The Ultimate Guide to Outsourced Sales


Learn the Why, What, and How of Hasty research to Change Your Sales Trajectory.

There are many levers a sales leader or organization can pull to gain scale, accelerate revenue, drive cost savings, or augment sales staff. 

Outbound sales techniques are a foundational aspect of sales formulas for companies large and small. For starters they kickstart revenue. Outbound sales methods work across businesses of all sizes. They also work across industries.

The outsourcing of outbound sales to an agency is a viable and proven option for some or all of your sales efforts. In this guide, we provide all you need to know about outsourcing your outbound sales process.

What is Outbound Sales?

Why is Outbound Sales Important?

B2B Vs. B2C Outbound Sales

Can You Outsource Sales?

Why Would You Outsource the Sales Execution?

How Much Does Outsourcing Sales Cost?

Different Types of Outsourced Sales Providers

When Does it Make Sense to Outsource Sales?

The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Outsource Sales

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What is Outbound Sales?

Outbound sales is the process through which sales reps make sales calls or utilize other sales channels to reach prospects. Outbound sales are where a seller –  typically a sales rep – initiates engagement with a potential buyer. This is opposed to inbound sales, where the potential buyer begins the conversation.

Outbound sales sometimes involves cold calling leads on a list. Often reps call leads that have previously demonstrated demand by engaging with a brand’s content, filling out a form, emailing a business, or making a previous call to a business.

high velocity remote sales team


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Why is Outbound Sales Important?

Statistics show that outbound sales is an effective way to reach out to new customers and create a consistent source of revenue for your company. Here are some reasons why your organization should continue to invest in outbound sales. 

1. Predictable and Repeatable Formula

Using an outbound sales method creates predictable sales processes that are easily repeatable across channels in your company. Other sales representatives can apply the same formula and deliver similar results on a consistent basis. As your organization and sales teams grow, your revenue also increases, keeping your sales formula scalable to your organization’s needs.

2. Initiating Human Contact is a Proven Tactic

Contrary to popular belief, customers appreciate being contacted via phone or email. Executives prefer this communication method. For example, according to Resourceful Selling, 57% of C-Suite decision-makers appreciate being called rather than receiving email messages. Studies have also shown that an overwhelming 82% of prospects accept future meetings when salespeople reach out to them directly.

3. Generate New Leads Fast

Beyond the fact that direct human interaction can increase your leads, outbound sales also enables you to connect with new customers faster than using other sales methods. When directly communicating with a potential buyer of your product, you can better understand their concerns or hesitations, while immediately answering any questions they have about the product or your company to alleviate any objections they may have. 

4. Use Automation to Pursue Strong Leads

Similar to other functions like marketing and customer success, automation has transformed outbound sales. When using email, automation can be helpful to accelerate the outbound sales process. It’s a great way to pursue outbound sales leads while also minimizing the amount of time your employees spend on email prospecting.

Automation also makes segmenting qualified emails faster as well, saving your employees even more time so they can focus on more critical sales processes. 

A pitfall to avoid is not personalizing the message to fit each individual customer. Studies have found that around 60% of people think unpersonalized emails are irrelevant to their needs, while 50% of customers will either not respond to or willfully ignore an email that is not personalized to them individually.


5. Uncover latent interest

Outbound sales is built to allow flexibility in meeting potential customers who may not be directly looking for your product, but could still use it nonetheless. By contacting these potential clients directly, you increase the likelihood of scheduling a meeting with them and exponentially growing your customer network. Your next future customer is waiting for you to contact them.

B2B Vs. B2C Outbound Sales

Outbound Sales for B2B Companies

In business-to-business (B2B) sales, reps sell to members of prospective companies. In B2B sales, sales cycles are often longer and closing a deal often involves multiple touches. 

Following up with prospects is a key role for B2B outbound sales reps. B2B reps will customarily call leads that either they or another rep have dialed before. That’s why it’s so vital for B2B sales reps to log activities in CRM tools like Salesforce so that every member of a sales team can know a lead’s status in real time.

Outbound Sales for B2C Companies

Inside sales reps working for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies usually sell products or services that cost less and have a single buyer. Sales are often more transactional. Examples of B2C companies are those that sell insurance policies, stocks, or time shares.

