The Selling Factory

Hiring Sales Professionals or Outsourcing Sales?

Written by Adam Grossman

An ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development, he is a cofounder and the Chief Development Officer at The Selling Factory.

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist

Building and maintaining a sales team can be expensive. Ideally, hiring sales professionals causes an increase in revenue, but the likelihood of challenges from the cost of hiring and sales turnover severely limits a return on investment. Conducting a cost analysis of hiring a sales professional versus outsourcing sales minimizes the pain associated with hiring and retaining sales professionals and maximizes profit. 

How to Build an Internal Sales Team? 

There are many positions and factors to consider when building a functional internal sales team. Understanding the components and their costs can ensure the success or failure of your team. 

Most companies start with account executives (AEs). The AE’s goal is to accomplish everything in the sales process – prospecting, closing, and retention. While it is common practice for companies to hire only account executives, this is a flaw in sales operations. Although it seems more cost-effective, it is costly and severely limits revenue potential.

Essentials to building a high-performance internal sales team: 

#1: Provide tools and feedback for motivation and improvement. While sales professionals tend to be self-motivated, they still desire ongoing support. 

#2: Remove the low-cost and high-time work from the account executives, like lead generation, setting appointments, and customer retention. High-performance internal sales teams hire individuals to accomplish these duties. 

To oversee and improve a sales team’s performance, an internal sales team needs to hire a sales manager. Sales managers offer sales professionals someone to report to and coach them, listen to their issues, and analyze strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the value of sales growth, hiring a sales manager protects a company’s leadership from draining its time and energy on it. 

To eliminate busy work from account executives, sales departments will hire sales development representatives. Their role is to prospect and set appointments to allow AEs to focus on closing deals. Some companies see this as an unnecessary luxury. However, the more an account executives closes deals, the more valuable they are. Wasting an AE’s time and energy on anything else hurts the business and the sales professional’s ability to produce. 

Taking a Look at the Math:

Without support, an account executive sets five meetings and closes one deal weekly with an average deal size of $5,000. This account executive brings in $21,667 a month. With sales development representatives focused solely on setting meetings, the account executive’s weekly meetings increase to 10 per week. With the same closing percentage and deal size, the account executive now accounts for $43,333 per month.The cost of a sales development representatives to increase the deal flow is much less than the expense of having an account executive focus any time on it. 

The average salaries for an account executive, sales manager, and sales development representative are $65,000, $75,000, and $55,000, respectively. With an internal sales team of five account executives, a sales manager, and two sales development representatives, the salaries will be $510,000 per year. The cost per employee is more than the salary, which includes benefits, commissions, training, recruiting, and more. Typically, these direct costs are two times the salary meaning a team salary totaling $510,000 will cost $1,200,000.

Unfortunately, beyond these expenses, multiple challenges exist in building and maintaining a sales team that affect each of these positions and inflate the costs.

5 Tips to build a high-performance sales team:

#1: Determine your individual goals for the sales team and prioritize their value. Which one is more important – an increase in revenue and profit, a decrease in expenses, growing the employee count, maximizing production and time, etc. 

#2: Layout how an internal sales team, or outsourcing sales will meet your priorities.

#3: Run a cost analysis of each solution with an Outsourced Sales Team Calculator.

#4: Seek guidance to navigate the internal hiring process or the right outsourcing sales team

#5: Be willing to change course. Sales is an evolving process. What is the best today might not be the right solution tomorrow. Some companies use one option, while others find a hybrid of hiring internally and outsourcing sales beneficial.

What Are the Challenges of Hiring in Sales?

Finding, developing, and losing sales talent costs a lot of money, time, and stress. Beyond the cost of an employee, three prevalent and expensive problems occur with this process:

Cost of a Bad Hire: 

Great sales talent can be hard to find, which is why many companies make bad hires. According to Zippia, 75% of employers say they have made a bad hiring decision. The cost of a bad hire leads to companies losing $62 billion in the loss of customers due to bad service, $450-550 billion in lost productivity, and $500 billion due to workplace stress because of these issues. While these expenses do not show up on the balance sheet, they cripple companies and their ability to reach their revenue potential. 

Cost of Turnover: 

The average sales team loses 34% of its sales team yearly. The direct costs for each replacement include 21% of the proposed salary to fill one position and the portion of the sales manager’s time to fill the position, which averages 42 days and is money not offset by revenue from revenue. The cost of turnover does not only impact salary expenses, but also significantly affects team performance and sales. There are fewer team members available to accomplish the goals. The constant fluctuation causes issues with team dynamic, which adversely impacts production. The ongoing need to hire replacements focuses time on hiring rather than improving effectiveness to increase sales. To see how sales turnover affects a team, use the following Sales Turnover Calculator.

Cost of Keeping Talent: 

Losing quality talent is a major concern and expense within companies. Top, even average, sales talent, is valuable. Sales teams are the most important revenue source and should be the best compensated. Yet, many companies stifle top sales professionals by restructuring commission structures and making it harder for the best salespeople to earn more. Counterintuitive to an increase in revenue, this pushes sales professionals, realizing their value on the open market, to look for new opportunities. Additionally, businesses are more than happy to pilfer quality sales professionals with more money, benefits, and stability. Companies must decide if the value of top performers outweighs the cost of keeping them.

Is Outsourcing Sales Worthwhile?

With an internal sales team, leadership has more influence on quality control. When your employees work for you directly, you can ensure that they adhere to your processes and practices. With an internal pipeline, there are more people to adopt your company culture. In addition, the internal pipeline is the natural stockpile of talent to learn about and hire for more senior positions. Unfortunately, it can be costly building an effective internal sales team. Beyond the development of the sales department, constant turnover and recruitment are expensive, time-consuming, and deplete team morale. With no shortcuts to this process, this additional stress might not be worth the advantages. 

Outsourcing sales is a much more affordable option. Outsourcing sales eliminates the turnover and recruitment stresses, which allows team members to focus on higher-level processes. With the right outsourced partner, you will have leadership focused solely on the company goal, rather than worrying about team dynamics. However, finding the right outsourced partner can be a challenge. Inflated expectations and unfilled promises have left companies disappointed in outsourced options. 

No matter your choice – hiring in sales or outsourcing sales – will be a difficult and essential decision for your ever-growing business.

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Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

mia.semel@thesellingfactory.com

Kira Baker

Campaign Manager

Kira recently graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

kira@thesellingfactory.com

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

jared@thesellingfactory.com

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

ian@thesellingfactory.com

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

damien@thesellingfactory.com

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

brendan@thesellingfactory.com

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

savannah@thesellingfactory.com

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

zack@thesellingfactory.com

Josiah Blakemore

Campaign Manager

Josiah has over 8 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

josiah@thesellingfactory.com

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

sueming@thesellingfactory.com

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led Slingshotfund.org to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

adam@thesellingfactory.com

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.

brad@thesellingfactory.com