B2B Sales Outsourcing - Finding a Good Fit

If your company does Business-to-Business (B2B) sales, you are probably familiar with some of the unique challenges inherent in selling a product or service to businesses rather than individual consumers. B2B sales tend to differ from B2C sales in several key areas, including sales cycle, pricing, and necessary experience. These additional requirements make building a B2B sales team especially challenging. In recent years, more and more companies have been utilizing B2B sales outsourcing as a way to increase revenue, manage costs, and ensure consistent, reliable growth. 

In the market for a good B2B sales outsourcing company? Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating potential outsourcing partners:

Experience.

Obviously, the B2B sales outsourcing company you hire should have experience, but there are several ways of evaluating that experience. First, you should look at how many years they have been in business. If they've only been around for two or three years, your sales initiative will likely end up being something of a guinea pig. You don't want your outsourcing company practicing on you.  Look for a company that has been in business for at least ten years and has some traction to show for it. Fly-by-night and scammer companies typically don't stay around that long, so choosing a company that's been around for a while can help you avoid a costly and unpleasant experience.

The type of experience a B2B sales outsourcing company has is also important. Experience in your industry is obviously a bonus, but can often be difficult to find, so it should not be your only consideration. Look for a company that has run campaigns of the size you are contemplating. For example, if you want to put 5-10 reps in the field, don't pick a company that usually does campaigns of 100 reps or more. If the company you are considering has not sold a product or service similar to yours, see if they have sold something with a similar sales process, or to a similar type of business customer.

Business Model.

Consider what type of B2B sales outsourcing you need. Are you looking for a company to telemarket your product? Or do you want them to send out sales reps to knock doors and engage potential business customers face-to-face? Inside (telephone) sales typically work best for products and services that are low-cost and simple to explain. Outside (in-market or face-to-face) sales are a better choice if your product benefits from a consultative approach, is a larger-ticket item, or requires some initial set-up or explanation. In-market blitzes can also be a great way to quickly increase your reach and brand visibility in a specific geographic area.

Be sure to find out what type of contract the company you are considering uses for its sales reps. Companies that hire their reps as independent contractors (1099) tend to have a lot of sales force turnover, and may have a hard time maintaining headcount and high sales standards. More established companies usually hire their reps as employees (W-2), giving them a much more stable sales force and a better ability to ensure proper brand representation and reliably fill quotas. 

Management Team.

You can tell a lot about a B2B sales outsourcing company from meeting the executive team, even if you only "meet" them on the company's About page. Look for a robust, well-rounded executive team with experience not only in sales outsourcing, but also within a variety of different industries. To run an effective B2B sales outsourcing company, members of the executive team should have not only worked for Fortune 500 companies, but also held senior management roles. Getting to know the executive team will give you a feel for the company and what you can expect from them.

Ready to start evaluating B2B sales outsourcing companies? Go ahead and start with Netpique sales outsourcing!