Internal & Outsourced SDRs: A Hybrid Approach to Sales Development

Author:

Elaine Chan
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Episode

105

Internal & Outsourced SDRs: A Hybrid Approach to Sales Development

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Elaine Chan

Former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio

In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to successfully scale and grow your business without the help of outside partnerships. That’s why a hybrid sales development team might be your best bet.

Elaine Chan, former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio, joins the show to share how outsourced SDRs infuse your internal sales development team with a useful diversity of knowledge and skill.

We discuss what it means to have a hybrid team, the advantages and challenges of hybrid models versus employing an internal team, and the most effective usages of a hybrid model.

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The more diversity that you bring into your inside sales programs, the more scale that you can develop for success.

Elaine Chan – former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio

What is a Hybrid SDR Team

A hybrid SDR team allows you to use the knowledge and expertise of your existing full-time inside sales team and couples that with the knowledge and expertise of outsourced SDRs.

“One thing I’ve learned in the span of my career is things are always changing,” says Elaine.

That is especially true in the tech industry. Consequently, it’s vitally important that your organization is able to quickly evolve sales tactics and adjust messaging to keep up as the market changes.

Leveraging partnerships is key to gaining that flexibility.

“The more feet on the street and the more knowledge you have from different pockets of expertise, the better you can navigate, grow, change, and evolve,” Elaine says.

The Evolution of Third-Party Agencies

Earlier in Elaine’s career, usage of third-party agencies wasn’t as prevalent.

“The only service that you could leverage from a hybrid perspective was using a third party to get appointments and just get in the door,” Elaine says.

But times have changed.

“What I have seen evolve over time is really specialization that allows you to leverage third parties beyond just appointment setting, you can almost use their best practices to expand your existing infrastructure to get more reach and get more scale,” she says.

Internal Sales Development Team vs. Outsourced SDRs

Each model has its own pros and cons. Let’s look at each of them.

Internal Sales Development Team

One advantage to an internal sales development team is you can build a team that is interlocked with company success. You can cultivate a team of people that are excited to join a tech startup and who are willing to pour their heart and soul into the business.

But on the con side, it takes a long time to build, train, and scale an internal team like that — and sometimes you just don’t have the time.

Plus, the competition for talent can be fierce, especially if you’re located in a tech hotbed like the Bay Area.

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As you’re going through the ebbs and flows of team development, having a third party be a hybrid part or an extension of that team just builds that consistency.

Elaine Chan – former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio

Hybrid Model

Leveraging an outsourced SDR team enables you to adjust quickly. This can be especially beneficial for startups that are still discovering what their longer-term scale could be. A third party also gives you the flexibility to start out with an outsourced company and slowly transitions to an internal team.

Outsourcing to third parties can also help you fill in the gaps as the team development process goes through its inevitable stages of feast and famine. It can provide your sales team some much-needed consistency. It also gives your organization an optimized pool of expertise to tap into for best practices and tactical tips.

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Sometimes there’s a misconception that when you leverage a third party that you can just hire them and sort of set it and forget it, but the reality is you cannot.

Elaine Chan – former Sr. Director of Inside Sales at Illumio

Moving over to the cons, employing a hybrid approach does take work, which might take some by surprise. If you’re looking for an option that you can set and forget, this is not it.

“The care and feeding that you would typically put into an in-house team, you still need to do a lot of that,” Elaine says.

That includes training, having ongoing cadences to pass along expectations, and addressing objections as new scenarios arise. 

“The challenge is really knowing and committing to providing the time and coverage to help support that agency,” she says.

The other challenge involves structure. You need to have clean lines of division labor between your internal and external teams and that takes time.

Employing a Hybrid Team

“Number one: I would focus on keeping my plan as simple as possible,” Elaine recommends.

The more complex it becomes, the hard it will be to manage.

Elaine has accrued the most bang for her buck by focusing third parties on two areas.

Breaking Into New Territories

Language specialization can be an immense barrier to entering new markets for most startups. That’s where third parties can really help.

“In my career, I have not been able to build global scale without leveraging third parties because you don’t have the cost advantage of hiring the full-time employees needed for the vast coverage of languages internationally,” Elaine says.

Breaking Into New Accounts

If you’re having trouble breaking into particular accounts, it will likely be easier if you can leverage preexisting relationships that third parties have.

“With account-based programs, you can be smart about targeting those accounts,” Elaine says.

In the past, she has leveraged the relationships of third parties to bring in accounts that she would not have been able to bring in organically.

Final Thoughts

It takes time, coordination, and collaboration between your ops people and your inside sales development team to turn a partnership with an outsourced SDR team into a well-oiled machine. But if you invest that operational commitment, you will reap the benefits of having both an internal and external team and grow your business quicker and more effectively than ever before.

Get in touch with Elaine on LinkedIn.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.

 

Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

Entering new industries or launching new product lines? Operatix can accelerate your growth by supporting your go-to-market strategy, and getting your sales teams in front of decision makers in key target accounts.

Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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