With the explosion of solutions in Sales Engagement on the Tenbound Market Map such as Salesloft, Outreach, Vanillasoft and many others, the Sales Engagement sector continues to explode.
But how do you make the best choice for this important system for your Sales Development team?
Tenbound has teamed up with GZ Consulting to produce the latest guide, Evaluating Sales Engagement Platforms, now available in the Tenbound Research Center.
Click here to access the report!
There’s an old axiom in business that says “nothing happens until somebody sells something.”
No customer success can happen until there’s a customer. No money can be counted and no invoices sent without a transaction. No trade shows are funded, no salary payments made, no catered lunches. Until there’s a signed contract and next sales transaction is done, nothing happens.
Each day we read about companies with massive funding and a great idea that quietly fold or are purchased for a hugely discounted price in what’s described in a myriad of ways but what it comes down is one thing: they didn’t sell enough.
In an office somewhere around the globe there sits someone with an amazing product that can definitely change lives for the better that is slowly wilting under the hot glow of time. The product may be great and the team may be amazing but if nobody is selling anything the company is slowly dying.
But where do sales start where does sales come from? Unless the product is completely frictionless and can be purchased online, even large purchases it requires some sort of conversation with a human being.
This conversation could be live on the phone, it could be over chat, it could be over text messages but at the end of the day, some sort of human interaction must take place.
And so, companies that want to create new sales must forge conversations. In order to do so they do their best marketing, branding, community building, content production and other ways to get people interested in initiating those conversations.
All of those methodologies, while scalable repeatable and leveraged, can eventually run out of steam. You can tweak the funnel, throw money at Google ads, write the most amazing content and have the most amazing marketing on earth, but eventually the conversations stop and the sales start to level off.
And now we must go outbound and reach out to people who have never heard of us and are not in our funnel yet.
Enter cold email.
People still live in their email inbox, checking it hundreds of times every day. As you walk to get coffee, go into meetings, or even wake up in the morning in bed, despite the advent of other communication mechanisms, email still reigns supreme in business.
And we’re not the only people that know this. Open your email and you have hundreds of messages every day coming in, from newsletters, to blog follows and other unsolicited attempts for your attention. These are from all the people that are trying to go outbound and get something going so that they can have more conversations and more sales this is cold email. Just exactly like what you’re doing.
The reason that you get so many emails every day is because people need to make sales, and in order to get those sales they need to have conversations, and in order to get those conversations they need to contact you with their exciting and life changing value prop.
The question is how can you get people to respond so that you can start that conversation?
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The Board wants to see an increase in revenue, fast. Your Sales team needs more pipeline. Your in-house Sales Development program seems to be going around in circles.
Even if you wanted to make changes, you don't have time to hire, train, equip and manage a group of all new SDRs.
What should you do?
These are the questions we hear a lot as we work with clients here at Tenbound.
Companies need qualified Sales appointments and pipeline today in order to hit their aggressive revenue targets.
However, simply relying on the production of marketing or the rolodex of current your Sales team doesn’t seem to be producing enough pipeline.
Maybe it's time to think about getting some help.
The classic equation comes into play with regards to your Sales Development program: Do you build or buy?
This question is not without precedent. Engineering departments outsource all the time, and most marketing departments use at least one outside agency and/or PR firm. So why not Sales Development?
Perhaps you have a Sales Development program but it doesn't seem to be producing enough appointments, pipeline and ultimately the revenue that you need to be able to hit your goal.
You heard from a friend that they use this great outsourced SDR program that's perfect for their industry and is producing great results. Should you give them a call?
There are two main arguments when thinking about this problem.
Advocates for keeping Sales Development in-house focus on the long term benefits for the company in hiring, training and keeping high quality candidates who can be groomed for other roles within the organization, such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Success and Product.
They also argue that all the tribal knowledge on prospecting and customers an in-house Sales Development team builds up is important and needs to be tracked and processed in to the ongoing Sales Development playbook.
Advocates for outsourcing look at Sales Development by the numbers. That the costs, timing and effort involved are so much more attractive when outsourcing that hiring SDRs makes almost no sense unless you’re very well established company that’s doing really well.
Most people need sales appointments now and don’t have the time, motivation or patience to start and run an in-house team.
Let's look at those different considerations when considering outsourcing your Sales Development program, breaking it down to three main factors: cost, timing and effort involved.
Cost: In any case, Sales Development is a significant investment. Whether it produces an ROI for your company will depend on many variables, but once you’ve decided to invest in it, working out how to allocate resources to it and what kind of return you’ll is tricky. In-house teams require Salary, benefits, data, management and other costs, many of which would not necessarily come out the budget of whoever is responsible for building team. Computers, desks, lunch etc might come from a different. Outsourcing presents a stark contrast; instead of salary, benefits and mirad of sunk costs for an in-house team you just pay an outsourced company invoice each month. This payment comes out of the budget of whoever is making the purchase, just as would any other contractor, vendor or perk.
Timing: Standing up an in-house Sales Development team is not a project to be completed overnight. At Tenbound, we recommend hiring a Sales Development Manager first before even starting a team, if you can afford it. Many things must get done to set it up correctly, such as hiring, onboarding, training, coaching, playbook development and ongoing management. Without these in place, the program will struggle. This takes a long time. Similarly, getting an outsourced firm up and running takes time, however it may be fair to assume it’ll be shorter than an in-house team. Depending on the outsourced firm, they can take your messaging, target profile and playbook, and since they already have the people and infrastructure in place, they should be able to move a lot faster. Starting from zero, you’d have to give your in-house team at least three months to start producing regularly, whereas hiring an outsourced shop should take less than a month to get productive.
Effort: A common misconception is that if we hire an outsourced firm we don’t have to put in too much effort on the program because they will be doing the work. This is dead wrong. While the amount of effort might be less long term than an in-house team, outsourced companies still need you to provide a tremendous amount of information at the beginning so they have a chance to get going on your target list. Without that effort, they simply will not have the information they need to be successful. They may also send over appointments which don’t fit your ICP or are not qualified, causing friction with your Sales team. On the other hand, building an in-house team is a long term play and will take sustained effort and care over months and years. We often see that Sales or Marketing Leaders who are passionate about Sales Development do a great job running the program, but then leave the company and nobody really takes over. The program is passed around, and all that effort slowly wilts and dies.
Conclusion: with each day and hour that passes, the need for high quality Sales appointments and pipeline continues to grow. Whether its an in-house program, outsourced program or a combination of both, Sales Development needs to be done. If you are motivated by building a long term, successful program that will be a feeder program to the rest of the company for years to come, think about bringing or building the program in-house. If you just need appointments and pipeline as quickly as possible and don’t want to invest the time and money into starting an in-house program, go outsourced. If you can afford it, do both and have them running simultaneously. Get a competition going and see who produces better results at a lower cost.