Keep Your Sales Function In-House, but Outsource Top-of-Funnel

SaaStr recently published a piece showing that only 7% of surveyed companies were able to make an outsourced SDR arrangement work (to be fair, another 26% “sort of” worked, whatever that means). This is not a post about why that conclusion is wrong, because it is not wrong.

As a first step, though, we should answer our least favorite question: “Is Incendium an outsourced SDR firm?”

This answer is no, we are a growth studio, and that distinction is not just branding semantics. Here’s why it matters:

Outsourced SDRs are “rented” salespeople who work for your company to take meetings on behalf of clients. This model makes more sense if you believe that skilled salespeople (what we call “hunter/hero salespeople”) are independent operators capable of delivering strong outcomes on the basis of skill alone. Sometimes, this is true! Unfortunately, it usually is not.

Therein lies the problem: The success of this model lives and dies on the likelihood that any particular SDR can deliver exceptional results. Outsourced SDR firms sell you a Jason Bourne, but there are very few Jason Bournes. Based on the SaaStr survey, I think it’s safe to conclude that only between 7% and 33% of outsourced SDRs are really good at what they do. This means you usually end up with a Paul Blart. There are lots of those.  

Incendium’s approach is systemic or, to borrow the marketing term, it’s programmatic. Our success does not rely on otherworldly sales superheroes. It is built from a repeatable, adaptable system that uses data to manage top of funnel. Once a meeting is set, the closing actions are taken over by a client’s internal Jason Bournes. (At least we hope so… that’s a post for another time).

So, in our view, the lack of success that most companies experience with outsourced sales firms is predictable, but that doesn’t mean that nothing in the process should be outsourced.

How can you maximize your success working with a firm like ours? We crowdsourced some tips from a customer! Check them out below:

Ivan Barajas Vargas - Founder of MuukTest

- Make sure they understand strategy, not just operations.
- Make sure they are fast iterating and testing.
- Make sure the tests and hypotheses are being tracked and measured.
- Provide support as needed and as prompt as possible (support needed has to be reasonable)
- Provide suggestions, but let them do their thing - they are the experts, and they have the incentive to make it work for you, or you will stop working with them.
- Be open-minded about their process.

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