Considering Outsourced SDRs for B2B Appointment Setting? [Processes + Pros and Cons]

January 17, 2024

ViB Editorial Team


Topics we'll cover

Outsourced SDR companies are often that crucial lifeline to drive qualified B2B demand generation with the goal of setting appointments.

That’s because sales and appointment setting aren’t easy roles at all. In fact, most B2B marketers and sellers agree that the biggest challenges they are facing are improving lead quality and conversion rates (54%) and generating more leads (41%). 

For an external boost, one of the most common lead generation services involves leveraging the expertise of outsourced SDR teams — aka Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), also known as Business Development Representatives (BDRs) or Account Development Representatives (ADRs). 

An SDR team’s approach is straightforward: reaching out to potential clients through cold calling or email outreach, expertly guiding them through the sales funnel.

But is it always as rosy as it sounds?

This blog will explore the advantages and disadvantages of outsourced SDR-as-a-service. Then, we’ll and offer some alternative solutions to help you achieve your lead-gen goals. We’ll also discuss how a demand-generation partner — like ViB — can help elevate your growth, bringing in the right leads at the right time.

What is B2B sales outsourcing?

Outsourcing sales involves hiring third-party agents or seasoned professionals to assist in sales processes and business promotion activities.

This strategy brings a wide array of benefits that can impact overall sales productivity and revenue generation for B2B organizations. 

So what are some of the biggest reasons for B2B sales outsourcing?

Reason 1 - They're experts

First off, outsourced sales development brings a fresh perspective and specialized expertise to the table. By leveraging the skills of seasoned professionals, businesses can streamline their sales process, shorten sales cycles, and increase sales productivity

Plus, if you’re in a younger startup or smaller company, outsourcing is way easier than setting up an inside sales team with full-time employees. This optimized approach ensures that every interaction with potential customers is strategic, yielding higher conversion rates and a more efficient sales pipeline.

Reason 2 - Gives you more room for strategy

One great thing about outsourcing sales functions is that it allows you to shift your internal teams’ focus on core competencies and strategic initiatives. 

So, freed from managing day-to-day sales operations, you can concentrate on product innovation, customer experience, and business expansion. 

Think of outsourcing as a clever division of labor that empowers each department to excel, fostering overall growth and success.

Reason 3 - They have specialized tools, processes and networks

Because of the sheer scale they operate in, outsourced sales management companies are equipped with the latest tools, connections, and sales management best practices. These are often beyond our reach as an inside sales team.

By partnering with such agencies, you gain access to proven methods, data-driven strategies, and industry insights. This collaborative approach enhances the effectiveness of sales efforts, allowing companies to stay ahead in a competitive B2B landscape.

Take David from Automation Anywhere for example, who used an external millions-strong community to find his ideal tech audience.

“ViB delivered what they promised. We were blown away by the quality of the leads, the quality of our meetings, and the high rate of conversions.”

Outsourced sales development isn’t just a cost-saving measure; it’s a strategic investment in revenue growth. 

By tapping into the expertise of skilled professionals, you can expand your reach, explore new markets, and uncover untapped opportunities. This proactive approach to sales development directly impacts revenue generation. 

In other words, it’s a high-value option for businesses seeking sustainable growth.

How do outsourced SDR companies work?

Outsourced SDR companies specialize in identifying and engaging potential customers, nurturing them through the sales funnel, and ultimately delivering high-quality leads to their clients. 

So how do they do that?

Here’s a breakdown of how these outsourced sales companies typically operate:

Step 1 – Target audience analysis

Outsourced SDR companies begin by understanding their client’s ideal customer segments, industry landscape, and unique value proposition. This analysis helps them tailor their approach to resonate with the right prospects.

Step 2 – Lead generation strategy

Based on the target audience analysis, the SDR team develops the right lead generation strategies. This may involve a combination of methods, including cold calling, email outreach, social media engagement, and sales engagement platforms.

Step 3 – Prospecting and outreach

SDR teams initiate contact with potential leads using carefully crafted messaging. These messages aim to pique interest, highlight the client’s value proposition, and initiate a meaningful conversation.

Hoping to see better pipeline performance? Here are 5 strategies you must know, to generate more qualified sales meetings on repeat.

Step 4 – Nurturing and qualification

Once engagement is established, the SDRs continue to nurture the leads through personalized interactions. They address questions, concerns, and objections while qualifying the leads based on their fit and interest level.

Step 5 – Handoff to sales

As leads progress through the sales funnel and become ready for the initial appointment, the SDR team ensures a smooth handoff to the client’s sales team. This transition includes sharing valuable insights gathered during the lead nurturing phase to facilitate a more informed sales conversation.

Step 6: Collaboration, feedback, and analytics 

Regular updates, feedback sessions, and strategic discussions ensure alignment and adjustments to meet evolving business goals. Companies could also rely on data analytics to track key performance indicators (KPIs), allowing them to continuously optimize strategies, refine messaging, and improve qualified lead volume.

