Insights on the AV Industry


Q&A-DaveForsberg

As featured in the June 2014 edition of SCN magazine, Dave Forsberg, MarketStar’s EVP of Business Development, answered common questions people have about MarketStar’s influence and sales methods in the AV industry.

1) What market needs initially prompted MarketStar’s establishment as an outsourced sales company for the IT and CE channels?

Answer: MarketStar’s core value proposition is to provide “Sales as a Service” by extending and augmenting our clients’ internal sales efforts. Companies such as Sony, Cisco, HP, Polycom and Infocus have relied on MarketStar to help them more effectively develop and grow incremental and net-new customer and dealer bases. The constant evolution of technology in the IT and CE channels created a need for an ever-changing, scalable, and repeatable sales infrastructure which predicated the need for outsourced sales teams that could grow with those companies’ needs. Companies who outsource sales enjoy increased efficiency by avoiding overhead costs and management After more than 25 years of experience, MarketStar reaches those new channels while augmenting and enabling sales operations specific to the channel like partner recruitment, training, management – increasing the reach and focus of existing sales resources.

2) MarketStar works with many emerging IT and CE companies that have complementary technologies to AV, how do you see the industries merging from a sales or channel perspective?

Answer:  Ten or 15 years ago, most security devices and telephones weren’t directly attached to your computer network environment like they are now. Today the ability to store, search, and access voice, audio, and video information is a critical consideration in the overall data eco-system. As a result, traditionally fragmented channels are becoming both redefined and more integrated. As technology and AV solutions become more widely adopted and easier for customers to understand and implement, it means your channels broaden. We’ve had many clients come to us and say their existing dealers aren’t ready and poised to capture where the market is moving because they don’t think of the many solutions that are now attached to a networked environment. As the AV industry continues to evolve to include the integration of traditional IT dealers and channels, MarketStar’s heritage in developing the IT channel can provide AV manufacturers and dealers with a compelling solution in the recruitment, on-boarding, and development of the IT dealers who are controlling and impacting AV solution specification and integration more than ever before.

3) Many AV companies are looking to develop an IT channel for their business, what recommendations does MarketStar have for those organizations wanting to recruit IT VARs?

Answer: Recruiting partners is one of the most common challenges our clients face. With more than 120,000 IT VARs in the US alone, finding “fewer, better partners” is critical. As an AV-centric brand, when you express interest in partnering with IT-centric distributors, they will want to talk about the masses of potential partnerships available to you. Instead of making the mistake of seeking thousands of relationships, focus on a handful of strong relationships to establish credibility, engage regularly with those partners, and be easy to do business with. MarketStar has a six-step methodology that helps our clients identify and tier their potential partners to ensure you are targeting the best of the best in the IT Space. MarketStar_graphic 4) What prompted MarketStar’s renewed focus on the AV Industry and why are you looking forward to InfoComm?

Answer: AV has always been viewed as a channel or an industry adjacent to where we’ve operated historically. Many of our clients like Sony and Polycom are actively selling into both the IT and AV channels and we have resources specifically dedicated to effectively enabling dealers in both spaces. We have proven methods for driving demand and qualifying leads for partners. Our integrated approach leverages digital, social, and content marketing combined with the personalized outreach from dedicated sales professionals. We’re looking forward to InfoComm because our IT/CE clients are expressing renewed interest in the industry and because we feel we can drive real results for AV brands looking to extend their partner coverage and ultimately, increase sales.

Inside Sales Strategy 5: Optimize Execution


Strategy 5: Optimize Execution

As I continue this series on Inside Sales, I wanted to discuss how most sales teams are consumed with the requirements and demand of their specific market. It’s not uncommon for mature sales organizations to fall behind the rapid pace of development in sales operations and management areas of process, technologies, and insights. Digital content management, data-driven prospecting, automation, and social networking are just a few of the areas that have changed substantially in a very short time. Without a systematic effort to keep up, organizations can experience process disconnects, “dropped balls,” and inadequate metrics as markets outpace their sales processes.

