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Straight to the Outsource

Feeling the crunch? Then it may be time to look outside your company for help.
September 1, 2003

Imagine that a sales genie hovers at the perimeter of your abundant inbox and offers to grant you three wishes: lower overhead, less trifling-matter management and more sales. You'd likely invite said sprite to take a load off and sit a spell, right? Well, outsourcing your sales function may be just the sprinkle of sales magic your company needs right now. Read on for an over-view on determining if outsourcing is right for your business.

David Gumpert, an expert on small business and entrepreneurship and the author of How to Really Start Your Own Business (Lauson Publishing), says that companies selling lower-priced items are better served by the capabilities of outsourcing. "A $30 widget," he says, "would be much more appropriate for outsourcing than a $30,000 piece of machinery." The reason is the commission paid on each item-about 10 percent of the sales price. So a $30 item would require a $3 payout, but a $30,000 item would cost $3,000 in commissions. Also, selling higher-priced items requires a specialized level of expertise, one that may not be easily bought on the open market.

Be sure to seek out the provider's references, Gumpert adds. For leads on providers, trade organizations and your local chamber of commerce are good resources. And don't forget about using the Web to find talent as well. Turn to "Net Profits" on page 44 for more on Web outsourcing.

Ready to take the plunge into outsourcing? Here are a few ways to prepare, courtesy of Derrick B. Paine, president of sales outsourcing company Virtual Performance Force Inc. in Tujunga, California:

Kimberly L. McCall (aka Marketing Angel) is the president of McCall Media & Marketing Inc. (www.marketingangel. com), a business communications firm in Durham, Maine.