For the agencies we deal with at Airborne, having booked meetings and a pipeline full of qualified leads is critical to their ability to function.
However, with the increasing number of companies offering outsourced sales development, businesses have an important choice to make. Is it better to build your own in-house sales development team? Or would you be better off outsourcing?
Here are some of the factors you should consider when making your decision.
Sales development takes time
When you're looking into sales development, it's usually because you need leads and you need them now. If you want to build that function in-house though, it's going to take you time.
You'll need to find ideal candidates, hire them, then train them before they start hitting the phones and sending out emails. Even if everything goes smoothly (and since when has that happened?), it'll typically take several months to get a sales development team up and running in-house.
If you don't have that kind of time to spare, outsourcing could be the quick fix you need. By letting an established team do the work for you, you cut down on the time and effort needed. It's also an opportunity to see how the SDR model works for your business.
It's also worth considering the time saved down the line if you need to make significant changes to your approach. The wrong hire or a broken strategy could involve further months of restructuring and changes. With an outsourced team though, they usually have the resources on hand to make the changes quickly and without disruption. If they can't, then it's still easier to change your outsourcing provider than have to make all those changes internally.
It's important to remember that, while outsourcing might be faster, it isn't an instant solution. Along with finding the right SDR outsourcing company, you'll need to discuss and agree on the strategies they'll use on your behalf. The right company will be able to help you out with recommendations, but it'll still take time to get right.
The cost of outsourcing sales development
Whichever approach you take to sales development, it's important to analyze the costs. Building your own sales development team can get expensive; the average SDR salary currently comes to just over $44K, but hardware, software, training, and other hidden costs all quickly add up. As mentioned, it might also take time before you see any significant ROI. Of course, outsourcing isn't without its costs. However, these are generally easier to measure and monitor.
If you do decide to outsource, costs can vary massively between companies, anywhere from $3,500/mo to $12,000/mo. It might be tempting to go for the cheaper option, but be aware that when it comes to outsourced sales development you usually get what you pay for. Cheaper solutions typically mean offshore teams working on multiple accounts, often without the expertise or strategy needed to get the best results. While this might work if your offer is at a low price-point and you already have an established strategy that you can share with the outsourced team, it can backfire if you're trying to sell high-value products to the C-suite. Trying to save money here can end up costing you much more in the long run.
There are also the long term benefits to consider. While building your own team may be more expensive at first, it's also an investment in your company's future. By growing your team, you can get a better understanding of your prospects, while also nurturing talent that will eventually fill other roles in your company. It's the difference between renting and owning property; outsourcing fulfills a function, but an in-house team can bring benefits for years to come.
Onsite vs. remote teams
Where will your sales development team be located? In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, more companies are considering a permanent shift to remote work, so whether you're outsourcing your sales development or not, you might still be dealing with remote teams. Does it really make a difference where your SDRs are located anymore?
If you are going ahead with an in-house team, keeping them onsite means assigning physical resources, all of which have a cost (see above). However, it also means that management and communication are easier. If you're going to create your own remote team, you'll have the advantage of a wide international talent pool, but careful consideration will need to be given to how you'll communicate with them.
With an outsourced team, it's even more important to put in clear procedures and polices to ensure you're kept up-to-date. Regular reports are obviously needed, where you can measure performance against key metrics you've agreed. For the best results though, you'll need to go further. Call recordings should be readily available and regularly reviewed to see how the SDRs are performing and confirm they're following the established strategy (rather than just spamming your best prospects).
What are your objectives?
Ultimately, your decision to go in-house or outsource will depend on your current size and overall objectives. Are you looking for expertise? Or just numbers?
If you're an established business that's looking for a team of top-performing SDRs completely invested in your success, it's likely you'll want to go with an in-house team. This will give you far greater control over the team and ensure that they're using best practices.
On the other hand, smaller businesses who are looking to get leads in as soon as possible can benefit greatly by outsourcing the sales development process. If you do decide to go this route, it's important to ensure you're clear on what exactly the outsourced team will be doing and that you both agree on the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
That doesn't mean larger companies won't ever benefit from an outsourced team. As part of a carefully managed strategy, it can be extremely useful. For example, by transferring the low-touch work to an external team, your in-house team will have more time to focus on the high-value tasks and accounts. If you're thinking of going into a new market, an outsourced SDR team could be a good way to validate that market, or possibly provide a temporary increase in manpower to meet a sudden spike in demand.
Sales development is vital, so businesses should think carefully before deciding whether to build up their own team in-house or to outsource it to an external team. There are pros and cons to both options, and your decision should take into account your unique situation and goals.
By considering the time and costs needed, how you'll manage and communicate with the team, and your overall sales development objectives, you'll be able to make the decision that's right for your business.