Outsourcing Your Entire Sales Function

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Outsourcing Your Entire Sales Function ...

Outsourcing Field Sales Operations

Service White Paper

    By: Mike Barrett, President of First Technology Sales, Inc.

    stJanuary 1, 2000

    Executive Summary

    As many companies are struggling with the expense and difficulty of building and

    maintaining even the most basic sales operations, a new model is emerging to enhance “speed

    to market” and optimum sales performance. Namely, outsourcing field sales operations to a

    Professional Sales Organization.

    In the past twenty years the concept of outsourcing certain aspects of business has gained

    acceptance. The business world is learning that outsourcing is the method of choice for many

    non-core functions of a business. While outsourcing payroll, human resources, and creative

    services is common, exclusive of manufacturer’s rep organizations, outsourcing of field sales has not historically been considered.

    With the explosion of technology and Internet based companies, business to business and

    channel sales expertise is tapped. In addition, because of a “talent vacuum” in the technology

    sectors, there is a widespread shortage of skilled “eBusiness” salespeople.

    Further, a recent Andersen Consulting/Economist Intelligence Unit study revealed that one in

    two organizations plan to reorganize around their customers by 2002. Nearly 60% of

    responders reported that customer retention will be mission critical in the next five years.

    In this paper, we will examine why an increasing number of organizations are choosing to

    outsource their direct sales functions, and why First Technology Sales is poised to offer “best

    of class” solutions in this newly defined industry. Costs of Building an Internal Sales Operation

The direct and indirect costs found in building a direct sales organization are staggering. The

    pain of sales department turnover is even more egregious considering the costs of replacing

    non-performing salespeople.

The Direct Costs for Hiring and Training One Salesperson

    Salary 50,000 Benefits 4,000 Figures are average costs and Taxes and Insurance 5,500 commissions in a business-to-business Training 4,000 company selling tangibles or intangible products and services. Costs can be Travel and Expense Accounts 25,000 dramatically higher in the technology, Commissions 20,000 utilities, and insurance sectors. Equipment 10,000 Total Cost Per Salesperson $118,500

Copyright 1999 by First Technology Sales, Inc. Do Not Copy Without Permission

Indirect costs include:

    ? Recruiting

    ? Testing

    ? In-house Training

    ? Supervising

    ? Lost Sales Opportunities

    ? Lowered Company Morale

    ? Permanently Burned Territories

Labor Costs

    Compensation, insurance, benefits, taxes, training, and equipment are expensive components in staffing and equipping a functional sales person. An average salary for a business-to-business sales professional with at least five years sales experience is between $40,000 and $75,000 base, plus up to 50% more for commission and bonus.

    Sales Force Automation

    Sales force automation costs can range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. The total SFA investment for firms with less than 50 employees is usually under $25,000. Larger companies will spend between $500 and $3,500 per seat for a more robust sales force automation (SFA) system.


    Recruiting costs can be absorbed internally through direct recruiting and hiring functions conducted by your inside HR department, or can be explicit costs paid to outside recruiters and advertising services. Normally, actual costs are a combination of giving up internal resources and hard dollar expense to outside recruiting vendors. According to the Society of Human Resource Managers, the average internal cost for recruiting one sales employee is around $3,500, not including the soft costs associated with administration and paperwork. Including soft costs, hiring one salesperson exceeds $6,000 each. Costs for outside recruiters, or headhunters, to find one high-end salesperson is $10,000 to $25,000 per successful placement depending on the rate charged and volume of placements.


    Fortune 500 companies can spend an average of $10,000 per salesperson for both initial training and continuing sales training. Smaller companies spend less than half that amount. A typical two-day sales training seminar costs between $1,200.00 and $5,000 per session, depending on travel and lodging.

    With Internet conferencing, instant polling, virtual chat rooms, and online seminars, a new sales training channel is being developed on the Web. This allows field sales teams to use their browsers to view new product demonstrations, watch streaming audio and video clips, and review slide presentations of relevant selling methodologies. Where a 2 week road trip or training coarse can cost in excess of $20,000, web seminars, referred to now as “webinars”, will cost less than half that amount.


