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Sales outsourcing refers to the use of an external service provider to carry out all or part of a company’s sales activity (prospecting in particular) with the aim of making its sales force more flexible, rationalizing sales costs and refocusing on its core business.

Outsourcing has always been an option for decision makers. However, it has imposed itself in a macro-environment marked by the intensification of competition, the emergence of an offshoring sector with satisfactory quality standards and above all the lightning development of New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT) and collaborative work tools.

What is commercial outsourcing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach? What are the missions that can be covered by a commercial outsourcing contract? How much does a commercial outsourcing service cost? Find out in this practical guide from LeadIn!

Definition of Business Outsourcing

OutsourcingOutsourcing is the process of entrusting an external service provider with the performance of a task or a set of tasks that can be performed internally in order to gain competitiveness, capitalize on expertise, refocus on one’s core business, manage peaks in activity or make one’s payroll more flexible.

By construction, commercial outsourcing consists in entrusting to a third party service provider all or part of the tasks related to the commercial action of the company such as prospecting, Customer Success Management, Social Selling, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), etc.

Because Sales and Marketing work in synergy, sales outsourcing can eventually be accompanied by theoutsourcing part of the marketing activity, notably in lead scoring, lead qualification, lead generation (LeadGen), demand generation (DemandGen), creation of sales resources in a Sales Enablement logic, etc.

What tasks can be outsourced commercially?

The unbridled digitalization of sales and marketing activities nowadays allows for the outsourcing of a wide range of tasks, even in highly technical sectors such as industry or high technology.

#1 The outsourcing of commercial prospecting

The company can entrust part or all of its prospecting activity to a third-party service provider who has the necessary resources to carry out campaigns, calls or appointments. The most common example is undoubtedly that of French companies that outsource their prospecting activities to French-speaking call centers.

We are also witnessing the emergence of a business model that consists in outsourcing sales prospecting to independent sales representatives. In the aftermath of the pandemic, B2B sales prospecting outsourcing on LinkedIn has literally exploded in response to the place Microsoft’s social network occupies in the buying journey (see “Social Selling” section).

#2 Outsourcing sales prospecting for high potential accounts

This service is usually part of an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy. Let’s remember that ABM consists of identifying prospects with very high commercial potential and addressing them with ultra-personalized content, even by name, and a very advanced Sales Pitch to maximize the chances of conversion.

These target accounts are generally of strategic interest to the company because of their size, their buying behavior or the business opportunities they can generate. It is not uncommon to use outside ABM experts to identify targets, create sales materials and/or initiate actual prospecting.

Customer Success Management (CSM) outsourcing

Customer Success Management (CSM) is a service that intervenes after the sale to support customers in the use of the product or service marketed. Objective: to promote customer satisfaction in order to seize opportunities for loyalty, recommendation, upselling or cross-selling that may arise throughout the customer’s life cycle in the company.

CSM outsourcing services have flourished since the second half of the 2010s for several reasons: the awareness of executives of the crucial importance of loyalty, which remains the shortest path to growth, the increasing complexity of marketed offers, the emergence of a better informed and more demanding B2B buyer, the competitive intensity, the importance of the customer experience in the decision-making process, the humanization of exchanges, including in B2B, etc.

According to a study by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in retention rates translates into a 25-95% increase in revenue.

#4 Social Selling Outsourcing

The pandemic parenthesis has consolidated LinkedIn’s dominant position in the B2B world. Indeed, Microsoft’s social network is a decisive playing field for salespeople. To be deprived of this platform in your business development efforts is to leave with a serious handicap. Social Sellingoutsourcing can involve the credibility building of a LinkedIn profile, networking, content creation, prospecting (by email), referral selling, training of internal sales people, etc.

Looking to catalyze your B2B qualified lead generation strategy and activate hypergrowth? We harness the power of LeadIn® technology to help you fill your appointment calendar with qualified, high-potential leads. We increase the effectiveness of your B2B sales prospecting by up to 10 times with a range of services tailored to your target, your business and the specifics of your market: strategic auditing, research and analytical targeting, campaign launch and high-value opportunity generation.

What are the advantages of commercial outsourcing?

The decision to outsource all or part of the sales action stems above all from a trade-off between the advantages and disadvantages of the approach, whether economic (cost and ROI), organizational (collaboration between internal and external teams) or human (resistance to change, fears about losing internal jobs).

When done properly, outsourcing the sales function can quickly become a decisive competitive advantage and accelerate company growth. Here is a summary of the expected benefits.

#1 Capitalize on the expertise of a specialized service provider

Like marketing, HR and finance, sales is a support function that is not part of the company’s core business. By opting for outsourcing, you offer the services of a sales expert who brings you his knowledge of the latest sales techniques, his mastery of digital tools, his experience in managing objections, his insight into the flaws in your sales pitch, etc.

#2 Refocus on your core business

Unless you have an exceptional team with low turnover, the sales function requires a significant investment of time, resources and energy. By entrusting all or part of the sales action to a third party service provider, you can focus on your core business: production optimization, new product development, R&D, etc.

You will also be able to reconnect with strategic thinking to activate new growth levers. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, 97% of decision makers believe that strategic thinking is the most important leadership behavior for business success. Also, 96% of leaders admit to lacking time to think about strategy.

If you outsource only the LeadGen part, you can then focus on the sales action at the bottom of the funnel as well as Customer Success Management to maximize the conversion rate and boost loyalty.

