- Posted by Steve Gruber
- On July 20, 2017
- 0 Comments
- B2B Sales, outsourcing
So you have decided to outsource your sales. Excellent decision. Particularly for startups that have limited resources, outsourcing your sales makes a great deal of sense. It is more cost effective than hiring a full-time person, you walk away from government employment burdens and often times, as is with VA Partners, you get access to the full team. So if you need a brochure created or some content done for your website, or a new website… it can all be done under one roof and be done quickly and efficiently.
Let’s discuss what to do to make sure your sales outsourcing engagement is successful. There are a wide variety of items that lead to success but I have outlined the top 5 as I see them below.
Define the Engagement – What Are the Goals?
Your goals should include:
Activities – calls, emails, meetings, proposals, there should be quantitative metrics associated with this. This is one of the core ways we feel you can gauge the success of the engagement. It is only through proactive activities that sales results can happen. The more activities, the better you can understand your conversion rates, which ultimately leads you to understand what it takes to close new business.
Revenue – for the first 6 months of the engagement I would be careful here as our experience says that it takes about 6 months to start to really build your funnel and closing could take another 6 months – so set goals but recognize actual closing business could be 6 to 18 months out.
Communication – setting times to discuss the funnel, what is working, what is not and next steps should be done at least once a month. We find this happens informally through the engagement sometimes weekly or every few days as items come up that need to be addressed. The point is that you need to be communicating about how things are going. If conversion rates are very low, discuss why and what can be done to try to improve them. All parties need to be open to feedback and suggestions. I think one of the most challenging parts of any business is just getting it going, figuring out what messaging works, what pricing structure to employ, what target market the product or service resonates with. Pivot or change messaging and direction as needed but in a planned manner where changes are discussed first.
Time – similar to the discussion in point 1, sales will not materialize overnight unless you are just really lucky and quite frankly most of us are not that lucky, unfortunately. You need to stick with the plan, follow the sales process and methodology put in place, review the activity-based results and assess what prospects have to say when you are speaking or presenting to them. One of the biggest challenges with startups is that they do not give themselves enough runway to drive revenue before they run out of money. Start selling as soon as possible and plan for a sales cycle of 6 to 18 months.
Use a Sales CRM
An essential – gone are the days of tracking your sales leads in Excel. There are much better and free sales CRM systems you can use that allow the sales person and the sales manager to get a better handle on their daily tasks, activities taking place, opportunities in the funnel, activity history associated with contacts and accounts, documentation shared with the prospect amongst other things. This repository of data can be mined to understand your conversion rates, assist with your electronic mailing lists, track the communication taking place between your sales person and the prospect, and help with your outbound marketing activities in general.
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