A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post suggesting a few ways to maximize salespeople's time by helping them spend more quality time in front of more qualified prospects. I've since received a number of questions asking in essence when does it make sense to outsource the sales call or the initial cold call setting up an appointment.
The first question to consider is: does your product or service demand that a highly experienced salesperson or sales engineer with immense depth of product knowledge and application experience make the call? If it does, it probably doesn't make sense to try to outsource the telemarketing or appointment setting aspect of the sales process.
However, if your product or service-or at least the initial contact with the prospect-doesn't require that level of sophisticated knowledge and experience, outsourcing can be an excellent alternative to having your salespeople beating the phones trying to set appointments and make the initial contact.
Likewise, if your product or service can effectively be sold over the phone, outsourcing the telemarketing may be the most logical and cost effective selling process.
Evaluating your investment
As I stated in the previous post, it can cost hundreds-even thousands-of dollars to simply find, connect with, and set up an appointment with a prospect. Does it make sense to have your salespeople sitting at a desk making call after call to unqualified suspects when they could be out in the field meeting with qualified prospects?
How much does it cost to identify a group of suspects or purchase a list of leads?
How much time and effort must a salesperson invest trying to connect with a new suspect?
How many suspects must the salesperson go through to connect with one qualified prospect?
How many qualified prospects must they connect with in order to set an appointment?
How many qualified prospects must they meet with in order to make a sale?
What is all of that time and effort worth to the company? To the salesperson?
What if instead of investing all of that time trying to simply set one appointment the salesperson was spending that time in front of pre-qualified prospects?
What would it cost to outsource the setting up of an appointment with a qualified prospect?
What would be the return if outsourcing the appointment setting allowed your salespeople to get in front of two or maybe even three times the number of qualified prospect?
Simple math should make the choices clear.
Maybe an even more stark contrast between having your team do the work and outsourcing it is in the area of selling over the phone, that is, telemarketing. For many companies hiring and training an inside sales staff can be a huge investment what with floor space, equipment, management, training, and sales and clerical personnel. Even a small force can cost many tens of thousands of dollars.
The alternative to the massive upfront investment is to outsource telemarketing services. Instead of incurring a large upfront investment, hiring a telemarketing company can allow you to pay as you go, that is, pay as sales come in.
Which is best for your company?
Do you have to have your sellers directly under your control for legal, emotional, or other reasons? If so, hire them directly. If you don't have that need for control, consider outsourcing your telemarketing function.
Do you already have the infrastructure in place? If so, consider hiring your team directly. If you don't, consider outsourcing.
Are you going to have to train all or most of your sellers from scratch? If so, consider outsourcing. If you already have trained salespeople in sufficient numbers, stay with them.
Do you envision needing a telemarketing team for years to come? If you do, consider hiring your own team. If you aren't sure or don't envision a long-term team, outsource.
Do you already have the sales and marketing tools and processes in place? If so, consider a direct team. If you are still in the process of developing your sales process and marketing approach, outsource.
Outsourcing some or all of your phone contact needs can make great sense for your bottom-line and your sales team. Although the choice might not be easy, answering a few basic questions will make your choices much clearer-and just might make it easier to choose.