Sales outsourcing evokes a plethora of images for many a revenue leader. Sometimes called managed sales, or business process outsourcing (BPO), it means you delegate the pieces of your sales engine to a provider that optimizes it to deliver sales performance and enable you to meet your goals, whatever that looks like for you. Sounds ideal, right? Yes, but sales outsourcing is often misunderstood.
We’re here to debunk the most common myths about managed sales and explain what makes it the obvious choice—not just on a good day but especially in a volatile economy. And we’ll explore what you can expect when you’re ready to relinquish both your sales headaches—from staffing, to training, to enablement, to management—and opportunities to a professional sales organization.
Myth #1: Sales Performance: DIY is Better
Reality: Sales outsourcing significantly reduces your risk and maximizes your sales performance.
Entrusting your sales to a partner may feel uncomfortable, but it’s much riskier to go it alone. Managed sales providers:
- Specialize in managing all aspects of your sales engine, from people, to processes, to technology, to ensure you realize your sales objectives
- Are on your talent front lines, recruiting, onboarding, training, retaining, managing, and optimizing your sales team
- Eliminate your workforce worries so you can focus on what you do best—running your business. A reliable one can deploy in a matter of weeks
- Absorb the headaches, costs, and risks associated with your sales performance, allowing you to invest your precious resources elsewhere
- Drive efficiencies throughout your organization
When you outsource, you are not replacing your current team. Rather, you are amplifying your sales staff with a highly experienced team that is dedicated to strengthening your brand strategy and accelerating your sales.
At MarketSource, our managed sales ecosystem is designed to help companies experience sales success, no matter what the economic, regulatory, or market environment brings. Our ecosystem includes the people, processes, playbooks, infrastructure, and tech stack capable of not just empowering them to represent you but optimizing them to accelerate your sales.
Your employees become our employees. They represent you, but you won’t have to onboard, pay, or train them, or manage their benefits. You gain access to:
- A high-performing recruiting, onboarding, coaching, and retention team dedicated to your business and incentivized to help you achieve your business outcomes
- Minimal business disruptions
- Software, platforms, and integrations informed by defined sales processes and designed to support workers
- Program measurement, reporting, and scheduled improvement cycles to ensure you meet your business objectives
Companies that outsource to MarketSource are looking for sales results. Our clients count on us to deliver for them in ways they can’t accomplish on their own. We are a professional sales organization, and delivering sales results for our clients is all we do.
Myth #2: Managed Sales Results are Random
Reality: There is a sales acceleration formula.
There are plenty of approaches to sales outsourcing, but not all of them produce results. Without a methodology, your sales goals will be elusive. Some of the world’s most iconic brands have found that our sales acceleration formula of people + process + technology gives them a strategic advantage that delivers better customer experiences, improved performance management, increased revenue, and greater revenue velocity.
What differentiates MarketSource is a culture that recognizes and prioritizes our people and our values before we tackle business outcomes. Helping our clients achieve their goals is a top priority. At the same time, we’ve found that when we pursue those goals through the lens of our core values, we’re able to go beyond business outcomes to overperform for them, to build enduring relationships, and to create new opportunities along the way.
As MarketSource president Rick Haviland reflects, “We’re a high-performance, relationship-based company. With that comes an intense, competitive spirit, and we reward people for that performance with opportunities. Creating opportunities for our people fuels a flywheel of growth for both team members and customers and is the most rewarding part of my job. We also find that people who are happy outside of work are our best performers. We can’t manufacture that for them, but we can give them balance, which increases that likelihood.” Read more about the culture here.
Myth #3: Managed Sales Companies Achieve Results through Technology
Reality: Exceptional people drive exceptional results.
As is likely of yours, the human component is the vital driver of our business. Our teams consist of retail and B2B sales professionals with deep industry experience who are motivated and trained to get optimal results for our clients, including:
- Practice Leads who design programs and processes to achieve your specific goals
- Business Process Engineers and Analysts who are embedded in our programs to measure and improve performance
- Specialized Sales Recruiters who apply a rigorous process to identify ideal-fit candidates
- Content Developers and Expert Facilitators who design and deliver exceptional learning and training experiences
- Program Managers who use the latest technologies and management practices to lead each sales team
To your customers, our team looks like your team. They assimilate into your environment and become ambassadors for your brand, trained and driven to achieve your desired results. But they are people first. Former teachers, cancer survivors, mental health advocates, non-profit founders, and animal cruelty investigators have found their homes at MarketSource. Their exceptional personal traits and professional experience and commitment have led them here.
Read more about some of the exceptional people you might find working on your program:
David Smith, Media Specialist, Learning & Development Team: Former Teacher of the Year David Smith knows the big impact of small changes.
Pearl Barazza, Team Manager, Retail: Pearl Barraza considers MarketSource her “family away from home.”
Conner Hennessey, Retail Finance Manager: What matters most to Conner Hennessey? The impact his work has on colleagues and clients alike.
Paige Lindstrom, District Manager: In her “20 Seconds of Courage”, Paige Lindström’s personal Mantra led to a company-wide mental health campaign.
Steve Martinez, District Manager: Battling cancer didn’t stop Steve Martinez from working.
Kathie McCauley, Associate Channel Account Manager: Kathie McCauley has a soft spot for animals of the larger kind.
Myth #4: Managed Sales Providers Apply the Same Processes to Every Sales Organization
Reality: Managed sales partners should customize their processes to reflect your unique offering, environment, and goals.
