I have nothing to do with selling flowers, but I like to Google around topics related to outsourced sales. I came across this article on outsourcing along the flower supply chain and sales, and while it’s maybe a little bit odd to spend some of my day reading about flower sales, well, I liked the headline: “Outsourcing is the best option when entering a new market.” I agree with that — heck, Martin wrote a similar post in February 2015 — and it applies to most products — not just flowers.
First, let’s consider some of the challenges that companies have when they try to enter a new market — especially if it’s a very different market than their current base of operations. Some of the biggest obstacles in these overseas expansion efforts include:
- Travel expenses
- Language barriers
- Time zone issues
- Not knowing the local regulatory environments
- Local business customs/culture
- Recruiting cycles in the new market
- Managing employees
Whew. That’s a lot of potential problems. Now let’s solve them!
There are a few different reasons why outsourced sales makes logical sense when trying to get a footing in a new market. This article details a few of them, including:
Objective growth strategy: If you build your sales team in-house, you are inherently limited by the expertise, experience and location of the people you hire. If you outsource sales, though, you’ll have access to people in a number of different areas.
Speed: If you outsource your sales to experts in that new market, you’ll be able to really speed up the process of making sales, driving revenue, and showing growth to any investors or partners. Building in-house takes time — think about how long it can sometimes take to just schedule one or two interviews with a sales principal you’re trying to hire. Now add more weeks and weeks for them to come on board, learn the situation, start selling, etc. You can do that in about one week or less with an outsourced model.
Local expertise: A professional firm will have established business networks in that market — and they can leverage those immediately. (Also speaks to the ‘speed’ aspect above.)
Reduce costs: We all like this, right? This also speaks to scalability. In the beginning of a new market, you need your operational costs as low as possible.
Share risk: Ditto. And especially if you’re expanding overseas to a new market (USA to Europe, for example), outsourcing your sales initially is a low-risk play.
Execution: Here is a great podcast between Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. It’s over 90 minutes long, but I would listen to it. Some parts are directly about sales, but almost all of it can be applied to sales. Here’s the more important part for this article, though. Tony Robbins tells a story in the podcast about challenges that companies have with execution, and especially selling. He says that when you have two employees, there are already some internal problems and politics. When you have 10, there are way more. When you have 20? Double that. What about when you have 2,000 employees? Or 10,000? There are internal problems happening every second because of politics, allegiances, unclear priorities, and so many other issues. All that gets in the way of executing and selling. When you outsource, you can still run into some issues, sure. But the issues won’t hamper execution like internal teams can.
Martin Weiss created a whole business model around sales outsourcing for the German-speaking markets, including understanding why Austria is such a smart entry point. I fully understand the power of sales outsourcing — I think it’s one of the best revenue drivers out there for teams entering a new market.
So if you are looking for an outsourced sales partner in the German-speaking markets, feel free to reach out. We love to help new people grow their engine at BizXpand.