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Actions You Can Take To Mitigate 5 Common Sales Outsourcing Risks

Once you’ve decided that a sales outsourcing strategy is right for your business, you'd probably assume that the logical next step is to start searching for companies that have experience generating "results."

However, for best results, there are other "to-do's" that you should precede that. One of those "to-do's" is to put in place measures to mitigate sales outsourcing risks before you sign a contract and start working with a Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer.

To help you minimize sales outsourcing risks that could hold you back from achieving your goals through Sales Agencies and Sales Freelancers, we've compiled a shortlist of tactics you can consider using for each risk factor.

Checkout the tips below to improve your probability of success with sales outsourcing...

#1 - Performance Management Risks

When the definition of “good performance” that the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer has in mind is not aligned to your business objectives and performance expectations, getting the results you want from your Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer is a crapshoot. 

Here are 4 actions you can take to minimize performance management risks and work with the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer you hire to deliver the best results possible:

  1. Only purchase from sellers when you are in full agreement with their terms, you can always ask your Sales Agency for a walkthrough of the terms and conditions.
  2. Create a stand-alone Service Level Agreement document that includes specific KPIs, deadlines, responsibilities, deliverables, and channels for delivering regular performance updates and feedback.
  3. Work with the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer to develop a performance scorecard that you will use to evaluate their actual performance relative to the agreed upon targets.
  4. Work with your Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer to define the target market, messaging, and sales process, and ensure it aligns with your company's goals and objectives. Then collaboratively review and update them based on sales performance.
  5. Schedule weekly performance reviews to discuss the action plan your outsourced team  is considering and ensure they are working towards the agreed-upon goals in-line with your expectations. Early and often feedback is especially important when onboarding an outsourced provider to ensure results are never off track.

#2 - Integration Risks

Without alignment between the processes used by your internal sales team and outsourced sales team, it may be difficult to manage and coordinate their sales efforts, resulting in suboptimal performance. 

Here are 3 tips you can follow to minimize integration challenges and ensure that the processes used by the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer you hire are properly aligned to your internal sales team’s processes:

  1. Ensure that the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer's systems, tools, and processes are compatible with your internal sales team’s systems and processes.
  2. Establish clear communication channels and protocols between the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer, as well as, your internal sales team members.
  3. Assign a dedicated Point of Contact (POC) to manage the integration process, and provide training and support to Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer, as well as, your internal sales team members. 

#3 - Industry and/or Product Knowledge Risks

Some Sales Agencies and Sales Freelancers may not possess a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of your specific industry and/or the value proposition of your products or services, which can increase the time it takes for them to ramp up results.

Here are a few actions you can take to reduce the risk that the sales agency or sales freelancer’s lack of expertise will result in a waste of time and resources for your company.

  1. Request case studies that demonstrate success in selling products or services like yours.
  2. Request case studies that demonstrate success in selling to customers similar to yours.
    Check the provider's reviews from similar clients to assess their track record.
  3. Evaluate the provider’s blog articles and website content for evidence of expertise selling your type of product or service or selling into your target audience.
  4. Provide comprehensive sales training on your products or services, your target market, competition, and industry trends.
  5. Review sales scripts and periodically spot check communications with contacts in your prospect lists and make improvement recommendations.

#4 - Cultural Differences Risks

Cultural risks can include differences in time zones, language barriers, and regulatory and legal requirements that can vary from country to country. 

Promoting open communication between your internal sales team and the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer you’ve hired helps reduce the potential for miscommunications that could negatively impact sales productivity. 

Here are a few actions you can take to minimize the cultural risks associated with sales outsourcing:

  1. Instead of technical jargon and complex phrasing that may be difficult for non-native speakers to understand, use simple, straightforward language.
  2. Create visual aids, such as diagrams, flowcharts, and infographics to simplify complex ideas and make them easier to understand for non-native speakers.
  3. Use video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tools to improve your ability to reach your outsourced sales team when you need to reach them.
  4. Assign a single point of contact (champion) to be responsible for opening up discussions about team norms and company culture and ensuring that all parties are on the same page.
  5. Provide detailed instructions on how you want your products or services to be sold in the outsourced sales team members’ native language.
  6. Host cross-cultural training to help your internal sales team and the Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer team identify and resolve cultural differences that could lead to miscommunication.
  7. Choose a Sales Agency that has a strong understanding of the local market and can effectively navigate potential cultural and language barriers to be directly responsible for managing reps on your behalf.

#5 - Security Risks

A risk assessment is a way to ensure that a Sales Agency or Sales Freelancer you hire has adequate security protocols in place to minimize the likelihood of unauthorized people gaining access to your sensitive information so that you can avoid data breaches or theft. 

Here are 4 steps you can take to help minimize common security risks associated with sales outsourcing:

  1. Examine your candidates’ track record and get feedback from some of their previous clients to ensure that they have a good track record of being trustworthy. 
  2. Have the outsourced service provider sign a confidentiality agreement that clearly defines your security practices and expectations.  
  3. Use tools such as access controls, encryption, and two-factor authentication to restrict access to sensitive information only to those who require it to perform their job functions.
  4. Regularly monitor the performance of the outsourced team, including activity logs, to identify any unusual activities or data breaches. If you detect any suspicious activities, take immediate action to investigate and resolve the issue.