Sales force outsourcing is a significant part of many companies sales and marketing organizations, and this has led to four basic sales and marketing business models. The first two models are project sales outsourcing and functional/task sales outsourcing.
Project Sales Outsourcing
This kind of sales outsourcing is when a company works with a third party to drive a specific project only. This type of sales outsourcing can also include conducting a comprehensive evaluation of market potential and risk before pursuing a specific project. Examples of projects typical to project sales outsourcing include:
- New product launch
- New market entry
- Expansion into a new territory
- New customer acquisition campaigns
Functional/Task Sales Outsourcing
Functional or task sales outsourcing involves outsourcing specific sales and marketing functions like:
- Strategy and market planning
- Lead generation and lead qualification
- Sales of particular product or service lines
- Sales to particular customer segments (niche segments, territories, or sectors that are difficult to reach or are culturally very different)
- Highly specialized functions (CRM systems, market analysis, and sales training and motivation)
The functions that are outsourced can either be performed by a third party cheaper, better, and/or faster. A detailed analysis should be conducted to determine which functions are best outsourced and which are best performed in-house to optimize a sales and marketing organization. The first step of this analysis is to identify core and non-core activities. Core activities are the functions that provide a competitive advantage. Non-core activities are functions that are essential to the business model but do not provide a competitive advantage. Core activities should undergo a careful strategic analysis before being outsourced so that they can be optimized to build a company's strengths and minimize points of vulnerability.
A strategic skills gap analysis should also be undertaken to identify opportunities to differentiate a company and create a competitive advantage. These goals are achieved by acquiring new core competencies and, in some cases, they are outsourced because that is the fasted and most cost-effective way to access a new capability.