Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your Sales: Part 3 of 3
Key Sales Outsourcing Considerations, Continued
As we've been discussing over the past couple of weeks, doing some of the preliminary work for figuring out whether sales outsourcing is a good fit for your company can be helpful whether or not you decide to go with sales outsourcing in the end. The types of questions you need to ask and the analysis you need to do to consider a sales outsourcing option can assist you in evaluating your current sales efforts and pinpointing areas where you could grow and improve.
So far we've discussed more basic questions like "Who is your ideal customer?" and "What is the average value of a sale?" in part 1. We have also delved deeper into your sales process and possible outsourcing options with questions like "How would a sales outsourcing initiative interact with your existing team?" and "Do you consider your sales to be transactional or consultative?" in part 2.
During this third and final installment of Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your Sales, we will talk about your company's goals and aspirations for future growth, and really help you nail down whether a sales outsourcing team could be a vehicle to help you achieve those goals and growth.
Do you have a specific geography in mind for a sales initiative?
Perhaps your company has been doing business in a particular metropolitan area or state, and would like to expand into neighboring areas. For some companies, a set of selectively targeted areas makes more sense, such as a few large cities in the United States (e.g. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.). You may also want to check whether the sales outsourcing company you are considering has existing campaigns in any of your areas of interest, since choosing an area where they already have an office or presence can potentially lower your upfront costs.
Where do you see expansion occurring?
Typically, an outsourcing company will start with a pilot sales program in your chosen areas, and then when the pilot has been successful, conduct further expansion. So when planning for growth, it is helpful to choose one or more key areas that are promising places to start, and then develop a strategy to expand out from there. Expansion can be geographical, but expansion into other markets or introduction of new products and services to be marketed to new or existing customers are also viable options, depending on your company's goals and circumstances.
At full rollout, how large is this initiative?
The sky may be the limit, but it is important to plan for growth, and ensure that fulfillment and distribution stay abreast of sales. Think about (and talk over with your sales outsourcing company) how large you expect the initiative to grow, as well as what it will look like at different phases during that growth.
What about timing - when do you want to be in the market?
Talk about time-frames. What would you like your initiative to look like at six months? one year? two years? Ensure that your expectations are feasible, and that they line up with the data when it comes to size of market, sales process and timing, and projected production. Are there any external or regulatory considerations for the implementation of an outsourced sales initiative? Make sure you think about and disclose any outside factors that would have a bearing on the timing of a sales initiative.
How would you describe success for this program?
As you are discussing all the details of your prospective sales initiative, be sure to keep in mind the big picture. Success for one company or program may not look exactly the same as success for another. Part of the beauty of sales outsourcing is that it can be tailored to specific needs and goals. Is your company in need of test marketing and data on how a new product is received in the market? Do you need your sales outsourcing company to help you revamp your sales process or set up an efficient sales function? Are you primarily looking for an aggressive short-term expansion program to help you gain a foothold in a new market? Or do you want to establish a long-running outsourced sales program that will perform reliably for years to come?
Are your goals a combination of one or more of the questions above, or do you have additional criteria for success? Whatever success means to your organization, it is important to think it through and communicate it clearly to your sales outsourcing company. Need help working through your options? Contact the sales outsourcing experts at Netpique for a free consultation!