BDR Outsourcing Isn’t Worth It. What To Do Instead

I recently had a fascinating discussion with the owner of an HR services company.

I asked her how she got opportunities. And what she’s looking for in a lead generation partner.

She explained that she was currently working with a company that helped her develop leads. But she was planning to discontinue their services.

Of course I asked why.

It turned out they were getting her lots of cheap leads, which she loved. But at the same time, the leads weren’t even close to what she wanted.

She asked to meet financial services professionals. And they introduced owners of home painting companies. 

BDR outsourcing

This story really illustrates some of the challenges companies experience when outsourcing core sales activities.

If you’re thinking about outsourcing your BDR function, this article is for you. We’ll look at why it may not work as well as you’d like. 

And explore a more elegant approach that will save you time and money, while also reducing operational risk. 

Let’s get started! 

What’s a BDR? And What Do They Do?

A BDR refers to a business development rep.

The defined responsibilities of a BDR vary from company to company. But it’s generally understood that BDRs create leads through outbound activities like email outreach and cold calling.

Once a lead is deemed to be sufficiently qualified the BDR books a meeting and passes the prospect off to a more senior member of the sales team (ie an Account Executive).

A BDR’s primary responsibilities can be summarized as follows:

  • Account research (companies) 
  • Lead research (decision makers) 
  • Outreach
  • Qualifying (especially for cold calling)
  • Booking meetings for the Account Executive

Why Do Companies Use BDR Outsourcing Solutions?

There are some big potential benefits to outsourcing the BDR function. I won’t go into them in any depth in this article. But here are the primary reasons companies consider working with an outsourced sales agency.

Potential Cost Savings: In any business the costs of rent, employee benefits, and training are very high. Working with 3rd party vendors can potentially reduce those expenses.

Core Focus: Running an internal sales team can distract from core activities. Sometimes it’s just better to focus on doing a small number of things really, really well.

Niche Expertise: Companies that offer BDR outsourcing only do one thing. If they’re experienced, they have established sales processes in place. So you won’t need to reinvent the (proverbial) wheel.

Accelerated Hiring: Building a solid sales team takes work. Outsourcing means you won’t have to do any hiring for sales development roles.

Team-Driven Activity: An outsourced BDR sales team likely has multiple people working on your account to generate better efficiencies. Someone who is detail oriented might be better for the research elements of the role. While a sociable personality might be a better fit for outreach.

So you can see why some companies decide to hire an outsourced BDR. On the surface it appears to make a lot of sense. You get an entire team pulling on your behalf for less than internal BDRs cost.

Some Reasons To Avoid BDR Outsourcing

 As mentioned above, the BDR role can be broken down into five main areas:

  • Account research (companies) 
  • Lead research (decision makers) 
  • Outreach
  • Qualifying (especially for cold calling)
  • Booking meetings for the Account Executive

The first thing you’ll notice is that the first two parts of the role are research-oriented. And the remaining 3 parts are prospect-facing.

Account & Lead Research SHOULD Be Outsourced

The research elements of the BDR role SHOULD be outsourced. This work is tedious and time-consuming. 

And it needs to be done by a professional with deep experience researching across multiple data sources. Nothing can save your campaign if you contact the wrong people. So invest in getting effective virtual sales assistance for your data.

Generally, an outsourced researcher will cost MUCH less than an in-house researcher. This is because the high cost of data expenses are being spread across multiple clients. And very often the work is being done in lower cost jurisdictions. 

Note that a custom b2b data provider shouldn’t be too inexpensive. If they can do the job at a very low price then it means you aren’t getting human-cleaned data.

Exporting data to CSV is and then sending it over is very low effort. You want a team that will carefully investigate each prospect on your list to confirm they’re a strong fit for your ICP. And provide supporting data enrichment.

Prospect-Facing Activities SHOULDN’T Be Outsourced

Ignore this part at your own peril.

Any activity that involves an interaction between you and your clients (or prospective clients) needs to be done in-house.

Here’s why.

BDR Outsourcing Ignores Product-Market Fit

The absolute most fundamental part of your business is establishing product-market fit.

Creating a great solution is the result of speaking with many prospective buyers to understand why they make a purchase.

It also involves a clear understanding of why they DON’T purchase. The more conversations you have, the more nuanced your understanding of your market will be.

But here’s the thing.

You have to have those conversations.

If you rely on an outsourced sales agency, you’ll ultimately lose all this valuable intelligence. 

And these insights aren’t something you can afford to lose. 

Outsourced BDRs Lack Niche Expertise

Your internal team likely has years and years of experience in your product area.

A 3rd party outbound outreach team simply can’t match your level of knowledge – no matter how intuitive your solution may seem.

Prospects will invariably ask questions that your outsourced BDR program isn’t equipped to handle. And if the sales leaders can’t answer questions to your prospects’ satisfaction, they’ll wonder whether you’re the right choice for their company.

Local Familiarity

When you hire an outsourced BDR sales team, they are often located outside your home state. And may not even reside in the country where you live.

Your outsourced BDR program is the face of your organization. But it may not have any meaningful connection to your clients. In some circumstances this can make establishing a rapport difficult.

Lack of Direct Oversight

Most BDR outsourcing agencies are pretty good at what they do. Even so, it doesn’t mean they’re a good fit for you.

You’ll have limited direct input into their day-to-day operations. Which means inaccuracies or imperfect customer interactions can go undetected for prolonged periods.

Ultimately, BDR outsourcing involves significant reputational risk. Even the best outsourced BDRs may not perform to your expectations without direct oversight.

Is The Cost Of Mistakes Worth It?

 There are a LOT of advantages to working with outsourced BDRs. But is it worth it? I’d argue that it’s not.

Most companies will be better off allocating research tasks to an external agency. Those tasks are replicable, and expensive to manage in-house.

Anything that requires a prospect touchpoint can be done in-house. Every communication is important information your organization needs to deepen your understanding off your clients. And where your solution fits with their needs.

It also gives you granular control over all prospect-facing activities. Which ensures quality control and a level of input you can’t achieve with an outsourced sales team.

What Are Your Thoughts On BDR Outsourcing?

I’d love to hear about your experiences with outsourcing BDRs. Did it work for you? And would you recommend it to most businesses?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn or send me a note on our contact page.

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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