Article: Outsourcing Your Sales Operations

Outsourcing the sales operation for your organization, easy right?

A successful outsourced sales project, can in most cases be defined by the following indicators:

  • Growth in sales revenue
  • Cost of sales decreased
  • Customer experience and brand perception are not (negatively) affected by the initiative

Why do we see time and again, very experienced and established sales organizations venture abroad into countries like Philippines and Malaysia to set up outsourced sales offices, only to see them close it down again after 12 to 18 months and return to their original location, trying to rebuild their sales operations again?

After all, they all would have achieved a decrease in cost pretty easily when running their sales operations from a lower wage country (where most of the outsourcing companies are based). Yet, all too often we see such initiatives not deliver on their expectation or potentially, in the long run, even harm the business by negatively impacting their reputation.

The first question to answer is whether to look for an existing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partner or to set up your own sales office (and where)?

If you have a single homeworker who has returned to their home country and will be making calls from their home this surely could be a good solution… while it lasts. But to make this work structurally and to be able to expand to a larger and organized operation, an actual office will be required, that does not depend only on home workers.

The strength of an operation is not only defined by how well all goes once everything is set up, but perhaps even more importantly, by how well the operation can deal with challenges that almost certainly will come along the way (such as staffing and recruitment issues, managing the day to day operations, having the right office equipment, sales analytics and tools etc.). A lot will indeed come down to being able deal with and overcome such challenges.

This does not mean that it is not possible to set up a successful sales office abroad from scratch and manage it successfully, but the efforts of setting it up and making it work are very high and the required investment of time and money will be much greater, compared to working with the right call centre partner.

Working with a partner who can take away those concerns and headaches as described above will quickly prove its value.

However, finding such a partner for your sales outsourcing can be a real challenge. Those who have done some searching for a BPO or a sales outsourcing partner will be surprised at how often emails are not answered and how often phone numbers are disconnected and not working. If that’s an indicator of how these companies would run your sales operation, it is worth rethinking, whether it’s worth partnering at all with such a party.