Field Sales Agility: A comprehensive comparison between Internal vs. External Agencies

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive retail landscape, companies are increasingly seeking strategies that allow them to continuously evolve and innovate. One approach that has seen significant growth in recent years is using outsourced field sales teams and merchandising agencies. This deliberate move is aimed at optimising operational efficiency. 

On the other hand, some are resistant to this approach, believing that an internal sales team offers greater visibility, control, and resilience in navigating the complexities of the field sales landscape.

In this article, we will look at the pros and cons associated with retaining these functions in-house versus outsourcing to an external, specialist provider.

Control and Decisions

Internal: Handing over field sales and merchandising has the potential risk of losing the degree of control over these areas. You are giving another company the reins to represent your products and services. One argument is that a loss of control could impact on the quality and timescale in which the functions are completed. 

External: By choosing an external partner that has the same collaborative approach, values and ethos as you, it can be a beneficial move. The key is to have effective communication with your partner, so that they can share valuable insights that you can feed back internally to make dynamic and innovative decisions.

Costs

Internal: With an internal team, the pricing of your staff is relatively transparent and can be budgeted for. However, when considering outsourcing, various cost factors must be carefully evaluated to ensure it is a viable solution. There have been instances where the pricing structure lacks transparency, leading to hidden costs, such as technology expenses and potential changes to the scope or volume of service. It’s crucial to understand upfront if any additional charges will be incurred, especially if your company needs to scale up or down

External: The costs associated with hiring and training a field sales team internally can be substantial. Opting for outsourcing eliminates these upfront costs and provides access to experts with specialised skills and expertise that your in-house team may lack. External field teams often operate on a fixed fee for the services provided, which is typically more cost-effective than the ongoing expenses associated with maintaining an internal sales team, including salaries, bonuses, equipment, and training. One advantage of outsourcing is the ability to split the cost across departments and funding from multiple sources rather than extra internal headcount.

Transparency

Internal: Some argue that having an in-house sales team makes the field sales process more transparent, allowing for better issue resolution and the ability to keep your business self-reliant. This can often result in a false economy – time, energy and cost invested into business areas where individuals are ill-equipped to measure, manage and monitor performance with an external field team.

External: Outsourcing to specialist partners, equipped with technology and relevant tools, can improve transparency, resulting in greater impact and results. By leveraging the external team’s experience and expertise, a more focused approach to data collection and analysis becomes possible. This, in turn, provides greater insights into customers, the market, and competitors, allowing your company to create a competitive advantage….Focus on what you do best!

Scalability and Flexibility

Internal: An internal field sales team can be positioned well to easily collaborate with other internal departments approaching challenges with agility. If you choose to go down the outsourcing route, choose a partner that understands your company’s ethos and has a solid understanding of your goals and values.

External: Outsourcing gives you the flexibility to scale up or down your field sales and merchandising efforts more easily in response to market demands. With access to a range of capabilities, experiences and tools provided by your outsourced partner, your company can receive measurable results that can be fed through internally, giving your company the control to make more dynamic and innovative decisions.

Is outsourcing the right fit for your company?

As with any outsourcing decision, you should always conduct due diligence to ensure partners align with your values, standards, and business objectives. Taking into account the pros and cons for internal and external field sales teams, our experience with our valued clients have shown that it can be a highly effective strategy.

Channel Assist’s 360° Approach

At Channel Assist, we offer a 360-degree approach that empowers you to build brand advocacy, develop partnerships and deliver results.  

The benefits of our model are significant:

  • ROI-driven partner that will support building a business case for growth
  • Elimination of single points of failure
  • Ongoing cost evaluation and benchmarking
  • Comprehensive capability spanning both broad and specialist areas
  • Promotion of sustainable best practices 
  • Leading the industry in sales and impact rates
  • Innovation at the backbone of our business 
  • Multiple lines of business working as an extension of your business
  • Leverage our presence and expertise, we support global brands and retailers across the the UK and Europe

To find out more about using outsourced field sales teams for your brand, along with some more specific ROI-driven case studies, please don’t hesitate to reach out at hello@channelassist.co.uk

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