Download PDF – Outsourced SDR Buyer Framework PDF

With the currently competing trends of mass SDRs layoffs with the aligning explosion of Outsourced SDR companies showing up on the Tenbound Market Map increasing during this economic crisis, we get calls each week at Tenbound with essentially one question:

  • Which Outsourced SDR company should we use for our company?

After seeing these calls increase, we set out to create the above Tenbound Framework™ as a way to help you navigate these decisions and a question checklist you can use for vetting potential vendors:

To start, we ask some clarifying questions:

  • What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? 
  • Where is the gap you are trying to fill? ie Pipeline, Revenue, Conversion rates, Messaging, Reporting, People?
  • What is your success criteria for the project?
  • What is your timeline? Is it realistic?
  • Do you have time/bandwidth to manage this? 
  • Are your expectations in check?

After gathering that information, and all these considerations are clarified, here are the steps we recommend:

Take a look at your Vertical, Industry and Target Market Size. Is there an outsourced SDR company that specializes in the area you are going after?  

Usually within your industry there are few well known companies that operate in a very distinctive niche. They only call on car dealerships, hospitals, prisons etc. The advantage of narrowing it down is these companies know the players, the vocabulary and the industry landscape better than a more generalized firm. They also will more likely have detailed and relevant case studies, and a working database. Ask around within your industry for specialists. 

Are you SMB, MM, ENT? 

Similar to the industry niche, there are Outsourced SDR companies that focus on going after SBM, MM, or ENT, and on the other side, some Outsourced SDR companies are made for SMBs, some MM, and some ENT. What is the usual size of your target market, are they SMB, MM and/or ENT? Ask around within your cohort companies calling in to a similar sized market, and see if any names start to come up. Short list those. 

Based on your budget, goals and objectives, do you need Performance-Based Appointment Setting, Full Stack, or a Fully Automated solution? 

  • Performance-Based Appointment Setting each meeting that is set is mutually acceptable. Once that acceptance is confirmed, the outsourced agency is paid. This is lower risk by nature for companies as they are only paying for meetings that actually happen, and not the time or activities like other models. This arrangement puts most of the risk on Outsourced SDR companies. One company owner said “these types of models currently represent about 70-80% of the interest I receive from the marketplace.”


  • Full Stack Sales Development: these are usually a monthly retainer, usually for a minimum of 3-6 months commitment. In most cases your account is assigned a full time SDR who is making calls on your behalf. They use the full stack of tools and services on the Tenbound Market Map, and don’t guarantee any specific result beyond demonstrating value on a monthly basis. Although more of an investment, the ROI can be higher as they are usually sending higher quality outreach messaging and gaining a solid pipeline of new opportunities. This model splits the risk more evenly between the Outsourced SDR company and the client. 


  • Fully Automated: can be a low investment, set-it and forget-it, fully automated and run by the machine learning algorithms. The idea is to feed in your Ideal Customer Profile and persona info, select targets, and let machines do the rest. Payment is usually a subscription fee, similar to a SaaS commitment. These are lower time commitments, and can sometimes generate results, but also have the potential to damage your brand by sending out what some consider massive amounts of spam. 

Are you trying to contact Cold prospects, Inbound leads, do you have SDRs or no budget and/or SDR support? 

For totally cold outreach, performance-based and fully automated may be your best options. With performance based, your cold outreach may make more sense as you can literally test the market, and only pay for what the Outsourced SDR company can uncover. Fully automated may work if you are low budget and have only Sales Reps with no time to prospect. 

What Qualification Level do you need? Are you going after awareness, meetings or deeper qualification levels? The answer will inform the type of company and approach. Fully automated would work for awareness and maybe the occasional meeting. For meetings and deeper qualification, you’ll need a Full Stack team on retainer or Performance Based team. 

Narrowing down, you should be able to short list (try the Tenbound Directory) the appropriate companies to help you. Below we have some questions you can use to determine your direction. 

Note: Ensure your expectations of working with these firms are in check. In researching these companies we heard many times from owners of Outsourced SDR companies that customers want instant, microwave results. In our recent study, only a mere 32% of companies said they would rehire their current Outsourced SDR company. Using one of these companies is a long process of learning, and reiterating, learning and trying new approaches. As one owner put it, “people don’t pay attention to how difficult and complex this actually is. They think their market is very static, never changing. Accounts may stay the same, but the people within those Accounts change constantly… the dynamics of what’s happening constantly change. There can be 4-5 stakeholders per Account .. all of them are constantly changing, churning, being fired, looking for an escape hatch, just started working there. You really need to think about this problem over the course of years, not months or quarters”

Question Checklist for Vetting Providers:

  1. Are you industry specific for my industry or more generalist?
  2. How long have you been in business and tell me about your case studies?
  3. What size of company do you usually work with ie SMB, MM, ENT? 
  4. What is the usual size of the target market you usually call on, are they SMB, MM and/or ENT? 
  5. Are you Performance Based, Full Stack or Fully Automated?
  6. What is the usual qualification level you provide?
  7. How many other clients will you be serving at the same time as us?

Making this decision is critical to your success. 

We hope this helps clarify it! 

What did we miss? Leave a comment!

Big thank you to Mike Scher, Seth Kinney and Ryan Reisert for help on this. 

References and Further Reading on this topic:


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