Outsourcing B2B Telesales: In House or Out of House?

The world is growing a lot smaller, more tech-savvy, and more accessible – as this happens, more and more people are trading in their company cars and airline miles and closing sales over the phone. Soon the days of WIllie Loman and the traveling salesman will be over as more and more companies realize the value and cost savings of a b2b telesales force.

If you are one of the many companies who have decided to move your operation inside, you are probably trying to decide on whether to bring your b2b telesales campaign in-house, or find a company to partner with who will provide you with an outsourced sales force. If this is the case – consider these seven aspects and ask yourself “am I willing/ready to implement this”?

  1. Proficiency – telesales representatives are not easy to hire. In fact, many recruiters tout these folks as not only the bread and butter of an organization, but among the hardest to find. You must be ready to find telesales reps who are not only articulate, intelligent and well-educated – but they should speak with poise and clarity and be able to think very fast on their feet. In addition, they must have a thick skin and be able to “dial with a smile” day in and day out. Just because these folks are “inside” does not mean you can cut corners in recruiting them.
  2. Familiarity with product – when considering b2b telesales services, you must be aware that familiarity with your product or service is critical for a successful campaign. In-house telesales teams have the inside track here – however, if you designate an in-house liaison to act as a life-line for the outsourced sales force, great success can be had. Make sure you have a plan on how you will keep your inside telesales force “in the know”.
  3. Scripted conversation – not all successful sales people or sales managers are familiar with scripting calls. A professional outsourced sales force is. In fact, outsourced telesales companies will tell you that it is the script (and sticking to it) that leads to a successful campaign. However, not all scripts are created equal! The script must be carefully designed to evoke a certain response from the client. The mark of a good caller is one who can work of a script, while still sounding fresh and natural at the same time. Outsourced sales forces are experts at this and if you do decide to go the ‘in-house’ route, make sure you hire a sales manager with an outsourced sales background who will be able to bring this to your telesales campaign.
  4. Incremental approach – just because the sales process is one that is engaged over the phone, it does not mean it should be handled with any less finesse than an outside call. Most deals will not be closed in one call. There must be steps of the sales process and these should be clearly outlined. Sales representatives should not rush the sale, and yet they should not take no as an answer either. There is a fine balance and developing the right sales process for a successful b2b telesales force to thrive is critical.
  5. Take rejection in stride – by nature cold calling yields a lot of rejection. You must be realistic and understand that your sales reps will not close all of their calls. It is not unusual for a representative to make 100 cold calls in a day and only talk to 5 interested parties. Keep in mind, they are calling on roughly 10x more prospects than your outside representatives – so keep your expectations realistic and become familiar with the industry standards.
  6. Sales management – this is by and far the most important aspect of an inside telesales force. Partnering with a professional outsourced sales force will help to insure you have the right management in place (as long as you find the best partner!) for your b2b telesales force. However, if you are to bring your telesales campaign in-house, you must be sure to find a sales manager who is not only familiar with inside sales forces, but has success managing them. Inside telesales forces often require more support, more inspiration, and a little more hand-holding than outside sales forces – so make sure you have the right team in place!

B2B telesales services are growing astronomically these days – and the debate on whether to bring them in-house or to outsource is a valid one. Make sure you do your homework and understand all the nuances of an inside sales force before making the leap, and be sure to consider services of a professional outsources sales force as well. If nothing else, they might give you a lot to consider!

Happy selling!