Other issues in sales operations are the cost and time requirements of managing the human quotient. This constantly ranks as one of the biggest drivers of sales management frustration. A recent study showed it costs $6,000 to hire and train a new inside sales agent (Source: CSO Insights). This doesn’t take into account indirect cost impacts associated with:

  • Lost productivity during training and ramp time
  • Costs associated with oversight and errors during ramp
  • Cost of reduced performance when motivation becomes an issue
  • Costs associated with reduced quality in performance (missed upsell opportunities)

Without exception, your success usually comes down to individual performance. Regardless of your desire to staff internally or outsource, there are four discerning factors in managing the human quotient to inside sales:

1 – Right Person

What constitutes talent in a field-sales representative does not explicitly translate over to a profile of an inside-sales rock star. Inside sales professionals tend to be young, aspiring individuals who require a certain level of business rigor. Their day is typically driven by tactical metrics, and as such, the role requires a certain level of patience, dedication, and focus. Having the ability to replicate the success of top performers requires the ability to profile and measure key performance indicators and develop an ideal profile to recruit more adept individuals.

2 – Right Training

Despite the reality that the average tenure for an inside sales professional is 2.9 years and high-performing organizations still deal with 25-30% turnover, best-in-class inside sales teams foster a culture of professional development when it comes to onboarding and enabling new sales resources. Training should be more than just classroom style experience. Classroom style training is most effective when done in combination with formal mentoring programs, side-by-side coaching, regular performance evaluations, and ongoing soft-skill development. Fostering a culture where the individual is as important as the outcome helps minimize the critical “time-to-ramp” investment and the indirect financial impact caused by early termination and poor performance.

3 – Right Motivations

In the inside sales world, financial incentives are important but not everything. Because of the high pressure and redundant nature of most roles, best-in-class providers stratify their motivational techniques to ensure that both intrinsic and extrinsic strategies, as well as balance team motivation, with individual recognition.

The Millennial Effect

Millennials are flooding the workplace. The average millennial has spent more than 10,000 hours playing video games by the time they are 21. This amount of time is equal to the amount of time spent in secondary education classrooms. When strategically leveraged, this gamified life can be leveraged to increase the collective performance of an inside sales team.

4 – Right Cost

Cost of living plays a huge factor in being able to maintain a sizable inside sales presence. According to a 2013 AA-ISP report, the markets seeing the most growth in the inside sales industry are markets with both a large volume of viable candidates and a reasonable cost of living. If your company is located in an expensive market relative to cost of living, partnering with an outsourced provider in a more favorable market is a great cost-management solution.

Relevant Use Case: Right Skills, Right Place, Right Timing

Seeking a new market for a complementary service offering, a software vendor needed to put together a sales motion—fast. As a new entrant to the industry, their hiring and training, lead management, messaging and value prop, and reporting and analysis for this program needed to be developed from scratch. Time to market was essential to carving out market share in this frontier industry. Rather than muddling through the time and resource-intensive process of creating a brand new sales program, the vendor outsourced to a firm which already had the staffing, technology, and intelligence resources in place to reduce ramp time and optimize results. The firm proactively deployed a team to test new sales solution, and leveraged sophisticated reporting and analysis to uncover the best time to reach decision makers by market and vertical to optimize contact and close rates.

Key Takeaway

As specialists in a competitive industry, outsourced sales organizations succeed by keeping their people, technologies, and insights aligned to current market realities. Clients can use outsourcing partners’ best-in-class infrastructure and experience in managing, training, and motivating reps as an alternative to building their own teams, to stay ahead of the curve at reasonable levels of investment. You should expect an outsourced partner to bring cutting edge tools and technology to the table to support your needs.

Would you like this series in eBook format? If so, click here to get the full version! (Plus some extra sales tidbits for your reading pleasure.)

