Thinking About Outsourcing Field Sales? Here’s What You Need to Know to Avoid Common Complications

When regulated companies such as energy and telco providers first launch their door-to-door sales efforts, they often choose to partner with an outsourced field sales agency rather than build an internal field sales team. By outsourcing, at least initially, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages and include:

  • Speed of entry, which enables the energy or telco provider to hit the ground running
  • Industry expertise that helps to mitigate common field sales mistakes, reducing risk
  • Elimination of administrative tasks such as hiring field reps and conducting new hire and ongoing training
  • The ability to collect data and market intelligence to support the need for additional internal or external field sales reps
  • Obtaining field sales resources at a reasonable cost

The key to building a successful partnership with an outsourced field sales agency is to find one that meets your business needs, as well as instils field sales integrity so that the quality of your brand’s reputation remains intact.


How to Stay in Control When You Outsource Field Sales

While some organisations choose to outsource field sales over the long term, others use outsourcing as a stop-gap for just the first few years – giving them the time to build internal market knowledge and drive external market awareness. Once a healthy and predictable return on sales efforts are recognised, many energy and telco providers make the decision to migrate to in-house field sales teams, franchise, partner with additional outsourced field sales agencies, or use a combination of internal and external field sales resources. Regardless of the field sales model chosen, it’s at this point that complications can arise.

When changing their sales model, the most frequent obstacles energy and telco organisations face are the ownership of the sales data that was collected by the field sales outsourced agency and the rights to the technology license. Often regulated organisations that outsource the field sales channel also outsource the technology to the outsourced agency. This means that the outsourced field sales agency may own all of the data, insights, and reporting, without you having the ability to access the data collected by them. Also without rights to the technology license, if you want to add an additional partner, you would need to acquire another license, which ultimately results in the collected data and control siloed between two technology licenses – without you having full ownership and oversight. That is, of course, unless the contract between you and the outsourced agency clearly specifies that you own or can transfer ownership of the sales data collected and technology license.

To further illustrate data ownership challenges, let’s take a look at two organisations that have encountered these obstacles and their outcomes.


Two Outsourced Field Sales Agency Tales with Different Outcomes


Company 1: A Telecommunications Provider

With limited field sales experience, a global telecommunications provider opted to partner with a local outsourced field sales agency. Initially, the partnership operated as designed, however over time challenges emerged and the telecom company decided to bring field sales in-house and form a relationship with the same technology provider that was used by the outsourced agency. Since the agency owned the technology license, which encompassed data, insights, and reporting, the telecom company was unable to acquire any of the data – leaving them with no field sales business intelligence. Since ending their relationship with the outsourced field sales agency and becoming a client of the technology provider, this telecoms provider now owns their technology license, which provides them with a full suite of tools, enabling them to capture data, find and resolve sales process gaps, deliver actionable insights to the business, and win more deals.


Company 2: A Utility Organisation

New in the market, a large utility organisation also chose to initially work with an outsourced field sales agency. Unlike the telecoms company, the utility organisation also worked directly with the technology provider to draft short- and long-term goals, and develop a plan for how and when they would change their field sales model. In addition, the utility company made sure that the contract between them and the outsourced field sales agency specified that all data, insights, and reporting collected by the agency would be owned by the utility organisation. The contract between the outsourced field sales agency and the utility company gave the utility company full visibility and control over what happened in the field, allowed them to add additional teams and partners to the system, and provided the option to take over the relationship with the technology partner.

As we look at these two companies, the reason why the telecoms company encountered problems when the relationship with the outsourced field sales agency ended and the utility company didn’t is that, unlike the telecoms company, the utility company had a clear vision for the future and planned for it.


Mitigate Future Risk by Planning Ahead

It’s important to remember, especially when you’re new to field sales, that what works when you’re just starting out may not work as your company matures and gains market share. Whether you’re entering a new location or new to field sales, engaging an outsourced field sales agency will help you to quickly enter the market with relative ease. However, it’s equally as important to remember that the commercial relationship you form with the outsourced field sales agency needs to not only reflect sales, but also data and insights; otherwise, their focus will be strictly on sales, leaving valuable intelligence either uncaptured or unavailable to you.

PSI is dedicated to the innovative use of mobile technologies and field force automation to enhance data-driven decision making. We partner with regulated industries, like yours, as well as outsourced field sales agencies to give you all the tools needed to be successful. With the recent rise in door-to-door energy and telco sales, you need someone in your corner that can help you overcome initial risks, plan for the future, and profitably grow the business.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to plan for the future of your field sales. Schedule a demo today to learn how PSI can help you avoid field sales complications.