Depending on your position in the business world, outsourcing can be a bit of a dirty word. Stereotypically linked to the loss of domestic jobs and bad customer service, it’s generally assumed that the only reason companies outsource is that they want to cut budgets (and don’t care about the corners that will also be cut in doing so).
Done poorly or with the wrong motivations, these stereotypes can be true. However, there are many other benefits of outsourcing that simultaneously avoid the fallbacks.
Curious about how to do outsourcing well?
Want to know how it can be used to amp up the power of your sales team or one-man-show?
Read on to learn all this and more.
What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is contracting an external individual or company to take care of a specific task involved in the successful running of your company. Those completing your work will not be on your payroll, but will rather be under a limited agreement to receive compensation for completion of the task. This can be either a long-term or short-term arrangement.
Simply put, outsourcing is for when you don’t have the time, the people, or the money to do the work you need to do to scale (or even maintain) your business. Outsourcing:
- Costs less than hiring and training new personnel, allowing small companies to scale sooner than they would be able to otherwise.
- Can allow you to collaborate with local and global creatives and specialists.
- Eases up your team’s workload and allows you and your team to better focus on what you do best.
- Is especially helpful in heavy seasons where you need extra help managing your pipeline.
- Is a way to boost your team with a bit more power in seasons where extra opportunities are available, or if you want to test a new project before investing the resources into hiring permanent employees for the task.
- Can also be a long-term solution.
Common Myths of Outsourcing
Myth #1: Outsourcing is mainly for IT or customer service work
While the most stereotypical (and outdated) example of outsourcing would be the customer service call center, these days outsourcing is available for virtually any task you can think of.
Myth #2: Outsourcing requires working with a faceless team in an opposite time zone that I’ll have very little communication with.
While there are still lots of opportunities to outsource overseas, outsourcing can also involve working with freelancers or outsourcing services right within one’s own city or state. You may even be able to arrange face-to-face meetings or have contracted individuals visit your office to better integrate them into your business’s philosophy and process.
Myth #3: Outsourcing is only for big established companies.
Outsourcing is ideal for the entrepreneur looking to scale their operations without having the budget for a larger team. As the freelance economy grows, there are more and more opportunities to find quality people to help tackle your increasing workload, even if you’re currently the only employee on your payroll.
Myth #4: Quality control is very difficult in outsourcing
Truthfully, this one isn’t entirely a myth. If you don’t have the right tools and procedures in place, quality control actually can be a bit of a challenge. To make sure things go smoothly, the three main factors you need to pay attention to when outsourcing are:
1) Who is doing your work?
2) How are you communicating your expectations?
3) How are you monitoring their work?
When deciding who to outsource to, make sure you choose a trusted expert who has repeatedly demonstrated professionalism and who has verified positive reviews of their work. While it’s often cheaper to go for someone with less experience who’s just trying to get their start in the industry, unless you have good reason to trust their work, it’s generally better to invest a bit more to go with someone you know you can depend on. These people often do better work, simply based on their length of time in the industry, and their more refined idea of how to deliver value and results.
As for how to communicate with and monitor those you’re outsourcing to, the best way to do this is to add them to your team’s virtual communication space. This may be something like Slack, or, in sales, a Sales Center or CRM. For this reason, make sure when you’re choosing sales management software for your agency that you choose one that allows you to easily add unlimited salespeople, one that clearly allows managers to see how each salesperson is performing, and one that makes communication amongst team members quick and efficient.
With these procedures set up for yourself, there’s no reason that outsourcing should be a source of stress. In fact, it should relieve some of it.
READ MORE: See Vendasta vs. Upwork here
Myth #5: There’s no way to easily or effectively train an external team to do the work my team does. At least not to our standards.
It’s true that sometimes training and effectively communicating your brand’s voice and style to potential contracted workers can be a challenge. Perhaps you provide a very complex service that requires a lot of knowledge. Perhaps you have a very specific voice or tone that you want all of your employees to use in communications. However, if you have talented and experienced professionals that you’re working with, they will be used to acquiring this type of knowledge from other companies they’ve worked with, and should be able to adjust accordingly.
That being said, if numerous contracted workers - or even your own employees - have trouble picking up what you want them to know, this may be a red flag that it’s time to review your own communication regarding who you are as a company, and what you do. Ask yourself if your branding is presenting your company in the same light that you think it is.
Generally, as long as you’re confident about who you are as a company, and what you and your product do, contracted teams are able to easily pick up what you’re communicating and seamlessly integrate with your team.
How do you outsource sales?
These days, you really can outsource anything. Including sales.
Being in sales is really being on the front lines of your business. Salespeople are the ones directly interacting with your target market. That means that they’re the ones who determine whether or not the public makes the initial leap on you or not - regardless of how good your product actually is. Such responsibility can sometimes make managers and business owners a bit unsure about entrusting such a role to a company outsider.
While it is true that you want to make sure you’re intentional about setting up the procedures and tools to see your sales team succeed, as long as you’ve covered your bases there’s no reason you shouldn’t see amazing results outsourcing some, or all, of your sales.
As mentioned above, you need to make sure you’re getting the right people, and that you have the right tools in place to communicate with your salespeople and monitor theirwork.
Using an established service such as Influx or Sales Partnerships is a bit less risky than going with some random independent. However, you can also ask your network or check into any places that have recently had lay-offs and see if there are some stars you could scoop up to contract for your team.
Once you’ve got the right person or people, the next major challenge is aligning your expectations and work everyday. How do you pass on leads, collect data on who’s ready to buy, manage your pipeline, and all the rest? When you have remote salespeople, having some solid sales SaaS is absolutely critical.
Vendasta’s Sales and Success Center is a one-stop-shop that allows you and your team to track all your accounts, activity, contacts, communications, and internal notes. The Sales Pipeline allows your reps to see the potential and probability of success for each opportunity, and uses the power of data to highlight which opportunities should be focused on at the exact moment the chances of selling to are highest. With our Sales and Success Center, you can unite your team all on one platform, regardless of how spread out you are. And as a bonus, your entire team will get all the tools they need to skyrocket your revenue.
Alternatives to Sales Outsourcing
If you’re still not not sold on the idea of putting your sales into someone else’s hands, there are other options.
If you have a creative agency or offer marketing services and feel like it’s the creative elements that are bogging you down - designing websites, managing social media accounts, creating logos, and more - maybe that would be the better part of your workload to pass off.
Vendasta’s Marketing Services are located right in the heart of the Canadian prairies, and our team of on-site experienced professionals are here to partner with you and your clients to deliver high-quality services - all under your business’ banner. We’re the white-labelled agency-in-a-box that allows you to focus solely on the selling while we do the rest. Check out more here.
Whatever option you choose to pursue, know that recruiting external personnel to empower you and your business can be done ethically, and can increase the quality and value you’re able to deliver to your clients.
With the right team, and the right tools on your side, outsourcing might just be what you need to skyrocket your sales and watch your agency scale to new heights!