Inside Sales Strategy 4: Test and Validate


Strategy 4: Test & Validate

After moving through various snapshots of what makes a successful inside sales motion; like increasing reach & capacity, scaling your sales teams, and improving lead management, there is another component of Inside Sales that can’t be forgotten. Test and validate your processes.

Business-to-business products and sales processes changed slowly in the decades before the digital revolution disrupted both. Companies now have more options for bringing new or disruptive offerings to market, but face more uncertainty in choosing the best of them. Rapid experimental prototyping, testing, and iteration of new sales processes are the correct approaches, but few organizations change established processes quickly enough for effective experimentation. And fewer still are prepared to accept the many small failures that often precede success.

Partnering with the right vendor can bring specific technology or market specializations to plan, test, document, and iterate sales prospects, content, scripts, and schedules – every component of the sales mix. The process hones in quickly on a proven, optimized sales process ready to insource, scale, or extend to new products, markets, or geographies.

 

Relevant Use Case: Outsource for Focus

A large hardware manufacturer with an aggressive launch timetable for new, personal computing products wanted to gain traction among SMB targets. They had an existing cold database of uncovered accounts but insufficient information to intelligently segment and target these businesses. Hiring internal marketing and sales resources presented significant risk and costs as the model and audience needed further vetting to uncover true potential. An outsourced agency was engaged to drive sales of the new product line, and uncover market intelligence to enable segmentation and profiling of database accounts and contacts. Email nurturing was used to progressively profile and guide prospects through the funnel to qualify opportunities. As leads were profiled and scored, an inside team was able to identify decision makers, purchase interest, timeframe, purchase preferences, and a variety of other intelligence to transform the lifeless database into a potential gold mine of opportunities. The integrated approach of digital marketing tools and inside sales resources produced a healthy ROI while validating the sales model.

 

Key Takeaway

A partner brings a holistic point of view relative to best practices and market innovation that can bring evolutionary thinking to your own process paradigm.

If you can’t wait for the very last strategy to our series, or would like a full copy of this series for yourself, please download our complimentary eBook here.

4 Global Insights on Corporate Storytelling


4 Global Insights on Corporate Storytelling in 2014

How can brands make their mark in the tidal wave of social media and omnipresent mobile devices? From the campfire tales of caveman days to shareable tweets of 2014, one constant remains: We’re all drawn to a good story. Corporations who tell their story well can win the hearts (and market share) of their customers, employees, and stakeholders.

I also love a good story. I heard quite a few recently at the 2014 CCI Conference on Corporate Communication, held in Hong Kong, where I presented the findings of my master’s thesis. Sponsored by companies like Pfizer, Honeywell, and Johnson & Johnson, the conference offered a bridge between corporate communication theory and practice. More than 25 nations were represented by communication leaders, students, and scholars, and we shared our research and passion for communication.  I soaked it up, bringing back ideas for my role as Social Community Manager at MarketStar, our platform for internal communication. Here are four useful corporate storytelling insights – shared by folks from four different countries.

1.      Recognize the Power of #Moments in Marketing

“Brands don’t have target markets, but target moments,” said Lisa Wang, of Twitter’s Sales Operations in Singapore. She shared how Twitter contributes to a sense of universal connectivity. I had no idea about Twitter’s scope and international presence. Did you know 75% of Twitter’s 225 million users live outside the United States? Or of the 43 million viewers watching the Oscars, 36 million of them were tweeting?

With Twitter being such a live, public, and conversational platform, there are opportunities for brands to connect with their customers directly. Wang shared clever examples, like Arby’s calling for Pharrell Williams to give back their hat during the Grammy’s, and Kit Kat posting a tic-tac-toe game for Oreo to compete for the heart of #chocolate fan. With a little creativity, companies can hone in on the right times (target moments) to tell their story.

