Can the Export be Outsourced?

Yes, you certainly can – or at least some of it. And it makes good sense both financially and organisationally. If you split your sales process into multiple separate phases, it will often be possible to outsource the simple and routine-like steps of it to external resources that may be less expensive. It will also enable internal sales staff to focus on conducting high quality sales meetings.

For B2B companies the first part of the sales process typically concerns itself with generating leads and seeking out new customer prospects. There are many online methods for automated generation of leads – but for most B2B companies these methods do not work too well and they therefore have to seek out new customer prospects on their own – either at industry events or conferences – or by old-fashioned direct telephone sales.

The sales process can and should be split into multiple separate phases such that it becomes possible to measure performance on each individual part and such that employees can focus their efforts on the specific phase that they handle best.

The following phases are normal for a typical B2B sales process:

1. Generation of new leads

2. Telephone sales / booking of meetings with new customers

3. Sales meetings (one or more)

4. Negotiation of price/contract

The sales process can optimally be split between phases 2 and 3. It then becomes possible to assign dedicated employees to phase 1 and 2 who are experts in this – and in addition, it becomes possible to assign more experienced sales staff to conduct high quality sales meetings in phases 3 and 4. Finally it will enable you to measure performance in the individual phases.

Finally, this separation enables you to outsource phases 1 and 2. Many B2B companies do not have qualified and dedicated resources for these tasks internally – and in particular not if they need to be carried out in foreign languages. Also, it is actually often less expensive to outsource these tasks than to hire internal employees to carry them out.

There can be many reasons to outsource the telephone sales:

  • You don’t have anyone speaking the required language
  • You don’t have internal resources for working on specific export markets
  • You would like to focus your internal sales staff on sales meetings as opposed to the booking of them
  • You would like to save money
  • You would like to test new markets in a less expensive and less risky manner

Many Danish companies are not aware of this opportunity – and choose therefore to do nothing – due to insufficient funds or resources. Export success can take a long time to achieve. For many companies it requires a large amount of phone calls and many meetings before a single contract is signed. It is not unusual that 100 telephone conversations result in 5 meetings which again result in a single contract.

But – it is fairly easy to calculate the value of telephone sales on export markets.

Let us assume that an outsourced sales consultant on the German market costs 1600 euro per month and can carry out 80 calls per day and book one meeting per week. This results in 4 meetings per month – and 10% of these results in a contract – i.e., 4 contracts per year. These are quite typical numbers for a B2B company selling to enterprises. The annual cost of the sales consultant is around 19.000 euro – so if the value of those 4 contracts exceed 19.000 euro, then the telephone sales will be profitable.

It makes a big difference if your company sells large customized solutions (price above 10.000 euro) – or smaller standardized solutions. The calculation will depend very much on this. For smaller standardized solutions it becomes necessary to book a lot more meetings. But this is typically also much easier to do.


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