What Is B2B Sales Outsourcing and How to Do It Right?

At its simplest, B2B sales outsourcing has three components, as the name suggests. Firstly, it involves direct connections between businesses. Secondly, it’s a way to maximize sales. And thirdly, it’s a sales method which is “outsourced” to a third party service provider. As such, it’s an alternative to traditional sales systems that exist entirely within companies, and it has plenty of advantages over those older ways of operating. Let’s look at how it works in more detail before moving onto some of the reasons why you might want to give sales outsourcing a try.

 

Capitalize on the Advantages of Outsourcing Your B2B Sales

 

When you outsource sales, that doesn’t mean losing control over the strategic direction of your business and it doesn’t necessarily mean moving your entire sales team over to an external company. But it does mean harnessing the specialist sales expertise of external providers. Sometimes, companies choose to transfer their day-to-day sales operations completely. Others prefer to use outsourcing for individual campaigns, when a little bit more capacity is required and their core team can’t deliver.

It can also be employed for specific sales tasks. For example, you could choose to outsource your market research operations, bringing in specialists to research your client base and find out exactly what they want. Conversely, you might wish to move your lead qualification systems to an external provider with expertise in inbound marketing and responsive phone-based sales. And the same applies to both lead conversion and customer relationship management. Thanks to cutting edge outsourcing experts, all of these sales functions can be performed out of house. It’s just a matter of choosing which functions you would prefer to delegate.

 

Using Outsourcing Well Can Have Huge Sales Advantages

 

At first glance, outsourcing might seem intimidating, particularly for small businesses with relatively tight margins and a tradition of keeping close control over sales professionals. But that’s largely a mirage. Much of the time, SMEs find that the benefits of B2B outsourcing outweigh their anxieties about control, providing that outsourcing is done right.

Those benefits can be transformative for all kinds of business. For example, if you are branching out into a new product sector or geographical area, outsourcing can bring in local or sector-specific expertise that your core team doesn’t possess. In cases like that, it could be used to hit the ground running fast in an area that you aren’t familiar with, while you train existing staff to hone their knowledge or recruit new permanent staff to fill the gap. Outsourcing your sales operations is also a great way to innovate. Used well, outsourced sales teams can allow companies to try out new ideas before mainstreaming them in their own office.

Then there are instances where sales forces stagnate and a stimulus is required. Whether the causes are burnout or the inability to take in new ideas, outsourcing sales functions is often a good way to inject dynamism into your sales operations. Specialist sales companies can bring in agile, up to date ideas about customer liaison, lead qualification and CRM. And if you bring them in on a short-term basis, they can provide a motivation to your own sales team to shape up and improve their performance.

Finally, outsourcing can be a wholesale substitute for standard sales structures. If companies are experiencing sluggish sales and their metrics on lead conversion aren’t trending upwards, outsourcing can be an effective solution. In some sectors like real estate, more efficient sales teams can be the key to unlocking regions or retaining customers, and this kind of efficiency is where outsourcing excels.

 

How Can You Introduce A Streamlined B2B Sales Solution?

 

We know that outsourcing sales operations can have huge benefits for a wide variety of SMEs, but there are also dangers when outsourcing is handled poorly. For instance, existing customers might resent dealing with unfamiliar contacts, core sales teams could become demoralized, and managers may lose control over the overall direction of their sales strategy. These are real risks, so outsourcing needs to be done properly.

Firstly, it pays to understand which type of businesses are well-suited to outsourcing sales operations. Generally speaking, outsourcing works well when companies have large quantities of incoming leads (such as real estate brokers, vehicle leasing companies, or IT suppliers). And it functions best when these leads need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. So, if you operate in a highly competitive, lead-based sector outsourcing could be the ideal solution.

You also need to be clear about the purpose of any outsourcing operation. There’s no sense in duplicating work between core teams and outsourced providers. And there’s no sense in tasking external companies with performing work with a low return. Because of this, it makes sense to audit your sales operation before outsourcing, to understand where external contractors can add value, and tailor your commissioning around those findings.

 

Choose the Right B2B Sales Experts to Enhance Your Business

 

Outsourcing sales operations can be hugely beneficial if you know what you are looking for and understand how it can enhance your bottom line. But there’s another key aspect to the process that needs to be considered: The need to find a partner who is responsive to your needs, will implement your plans faithfully, and who has the skills to deliver. Not all outsourcing companies meet those criteria, so be sure to research your partner thoroughly.

