What is B2B Managed Sales?
Teams of B2B sales professionals give your organization the ability to accelerate your sales. By outsourcing a sales channel (direct or indirect), you can augment your existing sales organization or manage a segment of your revenue generation strategy. And that results in profitable growth, risk reduction, market expansion, and improved revenue velocity.
Sales is their business. It’s all they do. All day. Every day.
With sales process outsourcing, you not only get a team of sales professionals but also business process engineers that design and optimize methodologies for maximum efficiency; instructional engineers that ensure sellers have the skills and acumen needed to perform at the highest levels; technology specialists that constantly audit new technologies and align elements of the tech stack with the precise needs of your business; business analysts that monitor and measure results and inform optimization strategies; innovation teams that obsess over continuous improvement and that maximize processes; and highly experienced sales leaders who orchestrate programs, coach sellers to achieve their greatest potential, and lead sales teams to achieve optimum results.
Why Do Companies Outsource Sales?
Managed sales organizations are singularly focused on one thing, and one thing only: selling. They give organizations speed, agility, and expansion capabilities that most companies do not have which is why companies often give outsourcers their most challenging projects. Strategies that they have tried and failed. Customer segments and markets that they have had difficulty penetrating. Products and services that their current reps are not skilled at selling.
Are you trying to get to market quickly? It can take more than six months to recruit, hire, onboard, train, and get a new sales rep productive. In a fraction of that time, an outsourced sales organization can have right-fit sellers producing and contributing to your sales objectives.
Are there business uncertainties that make it difficult to know exactly what size sales team is needed? In these situations, many companies do nothing, preferring the status quo to hiring sellers knowing that they may be relieved of their positions a short time later. An outsourced sales organization can quickly scale up or down, giving you the confidence to move forward knowing that resources can be pivoted when needed.
Are there market conditions that you want to take advantage of but hesitate because of the disruption or negative impact it could have on your sales team? Managed sales organizations have the flexibility to pivot swiftly when market dynamics demand a change to sales focus, territory, product, or team structure.
Are you launching a new product but need your current sellers focused on their existing product line-up? Keep your sellers focused while your managed sales partner targets the new product. Augmenting your team with just the right talent with the right skills, you ensure that both new and existing product lines receive the support they require for success.
Is your existing sales team lagging in revenue generation? If they are calling on the 20% of accounts that usually buy from you, they are missing out on the revenue potential from the 80% “tail accounts” that are buying from your competitors, many of which may be giving those competitors a greater share of wallet. A sales team that focuses on securing revenue from these often-overlooked accounts could be the answer to an improved pipeline.
What B2B Managed Sales is Not
It’s Not Offshore Call Centers: Many people think that it primarily consists of low-value, offshore call centers. While those kinds of companies exist, a B2B sales organization consists of precisely selected, highly trained sales professionals who treat your business as if it was their own. The right sales partner gives you a high-value, protect-your-brand sales channel with a savvy team of well-trained sales experts that will represent your brand image and completely align with your corporate culture.
It’s Not a Replacement for Your Sales Team: When you outsourced your sales motion, don’t expect your entire sales team to be replaced. While some companies choose to do so, it’s not typical. More likely, companies look to create a new sales channel with the right staff, resources, strategy, and technology to make their current sales motions more effective.
It’s Not Solely Focused on Call Volume: Another misconception is that managed outsourcing is merely about making 100 calls a day and filling the pipeline with a ton of leads that your sales team will convert. But it’s so much more than that. Professional sales organizations manage all aspects of the sales cycle, converting prospects to opportunities, and opportunities to sales, and managing current accounts to reduce churn and expand share of wallet.
Why Managed B2B Sales is in Demand Now
The demand for managed B2B sales has steadily increased in recent years, as companies have recognized that expanding the channels through which they sell drives improvement of their revenue engine. Particularly as digital sales and marketing have skyrocketed, it has become more advantageous and can have a positive impact on three important trends:
Greater emphasis on a positive customer experience with brands. How people gather information about companies and products before they buy and how they decide to purchase have radically changed; and just as in consumer businesses, it is all trending toward digital. B2B buyers expect consumer-like interactions and B2B sellers must deliver this level of engagement.
Broader use of technology in the sales cycle. It seems like a new sales productivity or enablement tool is introduced every minute. All these tools are touted to meet the constant need by companies to sell better and faster.
Scarcity of top sales talent. Attracting highly skilled sales talent is becoming more challenging daily. Competition for hiring and retaining great sales talent is fierce and company expectations for sales staff remains high, especially for people who have proven their ability to improve sales.
What B2B Organizations Should Expect When Outsourcing Their Sales Process
Sales Channel and Vertical Expertise >> Experience in your vertical industry, knowing who and what influences the sale, and how targeted personas and accounts select and buy your products comprise essential requirements for your outsourced revenue growth partner. This gives them the ability to make more thoughtful, more targeted recommendations with a significantly higher probability of success.
Speed to Market and Scalable Delivery >> Your sales partner should be able to scale and pivot based upon the dynamics of your target market, products, programs, and sales channels. They should place an intense focus on specific sales tasks, but with total flexibility to change swiftly when market dynamics demand a modification to sales focus, territory, product, and/or team structure.
Sales Enablement Strategy >> A strong sales partner uses documented and proven methodologies with rigorous processes and technology that define and measure key strategy components and deliver superior performance against mutually agreed-upon metrics and goals. (You can only manage what you can measure!) Business process engineers, instructional designers, and certified sales technology and enablement experts drive effectiveness and efficiency across your entire customer experience.
Robust Tech Stack >> The ideal B2B sales partner will have at hand a range of sales technologies that enable data sourcing, enrichment and hygiene, customer engagement, training and coaching, skill enhancement, prospecting, segmentation, and cadence development. Their tech stack should also include technologies that automate processes, eliminate waste, increase skill and acumen, and have a measurable impact on the business. Read more in How to Build a Kick A$$ B2B Tech Stack >>
Continuous Improvement and Innovation >> Your sales provider should be obsessed with continuous improvement in everything that they do, always working to reduce sellers’ red time and increase their green time, and streamlining processes for greater efficiency. Business process engineers who leverage engineering approaches design and refine processes to allow reps to sell more—and sell faster—to your target customer.
Database Development and Health >> The ability to define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and targeted personas are table stakes for any revenue growth partner. They should be able to identify, source, verify, and append your current and new prospect contacts. This, combined with providing targeted persona buyer intent data, is a formula that stimulates demand and builds a qualified pipeline of winnable opportunities.
Timely Business Intelligence (BI) >> A B2B sales provider should specialize in helping clients enhance decision making to drive better outcomes by continuously analyzing data and delivering actionable reporting solutions supported by large-scale analytics and data warehouse solutions.
The rapid pace of change in the world demands that sellers are ready to pivot at speed and that strategies are adaptable. Companies that recognize the value in having multiple channels to support their revenue goals will be well-positioned to adapt. The right B2B managed sales provider can meet these needs with people, processes, and technology, allowing your revenue engine to operate at scale, while also saving money, time, and effort.
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Author: Karen Salamone
Karen is Head of Marketing for MarketSource. She is a transformational B2B and B2B2C leader with a history of building marketing organizations, content teams, and demand generation centers of excellence from the ground up. She is recognized for delivering meaningful insights and fresh approaches and for earning best-in-class content, design, and multi-media awards.