Should you in-house or outsource your tech sales?

It’s the big question…

Is it better to in-house your sales function, entrusting all appointment setting, lead generation and product demos to your own employees?

Or would it be more cost effective to outsource to a dedicated agency that can manage these processes on your behalf?

Well, there are strong arguments on both sides…

And of course, much depends on your own company’s circumstances. But drawing on our own experiences working with a variety of clients in the tech sector, we’ve found that for the vast majority of businesses, outsourcing remains a better option.

But for those still on the fence, in this article we consider some of the main arguments for and against in-housing, as well as the key things you should think about before doing it. Finally, we’ve done some research into the costs of in-housing vs out-sourcing, to really find out which is more cost-effective.

Read on to find out more!


Pros and cons of in-housing

Reasons for outsourcing

Comparing costs

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Firstly, what are the main arguments in favour of in-housing? And what would be the pro-outsourcing ‘rebuttal’?

1. Who knows your tech products/services better than you?

One of the common motivations for building an in-house team is quality control – e.g. concern that an outsourced partner won’t correctly relay your business’ knowledge, insights and value proposition as well as you can. It’s a lot more reassuring to have full oversight of your own sales team!

On the other hand…

Yes, an outsourced sales team might not know your company in as much detail as an in-house counterpart, but what they do have is the benefit of varied experience. At inside global, we’ve worked with every type of B2B tech company you can possibly think of, and with so many different clients, we’ve really learned what works well, what doesn’t, and how you can apply all these different learnings to a new challenge. A good inside sales agency should be able to adapt quickly to your business’s needs, and in turn your business can greatly benefit from their expertise.

2. Long term thinking

Building an in-house capability is costly and takes time, but once you have it in place, it will surely be more cost effective, right?

This is true to some extent. Having a fully functional in-house sales team can make it easier to align with the rest of the business (particularly marketing), as well as build long term learnings and insights.

On the other hand…

If you’re not at this point yet, you could be in for a long and fraught journey.

It can take years to get to a point where you have all the resources in place that you need – from your data and tech stack, to finding the right SDRs to represent your business. So in the meantime, having an outsourced partner can help to ensure that you’re not missing out on revenue opportunities while you invest in this.

And even if you’re already quite far along the process, there might be other things coming further down the line that you might need help with; for example, if you decide to expand into other markets and territories.

3. More control

Having your sales team under one roof does give you total oversight of everything that’s going on. You can really see what their level of activity is, how your services or products are being pitched, and how they’re being received by potential buyers.

For many businesses, outsourcing runs the risk of losing this ‘control’ and being left in the dark when it comes to certain elements of your sales processes.

On the other hand…

Sometimes total control can become a burden in and of itself. Overseeing every element of the sales process requires a lot of attention and resource, taking time away from senior members of your team that they should be dedicating elsewhere.

Plus, the right outsourced partner should be giving you the level of sales insight you need; whether that’s activity levels, estimated pipeline value, and updates on key accounts. For example, at Inside, we provide our clients with regular reports and dashboards that allow our clients to see exactly what’s been achieved to date and where the next opportunities lie; ultimately ensuring they can always see what value they’re getting out of working with us (you can read more about our data and reporting capabilities here).

If your current partner isn’t doing this, you should ask them why!

Other Reasons for Outsourcing

1. Take the hassle of recruitment off your hands

Business owners and senior team leaders will all know the stress of finding, hiring and training the right employees – only for them to leave again after a year, putting you right back on the merry-go-round! When you outsource, this is no longer your problem. You know you have a dedicated team that the agency has a duty to provide and keep in place, removing this stressful and often very time-consuming aspect of building a sales team.

2. Free up Management time

Similar to the point above, so much of Senior Management’s time can be taken up with day-to-day management of more junior team members. Not only dealing with unexpected absences, sick days and holidays, but also in training, development and support.

Outsourcing parts of your sales function – from early pipeline generation to delivering product demos – can really free up time for Senior Sales Representatives to concentrate on the things they do best – closing business. For more info about this, check out our page on the challenge of generating more sales appointments.

3. Tap into existing expertise and infrastructure

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is the immediate access to a suite of tools, tech and data. No need to plug huge investment and time into building this up internally!

And you’ll be benefitting from years of experience in lead generation from agencies whose entire business purpose is centred around this.

4. No commitments!

Obviously, everyone hopes that an outsourced sales partner will work out, but on the rare occasion that it doesn’t – maybe it’s not the right fit or you don’t think you’re getting enough bang for your buck – then it’s just a case of ending the contract.

Most agencies will have a notice period – usually 2-3 months – but ending this relationship is a lot simpler than having to dismantle an entire in-house team.

5. Switch it on and off!

Following on from the above point, there’s a lot more flexibility in working with an outsourced sales agency.

Maybe you want an explosion of activity over a 3-month period before needing to dial back again; something which is hard to do in-house… Really you need to be the kind of company that is always planning to be ‘on’ in that case.

And as we saw after the events of 2020, sometimes you just don’t know what’s around the corner; business plans could change, budgets could be cut, and in these cases an outsourced agency can take away some of the pressure.

So let’s compare costs!

We recently delved into the data around in-housing and outsourcing to find out which was more cost-effective.

We examined various clients and compared estimated costs around things such as:

  • Recruitment
  • Training
  • Data
  • Tech Stack
  • Commission

We then looked at what they’d spent with us over the same 12-month time period – and most importantly, the ROI vs the predicted ROI if in-housed.

The results?

We found that on average, clients had a 59.8% cost saving through outsourcing with inside AND a 4x higher ROI within the first 6 months.

This is a pretty staggering figure.

Of course, as we’ve discussed throughout this article, there are many benefits to in-housing which are always worth considering, but if you’re in need of immediate results, it seems that outsourcing would be the best choice!

Hopefully this has given you a quick overview of some of the pros and cons of in-housing/outsourcing.

If you’re still thinking of in-housing though, here are a few helpful pointers for things you should have in place before making the move:

  • Do you have a big enough team to deliver the amount of sales activity you need?
  • Do you have the in-house expertise?
  • Do you have a sales tech stack in place with tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Salesforce, Zoominfo?
  • Do you have a fully up to date and well-managed database?
  • Are you fully GDPR compliant?
  • Can you deal with unexpected issues with resource e.g. illness, absence, resignations?
  • Do you have the time and resource to adequately train new employees?
  • If entering different markets, do you have native speakers from the relevant countries?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is a ‘no’, it might be worth taking on (or continuing) work with an outsourced partner for now until you’re 100% ready.

Interested in hearing about our outsourced sales, lead gen and appointment setting services?

You can read more about our services here or get in touch for an intro call.