Can You Outsource Sales?

Yes. Many companies provide this service. Some outsourced sales options are obvious like lead generation and appointment setting. Others are more strategic with specialized expertise.



More green for a sustainability software provider.

Scope 5 turned to an outsourced sales specialist for help.

Finding a product-market fit

Product-market fit evaluation is key in every new market you want to enter as part of your Go-To-Market strategy. This scenario involves helping businesses realign their existing value proposition to the market specifics by talking to real buyer personas within their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). 

You need to uncover their real pains. For example, what alternative solutions do they have right now to ease their pain? How well does your solution fit? Is there a dominant competitor?

Questions like these and others are essential to answer before investing to scale sales.

Building a repeatable sales model

Many possible options exist for your business. Examples include whether you sell directly to customers or through various sales channels, use an inside or field-based sales model, or utilize inbound lead generation or outbound cold calling strategies. You need to find the pattern that works best for your business, which can be repeated many times successfully. 

Systematically generating leads

Many different lead generation services exist. One type is inbound lead generation agencies, which focus on content marketing, social selling, and SEO experts. Another type is sourcing services. This type identifies and prequalifies named target companies and real buyer personas according to your ICP.

The third group consists of outbound sales development agencies. Cold calling, email prospecting, and social engagement are used to qualify and nurture leads for your account executives.

Closing the sale or sales execution

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) can be processed by field sales or by inside sales, depending on the complexity of the product, the target segment, and the related sales process. Inside sales are sales specialists that can present and sell products over the phone and web conferencing tools.

Field-based account executives are what you need for high touch, complex B2B sales to larger enterprises where you have multiple decision-makers involved. This capability is provided by individuals from a particular region and industry.

Why Would You Outsource the Sales Execution?

Usually, sales teams at lean organizations lack the time and resources to manage their pipeline, execution, and follow ups. This is especially the case when organizations want to expand into new geographies and markets, and the sales teams haven’t yet added headcount to accommodate the extra workload.

Other reasons may involve lack of modern sales execution skills to pitch new products and services. Luckily, in most cases, there are plenty of service vendors who can become extensions of your sales team. This allows you to scale your sales pipeline with the company’s growth without having to add headcount.

How Much Does Outsourcing Sales Cost?

Hiring an outside team may seem expensive, but you need to balance this with the costs of expanding your in-house team to fulfill the functions you’re considering outsourcing. Direct and indirect costs to consider include recruiting, training, managing, as well as payroll, insurance, and taxes. Commissions, bonuses, and tech stack add more costs.

Typically outsourced sales professionals charge about $1,000 to $5,000 per project. If you want a dedicated extension of your team, you might be looking at $8,000 to $15,000 per month or more in the enterprise software segment. For roughly the same cost as adding an in-house sales manager to your team, you can get a full sales team taking care of the functions you outsource to them.

inside outside sales cost


A cost comparison: outsourced sales team vs. doing it yourself.

Different Types of Outsourced Sales Providers

Outsourced sales is seldom a one-size-fits-all service. With many different options available, how do you choose the right partner? This list describes the major categories available to you:

  1. Offshore call centers

Visualize a phone bank, whether physical or virtual. While they may have a US office, the resource you are using is offshore. It could be based in India or the Philippines, or locations like Mexico or Costa Rica in this hemisphere. A permutation of this option exists in the US. In this case, the telesales reps speak English as their principal language.

The price of these services is cheap, especially the off-shore option. The prospect experience and the quality of leads are lower. Although hard to quantify, you assume brand and image risk.

  1. Email appointment setters

You probably receive at least 10 emails a day from this group of providers. The subject line often says something like: “Possible to talk on Tuesday, <insert your name>?” A few providers will assert email is more effective than cold calls for booking meetings. The data proves that a multi-channel strategy, including a human touch, is more impactful in larger account sales.

  1. Transactional providers

This group consists of a range of vendors. Some use a pool of fractional resources to support a client contract. Others use dedicated resources. 

The resources themselves may be 1099 contractors or W2 employees. All are likely to use a mix of outreach: phone, email, and social. All are top-of-the-funnel only providers.

This group focuses on sales cycles that average 30 days. The product is typically a commodity with a standard buyer persona, so decisions are driven by price, availability, or service.

