Business Insights
4 min read

How to Know When It’s Time to Outsource Your SDR Department

This blog post discusses outsourcing the Sales Development Representative (SDR) department and when it might be a good idea for a business. SDR professionals are responsible for generating outbound leads and nurturing leads until they become warm. Outsourcing the SDR department to a third-party vendor is a good idea if a company does not have the bandwidth to keep a robust SDR department in-house.
Kevin Warner
Founder & CEO
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Does your company have an in-house SDR team? The SDR department (or "Sales Development Representative" department) plays a crucial role in establishing a healthy sales pipeline, and generating leads for the company. In fact, the work of SDR professionals in engaging prospects before they are actually ready to buy can make it much easier to close the deal when they are ready to do business with your brand.

Let's dig into the role of an SDR team in more detail, and answer the following questions:

  • What does an SDR team do?
  • What are some reasons to outsource your SDR department?
  • How can you choose the right SDR outsourcing company for your business?

What is an SDR team, and what exactly do SDR professionals do?

In general, SDR teams are dedicated to top-of-funnel tasks that help beef up your sales pipeline. Simply put, their focus is on generating outbound leads and nurturing "cold" leads until they become "warm."

An SDR team does a lot of the heavy lifting involved in the sales process. For instance, SDR professionals may cold call prospects who are part of your contact list, set follow-up appointments with interested parties, and reach out to leads who filled out and submitted an intake form on one of your website's landing pages.

These reps usually don't close deals with customers, but they support your closers by identifying and developing leads until they get to the point of making a purchase decision. It's no wonder that many companies consider their SDR department an indispensable component in their overall sales and marketing strategy!

What are some reasons to outsource your SDR department?

Some companies have the "bandwidth" to keep a robust SDR department in-house. Of course, there are several advantages to this approach, such as the ability to easily audit the work of SDR professionals and provide coaching as needed.

On the other hand, there may be compelling reasons for a business to outsource its SDR department to a reputable 3rd-party vendor. Here are just a few of the reasons why this may be a good idea:

1. An outsourced SDR company will have pre-vetted, highly qualified professionals on their team.

Any outsourced SDR agency worth its salt will keep exceptionally well-trained reps as part of their team. These reps may already have years of experience in performing core SDR activities, such as cold calling, appointment setting, and lead nurturing. They know what it takes to develop a strong sales pipeline, and they know how to avoid the pitfalls that SDR novices commonly make. 

In addition, experienced sales development reps will be able to quickly adapt their approach to your industry and target audience. True, they may have to be educated on the nature of your specific industry; but they are already familiar with the tools and techniques required for optimal lead generation.

In contrast, trying to build an in-house SDR team from the ground up may mean working with several novices at the same time. Their inexperience may actually slow your lead generation efforts down, instead of speeding them up. And that leads nicely into the second reason you may want to consider outsourcing your SDR department...

2. You won't have to invest in a training and onboarding program.

Think for a moment about everything that goes into training and onboarding a new SDR employee:

  • You have to develop an effective training program, including a "core curriculum," for your new hires.
  • You have to build the infrastructure needed to deliver your training program to the team. For example, you may need to dedicate a room or two for classroom activities, ensure that each new hire has access to a computer, and bring on a facilitator to guide the training sessions.
  • You have to help your new employees get familiar with your company's tools and processes - and in the meantime, they won't be very productive members of your SDR department. (In fact, it could take over 3 months for them to reach normal productivity levels.)

Simply put, training and onboarding new SDR hires can divert vital resources from other core business operations. However, when you outsource your SDR department to a 3rd-party company, you don't have to deal with any of these issues. They provide all the training and onboarding that's required for their employees - and you get to reap the benefits!

3. You'll enjoy lower payroll costs.

Any in-house employee is going to cost quite a bit of money in terms of payroll alone. After all, hiring an in-house SDR professional can cost tens of thousands of dollars in the first year of their tenure with your organization. And what if they decide to leave after that year is up? A large percentage of your investment in them will go to waste.

On the other hand, it may be more cost-effective to simply outsource your SDR team. Salaries, benefits, paid-time-off policies - those are things your outsourcing partner has to worry about, not you!

How can you choose the right SDR outsourcing company for your business?

Let's say you're ready to outsource your SDR team. The question still remains: How can you partner with the best SDR outsourcing company for your particular business needs? Here are some major factors to keep in mind as you explore your options:

1. Location

In today's increasingly globalized economy, the cheapest outsourcing options are often found overseas. While contracting with an offshore company may help you to save a few bucks in the short term, you need to consider whether that's the best long-term option for your business.

As an example, what if your business sells a "high-ticket" product or service? Or what if you cater to a very affluent, selective demographic? Is it possible that an offshore SDR partner could end up damaging your reputation if there is a significant language barrier in rep-customer interactions, or reps are calling at unsuitable times for your target audience?

2. Transparency and communication

When you contract with an outsourced SDR company, it's important to remember that their team members will represent your brand to consumers. With that in mind, it's a good idea to research the company's hiring process ahead of time, and determine how their SDRs are recruited, how they are trained, and what your level of involvement would be in terms of quality control. 

The reality is, you can't just throw money at your SDR partner and expect their reps to fulfill your wildest dreams. It's important to have buy-in from the SDR company at all levels - managers and front-line reps included. After all, the company may need your feedback in order to meet expectations. On the other hand, the needs of your business may change over time, which means it's vital that you have an open line of communication with your 3rd-party vendor.

In addition, you'll likely want your SDR partner to be open about which processes and messages they are implementing, and which ones are the most successful. This type of information sharing is especially crucial if you're taking the "hybrid route;" that is, if you're outsourcing some of your SDR department and keeping the rest of it in-house. Here again, transparency and good communication are both key elements in terms of consistency.

3. Standardization

Your SDR outsourcing partner should definitely have a standardized workflow in place for their reps. Obviously, this would include the scripts you provide them; but it should also include a well-defined flow chart that can guide their reps through the majority of prospect interactions.

For example, what should an SDR rep do if a lead demonstrates clear "buying signals?" Which department should the rep transfer them to? What resources should the rep use to answer prospect questions? What's the escalation process if the rep can't find the answer?

If your prospective SDR partner has clear, standardized processes in place, then you won't have to wonder whether their reps are providing a value-adding, consistent experience for your leads. Instead, you'll be able to focus on optimizing your messaging; and your partner should be able to seamlessly incorporate any refinements you make into their normal workflow.

4. Performance management

Quantity isn't always better than quality. The truth is, an SDR company may send hundreds of leads your way - but if they're poorly qualified leads, you won't end up with many closed deals, and you'll end up wasting a lot of your resources.

With that in mind, you need to outsource your SDR function to a company that can measure success according to your standards. For example, you may not want to focus solely on the number of appointments booked as a key performance indicator (KPI). Instead, you may want to look at metrics like opportunity/meeting ratio, or meeting attendance rate.

A good SDR company may not promise you incredible results, but they should work with you to develop KPIs that truly align with your goals.

And if you choose the right partner, it could kick your lead generation efforts into overdrive! If you'd like some help exploring your SDR outsourcing options, reach out to our team of sales and marketing experts at Leadium today. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

An outsourced SDR company will have pre-vetted, highly qualified professionals on their team. Any outsourced SDR agency worth its salt will keep exceptionally well-trained reps as part of their team. These reps may already have years of experience in performing core SDR activities, such as cold calling, appointment setting, and lead nurturing"

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