Step 7 – Measuring ROI

Ultimately, the success of outsourced SDR companies is measured by their impact on your bottom line. Metrics such as lead-to-customer conversion rates, pipeline growth, and revenue generated highlight the effectiveness of their strategies

How much do outsourced SDR services cost?

Need a better idea of how much you’ll need to invest?

The cost of SDRs can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific services you require, the geographic location of the service provider, and the quality of leads they generate. 

Getting customized quotes will be your best bet, but for a rough sense of the benchmark in  B2B high tech, here’s a general breakdown of how SDRs typically charge:

1 – Hourly rates

Most SDR services charge by the hour, aka fee-for-service pricing.

Hourly rates can start at $40 or more per hour, depending on factors like the experience and expertise of the SDRs and the location of the service provider.

2 – Monthly retainers

Similar to hourly rates, SDR agencies can also work on a monthly retainer basis. You pay a set monthly fee for a predetermined number of hours or leads generated.

Monthly retainers can range from a few thousand dollars to several tens of thousands per month.

3 – Pay per lead pricing

Some SDR services offer a pay per lead or pay per appointment pricing model. This means you pay a fixed amount for each qualified lead they generate.

Prices per lead can vary widely, but they often range from $50 to up to $3000 per lead (and more), depending on lead quality and complexity.

The pay per lead pricing model in B2B appointment setting is much less common though, as SDRs need the clients to absorb the risk in the prospecting process.

4 – Performance-based pricing

In some cases, SDR services may offer specific performance-based pricing. I.e. you only pay for leads who are qualified, or leads that convert into sales or meetings.

This can provide a level of cost control and alignment with your business goals.

Like with the basic pay per lead model, SDRs with performance based pricing can be pretty hard to find. If you’re seriously exploring, ViB Appointments is a unique service with a pay per qualified appointment held model.

Hear how 3 B2B marketers leaders from Google, Automation Anywhere and Ermetic are leveraging ViB Appointments to drive sales results, through this bite-sized video walkthrough.

Remember, your specific needs, budget, and desired outcomes all matter. Request quotes from multiple service providers, review their track records and inquire about their pricing models to find your best fit.

Pros vs cons: Is an outsourced SDR service the right move?

Many hope that by entrusting some — or all — of your B2B sales functions to a third-party, specialized SDR team, you can accelerate your sales cycle and unlock new customers. 

The right outsourced SDR company can effectively set appointments, at an affordable cost. That means better lead generation for your business.

Benefits of outsourced SDR companies [unveiling the advantages]

There are some distinct benefits to working with an outsourced SDR company:

Expedite B2B lead generation
  • Specialized SDR teams excel in prospecting and outreach, fast-tracking prospects through the sales funnel, and delivering targeted leads promptly.
Elevate brand awareness
  • Outsourced SDRs double as brand advocates, consistently amplifying your value proposition, enhancing visibility, and fostering credibility within your target audience.
 Budget-friendly alternative
  • Sidestep overhead expenses and access seasoned professionals sans the commitment of an in-house team. This affordability, particularly beneficial for startups and resource-restricted businesses, ensures flexibility in lead generation efforts.

See how Jon drove 67x ROI with ViB Appointments

“Almost every lead ViB sent us became a business opportunity, as we hoped it would.”
Jon Moody, Director of Demand and Digital Marketing at Abnormal Security

Drawbacks of outsourced SDRs [balancing the pros and cons]

All this being said, you’ll still need to carefully consider your industry, messaging, vendor, and more, to successfully enter new markets and reach underserved segments with SDRs, 

Here are some of the drawbacks of hiring an outsourced SDR, and how to make the selection process more constructive:

Lack of brand and messaging awareness
  • Often, SDR-as-a-service organizations aren’t trained on your brand’s messaging. This can lead to clunky experiences for prospects, resulting in a drop off from the sales funnel. 
  • Brand training is especially important for tech businesses with technical products or messaging. So, if working with SDR teams, be prepared to commit a few months for onboarding and training, before teams can fly solo well.
No tailored approach for industries: 
  • Beware of one-size-fits-all strategies. Tailoring outreach techniques to specific industries is pivotal for campaign success. For example, successful B2C appointment setters might not guarantee the same results for your B2B tech business.
Varying quality among vendors: 
  • Not all outsourced SDR providers uphold the same standards, so rigorous partner selection is a prerequisite to securing a trustworthy and impactful team.
Tech know-how and CRM Tools
  • Avoid data-entry pitfalls. Proper training and alignment with your tech stack are paramount to prevent information gaps and enhance visibility into the sales process.  

Remember, one size doesn’t fit all! 

You must consider how well the SDR agency aligns with your unique needs and goals.

Whether it’s cost-effectiveness in lead generation or seamless collaboration with their seasoned sales team. Choose the right agency that can tailor their services to meet your specific requirements. 

Also, if you want to learn more about the cons of outsourcing sales development here’s a detailed article from HubSpot that goes deeper on its drawbacks.

Tips on choosing the best outsourced SDR service

1 – Analyze real impact with data-driven evaluation

At the end of the day, numbers speak louder than words. 

