Three objections to sales outsourcing, debunked

At this point, I’ve probably heard 92,194 objections to sales outsourcing throughout my career. Even worse: The first 2,194 objections came directly from me and my workmates in the sales department when I started my professional career. Feels like that’s a high number to run through in a blog post, but … I know the three most common that come up. Here they are, along with a rebuttal to each one!

Sales Outsourcing Objection No. 1: “Our products are too complex”

“It takes about 12 months to understand our complex products and all it’s use cases”. OK. First thing on this one: a lot of times, this is bullshit. (Sorry, had to say it.) People that build up companies sometimes believe their own hype and think their business model or product matrix is so complicated that no one could ever possibly understand it except for those people they choose to hire (and, hopefully, their customers). There are a lot of problems with this deal and believing your own hype, but we won’t get into that in this post. Instead, the sales side context is that complex products require complex sales pitches. When you hire an outsourcing partner, you need value-based selling. It’s more about that and less about demos or points of contact. If you’re looking for an outsourcing partner for a complex product and you expect them to just run tons of demos for you, then you may not end up seeing any value. Today all top sales experts around the world agree that a seller’s product insight is the least important part for a successful sales transaction. It is all about commercial insight and how to consult a buyer in his own business.

Sales Outsourcing Objection No. 2: “We tried that before. It didn’t work.”

Again, a lot of BS in this statement. All the time in business — and I mean all the time — something doesn’t work once and then, six months later, it works perfectly. Business responds to the market and the prospects/customers for a product/service, and because those elements change, business always changes. You have to try. You have to learn. You have to iterate. We all know this.

Usually when someone says this, what they really mean is “At the time we tried an outsourcing partner, we didn’t have a product/market fit and we didn’t have a repeatable sales model.”. It might also mean “We didn’t have enough transparency into the activities of our outsourcing partner so we don’t know what went wrong”. The other problem: a lot of times, companies use an outsourcing partner just for lead generation — as opposed to the full sales cycle. Outsourcing lead gen in a complex product environment usually does NOT work. The incentive structure for external lead gen isn’t there, and the hand-over between outsourced lead gen and internal sales management is often pretty low-context. If you think your product/market fit is there, it might be time to consider an outsourcing partner for the entire sales cycle.

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Sales Outsourcing Objection No. 3: “They will not follow our proven sales approach”

Again, some BS here (but less). This often goes along with Objection No. 1: “A complex product deserves a very complex sales approach.” Your “proven sales approach” is usually something that constantly needs to change and be tweaked. B2B sales, for example, has changed about 150 times in the last three years alone and it will change another 50 times within the next three years. What you learned about sales practices 15 years ago is almost useless today. Think about cold calling, solution selling, product demos, trade shows, etc. There are better prospecting methods and value-based selling is a legitimate competitive advantage. So maybe you need to consider a new sales approach. But then again, if you have a proven sales approach that’s driving revenue through the roof and is also SCALABLE, why wouldn’t an outsourcing partner just come in and use that while helping you? Right? 🙂

 

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