Just as every sales organization is unique, so are the sales processes that underpin it. To achieve our client’s sales objectives, we start by understanding the company’s sales approach, then reimagine it in a way that optimizes its strengths, eliminates gaps, and improves on inefficiencies. The outcome is a highly refined, custom sales process that empowers our sellers to be most effective and achieve the client’s goals.
To build a highly refined sales process, we start with the big picture, then go deep. We begin with a thorough understanding of the existing sales environment—value proposition, sales velocity factors, channel partner business proposition, go-to-market and route-to-market strategies, tech stack, and much more.
We conduct a multipoint assessment to give us a comprehensive look at a wide range of business issues, from the competitive outlook and desired market share to brand value, buying personas, and success measures. We look at the dynamics of the client’s target market, personas, average deal size, new business pitches, and metrics.
We spend a day with our clients and their sales team to see how they work. We sit side-by-side with them, and observe each action the salesperson makes, step-by-step and touch-by-touch, from the moment they begin their day. How do sellers prioritize their work? What data do they rely upon and in what form do they receive it? How does the seller interact with their sales technology? What information do they access? What information do they input? Where are the information hand-offs? Are there gaps?
We document our learnings and chart every step to achieve a thorough map of the entire sales process, end to end. For a deeper dive into how we build a bespoke sales practice, read our blog.
Once we have fully documented the existing sales process, we reimagine it. We look at it through our lens, a perspective based on our years of experience and success designing sales processes for the world’s most iconic B2B brands.
Myth #5: A Sales Strategy Can Only Succeed with Skilled Salespeople at the Helm
Reality: It takes a village of diverse sales professionals to power an outperforming sales ecosystem.
The MarketSource team consists of a range of seasoned experts with competencies in sales strategy, business process engineering, sales operations, sales technology, instructional design, and sales training. We assemble a dedicated team of specialists who comb through the learnings and the current-state process map and evaluate every piece.
The team looks for places where decision-making can be improved through data and technology. We identify ineffective or inefficient hand-offs and steps that are bumpy or ill-defined. One of our particular interests is determining the role technology plays: Is the technology working for the seller, or is the seller working for the technology? Where are the hand-offs? Where are the gaps?
We look for ways to increase “green time” and reduce “red time.” Green time is when a seller is actually selling, and red time is administrative work—data entry, reporting, researching. While there is always red time in a seller’s day, our goal is to reduce it to a minimum so that sellers spend most of their time in the green zone.
McKinsey identifies insights, agility, talent, and technology as the core characteristics that drive sales growth performance. We designed our Innovation Center to give us the capacity and mechanisms to address each of these areas, equipping our customers to remain resilient—no matter the market conditions.
We call it the Innovation Center, and it’s involved in every aspect of our business and the sales process, from demonstrating our unique capabilities to prospective customers, to identifying gaps and implementing continuous improvement for existing customers. It’s core to how we go to market and deliver for our customers.
It’s not just a philosophy we follow—it’s an entire department comprised of:
Business Process Engineers (BPEs). These people are focused on reducing red (administrative) time and maximizing green (selling) time. They define the end-to-end sales process to gauge where tech can have an impact by charting out a day in the life of a sales rep. They look at every single sales process, including the data inputs and outputs, and they identify the resources salespeople are using for each individual process. From there, they decompose each process to serve sellers’ actual sales motions and introduce efficiencies. For example, they configure Salesforce to trigger next sales steps, such as visit follow-up emails and subsequent meeting invites, so the rep doesn’t waste precious time on common, repeatable tasks. Salesforce becomes more than a tool to simply record customer interactions. Instead, it guides the seller to perform the next step in the sales process. They also apply territory planning methodology to ensure optimal client coverage.
Instructional Designers (IDs). The members of this team identify the skills and acumen salespeople need to perform at the highest level possible. Armed with the latest skills assessment and scoring platforms, they pinpoint opportunities for improvement. They then ensure continuous improvement through blended training methodologies. IDs are skilled at training adults how to learn through preferred methods. They’re also skilled at teaching salespeople how not just to use technology solutions, but how to use them optimally, so sellers are more effective, and the tech you’ve invested in doesn’t go to waste.
Technology Specialists/Salesforce Developers. We’ve all implemented technology that sellers either abandon or misuse, whether from poor user interfaces, unclear use cases, or confusing recommendations from leadership. Since we select, deploy, and align our technologies with each sales process, seller adoption levels of our kick-a$$ sales technology stack are consistently high.
Business Analysts (BAs). All these efforts mean we’re constantly introducing change to the sales process. BAs measure the impact of those changes on the overall sales ecosystem. They take a snapshot of program metrics before and after implementation and look for any increase in productivity (activities, phone calls, conversations, call reports, leads, opportunities) and profitability (revenue, market share, margins). They monitor both leading and lagging indicators to find a net positive impact and ROI. They’re able to spot points in the sales process not only where technology fits best but where it can give clients an edge. If they identify an opportunity that can benefit multiple clients, it becomes part of our toolbox, and we replicate it in other client programs.
Each of these teams may be approaching a sales mission from different angles, but each is looking at it simultaneously, through a sales lens. This holistic approach and these complementary skill sets empower the team to work together to solve customers’ problems.
Our culture of improvement is pervasive. It’s a mindset that permeates our organization and how we serve our customers. In the business review meetings we hold with every client each quarter, clients consistently share that they’re stunned to see all the levers we’ve tweaked to evolve their program and achieve incremental improvements in their results.
If you’re ready to pursue a revenue generation partner, our Definitive Guide to Choosing a Managed Sales Partner can help.