    Computer, software, office furniture, projector, cell phone, and product demos all cost real money. These expenditures are generally irreversible if the sales candidate leaves the company or is terminated.

Copyright 1999 by First Technology Sales, Inc. Do Not Copy Without Permission

     Benefits of Sales Force Outsourcing

Increase Speed to Market

    For many companies, the speed in which a product is brought to market is mission critical. If emerging companies can penetrate markets quickly, with talented salespeople and proven marketing, they win.

    An outsourced sales team can be assembled faster than permanent hires, moving products and services to market ahead of the competition. With a quickly customized sales system and proven sales measurement tools, companies move faster and are more effective than the competition.

Off-load turnover risk

    Turnover is the most hidden… yet highest cost within any sales organization. Outsourcing field sales to a company like FTS can mitigate turnover costs and certainly shelter internal operations from the negative effects of sales turnover.

Increase customer attention.

    In many post-recession business climates, the implications of staff cutting meant that the role of the traditional sales manager transformed into a business-unit manager, primarily responsible for managing money, not sales. An outsourced sales force can help put feet back on the street and increase “face time” with clients and prospects.

Expand growth.

    FTS sales force outsourcing provides alternative channels of distribution for expanded growth, and offers strategic solutions to achieve results that directly affect the bottom line--generate sales, increase market share, and expand reach into new markets.

Manage workload and skill sets

    A sales force outsourcing partner like FTS should not replace your sales force, but instead can provide highly specialized "off-the-shelf" skills such as sales presentation expertise, while allowing your organization to focus on areas like customer retention and long-term relations.

Augment Sales in an Under-performing Territory

    In some cases, an outsourced salesperson can be employed to augment the efforts of your existing sales team in a struggling territory. This strategy is delicate and requires some savvy political maneuvers as well as a resilient sales manager. A “contract” sales manager is a

    compelling method of altering and under-performing sales culture.

Copyright 1999 by First Technology Sales, Inc. Do Not Copy Without Permission

Maintain cash flow

Cash flow is the number one priority for expanding companies. Although not a capital

    investment, outsourcing field sales provides just-in-time access to people and expertise

    without permanently employing those candidates in the near term, thereby helping to hedge

    long term capital investments.

Provide access to seasoned sales professionals

    Sales force outsourcing provides access to a larger pool of highly skilled pros, and increases

    the ability of small or startup businesses to attract top candidates. For example, First

    Technology Sales actively maintains a pool of over 500 “ready-to-work” salespeople from

    within the technology sales category.


The US department of Commerce recently stated that American industry has no problem with

    its production. Its main problem is distribution. Effective salespeople, an executable sales

    plan, cohesive marketing, and the ability to marshal these resources quickly, is the key to

    effective distribution in any business sector.

Worldwide outsourcing services is fast on its way to blowing by the $100 billion marker. In

    1998, spending topped $99 billion. By 2003, it will explode to more than $151 billion. This

    data comes from International Data Corporation's (IDC's) new U.S. and Worldwide

    Outsourcing Markets and Trends, 1998-2003 report.

The New York based Outsourcing Institute recently surveyed member executives to study

    current and future trends in sales and marketing outsourcing. Sixty percent of the executives

    were senior executives. Almost every industry was represented, from advertising and brewing

    through government and healthcare to manufacturing and utilities. The companies ranged

    from small (under 499 employees) to very large (over 10,000 employees).

In the sales and marketing venue, executives are currently outsourcing direct mail, advertising,

    and telemarketing . In addition, executives are now considering outsourcing inside sales

    operations and field sales.

Clearly, outsourcing salespeople and sales management a rapidly expanding idea whose time

    has come. It is the future.

For more information on how to outsource field sales operations, contact First Technology

    Sales at 800-334-3310 or visit the website at .

Copyright 1999 by First Technology Sales, Inc. Do Not Copy Without Permission

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