From Start-ups to Enterprises: Why Outsourced Sales can work for businesses of all sizes

One of the questions we get asked a lot is, ‘is outsourced sales right for my business, we’re just starting out?’ On the flip side, we field similar questions from enterprises with established sales team, ‘should I invest in an outsourced sales team, will I see more value than the team we currently have in place?’

The reality is that outsourced sales can work for businesses of all sizes. We’ve had success working with micro businesses and large enterprise clients, it all comes down to tailoring the approach to make it successful for that individual business. Provided the approach is executed well and based on close analysis of an organisation’s desired objectives, their target market and existing sales strategy (if they have one), we’re confident that all businesses can derive genuine value from outsourced sales.

The benefits of outsourced sales for Start-ups

The single biggest benefit of outsourced sales for Start-ups is having a dedicated expert focused on bringing in new business, especially at a time when everyone’s primary focus is getting the business up and running. In most new businesses, the founder is already wearing many different hats, from Finance Director to Head of Sales, and has little opportunity to focus solely on building the pipeline their business will need to succeed and survive.

What we can do especially well for a start-up business, is quickly ramp up their sales expertise and start building pipeline. This gives them back time to focus on the operational elements of their business, growing and retaining their existing client base or even securing investment; safe in the knowledge they are building their brand and reputation whilst generating leads that could convert into valuable sales over the coming months. This is especially pertinent in the current climate, research shows 74% of start-ups have experienced decline in revenue since the start of the pandemic, with the same number (74%) being forced to lay off full-time employees, making them even more resource constrained.

The benefits for established businesses

But the benefits of outsourced sales is not just for start-up’s, enterprise clients can equally benefit from this model. Onboarding new sales talent is often costly and time-consuming and it takes time for new starters to reach optimum productivity.  Compared to outsourcing to an expert, where you can immediately access proven sales resource that can be easily scaled as and when required. Another benefit often found for enterprise businesses is being able to assign a sales specialists to specific campaigns that you have running.  This allows your internal team to stay focused on their pipeline and prospects whilst your outsourced team manage the specific campaign activity – allowing you to keep on top of all sales activity.

Another benefit of your internal team working alongside an outsourced sales team is the opportunity it presents to benchmark your sales team and review sales processes to make improved efficiencies. Many enterprise businesses will have had established sales teams and sales processes for a long time and whilst some are still working perfectly, others could be improved. In these scenarios clients are looking for benchmarks to understand what an external experienced team can achieve vs their internal team and to understand what processes they could change to become more successful.

The Air approach

We deliver a unique experience for every client who works with us, regardless of their size, product or industry. We get to know our client’s business, their strategy, their goals, their market and especially their nuances! From here, we build a bespoke strategy that reflects all the above, considering their product value and sales cycle. We then create a plan that includes campaign content and messaging aligned to their brand, we train and immerse our team in the campaign’s goals and work with the client to clearly define the target market. Our process has been carefully designed to reassure our clients that we’re listening to their needs and committed to delivering a campaign that exceeds their expectations.

Could you benefit from using an experienced outsourced sales team? Whether you’re just starting out or need additional sales support for your existing team, get in touch, call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk

How SaaS companies are reaping the benefits of outsourcing their Sales Development Representative (SDR) roles – now’s the time to take the leap

In the SaaS market, outbound sales are crucial to scale and grow at the rate needed to remain competitive and deliver that initial return on investment necessary not only to validate their product but to ensure their company’s future.

While an annual growth rate of 20% is a healthy benchmark for businesses in other industries, software companies growing at that rate have a 92% chance of failure in just a few years according to McKinsey & Company. Further cementing the pressure to succeed for tech businesses in those crucial early months.

For most, their product has spent many months in development, they’re confident in their value proposition, their market research and their messaging. With this level of pressure to make it succeed, there is no doubt going to be a level of nervousness in handing over the reins to an outsourced partner to support taking that product to market.

But there are clear and well-documented benefits to outsourcing sales, especially for a high growth model like SaaS. Developing a high-performance sales process takes time and expertise. For companies looking to fast track growth and build pipeline, they may not have months to build a sales culture primed for success. In fact, building an SDR function in-house comes with many challenges; you need to recruit the right people, retain the best performers and spend time training and managing those who don’t come up to the mark.

Fast growth means high churn

Research shows the turnover rates average at 39% for players in the high growth SaaS market, with contributing factors including burnout, poaching from more recognised brands with established career pathways and simply the nature of working in a fast-paced environment. If you consider average ramp-up time is just over 3 months for most SDRs, it becomes clear why it makes sense to work with a partner who specialises in recruiting and retaining talented SDRs. A related benefit of outsourcing is protecting the in-house sales talent tech businesses need to retain, by allowing them to focus on closing deals rather than spreading themselves thinly across prospecting and short-term promotions.

Building a sales culture for success takes time

A successful sales culture is reliant on great team relationships, a comprehensive onboarding and training programme and the right mix of employee benefits and incentives. At Air, we’re proud of our culture and the journey our SDRs have taken from new recruits to experienced individuals with enviable track records. But it didn’t happen overnight, our people have honed their experience through working on diverse and complex campaigns and growing in confidence and experience with each client collaboration. This means they can hit the ground running with new campaigns and are already familiar with the challenges across a range of SaaS clients, so can leverage their experience and insight into industry challenges to build rapport with key decision makers. For more insight on this topic, watch our vlog where we explore the challenges of Growing a team of Sales Development Representatives.

Air’s outsourced model

We help our SaaS clients fast track to success with Air’s outsourced SDR model, removing the burden of developing their in-house sales specialism and giving them back time to focus on their operations, service and product development. If you are a SaaS business looking for support, we can help.

