We see it all the time. A business struggling to take control of their sales pipeline, so they outsource it to a BD agency.
And that might work in the short term – if all you’re interested in is booking meetings with unqualified leads.
But these days, sales are built on relationships, and you can’t build them if you’re conducting mass cold outreach.
So, we’re here to tell you that outsourcing isn’t the silver bullet to growth many think it is. But you can solve the problem by building a sales engine inside your business where the value belongs.
Let’s get into it.
Here’s the thing. Outsourcing your sales problems just doesn’t cut it anymore. Once upon a time that might have worked, when the right BD agency could potentially solve problems for you. But that’s all it ever was – a small glimmer of potential rather than an actionable, tangible solution.
The issue here is that an outsourced BD agency is so focused on setting meetings that they’re never really invested in your business. They don’t understand your organisation, for a start. Add to that the fact that there’s a pitch and switch happening from experienced people to junior execs who are looking at numbers rather than quality conversions.
And although you might get a small number of leads from mass cold outreach, it’s infinitely harder to scale than if you had a sustainable, scaleable sales engine built inside your business.
Perhaps the biggest sucker punch here is that an external agency isn’t invested or embedded in your business. This means that they don’t know your value well enough to sell it correctly, won’t put the requisite amount of effort and energy into campaigns, and are far too sales-focused.
We’ve always said that sales is a relationship-based game, and you can’t win without building a few throughout the course of your career. People buy from people, not from cold pitches landing in their spam inboxes.
Even if you do land a bucket full of leads, you’re business won’t have the engine to handle them properly. The problem isn’t just a lead problem, it’s an engine problem.
That means that the end-to-end operation has to be set up properly to not only land qualified leads, but to move them forward and close deals.
So the problem here, then, is not just outsourcing to find leads, but outsourcing your sales problems entirely. An external BD agency is going to struggle to close deals for you, and if you’re not invested in the process yourself, neither will you.
You need control of your engine, buy-in from the whole company, and longevity to keep the pipeline ticking over for the foreseeable.
You need control
Bringing your sales problems back into your own hands might sound daunting, especially as that phrase has the word ‘problem’ in it, but it’s the best thing you can do.
It puts your fate in your own hands, meaning that when you do get things right you can scale up or down accordingly.
And control is not outsourcing. Let’s get clear on that. Control is building the sales engine inside your business where the value belongs – and then creating accountability and ownership around it so you can truly drive it forward.
There has to be someone owning the entire operation, driving the engine, organising, steering, and hitting the scale you need to succeed.
A lack of control is part of the problem with outsourcing, but with proper control comes sustainability and scale.
By having ownership and accountability, you can control the marketing efforts that surround your sales engine – allowing you to build authority around topics that matter not just to you, but to your audience.
Further, you can then control the outreach you’re conducting form within, and ladder all efforts to your positioning. As an external agency isn’t embedded in your business and doesn’t intrinsically know your value, they aren’t able to sell the value or ladder to your positioning.
Which leads us nicely to our next point: getting buy-in.
You need buy-in
One of the other side effects of outsourcing your sales problems is that it removes any sight of the problem from within your business. That means that your team and business as a whole aren’t invested in the sales efforts, and don’t actively contribute to the operation.
Creating a sales culture is tricky, but absolutely essential. Taking away the problem and outsourcing it means there is a disconnect between what needs to happen and what is actually happening.
Creating a sales culture builds momentum – which doesn’t come from the volume of leads by the way. It comes from a cohesive team working together to connect marketing and sales into one operation. You can’t buy momentum, and even if you could, you can’t scale it.
Sales is often seen as a dirty word, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Sales are the lifeblood of your business, so you should celebrate closed deals and get excited about the process.
By building a sales culture that the company is invested in, you’ll be able to lean on more people when you need them. Further, you’ll be able to bring more people into the process as they’ll all understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
We’ve established one thing above all: outsourcing won’t solve your sales problems. You need to take the time to invest in your own engine that you can control with buy-in and a joined up sales and marketing function.
Getting control of your engine is the first step on the road to scaleability and sustainability. By putting ownership and accountability at the heart of your operation, you’ll begin to see things falling into place.
Secondly, it’s about the buy-in from the whole business so that the wins are celebrated and everyone knows their function in a wide ranging operation.
From producing thought leadership content that cements you as a go-to in your industry, to having accountability over nurturing and closing deals, buy-in and control are perhaps the two biggest facets of building a successful sales engine inside your business.