Sales capability – In-house or Outsourced?

05 February 2015 by Charles Howden

“Why should we go through the effort (make that time and expense) of developing our own in-house sales department? Can’t we just outsource it?”

We’re often asked this by our prospects early in our sales engagement and it’s a fair question. You may have asked yourself this in the past? It’s a fair question; let us share our answer with you.

Some propositions, especially commodity products, are bought, not sold. Companies operating at this end of the product lifecycle benefit from setting up low cost (usually web based) order processing systems to make it easy for their customers to buy from them, without contributing to the price.

Distributor / agent agreements can help product sales slightly further up the value gradient though managing these relationships can be frustrating. Often, a product listing in a trade catalogue may be all a distributor can evidence as their contribution to the sales process.

And for more complex propositions? Well for starters, it assumes there is an outsourcing option available. Yes, you may be able to find a non-competing channel partner (pre-supposing you want such a relationship) but a team of sales professionals committed to selling your proposition at maximum margin?

When companies invest in developing their own sales departments, they do so expecting:

  • A higher degree of control over delivery, and maintenance of brand values. Running new promotions, initiatives, product launches are much easier to manage through an employed sales force.
  • Continuity. Depending on its size, it’s unusual to lose the sales entire team at the same time. If it were possible to set up an outsourced arrangement, the extreme downside of losing the outsourced seller at any point, creates an unhealthy dependency relationship.
  • Immediate “live” feedback from the market, from customers and reps, which they can plug into product / development service, and use to inform their strategic direction.
  • To own the relationship with the customer. Employed sales reps can come and go, but the business relationship will stay with the company.
  • To build the level of organisational knowledge of sales process. Sales and business generation is a core business function, and by investing in developing the process in-house, the knowledge remains within the business (informing other core functions).

So whether it’s driven by a genuine desire to out-source non-core business activities (actually we believe that sales is highly “core”), or sheer frustration with the work required to get a sales process working optimally, we firmly believe that sales capability is best developed in-house.

Which is, of course, what we do.

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These are a collection of our views about the world of selling, though please feel free to disagree and share you own views with us.

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CPV have taken the mystery out of the sales process and shown us how to do it for ourselves, now I feel much more in control of our business” – PW, MD Financial Services SME

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