Scale your outreach

We believe that there’s nothing more effective in a sales process than a good, human to human conversation. Our expert team of SDRs will scale your reach, increasing your brand awareness and potential sales opportunities.

Build your pipeline

A healthy sales pipeline of qualified leads that will convert is vital to your plans to scale. Our team of highly skilled SDRs effectively engage with your ideal target audience, to give you the best chance of making a sale.

Convert prospects

We’ll work with you to increase revenue from new sales. Our talented Sales Development team will not only create pipeline but cover the full sales cycle.

To discover more about how we work with SaaS businesses and the results we achieve check out our case studies. If you’d like to start a conversation about how we could work together to help your business grow, call 0333 250 3217 or email contact@air-marketing.co.uk.

Institute of Sales Management (ISM) Membership

Air Marketing Group (Air), an award-winning supplier of outsourced sales services, are delighted to announce group membership with The Institute of Sales Management (ISM), a not-for-profit organisation representing sales professionals in the UK and internationally.

“With quality assurance and professional development at the forefront of what we do, we are always looking for new methods of training. We are excited for this unique opportunity presented by The ISM to take our service delivery to the next level.”Owen Richards, Founder and CEO at Air.

“On 21st March 2019 I received my first email from Owen Richards as he replied from my invitation to participate within our Winning Edge Magazine. He replied with the words ‘Sure – Tell me more.’ From that spawned collaborations across not only our magazines, but also across our webinars and participation through the sponsorship of an award at BESMA. They have now taken their first step by recognising their staff through ISM Membership.”Adam Brook, Head of Marketing, ISM.

By supporting Air Business Development Executives, Team Leaders, Account Managers and the leadership team in their careers, we will be focused on further improving professional sales standards through access to our sales qualifications, networking opportunities, awards, practical information and advice.

Air and The ISM are looking forward to working together into 2020 and beyond – continuing to inspire sales professionals across the UK.

Don’t forget to follow them on social!

Leading your sales team like a human – why authenticity really matters

I can honestly say that making the conscious decision to lead my team as a human and aiming to be the most authentic version of myself, has had a huge impact on shaping our culture as we’ve grown. Shortly after founding the business, I decided that in an otherwise complex world, one thing could be straightforward, my role. Yes, I am a boss, a leader, a manager and a salesperson, but first and foremost, I’m me.

The idea of being confined and limited by the narrow parameters associated with a title, a bulleted list of things I should be, seems counterintuitive to connecting with people and aiming to inspire them. Simon Sinek said, ‘a boss has the title, a leader has the people’ and that to me, epitomises the mindset that makes the most sense.

Humans are highly complex and capable. We work best when we’re given the freedom to be creative and innovate. The average UK worker spends 1,676 hours at work every single year – that figure is perhaps even higher in the sales industry. The idea that your input, in all that time, can be reduced to a 500 word job description seems absurd; it doesn’t reflect the role we each play.

When you try to neatly box the notion of what sales leadership should be, you close yourself off to possibilities and true connection. Every day you can choose to be human in your approach, when sales leaders neglect to make a conscious decision about it, they leave their leadership style down to luck and forget to be mindful. When you let your team see the real you, you’re showing them someone who cares about them and you lay the foundations for trust to grow. If they can see you have their best interests at heart, they will appreciate and accept your honesty when delivering tough messages and taking difficult decisions.

Self-awareness is critical for any good leader. Leaders who claim to be infallible are not relatable and sometimes unlikeable. Nobody is perfect and those who can show vulnerability, and strength and resiliency in the face of challenges, without hiding their emotions and compartmentalising their feelings, will be far more inspiring to the team around them than somebody who chooses to hide behind a façade.

It’s important to put your team’s development first, even before your own. Investing in people goes far beyond caring about their success and professional development. True leaders care for their team’s mental wellbeing too, and know they will only truly thrive in a trusting and honest environment where people are comfortable with expectations and feel supported to speak their minds.

Whilst you can and actively should show emotions as a leader, you can’t let them dictate how you behave and the decisions that you make. The ability to step away and create space is critical. Be somebody who explains their motivations and thinking because context really does matter. Give your team transparency around data and decisions and explain the thought processes that led you there.

Don’t be a control freak. Let people exceed all of your expectations, with your full support. True leaders give people ownership and encourage their team to fail fast and learn from the experience. Most importantly, try to create that culture where you talk openly about failure. If you can have honest and normal conversations about it, everyone can learn and move on, it’s all you need to motivate and educate your team.

Our new platform, Wellity, is designed specifically for the sales industry and focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of professionals within it. We recently interviewed a gentleman called Chris Brindley MBE, who was formerly on the board at Metrobank and is now the Chair of the Rugby League World Cup 2021. He talked about two principles that always resonate with me. One is mirrors and windows. Imagine a scenario where a CEO pulls you, the sales leader, into his office at the end of the quarter and chastises you for a poor quarterly performance. He asks you, ‘what’s happening?’. A great leader will reflect that back on themselves, like a mirror and assume accountability. Equally, when a quarter goes well, that same leader will open the ‘window’ motion towards their sales team and congratulate them for the success. The second principle I really admire is that all great leaders are like umbrellas, because they protect their team from the storm.

I’ll leave you with one final point relating to that word, authenticity. Being authentic means coming from a real place inside ourselves; it’s when our actions and our words are congruent with our beliefs and our values. It’s about being fully ourselves, not an imitation of ourselves or what we think we should be.

For me, great leadership doesn’t exist without ‘extreme normality’. All you need to do as a sales leader is bring the best version of your normal self and the results will follow.

For more insight, check out my talk on the same subject at SaaSGrowth 2020.

Opinion piece by Owen Richards
CEO, Air Marketing Group