Regardless of staffing model — insource or outsource — driving increased revenue can be a reality with the right team and approach.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Managing a sales professional or team is different than managing other association professionals. An effective salesperson is not consumed with duties such as committee management, revenue collections, and logistics. Talented salespeople want time to be able to sell — cultivate relationships, conduct meetings with prospects, develop products that align with the supplier and member needs. Consider having the right support team in place for post-sale needs and compensating sales professionals so that their income is a variable of performance.
2. Modern selling needs a marketing engine that drives leads, engagement, and awareness, and supports the value proposition around your products. Ensure marketing and sales teams have a collaborative relationship so they can adjust campaigns, target new market segments, and measure results. This means there needs to be marketing resources set aside to support sales.
3. Creative, custom sales solutions will drive top dollar from the supplier market. Can creativity be best accomplished with an internal or external sales team? An outsourced sales organization can bring fresh ideas to an association who has grown stagnant. Conversely, an internal sales team can quickly navigate approvals and have a sense as to how new advertising and sponsorship solutions will be received by the association's leadership.
4. Driven by the culture of the association, everyone in the organization has a role in revenue. If every director, leader, manager, and coordinator is aware that they have a role in successfully creating revenue, then you will have a team that wants to work together, understands the challenges of developing new revenue, fights to keep buys in place, and celebrates the wins. Delivering revenue in a competitive market can be challenging work. Delivering these dollars is easier when everyone understands that their role can positively influence strong supplier relationships and increased revenue for the association.
Bonus tip: Timing is everything. If you are considering moving from one model to the next — insource to outsource, or vice versa — timing of a transition can make or break the successes found within the first year.