2.       Empower Employees to (Positively) Tell Your Story

In addition to representing organizations officially through corporate social accounts, there’s an opportunity (or possible threat) for employees to be storytellers. Joost Verhoeven, assistant professor and researcher from the Netherlands, shared his research about the consequences of employees’ work-related social media use. This means the posts, tweets, etc., shared on personal accounts about experiences as an employee.

Verhoeven found employees use social media to construct, negotiate, and express their identity. His research also indicated publics are much more skeptic, and there is an increased need for authentic, human voice. Corporate communication takeaway? Organizational leaders who understand their story and articulate their culture internally can be rewarded by employees sharing their positive experiences.

3.      Establish Credibility in Corporate Writing

“In a time-starved Internet world, where everyone’s a writer and everyone’s a reader, the demand for literacy is more intense than it has ever been.” Isn’t that the truth? This insight came from award-winning associate professor Roslyn Petelin, Ph.D., of Australia, who hosted a writing workshop. In a nutshell, details can make or break corporate credibility. Yes, grammar still matters. After all, how much would you trust an organization with blaring misspellings on their packaging, or the misuse of “you’re” on a corporate website?

Pardon the word nerd, but I couldn’t help but feel something akin to glee as Petelin offered specific advice on the word and sentence level. For example, she advised to “avoid ‘and-ness’” meaning bulking up sentences with too many “ands.” She encouraged picturing the reader in one’s mind while writing – even creating a reader profile – and helping readers through a reading path. Overall, make sure to ask “So what?” at every stage of writing. This keeps the story relevant.

4.      Create Strong Bonds with Customers

John Santoro, currently VP, Executive Communications, with Pfizer’s Policy, External Affairs and Communications Group, based in the United States, shared a motto I haven’t been able to stop thinking about: “If you get to know us, you begin to like us. If you begin to like us, you begin to trust us.” In the corporate communication realm, trust starts with getting to know an organization. How? Tell stories. Santoro shared “stories help organizations illuminate their visions and their pathways to a vision,” and they “provide a ‘heritage’ for new employees.”

Verbalizing a story provides a different experience than sharing one in written word. Santoro advised keeping spoken stories to three minutes max, speaking simply, and asking yourself three questions: How do you want people to feel? What do you want them to remember? What do you want them to do?

At MarketStar, we help brands share their story. Check out our sparkley new website to learn more.

 

Rise of the Millennial Influence in Retail


Mindshare of Millennials

Millennials are poised to be the largest consumer group, forever changing the way we need to market and sell goods and services. This group, as defined by the dictionary, are a “generation, born from 1980 onward, brought up using digital technology and mass media; the children of Baby Boomers; also called Generation Y.”

Millennials – growing influence

Millennials tend to have a bad reputation with older folks like me (if you’re not sure what I mean, watch this Millennials in the Workplace Training Video – then you will understand.) Whether you buy into these stereotypes or not – Millennials are here to stay.   By 2014, Millennials are expected to be the largest consumer demographic and nearly a third of the U.S. population. 

Millennials – the skeptical, involved technocrats

Millennials understand technology and social media better than any other generation; as digital natives, they probably used a mobile device as a binky growing up.  Millennials like to know their voice is heard and respond better when they can directly influence a brand, in fact – 64 percent think companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online. They also tend to be skeptical of traditional media and sales approaches, only 19 percent found traditional media is an effective method of promoting a brand.  Millennials are also more environmentally and socially-conscious, taking pride in being a generation championing positive change and good in the world.

Millennials – the worker

In addition to growing in consumer influence, Millennials are also beginning to dominate the sales force. According to a study by Sibson Consulting, Millennials are interested in sales positions with growth and commission opportunities. The number of sales organizations where Millennials make up (on average) one-third of the workforce will more than double in the next five years.  Are you ready for this change?

Ready or not, the more important question to ask is – are Millennials motivated to promote and sell your product, in particular, when they represent multiple brands as in the case of the retail store associate?

Millennials – how do we engage the worker?

