The days of corner offices for sales reps are long gone. Instead, today’s sales teams spend their time on the road, doing everything from filing expense reports and updating their CRM to structuring their sales pitches. As a result, outside sales executives spend just 22% of their time actively selling.

Offloading sales’ administrative work to specialists allows the account executives to focus on closing deals, and can have a dramatic impact on your company’s ROI.

But what’s the best way to provide this support? The traditional approach has been to support account executives with sales development representatives. That SDR model is flawed and can actually decrease the benefits of both roles on your team.

Inside vs. Outside Sales Support

Companies that want to build a true sales support model are deciding between two real options:

  1. Hiring an in-house administrative team; or
  2. Working with an outside firm whose core competency is focused on supporting account executives.

While the analysis below is about the trade-offs / benefits of outsourcing sales support specifically, it can be generally applied to most functions that you are looking to outsource.

There are three key areas to consider when comparing in-house to outsourced sales support.

1. Direct Compensation: Most analyses of ROI focus on the direct compensation costs associated with hiring an in-house assistant versus an external vendor. Direct compensation analyses typically include the following.

  • Salary costs
  • HR (benefits and taxes) costs
  • IT and facilities costs

For in-house support, total costs will typically be 150% of the salary. With an external vendor, these costs are rolled into one price, generally within 50-75% of the in-house cost.

2. Management Time: When selecting an external vendor, you can select a managed service that directly manages the sales assistants they provide. This includes:

  • Recruiting: Identifying, assessing, screening, and hiring candidates for the role
  • Training: Ensuring assistants are experienced with the tools and processes needed to support your business
  • Personal Development: Providing feedback, development coaching, and mentorship
  • Turnover: Maintaining trained backups and managing transitions

In an in-house model, direct management will be your responsibility. That means that an in-house team or individual sales reps will be responsible for developing and guiding the processes that the assistants follow. When engaging a managed service from an external vendor, the company doesn’t need to deal with turnover and re-training – a process which, according to the Center for American Progress, can add an additional 20% to your annual in-house cost for administrative level employees.

3. Strategic Benefits: With an external vendor, there are a number of strategic benefits that will benefit your business in intangible but significant ways.

  • Scalability: With external vendors, you can scale more quickly and better match costs to business needs.
  • Best Practices: Your vendor can leverage insights from similar clients on processes and technology solutions.
  • Process Documentation: An external vendor focuses on process to delegate the work. That alone ensures that you’re documenting and improving processes that are otherwise generally de-prioritized.
  • Focus: By focusing on core competencies instead of hiring support, your company remains nimble and can execute more efficiently.

Quantifying the strategic benefits of an outsourced vendor for your particular sales team is a straightword analysis, with process improvements  providing a significant ROI even on their own.

To learn more about the ROI of an external sales support service, take a look at this case study.