#3 Getting around the sales shortage

According to figures from the recruitment firm Michael Page, there is a shortage of more than 200,000 sales profiles in France. This chronic mismatch between supply and demand for sales talent impacts the ROI of the sales function, with hidden costs in candidate sourcing, training, onboarding, coaching, etc.

As sales people become a scarce, expensive and volatile resource (turnover), outsourcing the sales function is becoming an interesting alternative.

#4 Make the payroll of the sales function more flexible

Business outsourcing allows companies to gain flexibility and agility by reducing the use of permanent employment contracts. In fact, changing a third-party provider who is not performing satisfactorily is less costly than a dismissal, provided the contract is well negotiated.

#5 Recruiting in-house “super salespeople

Some companies choose to outsource the “day-to-day sales business” and keep their hands on the high-level prospecting, especially in the framework of a Sales Enablement and/or Account-Based Marketing program. Thus, the resources and time saved through outsourcing can be reinvested in the recruitment of senior sales profiles to target strategic accounts and high potential targets.

In short, sales outsourcing acts on the two variables of profitability: the cost of sales (via the rationalization of the sales effort) and the revenues generated (the expertise of the external service provider favors the recruitment of high-value accounts).

What are the disadvantages of sales outsourcing?

Typically, failed business outsourcing strategies are characterized by a lack of upfront preparation and alignment and a failure to communicate over the duration of the service. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to successfully outsource sales.

#1 Misalignment between internal and external teams

In the case of a complete outsourcing of the sales function, the company and its service provider must develop a framework for extensive collaboration between the marketing team (internal) and sales (external). The consistency of the message, the brand image and the customer experience are at stake. Without alignment, the company’s inbound marketing and branding strategy will be served by the sales approach, and vice versa.

In the case of a partial or hybrid outsourcing of the sales function, the company will have to deploy a relevant communication to get the support of the internal sales people and to remove the fears that may accompany this change. This is a sine qua non condition for internal and external sales representatives to work together to improve the company’s performance.

#2 A lack of agility in the sales function

In an increasingly turbulent world, companies must be resilient and agile in order to seize opportunities in their macro-environment and guard against threats that can undermine their competitiveness. Splitting your sales force between internal teams and an external provider can reduce agility and speed of adaptation to change.

#3 A relative loss of control over its brand image

If the sales outsourcing contract concerns “front office” activities, with direct contact with prospects and customers, the company does not necessarily control the discourse and communication posture of external sales representatives.

Indeed, there is no guarantee that the scripts agreed upon in advance will be respected in the context of a Call Center service, for example. This is why the phase of choosing an external service provider must be carried out with care. The sales manager must also monitor and control the actions of the external service provider to ensure compliance with the clauses of the contract and with the company’s positioning.

What sales services should I outsource to LeadIn?

Engage qualified decision makers and drive them directly into your sales tunnel. This is the challenge we face every day at LeadIn, with 5 to 20 high-potential qualified leads and appointments every month (average on our clients).

Our clients see a 5-10% ROI in the first year, with 45% more opportunities compared to any other traditional prospecting technique.

Using LeadIn means putting the power of an expert business developer to work for you without the cost, training and risk. We offer you a personalized and flexible commercial outsourcing according to your needs around the following services:

  • Strategic audit of your industry’s campaigns, choice of engagement strategy and optimization of your LinkedIn profile to make it a real lead magnet;
  • Research and analytical targeting to identify ideal decision makers, build and enrich your database;
  • Preparing message sequences, A/B testing, making recommendations and planning custom workflows;
  • Launching campaigns: connecting your accounts to the LeadIn platform, planning and executing daily actions, prospecting itself;
  • Opportunity generation: follow-up and follow-up of prospects until they are booked, generation of leads and qualified appointments in your agendas;
  • Regular monitoring points are scheduled.

What is the price of a commercial outsourcing service?

As you can imagine, the rates charged depend on the type of outsourced missions, the workload and the profile of the sales representatives provided by the external service provider. Other variables such as the duration of the contract, the complexity of the company’s offer, the international aspect or the specificities of the market can impact the price.

LeadIn offers three different ways to collaborate depending on your needs, starting at $260 per month. Discover the details of our commercial outsourcing offer.

The FAQ of commercial outsourcing

What is commercial outsourcing?

Sales outsourcing consists in entrusting all or part of the company’s sales action to a third party sales expert.

What are the commercial missions that can be outsourced?

In theory, all sales missions can be entrusted to an external service provider: B2B prospecting, Social Selling, Customer Success Management, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), sales training, Sales Enablement, etc.

What are the advantages of commercial outsourcing?

  • Benefit from the expertise of an external service provider specialized in Sales ;
  • Reduce the cost of the sales function;
  • To overcome the shortage of sales profiles, particularly in France where there is a shortage of more than 200,000 sales talents;
  • Make the payroll of the sales function more flexible;
  • Outsource a support function to refocus on its core business;
  • Outsource “day-to-day business” to invest more in prospecting for strategic accounts with high sales potential.

What can be the disadvantages of commercial outsourcing?

  • Internal resistance to change and friction between the company’s sales people and those of the external provider;
  • Loss of control over the company’s brand image.

How much does commercial outsourcing cost?

Pricing depends on the type of commercial services outsourced, the profile of the sales representatives made available to the company, the duration of the contract, the specificities of the company’s market, etc.