In our experience, to capture mindshare, the Millennial retail store associate needs an outlet to discuss, review, and interact directly with your brand in an authentic way.  While the desired outcome is to ultimately educate the retail associates and drive sales, the path to get there is through an authentic voice and positive interaction with the brand.

MarketStar helps clients create interactive, social communities where retail store associates could interact with one another through games, training modules, and participate in promotions for branded merchandise.  The community is staffed with community managers that work to create a direct, trustable dialogue for the brand.

Clients have found success with this tool, and some have experienced a 20 percent sales uplift within stores that are actively participating in the community.

Watch how this community tool works, and increases mindshare among retail associates: Connect+.

——————-

Sources:

Millenial Dictionary Definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/millennial+generation

Mashable study: http://mashable.com/2012/04/16/millennial-consumers-study/

Millennials in the workforce, specifically sales positions: http://www.sibson.com/services/sales-force-effectiveness/Millennials-in-the-Sales-Force-Survey-Results.pdf

 

Inside Sales Strategy 3: Improve Lead Management


Improve Lead Management

As discussed in strategy two, having the ability to quickly scale your sales team is essential for a successful inside sales program. However, once that team is running full-steam, it’s just as important to ensure leads are being efficiently managed. When it comes to lead management, most organizations have one of three problems:

1. They don’t have enough leads
2. They have too many leads and struggle to prioritize and manage engagement
3. They generate leads ineffectively relative to ROI

Outsourcing can provide seamless solutions to problems like this in the following ways:

Outsource to Drive Demand

The timing of the engagement is more critical than ever. Engage too soon and be cast off as an over-zealous, wanna-be. Wait too long and you may lose the opportunity to competition. Having the ability and technology to measure and score engagement to reach out at the right time is more critical than ever.

Data is the new dial for outsourced sales specialists whose investments in digital content and tools augment, and sometimes replace, traditional call center operations. Organizations can leverage these investments to accelerate their own move to digital interactions, and take advantage of an outsourced provider’s domain expertise. Many organizations are falling short in enabling their team to engage the hand-raisers.

Outsourcing to Manage Leads
The rising cost and complexity of business-to-business sales highlights a growing problem. Expensive sales resources, wrapped up in managing customer decision-makers toward a close, have progressively less time to spend earlier in the sales cycle, as tasks like lead management become more complex. The result is a gap between marketing and sales, where valuable opportunities are lost to follow-up and surrendered to competitors.

Typical Approach

Using an outside specialist to manage the early pipeline reserves expensive sales resources for sales closer to the decision point, where their skills and experience add the most value.

Outsourcing for Better Results
Some businesses generate more leads than they can manage, so they implement marketing automation solutions to increase efficiency and responsiveness. However, many organizations struggle with the platforms, CRM integration, functionality, and resources required to optimize these tools and verify lead quality. Only 36% of automation platform users are able to design a multi-step lead nurturing process (Source: Aberdeen). Compounding the problem, too many leads go directly to sales without a lead specialist to qualify the opportunity. As a result, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those leads will be qualified (Source: MarketingSherpa). Without a dedicated resource to disposition the lead, all you have is a name and a score.

Relevant Use Case: Improve the Handoff
With only 5% of North American market share for its flagship machinery, an agricultural
manufacturer was seeking to make up ground on the competition. An audit of the existing lead management process revealed a gap in the handoff from marketing to channel sales, which grew wider when passing on leads to dealer entities. In some cases, leads went weeks without contact. Dealer frustration with the quality of leads prompted indifference among some partners, and a lack of compliance with follow-up policies.

In addition to growing market share, the client was seeking to improve lead generation and management efficiency so no lead would go untouched. They partnered with an outsourced firm to manage all inbound leads as they were received. The cold database of legacy leads was nurtured through digital marketing campaigns designed to uncover interested prospects who were ready for a sales conversation. Finally, an end-to-end process for transitioning leads from the top of the marketing funnel to dealer handoff dramatically improved partner win rates.

