Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Outsourcing Your Sales Function


In today’s ever-expanding “gig economy,” outsourcing entry-level tasks and job roles has become commonplace. But a growing number of organizations are exploring and adopting outsourcing for higher-level functions, too. Small to mid-sized sales organizations are increasingly outsourcing the sales function – from the sales rep role to executive sales management – and finding success with this new paradigm.

What are some key reasons for sales outsourcing (and some reasons why a company might not want to)? Let’s take a look:

Advantages of Outsourcing Your Sales Function

While businesses have learned it can be lucrative to outsource frontline sales functions such as lead generation, now, small to mid-sized businesses are beginning to understand benefits at higher levels – sales leadership levels – in the sales organization. The use of outsourced fractional sales leaders, is rapidly gaining recognition as a means of attaining an essential competitive advantage in the marketplace. In fact, Salesforce named “Outsourcing the Sales Function” as the #4 trend upending sales today.

Businesses today are increasingly turning to outsourced sales leaders to help turn around a struggling business and/or enhance revenue growth opportunities for many different reasons.

  • Current revenue and sales performance may be declining or stagnant quarter-over-quarter and year-over year, signaling a dire situation if not addressed
  • Current sales team members and processes may not be driving desired results
  • Disruptive market and/or industry competitors have changed the “rules of the game” beyond the capabilities of current sales leaders and reps
  • The historically hands-on business owner or CEO no longer has the time or expertise to oversee critical changes in the sales function

From strategic direction to process changes to sales team member management. Bringing in an outsourced sales leader can free the owner or CEO to concentrate on other aspects of the business, including providing visionary oversight of the larger organization.

Outsourced sales leaders bring external perspective to add market-based clarity to the sales function. With an outsourced sales leader, the business can gain essential expertise to strategically expand market influence, including global expansions.

Based on a strong track record of success in larger markets, an outsourced sales leader can develop and implement new sales strategies and processes. Fractional sales leaders can help recruit, train, and onboard new sales talent to succeed within new sales strategies and processes without having to “unlearn” bad habits. An Outsourced VP of Sales can make the tough decisions necessary to increase efficiency, control costs, and better align resources.

Disadvantages of Outsourcing Your Sales Function

With all the benefits that can be realized outsourcing the sales function, why would a small to mid-sized business not want to implement this likely competitive advantage? Here are five possible reasons:

  1. The business owner or leadership team wants to maintain full internal control amongst current staff (perhaps for a family-run business) – even if that means sacrificing potential benefits noted above
  2. Aspects of the business operation might be deemed confidential or sensitive to a level that rules out bringing in a fractional resource
  3. Current leaders want to remain “hands on” in running day-to-day company operations, even if they have little time to address the big-picture strategic direction
  4. Although sales outsourcing pricing is usually custom based on company needs, and includes a value proposition designed for near- and long-term ROI, the business might not financially able to engage the services of a fractional Outsourced VP of Sales in the short-term
  5. The current company culture is in a fragile state and it is feared (rightly or wrongly) that bringing in an external resource will cause unwanted ripples

The Bottom Line

It is important for any business to weigh outsourcing advantages and disadvantages before taking that plunge. Nonetheless, the reasons for outsourcing can often outweigh reasons against. Certainly, for many smaller businesses, outsourced sales leadership can be the difference between long-term success and short-term failure

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

About the author
Kevin Donovan of Fortis Sales Solutions is a member of XPX Hartford

You are working with Owners, CEOs, leadership who are responsible for the P&L and see sales as the way to grow and scale their business.