  1. Full service outsourced sales specialists

This group provides dedicated sales development specialists, applies clear processes, supports the full sales cycle as appropriate, and offers access to additional value-adds like direct demand generation and inbound marketing expertise. Some do channel development as well.

This group thrives with sales cycles of three to 12 months – typical of enterprise buyers. They are more expensive than other options, use full-time, W2 employees, and can deliver more value depending on your goals and objectives.

When Does it Make Sense to Outsource Sales?

Typical reasons and triggers to outsource parts of your sales process include:

  • A significant change in your sales model; specialization or account-based selling are examples.
  • Introducing a new product or service that requires different sales skills.
  • Entering new markets; this could be geography, market segment, or under-penetrated accounts.
  • Challenging your own sales force.
  • Increasing your total sales results. 
get sales on track


Acquiring new customers and sales is hard work under the best of circumstances.

Keep in mind that sales outsourcing agencies tend to outperform your own team in several areas:

  • Proven experience in exactly the sales functions they offer.
  • State-of-the-art processes.
  • Optimized reporting and analysis.
  • Matching skills available in a scalable business model.

When not to outsource a sales function

Don’t outsource portions of your sales and selling process if your team is not completely committed. Doing so will result in further problems instead of solutions. Situations like not following up with calls after emails or lack of a technical workshop after a demo will hurt your business and make the return on investment untenable.

The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Outsource Sales

1. Do Place More Emphasis On Capabilities Than Cost

When it comes to choosing a sales provider, the cheapest solution is not always the one. When you select the low-cost option, you sacrifice expertise, leadership, and the ability to execute. Is it more important to save a few dollars on a subpar partner or invest in a specialized team that possesses the expertise you need?

Among the many factors to consider for augmenting or extending your sales team are:

  • Define clearly what you need, especially in terms of outcomes.
  • Understand the capabilities of the partner you choose to align with.

Maybe you’re looking to augment your in-house sales team with lead qualification or renewal management. Perhaps you’ve tried to expand into the small and medium business segment, but been unable to gain a measurable return. You might need a team to handle your entire sales process in a new region.

Once you know exactly what your business needs are, it’s critical to understand how a potential sales provider’s processes, expertise, and tools can benefit your particular scenario.

outsourcing sales expansion


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Questions to ask your future outsourcing business partner during screening:

  • What are your core sales competencies, e.g. consumer sales, B2B sales-specific, or something else?
  • Can you outline your organization’s sales expertise in a vertical or channel and demonstrate the depth of knowledge required?
  • Can you illustrate your firm’s proven track record of selling in the enterprise, mid-market, or small business segments? 
  • How will your company support and enable expansion into a new geography or market segment?
  • Does your team possess the depth of experience to have executive and decision-maker business conversations?
  • What tools and technologies do you leverage for successful sales acceleration and why?
  • What level of return can I expect from our engagement, and are you willing to share risk relative to results delivered?

2. Do Play An Active Role In The Partnership

The real work begins once you select an outsourced sales provider and complete the onboarding process. Success comes from taking a collaborative approach. Devote your time and energy to building better business relationships with your new sales partner.

Just as you constantly interact with and guide your internal team, you need to be an active participant in your newly formed outsourced sales partnership.

How to maximize engagement with your new partner:

  • Understand their selling process – from generating leads to closing deals.
  • Train the extension of your sales team as you would internal hires.
  • Make sure they are educated on your business’s strategies, processes, goals, and KPIs.
  • Provide the team with relevant and available sales enablement materials, so they don’t waste valuable time searching for or recreating content.
  • Meet with your outsourced team on a regular basis and challenge them and their activities, objectives, and results. Participate in weekly touch-base meetings to stay connected on performance, gaps, and key initiatives.
  • Loop your outsourced sales team management into internal meetings that cover forecasting, business strategy, and key sales/marketing objectives. 
  • When you set goals, hold the outsourced team to them. Evaluate the reality of those goals often. Work closely with your outsourced team to drive alignment on what success looks like. Don’t do this only once a quarter. 