Ideally, both you and your outsourcing provider need to have a complete understanding of the task in hand. For example, if you take qualifying leads out-of-house, the external sales representatives need accurate information about your products and how the sales funnel works following initial contact. If not, as customers move on to Account Executives to close the deal, misunderstandings could develop, resulting in poorer lead conversion rates.

Everything has to work together, or as closely as possible, making it vital to provide outsourcing companies with high-quality briefs. And your partner needs to be honest about any difficulties that arise. Outsourcing is a process, not a magic spell, and teething problems usually arise. So both sides need to have a strong working relationship.

 

Revolutionize Your Inbound Marketing Systems with Strategic Outsourcing

 

By now, you should have an idea about whether your business meets the criteria for outsourcing sales operations or not. If your sales figures are stagnant, you need to expand confidently, your lead qualification systems are dysfunctional, or you just want to try something new, Upcall could well supply the perfect solution.

Upcall specialize in providing teams of “Upcallers” who are experts in handling inbound marketing challenges. As a first point of contact between clients and companies, our teams can field calls and draw customers into sales funnels, qualifying leads diligently before handing them on to your own executives.

At the same time, Upcall’s service provides real-time data regarding contacts and leads, while delivering efficiency gains below the cost of a full-time sales employee. Whether you need a temporary solution or a long-term replacement for your sales staff, help is at hand. Outsourcing could be the way forward, and Upcall are ready to help you take the first steps.

10 Reasons Why a Phone Call is the Best Way to Qualify Web Leads

In the era of automated lead qualifying software and email, phone calls might seem an old-fashioned way to qualify leads. But that’s far from the truth. Actually, when used properly phone calls are the most effective way to contact possible clients and have plenty of advantages over alternative methods.

1. Phone calls create a personal bond with customers

When you talk directly to people who are interested in your services, leads are much more likely to take that interest to the next stage.

Human contact goes a long way in any business, but that’s particularly the case in real estate. When people hear a voice they trust, it’s much easier to get them to move deeper into the sales process.

2. Speed to dial: Phone calls are simply faster 

While emails can be fired off as soon as customers enter their information, there’s no guarantee that these emails will be opened anytime soon.

You can call customers almost instantly. That way, you can provide them with further details and find out whether they are going to move on with their purchasing or selling process.

3. The quality of information from phone calls is higher

Phone-based lead qualification also has qualitative benefits, allowing you to learn more about potential buyers and provide more information to them. This tends to make them more willing to engage with your company and lets you offer additional services that they may not have noticed online.

4. Call-based qualification leads to less confusion

Phoning leads improves the quality of decision making throughout the sales process. One of the biggest problems faced by  companies is ensuring that customers are well-informed and understand their options.

Speaking with a knowledgeable, helpful representative is almost always the best way to iron out any misconceptions, speeding things up and creating better relationships in the process.

5. Email-based outreach can be tedious

One of the best things about using phone calls to handle lead qualification is the simplicity of the process.

Almost all the time, email-based interactions generate complex (and sometimes seemingly endless) email strings. With phone calls, you can discuss everything in one conversation and make clear arrangements for subsequent follow-ups. Information is less likely to get lost in the to-and-from as well.

6. Phone calls bring everyone together

While emails can include every stakeholder, this doesn’t always mean everyone pays attention and understands where the sales process has reached.

Well-managed conference calls involve all of the key players, ensuring that everyone is engaged. Problems can be identified instantly and diaries can be synchronized with ease.

7. Lead scoring is much easier when carried out on the phone

The chances are you employ some sort of lead scoring system to differentiate customers and focus your resources on clients who are most likely to convert.

With call-based operations, staff can keep lead scoring tables close to hand and easily check off the various metrics, making every point as clear as possible.

Emails and online forms tend to provide less information for staff, resulting in lower quality leads or extended exchanges to secure better data. With phone calls, that’s not an issue.

8. Phone calls can synchronize with every other lead generation system

Most companies rely on a variety of contact points, from bricks and mortar locations to print adverts, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and email marketing.

With the right systems in place, all of the leads harvested can be handled in a matter of minutes, allowing you to make the most of your investments in social media and marketing.

9. Phone calls empower clients and representatives alike

For customers, calls are a chance to ask any questions that are weighing on their minds. For staff, they are a chance to listen, learn, and impress clients with their attention to detail.

This dynamic has a huge influence on lead conversion rates. It generates goodwill, trust, better information and – in the end – a much higher potential for closing the deal.

