SM: When I have established new processes, I have had to test market segments using those processes. That is one issue that comes up a lot – which segment is ready to buy, which one can be an early adopter?
AS: And you might have the wrong profile of the person to sell into that segment. You might have to hire different people. You might have to redo some of your technology tools. They might not speak to your customers. There are all kinds of things you need to test and fine-tune.
SM: Let’s talk about internal versus outsourced, particularly with the advent of this humongous India phenomena. How do you read that?
AS: Most of our clients have internal operations. But I will say that there is absolutely every opportunity for outsourcers who understand what makes a world class inside sales operation. Again, the combination of the right people, the right process, the right strategy, and the right technology is essential.
A lot of companies make the mistake of outsourcing, whether it is to India or local, without understanding the process and they do not manage the group like a part of their company. They throw it over the fence and leave the outsource vendor to figure it out. You will never succeed that way. The opportunity exists, however, if you manage it well.
There is one company I will mention that is doing something very interesting in India. They are approaching the problem of connecting on the phone with the prospect. It is very difficult these days to find someone at their desk. You can make hundreds of phone calls and have a 10% connect rate. This company, which is called Connect and Sell, has partnered with Indian outsourced resources and they do the very front end of the cold calling process. They have the list, they make the phone calls, and when they connect with a live person they will transparently transfer that phone call to a dedicated person in the inside sales group. It is completely transparent and outputs the information. You are guaranteed five live connects per hour, or you do not have to pay. One of our clients is getting 15 live connects an hour. That is addressing a very specific problem using India resources.
SM: I think that is very clever, it is brilliant.
AS: We are experiencing very good results with some of our clients now.