What Is Sales Outsourcing? How To Decide if Outsourcing Is Right for You


Developing a sales strategy that is scalable, flexible, and effective can be difficult for companies with limited resources. Luckily, outsourcing some of this responsibility to a third-party sales development representative (SDR) team is an effective solution for those who need a little help. 

Sales outsourcing is a tactic many businesses use to improve sales numbers. Using support from outside sales experts can help reserve your sales team's time to focus on qualified leads, demos, and sales calls most likely to convert.

Learn more about what sales outsourcing is, how it can benefit your team, and how you can seamlessly and successfully integrate it with your sales strategy.

What is sales outsourcing?

Sales outsourcing is the process of hiring a third-party service or team of agents to handle sales activities for your team. They can support your team at any phase of the sales process, and use their expertise to: 

Today, you can find all kinds of companies that can assist you with your sales, no matter what you need. 

Whether you use outsourcing to handle repetitive tasks or to focus on bringing deals home, working with a third-party SDR team can free up your team’s time and allow them to focus on tasks of higher value.

What companies would benefit from sales outsourcing?

Outsourcing parts of the sales process can help businesses of all sizes, from small startups to mid- and enterprise-level organizations. It can also help both B2C and B2B companies

Companies that may benefit from working with outsourced sales teams may have:

  • A small sales team: Some businesses may not have enough dedicated sales professionals to handle large volumes of work.
  • Limited resources: Restricted budgets or resource allocation may affect how much you can dedicate to sales.
  • Lack of sales expertise: Teams with inexperienced sales staff may not be as effective as a team with sales operations experience and tactical sales knowledge.
  • Limited market or industry experience: Companies moving into new markets may not be as familiar with a new customer base as those who have worked within that market previously.
  • Periods of growth or expansion: As businesses grow and revenues increase, sales teams must grow headcounts and internal resources in a cost-effective way to keep up with increasing workloads.
  • Excessive administrative tasks: The more time your sales team spends on repetitive administrative duties like scheduling, cold-call vetting, or documentation, the less time they’ll have to focus on core sales work.
When Should You Consider Sales Outsourcing?

The pros and cons of outsourcing

Like any new strategy or tactic, it’s important to consider the benefits and potential drawbacks of using an outsourcing sales service before making any major decisions. 

Advantages of sales outsourcing

  • Cost-effectiveness: Using an outsourced SDR team can reduce the amount you pay in full-time employee compensation, tools, and labor costs. Outsourced SDRs can also bring in more qualified leads more efficiently, cutting down time and improving ROI.
  • Scale easily: Grow or reduce your sales team easily without relying on internal process changes, re-training, or new employee costs.
  • Access to innovative resources: SDRs can provide teams with market insights, established sales processes, and access to the latest technology to support sales strategies.
  • Prioritize profitable work: Reducing your sales team’s laborious prospecting and value administrative work lets them focus on tasks more likely to bring in revenue.
  • Enhance customer experience: Ensuring exceptional customer experience from the beginning to the end of their brand interactions.

Misconceptions about sales outsourcing

  • Will it silo our processes or customer relationships? Contrary to initial thoughts, working with an outsourced team may provide your internal team with more opportunities to monitor the success of a particular sales process and align on long-term goals than they would with only other internal team members.
  • How does outsourcing affect data control? Working with outsourced teams is often the prompt organizations need to trigger regular data protection and transparency updates. Sharing confidential information, such as customer networks, proprietary content, or results-driven insights with outside companies works best with protection and transparency policies, and regular reviews keep those policies effective and up to regulation. 
  • Are high-quality results garunteed? Like many partnerships, success is driven by clear alignment on goals, processes, and policies. Properly onboarding your partners will give your internal teams the refreshers they need on the company’s big picture while they learn through teaching. 
  • What if I don’t want additional fees? Paying for third-party sales support uses a different pay model than paying for internal employee. In fact, the amount spent annually on compensation for fewer, full-time employees far outweighs the amount spent on an effective, dedicated outsourced sales team.

How much does sales outsourcing cost?

Before you can answer how much sales outsourcing is going to cost, you must first understand what type of outsourcing professional or team you will be partnering with.