    3. Do ensure sales and marketing are aligned

    Maintaining constant alignment with your extended sales team is critical. It’s equally important to connect them and insert them into your marketing processes. If you didn’t previously have an in-house sales function before adding an outsourced sales arm, your new team can easily become disconnected from your company’s marketing strategy.

    Sales and marketing must work together to achieve the same goals. They can help each other reach their individual performance metrics more quickly.

How to align your internal and external sales and marketing teams:

Invite key members of your marketing team to regularly interact with your outsourced sales team. Insights from the frontline salespeople who have more customer interactions than most will become a valuable asset to your organization.

Work together to develop buyer personas to ensure that both teams are targeting the same audience. If your marketing team has already developed buyer personas, have them present the data to sales in order to ensure consistent understanding.

Encourage your sales team to regularly report their findings to marketing. For example, sales can inform marketing on what makes a lead higher quality and why. Marketing can in turn use this information to improve their lead generation/qualification process.

4. Don’t Get Lost In The Selection Process

With so many options in outsourced partner sales, it’s easy to get lost in the process of analyzing the best fit. While you don’t want to rush into selecting the wrong partner, dragging out the selection process is also a deterrent. It will essentially burn your opportunity to generate revenue faster than your ability to impact your top and bottom line.

Questions to consider during the selection process:

  • How well does the provider drive thought leadership and creativity during the proposal process? Are they just speaking to what you asked for or are they providing innovative ideas for how to reach your sales goals? This will give you insight into the value they will bring to your organization.
  • What would my sales team look like and what is the ratio of managers to reps? Who will be managing them? 
  • Does this provider understand my needs and specialize in the area of sales that I need help with? If you need expertise in selling to the mid-market space, do they have current teams actually selling into this market?
  • Are we aligned on KPIs, and does the sales partner have the right metrics and evaluation tools to properly measure results?

5. Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Just as you account for a learning curve period with internal hires, you should also allow your outsourced sales provider appropriate time to learn your business.

While it’s true that you’ll save a lot of onboarding time by plugging in an as-a-service sales team, the process isn’t turnkey. In general, it will take a new team around 90 days to learn your value proposition, hone their pitch, create sales sequences, build a pipeline, and begin to deliver results.

How to onboard your outsourced sales team smoothly:

  • Use a variable compensation model that includes some level of fixed compensation, as well as a way to reward success. This gives sales reps a stake in the relationship and incentive to deliver results.
  • Thoroughly train reps up front on your products and brand and encourage your provider to use the information to actively coach reps.
  • Establish an open channel of communication so your outsourced sales team feels comfortable contacting you when needed.

6. Find A True Sales Firm

There are many consumer-facing call centers masquerading as experienced professional sales providers. The difference between a call center and a sales center is that a call center typically focuses on inbound general customer care or technical support. A sales provider is trained to directly drive revenue.

Your outsourced sales partner should:

  • Have active sales teams that are carrying quota.
  • Have the ability to either scale or augment what your internal sales teams are currently doing.
  • Cover new geographies or time zones that you didn’t previously have access to.
  • Provide an integrated lead development process that feeds you opportunities, not just warm leads.
  • Have established sales methodologies that simplify the level of complexity of the modern-day sales motion
  • Have processes in place that drive quota attainment with predictability.
  • Provide a sales stack that is innovative, but flexible enough to incorporate your own proven tools. 
  • Provide analysis and forecasting—not just reporting—to guide strategy.

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No one wants to run the risk of wasting time and resources on launching an unprofitable product or service.

Going to market effectively requires orchestration. Critical skills and expertise from different functions need to come together at the right time to engage and persuade prospective buyers.

You may need a little extra help to fine-tune messaging, create persuasive sales aids, or strengthen inbound marketing and web-to-lead processes. Being able to quickly tap into these capabilities using a provider familiar to you, your team, your buyer personas, value proposition, and selling motion can save time and money. And get you closer to a great outcome.

Key Takeaways

Outsourced sales is a thriving and proven trend that involves hiring, onboarding, coaching, process, and expertise. A partnership with a third-party sales provider has the potential to boost current revenue and create new revenue streams faster and more efficiently than you can from scratch. Whether you’re considering augmenting your existing in-house sales team or completely outsourcing your entire sales process, follow the do’s and don’ts above to get the most return out of your partnership.

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