That’s why conversion rate is a key metric to evaluate an SDR agency’s effectiveness.

Understanding the percentage of leads that convert into customers gives you valuable insights into their true value. This data-driven approach helps you make informed decisions and assess the real impact of the SDR-as-a-service model.

2 – Prioritize flexibility and affordability

Flexibility is paramount when deciding on an SDR agency. You should be able to scale your appointment-setting efforts based on your changing needs without being tied down by fixed in-house team structures. 

Additionally, ensure that the agency’s pricing aligns with your marketing budget, making it a cost-effective solution for your lead generation campaigns.

3 – See value beyond price

While cost efficiency is important when evaluating SDR companies, it is crucial to look past pricing and understand the actual offerings provided. 

Basically, choosing the cheapest option might seem enticing. But it could lead to subpar results, ultimately affecting your entire lead generation strategy

It’s important to focus on identifying an outsourced SDR company that strikes the right balance between affordability and delivering tangible outcomes.

4 – Ensure vendors are experts in your industry 

To ensure a successful partnership with an outsourced SDR company, prioritize finding a vendor that understands your specific industry and can tailor lead generation efforts to your needs. 

Collaborate with a well-known outsourced SDR team that has the necessary expertise and employs a data-driven approach. Subsequently, you’ll mitigate the risks associated with outsourcing and unlock the true potential of B2B appointment setting.

Making an informed decision when evaluating the right B2B lead agency doesn’t have to be rocket science. Get the one-page checklist of the 15 must-ask questions, to cover all your bases, easily.

Best B2B outsourced sales and marketing alternatives

So, when it comes to outsourcing your sales and marketing efforts, considering innovative alternatives can open new avenues for success. 

At ViB, we offer two distinct approaches  —  Appointments and Deal Discovery  —  each designed to harness the power of a qualified opt-in approach and verified prospect intelligence. 

These alternatives offer strategic advantages beyond traditional sales outsourcing.

1 - ViB Appointments: tailored engagement, tangible results

With ViB Appointments, your potential buyers proactively opt in to set an appointment with you. They do so via a unique community platform — unlike traditional cold calls.

Our approach hinges on sharing solutions-focused messages within our vast community of high-tech professionals. 

By applying to your program via the community portal, prospects express their genuine interest, ensuring a higher conversion likelihood without crazy costs.

“With ViB, we get to control everything the prospects see, so the message can’t get bungled. It’s our messaging and our qualification criteria. Plus, ViB appreciates its customers a lot more than what I’m used to. And they convert higher than any other lead source — they’re gold."

Key features of ViB Appointments:

1 – No SDR training: 
  • Using your brand and product messaging, our team builds a dedicated landing page on our community portal for prospects to learn about your offering, and opt-in to meet you. The approach is quick, consistent, and transparent.
3 – Interest and conversion-driven
  • Prospects take the first step by voluntarily expressing interest, which attracts genuine purchase intent and enhances their conversion potential through your sales cycle. That’s also why our appointments see a 40%+ lead-to-opportunity conversion rate on average, and as high as 82.5% with Abnormal Security for example.
4 – Data-driven insights
  • With a Post-Meeting Intelligence add-on, we’ll help you get objective feedback about your prospect, product, and pitch directly from each prospect, for invaluable insights to enrich your sales strategy.

2 - Deal Intent: explicit buyer intent, higher conversions

ViB Deal Discovery transforms qualified lead acquisition by providing not just sales-ready leads actively seeking solutions within your market, but also all their intent data, directly from the source

In this unique solution, ViB first sources leads who are active in your market. 

Next, each lead voluntarily provides their comprehensive deal intelligence, including their needs, budgets, timelines, decision-makers involved, and competitors being considered. 

This way, you can engage prospects with precision, accelerating lead-to-deal conversions even faster.

Key features of ViB Deal Intent:


1 – Active lead identification
  • ViB pinpoints leads actively searching for solutions in your tech market, primed for adoption within 6-12 months.
2 – Precise insights
  • By directly getting in touch with each prospect, we obtain detailed intent data on timelines, budgets, buying committee roles and more, for effective engagement.
3 – Consent-based approach
  • ViB Community members willingly share project details, granting you direct access for personalized outreach.
4 – Streamlined conversions
  • Eliminate the guesswork with qualified leads ready for swift engagement, driving faster lead-to-deal conversions.

Discover everything you need to know about ViB Deal Intent, including how it works, the challenges it solves, and its success stories so far, through our comprehensive video walkthrough.

Elevating your outsourced sales and marketing strategy

Exploring these alternatives expands the realm of outsourced sales and marketing, offering results-driven options beyond traditional SDR-as-a-service. 

Our innovative methods prioritize consent-based engagement and verified insights, ensuring a seamless fit for your business goals. 

Whether you opt for Appointments’ voluntary opt-in approach or Deal Intent‘s proactive insights, ViB empowers your lead generation strategy with precision and efficiency.

Ready to explore ViB?

Take the first step towards optimizing your sales pipeline and schedule a consultation with ViB today.

Need more info to get started with B2B lead generation?

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