Industry research and case studies prove that sales business process outsourcing, when managed properly, helps companies address challenges to their business. Here are some of the industries and professions that can gain enormous benefits from sales BPO.
Retail and Consumer Goods
The retail and consumer goods industry has outsourced sales and marketing activities to external agencies for years, and the trend continues to this day. Drivers for outsourcing in the sector are pressures to reduce costs while improving internal capabilities, productivity and efficiency. Companies also outsource sales to ensure that products are always available in multiple sales channels.
Sales outsourcing partnerships in the consumer goods sector have proven successful for many firms. Sales agencies have the resources and expertise to boost product sales through focused retail activities and support, while helping companies save money. According to a study, most companies in the U.S. gain great return on investment through outsourced sales, and their investment in infrastructure, systems, and an outside sales force allow them to achieve their sales goals.
Other benefits that retail and manufacturing companies gain from sales outsourcing:
Cost savings. The same study reports that consumer goods companies believe that the cost of outsourcing transactional sales services was almost 30 percent lower than direct sales. Costs were lower because service providers were able to spread operating costs over multiple products and manufacturers. Providers were also able to adapt better to changing sales workforce demands.
Expanded market coverage. The regional and local expertise of sales providers helps companies expand into new markets quickly and effectively. For example, it is easy to build and deploy a dedicated and knowledgeable inside sales team in an offshore location to generate high-quality leads.
Improved management of retail shelves. Sales solutions vendors excel at providing more frequent retail coverage and more effective retail shelf management. Commonly outsourced retail services include sales planning, sell-through activities, promotion management, and retail support for individual stores.
Information Technology (IT) and Software
IT and software firms are increasingly working with third parties to grow their business and keep generating sales. Traditionally, IT companies outsource sales when they expand into a new territory or introduce a new product. Tech startups or companies that are ready to expand need to divert resources to their core activity, so they choose to outsource sales services to outside agencies. A small business may not have enough bandwidth to generate new leads while providing topnotch customer service, or a fledgling software company introducing a new product may lack the resources to hire a full-time sales force.
Like other industries, the IT sector outsources sales services mainly to reduce and control costs, improve focus, access world-class capabilities, divert resources to the core function, and share risk. As the market matures, tech companies are demanding more value from their outsourcing engagements. Some IT firms outsource sales and marketing to access highly-skilled sales talent, and not merely to reduce costs.
Sales outsourcing also helps IT companies become more agile and move at the speed of technological innovation. They can focus on improving their core product/service, while the outsourcing company develops and executes the right sales strategy. Companies benefit from the expertise of seasoned sales executives and senior sales staff that they would not have been able to afford otherwise.
Healthcare and Pharmaceutical
With the rollout of electronic medical records (EMR), ICD-10, and the Affordable Care Act, companies in the healthcare industry are actively investing in technology and workforce upgrades. Healthcare organizations are turning to outside experts for specialized outsourcing services such as EMR and turnkey sales. Vendors integrate technology with sales solutions to perform sales calls and reach out to the primary care facilities and private practices. Commonly outsourced services in this sector include inbound call centers, lead generation and qualification, appointment setting, telesales, inside sales, and field sales. Healthcare firms working with third party providers, especially providers located offshore, gain cost savings through low labor and operational costs.
The pharmaceutical industry is facing similar challenges, and pharma companies are working with sales solutions providers to achieve sales goals. One popular solution is the integration of an external sales force into the company’s in-house sales department to fill key positions and provide complementary skills. This strategic outsourcing model allows pharma companies to decrease internal headcount and reduce fixed costs while expanding their market coverage. It also allows companies to scale up or down very quickly in response to unexpected events.
Banking and Finance
The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry was one of the first to outsource sales services locally and offshore. For many years, banks and financial institutions have worked with service providers to establish sales teams all over the world. Companies typically outsource financial product sales, cross-selling and upselling, inbound and outbound telesales, and multichannel sales support services to third parties locally and offshore.
Partnerships with sales providers allow financial institutions to control costs by leveraging low-cost skilled labor in emerging economies. Other benefits of sales outsourcing in the BFSI industry are access to niche-specific sales/telesales expertise, faster expansion into new markets, and scalability. A Gallup Banking and Financial Services researcher reported that call centers that successfully increase sales and conversion are those that use customer-focused tactics.
Engineering and High-Tech
Engineering and high-tech companies must get their products and services to executives as well as technical decision makers. One way for outsourcing firms to help engineering companies drive sales and increase conversion is to support sales teams with expert sales engineers who have deep technical understanding of the product or service. High-level support allows outsourced sales reps to make the best pitch for the offering.
Physicians, Dentists and Healthcare Professionals
Sales outsourcing helps medical and healthcare professionals improve revenues by providing the services of highly-skilled sales reps and sales executives that know exactly how to connect with decision makers, generate quality leads, and speak to customers in a language that they can understand. Vendors also provide the necessary technology and infrastructure to develop and execute the right sales strategy for specific products and services.
Real Estate Agents
Sales solutions providers help real estate agents shorten the sales cycle and improve product sales prices. Sales providers offer the services of inside and field sales reps specializing in real estate as well as consultancy and infrastructure support.
Engineering and Technical Professionals
Engineering and technical professionals need specific sales solutions and a topnotch sales team that have in depth knowledge of the industry. Sales outsourcing providers employ engineers in executive or consultant roles to help other professionals connect with leads and make the best case for their technical product/service.
Private accountants and accounting firms that work with sales providers can grow their practice and improve conversion through proven selling methods. An outsourced sales team understands your potential client’s business and can communicate comfortably at the executive level to influence decision making.
Sales Outsourcing Trends and Changes
The complexity and unpredictability of sales operations make it extremely difficult to predict with certainty what will happen. The main trend in global sales is the increasing pace and impact of unpredictability due to technology and other innovations. Rapid change is forcing organizations to look for long-term, growth oriented strategies on top of meeting sales goals. Sales outsourcing providers are stepping up to help businesses meet these challenges cost-effectively. They have expanded their capabilities to include technology solutions and sales strategy consulting.
In 2014, an analyst firm reported that 39 percent of companies surveyed were currently outsourcing outbound sales, and 36 percent were outsourcing inbound sales. Sales managers were outsourcing to squeeze costs from sales operations and sell at better margins. Besides cost control, sales providers have the expertise to redefine sales territories and adopt more efficient ways to handle low-value customers. Along with internal factors, the transformation of the sales function is also being driven by a somewhat stagnant market and the pressure on companies to improve market performance.
Changing Sales and Telesales Techniques
In a market with more sophisticated and demanding buyers, sales and telesales reps must expand their knowledge base considerably and learn to sell to well-informed customers with higher expectations. Key sales and marketing vendors are doing just that, training outsourced sales teams to adopt a primarily customer-centric approach. For example, telesales reps with experience in selling commodities using uncomplicated strategies like cold calling are learning to sell differentiated products and make their case to high-level decision makers. Some outsourcing firms are hiring not only executive-level sales professionals, but also computer scientists, physicians, IT specialists, and engineers to support external and internal sales teams.
Other important trends in sales outsourcing are social media and big data. Businesses are ramping up their use of social media to boost sales, but in a more sophisticated, data-driven way. Many companies are working with third party agencies to build an external social media team that collaborates closely with their sales force to better engage current and potential customers.
Big data is another technology that is driving the transformation in sales. Data is more accessible and actionable, and top-performing sales teams leverage it to differentiate their offerings and drive competitive advantage.
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