Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your Sales: Part 2 of 3

Key Sales Outsourcing Considerations, Continued

Last week we talked about the preliminary questions to ask before outsourcing your sales; questions that cover the basics of your product, competitive landscape, and ideal customer. Really what an outsourcing company is doing when it evaluates your company is finding out how you are currently reaching the market, and how you might reach your market more effectively.

If Netpique sales outsourcing were helping you evaluate your business today, there is a second set of questions we would ask, digging deeper into your current sales strategy and helping us (and you) understand your sales environment, and then sketching out a tentative plan for which direction you might go with your sales approach. Again, whether or not you are planning to outsource your sales right away, thinking about these questions can help you clarify your company's sales vision and identify what might be areas that could be improved.

Tell us about your industry. Is it in growth mode? or are you seeing major shifts and consolidations?

Understanding your industry is key to finding a realistic direction to go with your sales program. If you are unaware of key trends in your industry, you will not be able to distinguish between problems with your sales approach and problems that are affecting the wider landscape of business in your industry. If certain sectors within your industry are growing, you need to know what they are so that you can capitalize on them. Similarly, if the traditional markets in your industry are downsizing, it may not be the best time to roll out a wide-reaching sales initiative; instead, perhaps you can focus on niche areas or expansion into related markets that you have not yet tapped.

Do You Have an Existing Sales Force?

How are you getting business now? Many of the companies we work with have previously relied on referrals from existing business or customers seeking them out, but have realized that a more proactive approach is necessary for the type of growth they would like to see. If you already have a sales force, how large is it? What type of sales structure do you have in place already, and how is it working? Do you have well-developed metrics and incentives, or is that something you would like your sales outsourcing company to assist you in revamping?

How Would a Sales Outsourcing Initiative Interact with Your Existing Team?

Would an outsourced sales team sell the same product in the same way? Or would you like to explore outsourcing as a way to roll out a new product or service while keeping your current sales force on existing projects? Are you seeking sales outsourcing to help you tap into new markets or geographical areas? Any of these scenarios is a viable possibility with sales outsourcing; the important thing is to think about how it could benefit your company the most.

Do You Consider this Sale to be a Transactional or a Consultative Sale?

A transactional sale is one in which the customer already knows what he or she needs, so the product needs very little explanation, and the sales cycle is typically very short. Very little is required of sales representatives as far as relationship building in transactional selling, since the customer's main criteria for whether to buy are typically price and ease of acquisition.

Consultative selling, on the other hand, is a more interactive process, since typically the customer has a problem or need to be addressed, but does not necessarily know exactly what product or service will best fill the need. In a consultative sale, it is important for the sales representative to develop a relationship of trust with the customer and be able to assess his or her needs and present a solution tailored to the specific need.

Sales outsourcing really tends to shine in consultative sales, since your sales outsourcing company will have the resources and experience to train sales representatives in consultative selling skills. Not sure whether your sale should be transactional or consultative? Many companies are finding that what consumers want is a more consultative approach, so instead of simply selling a product, they are offering a suite of customizable products in tandem with related services. 

If you need help assessing your company's current sales efforts, or are intrigued by the idea of supporting those efforts with an outsourced sales initiative, we would be happy to walk you through options and help you think about which of them might be most beneficial for your business.