The Benefits and Drawbacks

to Consider When Outsourcing Your SDR Program

By Nick Miles

Consider the Benefits and Drawbacks of Outsourcing Your SDR Program

At this stage in their business, most of the brands we work with might not need an introduction or definition of a sales development representative (SDR) to understand the impact they can have on their growth. For a quick summary, we love to define SDRs as sales professionals specializing in generating new business opportunities for a company.

They’re responsible for prospecting and identifying potential customers, qualifying leads, appointment setting, and scheduling meetings or demos for a company’s sales team to close deals. The main objective of an SDR is to create a pipeline of leads and opportunities for your mid-market, or enterprise brand. And more than just meeting specific quotas, the right SDR team will work to provide your business with high-quality leads.

SDRs typically use a variety of tools and techniques to engage with potential customers, such as phone calls, one-to-one emails, and LinkedIn outreach. They play a critical role in the marketing and sales process, as they’re often the first point of contact with new leads or members of your target account. The right SDR has excellent communication skills, can build rapport quickly, and deeply understands the company’s offers.

To simplify things, let’s consider this analogy that may provide a helpful comparison. Say you’re buying a car and have two options:

Option 1: Opt for a custom design to pick out each feature before it’s made, or even build the car completely custom on your own.

Option 2: Buy a car backed by proven processes that meets industry standards, and is a well-oiled machine ready to get you results fast.

Although not a perfect analogy, it’s important to consider how this everyday purchasing decision relates to building an effective SDR team and program. Option one is similar to building a team of only in-house SDRs. You get to hand-select them individually and train them to your liking. It takes time, effort, and you are completely on the hook for every step, phase, and result. As you can imagine, there is a healthy mix of pros and cons here.

Option two compares nicely in many ways to partnering with an expert group like ELEVATE to outsource key functions of your sales development efforts. It’s not 100% outsourcing, but a partnership. We bring experience, expertise, and a proven system ready to roll out and hit the ground running. Reflecting on the analogy, in this second scenario, your car is on the road pounding pavement instead of still sitting in the shop getting built.

Here’s why this all matters: With the right SDR team, your business should see a significant uptick in demand and pipeline generation. But when it comes to working with an SDR team, there’s one major question your company might have: Should we scale up our in-house sales team or bring in a strategic SDR partner?

It’s an intelligent question. The answer depends on the unique needs and goals of your organization. Fortunately, there are a few ways to determine whether an outbound sales development team suits you. Take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of outsourced SDR teams, so you can make a decision that’s right for your business.

Benefits of outsourcing your sales development

Though you understand the value of having an SDR team in hand, you might have been burned in the past. Those who’ve worked with partners who didn’t deliver on their promise of qualified leads or a specific number of appointments might be hesitant to jump back into the ring. However, there are still plenty of benefits to outsourcing your sales needs.

Benefit #1: Access to specialized skills

When outsourcing your SDRs, you’ll gain access to their experience in sales and demand generation — without having to lift a finger. In addition, trained SDRs can provide a fresh perspective and bring new ideas to the table, which can prove invaluable for mid-market and enterprise organizations looking to improve their sales processes. Now, let’s pause to address a potential concern. If you are testing the water or developing a new product line, it’s natural to feel additional apprehension. Outsourcing key elements of your sales development program can feel like a big step. The reality is, the right partner can help you with rapid market testing and product marketing fit—which is exactly the test-and-learn approach we deploy here at ELEVATE. We know you need to work with a team who can jump right in and start elevating your current process. That’s where an outsourced SDR team can come into play. Rather than having to spend weeks (or months) hiring and training in-house SDRs, you can instead work with professionals experienced in:
      • Communication and building rapport to effectively convey your company’s value proposition.
      • Problem-solving skills that help identify potential roadblocks in your sales process and develop creative solutions to overcome them.
      • The latest sales and marketing tools that can help you reach more potential customers and generate additional qualified leads.
Outsourced SDR teams are typically results-driven and can work in a fast-paced environment. If you’re in tech or transportation and logistics, for example, time is of the essence. Speed to market and decreased time to value are paramount.

Benefit #2: Flexibility

Let’s say you hire an SDR to join your emerging team, only to realize that one isn’t enough — you need more help to reach that enterprise level. Thus the hiring, onboarding, and training process starts over once more. But with an outsourced SDR, you can be flexible with your sales team size.

Chances are your business priorities will continue to change. And when they do, your budget and project timelines might not allow for a new hire. Luckily, an outsourced SDR can start quickly, adapting their focus to different product lines, segments, or regions. They can adapt their messaging and approach to meet your shifting needs.

You can increase or decrease the number of sales reps or BDRs in your program depending on your goals without worrying about hiring and training new employees. If you’re new to the world of SDRs, this is a great option. Simply find a reliable partner and expand or reduce your outsourcing efforts as needed.

Benefit #3: Scalability

Most of the leaders we partner with sit at the intersection of sales and marketing. This means that revenue growth is paramount. If you want to grow, a flexible SDR team can help you meet your revenue goals faster. These professionals will allow you to scale your sales efforts without investing in new infrastructure or resources. In addition, by proactively reaching out to potential customers and qualifying leads, your sales pipeline will grow, and you’ll have a larger pool of customers to engage.