For example, some major organization may be looking for new leadership to help renovate the sales strategies and processes of the company, but may not want to commit to hiring a full-time, management level employee. Instead, they turn to fractional sales leaders. And although their experience can help shape a new path for your organization at half the cost of a full-time employee, their c-suite level of experience leads to higher compensation costs - often around the $10-20K+ per month range.

An alternative outsourcing option designed to deliver results quickly is frontline sales outsourcing. Often made up of teams of virtual receptionists, sales development representatives (SDRs), and business development representatives (BDRs), the goal of these outsourced partners is to focus on activities that will directly support your internal inbound/outbound sales team. Some of these activities include:

  • Outreach
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Payment requests
  • Sales processing
  • Lead nurturing & qualification
  • Follow-ups
  • Marketing promotions
  • CRM integrations
  • Professional customer service

Unlike in-house sales teams, frontline sales outsourcing typically does not include commission. And as your success increases and processes improve over time, the cost of conversion will naturally decrease, saving your team more in revenue. 

The bottom line? The cost of outsourcing is trumped by the value of your investment when you do it right. 

Smith.ai offers affordable sales outreach services on a monthly or annual basis, with on-demand services starting at $3,000 per campaign and ongoing services starting at $2,400 per month. Smith.ai's outreach sales services cost only a fraction of what you'd likely pay for in-house sales pros, enterprise solutions, or similar outsourced services.

Frequently asked questions about sales outsourcing

Still not sure whether using a sales outsourcing service is right for your team? Consider the following frequently asked question for more information. 

What should you consider when choosing an outsourced service partner?

Before you decide on which sales service provider to partner with, answer a few internal questions:

  • What are my company’s sales goals? 
  • Are there any gaps or breakdowns in our current sales process?
  • How much of the process can you outsource?
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) should I consider when working with a service provider?
  • Do we have the budget for a new contract? Can you reallocate the budget? 

Once you have a basic understanding of where your company is and needs to go, explore the different aspects of what a third-party sales provider offers:

  • How big is the service team? 
  • How do they charge for service, by contract or by subscription?
  • Is the company transparent about processes and open to collaboration?
  • What capabilities does this company offer?
  • Does the provider use AI or any other technology that can integrate with your existing software?

Knowing the answers to these questions before you begin your search for a partner will make the decision process much easier and more efficient.

How are 3rd-party relationships managed?

Choosing the right service provider is only the first step in working with an outsourced sales team. The next step is to work effectively as partners. 

For the best results in this partnership, your sales and main points of contact should align with expectations, goals, and communication methods. You should also: 

  • Be engaged and active with third-party points of contact
  • Meet regularly to align on goals and processes
  • Communicate clearly 
  • Be familiar with external sales processes
  • Establish goals and expectations from the start
  • Provide sales enablement materials support as needed
  • Align on buyer personas and target audiences
  • Expect long-term results
  • Encourage regular reporting

Treating your service providers with the same level of respect and expectations as your in-house team members can go a long way in building trust and successful relationships.

How can Smith.ai help with sales outsourcing?

Smith.ai offers professional, North-America-based virtual agents to help with all areas of the sales process, including making inbound and outbound calls, providing market and industry research, and assisting with administrative tasks.

Smith.ai’s one-time project and ongoing monthly campaigns give you the ability to focus and execute on the goals, budget, or timeframe that makes the most sense for you business. With both predictable and flexible pricing options available, efficient sales support that works with your budget, and the ability to customize service interaction on our convenient online dashboard, Smith.ai comes out on top every time.

Ready to explore sales outsourcing for your business?

At Smith.ai, we take pride in doing things the right way, the first time and every time. Our team is here to help you handle it all —whether you just need a little outbound sales support or you’re looking for a full-service solution for a 24/7 virtual receptionist. From answering calls and chats to scheduling and more, the agents at Smith.ai have you covered. 

We’ll also help you craft the ideal strategy to manage every last detail, integrate with your CRM and other tools, and keep you informed every step of the way. 

Learn more when you schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 agents at Smith.ai can do for your sales support and more. Reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 709-2975.

Sources: Sales Hacker

Sales Tips
Sales Development
Lead Generation
Written by Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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