Key Takeaway
Specialization of resources allows you to direct the right support to each activity involved
in lead management. While ambitious marketing departments will try to tackle content
management, technology implementation, sales process development, campaign support, and analytics, they frequently find themselves understaffed. Outsourcing allows you to leverage the expertise of a specialist organization so you can realize the full benefits of marketing automation: shorter sales cycles, lower cost per lead, and increased customer retention.

Want to read more? Click here to download the “5 Outsourcing Strategies for Inside Sales” eBook.

Looking for Partners in the Clouds – What Do They Look Like?


Profiling Cloud Partners

This is part one of a four-blog series that will take an in-depth look at partners suited to sell the cloud — who to look for, how to recruit them, how to get them selling and what type of support they will need to stay active, engaged and productive for years to come.

When we run into clients (or prospective clients) who think we “can’t recruit cloud partners” as I outlined in my first blog post, we love to get into the details with them. In many ways, it’s a fair question, really. Recruiting partners is one thing we do quite well, but no two partners are the same, and cloud-centered partners are an even more complex proposition.

In this post, let’s talk about how we find these partners. I’ve heard many terms like “born in the cloud” when referring to partners, but we know it’s not as simple as looking for a partner who was formed AFTER cloud solutions became a part of the mix. There are many factors to look at, and a great profiling strategy is your ground zero when starting to recruit partners that can – and WILL – sell your cloud solutions.

When we profile, we gauge partner DNA, assess their ability for fulfillment, their competitive tendencies, what customer & market segments they reside, and their overall solution competencies. That’s to start! To make this a simple process, let’s break it down into the standard way to recruit partners, and the way you recruit advanced partners – like cloud-centered partners.

Standard Profiling Elements

  • Annual revenue
  • Number of sales and technical staff
  • Target markets
  • Solutions offering
  • Geographic scope

These are “table stakes” in the recruiting world, and to be honest, you can find a good group of partners by using these starting benchmarks. But, as we’ve all heard before, cloud solution partners are different.

Advanced Profiling Elements

  • Established technology (cloud) practices with defined methodologies
  • Sales to technical & services staff (high-tech pre-sales mix)
  • Referenceable customers (do they have happy cloud customers)
  • % of revenue from new customers
  • Solution and market specializations
  • % of revenue from annuity based services (Recurring Revenue)

When you start to add these elements to a potential partner profile, you begin to have a clearer view of a partner that fits what you are looking for. If they have existing cloud-business, this is a good indicator, but it’s never that simple. All of these things – strong solution-building staff, existing references, newer customers with existing cloud solutions – and a business plan that supports recurring revenue streams point to an ideal prospect.

It looks simple in a blog post, but it can be surprising to see how many manufacturers don’t fundamentally know how to find these partners. Understanding the right questions to ask is the first step in your path to cloud “9”.

But now that you know what to ask, how do you go after the right partner once you’d identified one? That’s what we’ll explore in the next post.

3 Tips for Managing the Unmanaged Channel Partners


Managing the Unmanaged

In the channel, why do we classify partner groups using names of precious metal and then ignore our less precious?  Are we missing that diamond in the rough?  How can we groom the next shining star if an entire group of partners isn’t receiving personalized attention?

Most companies end up ignoring the bottommost partner tiers because the time and cost of supporting those tiers using partner managers is prohibitively expensive.  Still, other companies expend a lot of effort and hard dollars creating predictive models to determine the next growth partner.

For a company wishing to grow, ignoring your lower tier partners isn’t an option, and predictive models can’t model one of the most important elements of a successful partnership - level of interest and engagement.

As the online world continues to evolve, and sources like social media and interactive websites feed into our need for immediate gratification, decision-makers at your unmanaged companies will engage with a real-time response to their needs. These three tips will help you begin your journey to successfully managing the unmanaged accounts.

1 – Know what partners need, and when.

