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Sales Outsourcing vs. Internal Sales

By Justine Fitton Subscribe to RSS | January 17th 2012 | Views:

One of the toughest choices facing many brands is whether to outsource sales functions to a third party organisation or handle sales internally. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, but sales outsourcing often proves the more effective business decision.

Handling sales internally allows a business to maintain the greatest level of control over how its sales operations are conducted. Each part of the process, from the lowest to the highest level, is controlled directly by the business itself. This leaves few barriers to prevent micromanagement of the tiniest details. Micromanagement can help when trying to keep sales processes in line with brand identity and image - no third party organisation will know your products, your pitches or your leading value propositions as well as an internal team, and third party organisations can sometimes create problems by overenthusiastically pushing products when the underlying brand is characterised by its inoffensive image. This and other miscommunication problems are less likely to occur when sales are handled in-house.

On the other hand, handling sales internally is an administrative nightmare for major brands with a whole host of other concerns. Handling sales internally represents a huge commitment of resources and will require your business to engage in the active and costly process of recruiting sales specialists. Once you have recruited an internal sales team, it will be a continuous drain on company resources - many effective sales strategies are characterised by intermittent periods of calm and intensive work, but having an in-house team means your costs of employment remain high regardless.

Outsourcing sales functions to a third party organisation can spare you from many problems associated with in-house sales. For example, if your business wants to engage in intermittent sampling campaigns tied to periods of elevated consumer spending, employing a field marketing agency for short-term contracts during your targeted time periods will spare you from the costs and hassle associated with recruiting and dismissing staff on a temporary basis.

Another significant advantage of outsourcing sales is that it enables you to take advantage of the years of sales expertise accrued by your marketing agency, leaving your staff members free to focus on producing a quality product. At a management level, outsourcing sales need not take you 'out of the loop' or reduce your degree of strategic control. Everything from the key performance indicators you use to benchmark success to the selling phrases you want product demonstrators to use can be determined at a senior level and even written into the contract with your agency of choice.

Many business owners treat marketing agencies with distrust - no successful business gets to where they are by leaving important decisions to chance. However, contracting work to a marketing agency with a proven track record of top performance is anything but a random decision. It does not disempower a senior management team, nor is it a sign of managerial weakness. Outsourcing sales could bring about a significant uplift in sales figures, and this is easy to test - simply allocate a local, short-term contract for sales work to the field marketing agency of your choice and analyse their performance yourself.

Justine Fitton - About Author:
Cosine is an award-winning UK field marketing agency, delivering innovative field sales solutions to a range of national and international brands. Cosine field sales solutions are data-driven and effective: outsource sales functions to Cosine UK today.

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