10. Call-based lead qualification is efficient, effective and affordable

Above all, phone-based lead qualifying systems are competitive with alternative options on every level, from initial cost to quality, operational efficiency and conversion rates. In fact, they tend to outperform automated or web-based systems on every score.

Services like Upcall provide professional phone agents who can call leads from any source within five minutes of them expressing interest. If your company is struggling to raise lead conversion rates, these modern phone-based options could be exactly what you need.

Why Your Slow Lead Response Time Is Killing Your Business

“I don’t care what response I get…but I follow up until I get one,” said Steli Efti, CEO and founder of Close.io

When buyers are ready, they’ll find you, right? So says marketing agency leader Pardot.

But the big question is not whether they’re going to reach out or even when. The question is simple: are you going to be ready when they do reach out?

Now take a moment to put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. Think about when you last did some personal research into something you really wanted to buy. When you were ready to purchase and walked yourself into the store and —

What happened? Were you approached right away? Did your interest wane the longer you were kept waiting? Did a store associate bother to engage you?

Even though you’re in-store, technically, you’re still a lead. And the longer you’re left unattended to and disengaged, the less likely you are to return.

On average, it takes companies 38.35 hours to respond to leads. In today’s omni-channel marketing cycle, that’s a lifetime. You may have the best product and service but if you can’t follow these key rules, your business is sure to miss out.

 

Not All Leads are Created Equal

 

The first key to improving your lead response time is to understand a very crucial fact: not all leads are the same.

This means, not all your leads are going to turn into qualified leads. And, even when they’re curious, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily even “warm” — either “in the know” about your brand or ready to buy in the least.

Businesses that are slow to respond to a lead simply fail to be able to classify where the lead is on the buyer’s journey. Before they can even begin to follow up, leads must be qualified. And this requires on-demand access to the analytics that will be able to tell you where that lead is.

Qualifying leads is all about meeting a lead where it happens to be on the buyer’s journey. Classifying a lead is important in knowing which next steps to take, what content to provide, how to follow up and which scripts to use.

 

Failing to Meet Leads Where They’re At

 

Part of the lead qualification process is scoring the lead to see whether they must be further massaged and given multiple opportunities to engage with the brand or if they’re ready for the next segment of the buyer’s journey.

Obviously the greatest resource this calls for is time — it takes time to analyze where a lead is, once they’ve approached the brand in some way, and it takes time to then follow-up in a proven, tested and pre-determined manner.

Following up by calling a lead or presenting them with educational content is only half the battle. The other half is doing it at the right moment by understanding where they are.

A slow lead response time can result in an overflow of leads that haven’t yet been either qualified or engaged.

 

What’s the Plan, Stan?

 

Focus too much on automation alone, and you miss out on the sales aspect. But what’s the point to cultivating a qualified lead if there’s no funnel to guide your user through as they move on their journey?

Part of lead qualification is to set up a process for sales rep that can help guide leads to the next level of awareness.

In trying to improve a slow lead response time, automation of some form or another is the key to helping your customers reach the “aha!” moment and convert. Using Upcall and connecting it to apps like Zapier, for example, a sales rep could have a list of leads ready to be called and engaged with at the right time, without trying to figure out which leads to focus on.

Automating certain tasks through software like Upcall essentially allows you to take your limited attention and focus it on what you do best: following up and closing.

While you’re busy following up with another lead in person, there should be some form of automation that is delivering engagement, content, answering questions and providing guidance for the lead on this journey of brand awareness.

This is the point at which they can identify their issue, they see you as an educator and move to actually consider your products or services as the solution.

But if you fail to plan for fast lead follow-up and put the tech into place to respond in an automated way, then you miss capturing those leads for later follow-up in the first place.

 

Don’t Leave Anything On the Table

 

Here’s the number one reason a slow lead response time is killing your business: you operate in a market with a bevy of other competitors and comparable services, right?

If you fail to contact your lead within the first few hours (or minutes, depending on your industry), rest assured, your lead will end up somewhere else.

And it might be somewhere that has had the foresight to put the appropriate tools like Upcall, Zapier, CRM and funnels in place. Essentially, a workflow and a process for lead nurturing is required, at base, to capture lead’s interest and make the most of them.

So spend the the resources required now to benefit later by identifying the key places where leads are dropping off and addressing those parts using the right tools. Fail to do this and you’re literally leaving cash on the table.

On the flip side, this could also be a major opportunity for you to win. So position yourself with the right software to do exactly that.