Richard Lane, Chief Commercial Officer from durhamlane, an outsourced sales and marketing agency,shares the benefits of outsourcing external sales, why strong partnerships are key and how to find the ‘perfect’ partner.
Getting a business-to-business sale over the line these days requires more teamwork than ever, more nurturing of customer relationships and a deeper understanding of the challenges your customer is facing in order to maximise their return on investment (ROI) and improve qualified lead conversion rates.
Many organizations, however, are unable to invest the time required to effectively manage, nurture and co-ordinate all these elements of the sales funnel. Sales resources are already too stretched to explore new markets and build long-term relationships.
This is where outsourcing external support can help. While reluctance to share processes with external parties remains for some, others have taken the leap and outsourced external sales and marketing resources with a noticeable impact on their sales goals.
Why should you trust outsourced support for your sales and marketing processes?
The sales industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Buying and selling behaviours have shifted, with customers responding more to data-driven decision making and use cases. Not to mention the introduction of digitization which is already transforming the industry. This kind of in-depth insight can be hard to come by without the right tools, expertise and approach.
In addition, sales teams have had to re-assess their entire sales approach since the pandemic, moving from the field to ‘virtual’ selling from behind a desk and now to somewhere in-between. A hybrid and omnichannel approach have become mainstream, crossing over into marketing channels, where sales teams are not just selling to the customer but working with them and learning to speak their language.
The days of traditional transactional relationships are also fast fading. Successful B2B sellers are now focused on building longer-term relationships rather than achieving quick, one-off contract wins. Customers (still) don’t want to be sold to, they want salespeople to solve their problems and help them achieve their desired outcomes.
More so than ever, our role is to become a valued resource to our customer. This means working hard to understand their needs, make sense of their situation and goals, add value through the use of relevant storytelling and ultimately create loyalty. These are all key to attracting and retaining customers.
Working in this consultative manner across the sales funnel takes time and sales teams are already stretched too thin. There is often a missing link between where marketing hand-off and sales pick-up an interested prospect.
Investing in a dedicated outsourced team, therefore, can be a fruitful investment and can connect these two important departments together. External outsourced support can enhance your sales processes, introduce new sales approaches that you may not have considered before and, more importantly, can open doors to markets and industries you may have only dreamt of.
Using the expertise of an external sales and marketing agency can also support your transition into the digital world, as they will no doubt have the expertise and resources to make it happen. Remember, this is what they do every day for multiple companies just like yours.
Outsourcing sales should be long-term
Handing over elements of your sales process to an external team can be hard decision to make.
But businesses shouldn’t shy away from outsourcing for external sales and marketing support. If you can find the right partner that’s aligned with your values and has an understanding and experience of your sector and target audiences, your sales and marketing processes will skyrocket.
When it comes to outsourcing any service, it’s about finding the perfect partner. There’s no point investing in external support if they don’t get your company values or effectively represent your brand, which is why partnerships are so important. We consider this a fundamental requirement in order to deliver any successful programme.
You need to get inside the world of your clients to understand what makes them tick, to provide valuable insight into the customer’s markets and deliver outcomes. An outsourced sales partner can’t be expected to be experts in your business but can be experts in why the right type of company should be interested in your business.
An outsourced sales and marketing agency should become an extension of your in-house sales and marketing teams, working collaboratively to turn leads into opportunities, into clients.
Outsourced partnerships take time to develop
There is no point ramping up an outsourced sales programme then stopping after a quarter. You need to give sales qualified lead development time because outbound cadences typically run at a different velocity to inbound. It takes longer to uncover interest, develop the opportunity, nurture and qualify, then convert. Customers need to understand that to achieve a strong ROI a termed commitment is necessary.
We always recommend at least 12-month agreements to give your internal and outsourced sales teams the chance to understand your customers and your marketplace, measure and adapt processes so that they work for you and maximise your ROI. Anything less than six months doesn’t allow enough time for processes to evolve, relationships to be developed, and importantly, meaningful sales pipeline to be created.
Outsourcing external support can be used toiling sales and marketing teams, which in turn will help convert more marketing qualified leads (MQL) into ‘sales ready’ sales qualified leads (SQL) for your teams to progress into opportunities and convert into sales. Sales and marketing teams that work collaboratively have a greater chance of success.
The wholesales process is a journey, and it takes time. Outsourced support for your sales and marketing will help speed that journey along, working collaboratively with your in-house teams to respond to transformations in the sector, strengthen your sales tactics, and ultimately, increase your sales.