SDRs can also improve the efficiency and speed of your sales and appointment-setting processes, as they’ll identify and prioritize the most promising leads. This reduces the time and resources sales reps need to spend on prospecting, allowing your team to focus on closing deals.

If you’re a mid-market transportation business, for example, you may need to onboard new SDRs to keep up with demand. Your outsourced SDR program can help with this process. As a result, you can avoid a lengthy hiring process while still getting the help you need.

By generating a steady stream of qualified leads and opportunities, outsourcing your SDRs can help you increase revenue without spending as much time or money on sales. You can then reinvest this revenue growth in your business to support further scaling and expansion.

Benefit #4: Cost-effective

Another reason to consider outsourcing key elements of your SDR program is that it can be incredibly cost-effective. If you’re a mid-market brand, you might not have the resources or marketing and sales budget to solely hire and train a full in-house team. In addition, partnering with agencies like ours that offer outsourced SDR teams who work on a project basis means you’ll only need to pay for the work you need.

The perception of hiring sales development representatives is that hiring in-house may only cost you around $60,000-$70,000 or so per year. But unfortunately, the true annual cost based on that same salary, according to DCAA Cost Accounting Standards, starts at around $119,000 and only goes up from there. This includes fringe benefits, overhead, and administrative expenses — nearly doubling the anticipated costs.

Drawbacks of outsourcing your sales

Outsourcing your SDRs is an excellent option for companies looking to improve their sales process and increase revenue without hiring and training new team members. However, there are potential drawbacks if your company is not positioned to fully utilize this opportunity.

Drawback #1: Potential lack of control

When you outsource your SDRs, you give up some control over the sales development process. Remember: you’re not building a car part by part — you’ve got a fully-assembled roadster with all the horsepower you’ll need. One of the potential drawbacks might be less visibility into the outsourced team’s work, which can concern some organizations. This is often a sticking point for chief revenue officers and other executives who are a little wary of hopping back in again.

Fortunately, when you work with an experienced team of SDRs, this lack of control can actually be a benefit. Trust is key, and aligned values and objectives ensure that you no longer have to manage every detail. Instead, you can continue to cast a vision for the future of sales and marketing while a team you trust gets to work.

For example, before we ever get started, we align with your brand voice and messaging to use. It’s important that the right tone, style, and personality are conveyed at every customer touchpoint. We also give full visibility into the conversations taking place so that you receive more than the average call stats and recordings. If you’re considering a sales development partner who does not provide this full level of detail, that’s often a red flag.

Another quick reminder: We want your SDR team to be valuable and only partner with companies who are an ideal fit on both sides. If you’re part of an SMB or emerging brand that needs complete control over every aspect, outsourcing key functions of your SDR program may not be the right move.

Drawback #2: Quality concerns

When you hire your SDRs, you have control over training them. You also deeply understand their skillset, having taken the time to get to know them before bringing them on to your team. With an outsourced SDR team, this might not be the case.

Working with someone outside your organization means trusting them to deliver quality leads, more meetings, and results at every step. That’s why the onboarding process is critical. It’s imperative that there is shared consensus and alignment around qualification criteria. Here at Elevate, this specifically takes place during a pre-execution briefing workshop.

Remember: the right agency should be able to provide you with case studies and testimonials to back up their claims. This, in addition to research and having a detailed conversation, is vital. Doing so makes you more likely to avoid any issues regarding the quality of work.

Drawback #3: Communication challenges

Working with an outsourced team can present various communication challenges, particularly if the team you work with isn’t able to accommodate your schedule or time zone needs.

Language barriers may also arise if your SDRs are not native English speakers. This can make communication difficult and lead to misunderstandings. At ELEVATE, we always recommend working with an agency that speaks fluent English and does not outsource their work to offshore countries or regions where communicating in English could be a challenge. Having the base of your communication in common makes it easier to get things done and communicate your needs.

Drawback #4: Cultural differences

Each company has its own set of values. And if you’re hiring an outsourced SDR team, they might not fully understand what your industry is all about. Granted, the right agency will immerse itself into your workflows, getting to know you on a deeper level, but if you choose the wrong partner, you risk them feeling like an outsider.

SDRs that don’t fully integrate into a deeper knowledge of your systems, processes, and culture often make aligning sales efforts with your company’s overall goals a challenge. Cultural differences can also impact your messaging, as outsourced SDR teams that aren’t adequately trained could negatively impact your brand’s reputation.

How to make a confident decision

At the end of the day, each organization has its own needs and nuances — all of which impact its decision to outsource SDRs or work in-house. Outsourcing SDRs can be a cost-effective and efficient solution for companies looking to generate the right kind of meetings and high-quality leads. However, it’s important to carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks and choose a reputable outsourcing partner that can provide qualified leads and stress-free communication.

If you have questions about outsourcing your sales efforts, we want to have a conversation with you. The team at ELEVATE is happy to chat more about any apprehensions you have when it comes to outsourced SDR teams. Reach out today so we can help you drive revenue growth and support long-term scalability.

Further reading

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