You can treat all partners as precious using the same marketing automation processes and tools used for end customer lead nurturing.  By scoring partner activity, you can determine both the level of interest and specifically understand what partners are interested in.  Did Bob, a lower-level partner, just spend 30 minutes looking at content about your newest offering and this is the third time he has expressed interest in your offerings in the past several weeks? That means he has a need.  But is he worth calling? This question leads me to part two – Act fast and be relevant.

2 – Act fast and be relevant.

So, now that you know that Bob is interested and what he is interested in – should you call him?  Before you do, let’s review Bob.

Is Bob interested in your services? Yes.

Does Bob have a lead score that represents an increasing level of interest? Yes.

After a review of CRM data, does Bob fit the criteria of an emerging partner? Yes.

Great! Now Bob, who was earlier classified as a lower tiered partner not worth supporting, has moved up the ranks and your relationship with a partner that was once ignored, is developing.

3 – Stay cost-effective.

Many companies think that in order to manage accounts, you need to ratio channel account managers to partners at a specific ratio, usually no more than 100 partners to 1 channel account manager.  This can, and always has been, a daunting task for companies with a large number of partners.

However, using tried and true end user lead nurturing techniques can enable channel account managers to nurture more partner accounts with greater success, and impact ROI in a positive way. With rapid response channel account managers, you only need a handful of well-trained account managers to get the job done.

Want to read more about how to manage the long-tail, or unmanaged accounts, in your channel? Click here to download the “Stop Chasing Your Tail” eBook.

The Customer is King Infographic


In the case of retail, the customer is king. With today’s digital and social outlets, customers influence, motivate, and sway other customers based on personal experience and opinion more than ever before. This infographic pulls out key stats from our Transforming Retail in the Age of the Customer eBook, highlighting what matters most in a world of educated customers.

Want to read the entire eBook? Click here to download.Customer is King Infographic

Inside Sales Strategy 2: Scale Quickly


Strategy 2: Scale Quickly

In my last post, I shared how outsourcing sales can simplify your life as a decision-maker. As you increase reach and capacity, having the ability to quickly scale your sales teams is a crucial key to success. Organizations often need to create or expand their sales capabilities in a hurry to capitalize on a market opportunity. World class organizations have a 35% quicker sales rep ramp rate than average companies. (source: Sales benchmark index.)

Even when target markets overlap, creating a new sales force in-house can draw management attention and training resources away from core lines of business, not to mention the capital expenses required. Where are they going to sit? How many CRM licenses do you need?

Agile, flexible programs with outsourced specialists can quickly prove or disprove sales concepts with minimal fixed investment, adapt quickly to discoveries and changes, and if needed, integrate seamlessly with in-house techniques.

Relevant Use Case: Capture Market Share

Seeking to enter an emerging vertical, a large software company made an aggressive bid to purchase the market share leader, only to have their bid rejected. The company decided to develop their own offering, but lacked the infrastructure and sales expertise required to displace the competitor and capture revenue. Outsourcing made it possible to go to market quickly and monitor reactions to this alternative offering. Once validated, the outsourced agency scaled rapidly, on-boarding and training new inside sales reps in mere weeks.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Most sales organizations have had experience with new products that don’t fit their established sales models, including:

  • New services offered by a product-focused organization.
  • Pricing too high or low for the sales organization’s experience and skill set
  • Incompatible pricing models such as leasing or subscription vs. purchase
  • A new technology or product category

When these products don’t directly complement established offerings, they require an incremental amount of training and coaching in addition to the adoption of sales behaviors that may feel incompatible with your primary revenue goals. If it feels “hard to sell” to an existing sales team it won’t be a priority.

Using an outsourced sales provider to plan and execute a sales approach appropriate to the new offering gives the new product a fair chance in the market without compromising your sales team’s attention to established offerings. To get a digital (shareable) copy of this series, download the eBook “5 Outsourcing Strategies for Inside Sales”.