part of your business.
- Communication is key – set up regular training sessions, workshops and best-practice exchanges. Combine webinars and telephone calls with face-to-face meetings at least once a quarter, preferably once a month: there’s no real substitute for looking someone in the eye! It doesn’t matter if tthey’re insourced or outsourced, people will fill communication gaps with either assumptions or uncertainties, and that’s when things can go belly-up… The good news is that communication with an outsourced team can often be cheaper and more effective, because it tends to be more disciplined and taken more seriously, and because your agency can bear the cost of re-training and inducting new recruits without having to involve you every time.
- Share information – Keep your outsourced team inside the inner circle of rust. Use NDAs if you need to, but make sure your agency is at least as aware of business critical information as your in-house team. It won’t do your organisation any favours if the market finds out something before your outsourced inside sales team.
- Agree measurement and goals – be clear and specific about how you will measure success. Take the time up-front to define a quality lead and to hand-hold your team through the sales process, right through order processing to delivery and implementation. Tap into your provider’s expertise – their experience of inside sales for other organisations will give you a fresh perspective and may help you to develop your best practice along the way.
- Build a single team approach – Treat your outsourced team as members of your inner circle if you want the relationship to work. Your outsourced team need to be treated as partners and feel valued and wanted in order to get your company culture, embrace your messaging and truly represent your brand. . That doesn’t mean to say it’s all carrot and no stick, but treat them as you would any employee and you will reap the rewards of a more fruitful relationship.
- Emphasise trust, integrity and inclusion. For example: make the sales process transparent, so that the inside sales team can visualise progress towards their number at all times. Include your outsourced team in sales conferences, over-performers trips, and trade shows and you’ll be amazed at the results. Also, be clear with the agency about any insourcing or recruitment process, so that both parties agree it is fair and equitable. The last thing you want is an agency that hides its best people from you because it’s afraid you will poach them without reasonable recompense.
- Recognise success – if your outsourced team performs well, don’t forget to tell them! And when a prospect becomes a client – make sure they know every time, not just the first time. It sounds obvious, but it doesn’t always happen. Agency sales reps need praise and encouragement just as much as direct employee; and while they will get recognition from their own management, a pat on the back from a happy client can go a long way to motivating a team to achieve greater glory.