The Difference Between Co-Sourcing and Outsourcing Sales

August 28, 2023
5 minutes to read
Statistics chart on laptop display and trader analyzing the data
Copy link


Sales are essential for a business. It can help determine the failure or success of a company. So, finding the right people to handle this aspect is vital. While some companies choose to hire individuals and create sales teams, others decide to get outside help. That is where co-sourcing vs. outsourcing comes in.

What is the Difference Between Co-Sourcing and Outsourcing?

To determine which is better for a company, it is best first to know what these two concepts are. Outsourcing happens when a company hires an external party to handle specific tasks or services instead of running them internally. Generally, companies outsource to find highly skilled people or teams to handle complex tasks requiring strict quality control or even privacy. The external resource accomplishes specific work.

On the other hand, co-sourcing is often considered a type of outsourcing. But it involves the development of a long-term relationship. It is similar to hiring consultants or contractors continuously, but the personnel becomes coworkers with the company employees. The external resource becomes an integral part of the team. So, they will be working along with the on-site staff. The accomplishment of tasks is dependent on both internal and external staff.

To further understand co-sourcing vs. outsourcing, it is essential to know the main differences between the two. Here are some that companies should be aware of:


  • Outsourcing – There is no direct team assigned to the company. The service provider manages and controls the team to handle the client’s sales needs.
  • Co-sourcing – There is a dedicated team committed to the company. The client has direct control and can provide directions.


  • Outsourcing – In most cases, resource quality is next to none. The client cannot control. So, project quality and timeliness of results are not predictable.
  • Co-sourcing – The client has control over resource quality. So, there is predictability in terms of work quality and timeliness.

Standards and Procedures

  • Outsourcing – Implementing and enforcing the company’s standards, procedures, and methodologies may be challenging since it does not control the sales team.
  • Co-sourcing – It is possible to convey and execute the company’s standardizations, procedures, and methodologies.

Ownership and Accountability

  • Outsourcing – Accountability and ownership are often transferred to the service provider or vendor.
  • Co-sourcing – Team members usually gain a sense of ownership. So, they have a certain level of accountability regarding successes and failures.

Business Value

  • Outsourcing – Usually, sales outsourcing does not offer prior knowledge. That means that an associated learning curve is expected for every new project. In return, there may be a time lag before the sales team becomes productive.
  • Co-sourcing – Since a company has a dedicated team, the staff can build up a knowledge base specific to the business’s operations, its products or services, and even its software and other tools. It also allows the external team to work with internal resources.


  • Outsourcing – Since the service provider is the primary recipient of the organizational knowledge associated with the company, tacit knowledge can be lost even though knowledge transfer is possible.
  • Co-sourcing – The team gathers knowledge and learns firsthand. That means there are knowledge retention and leverage within the company.


  • Outsourcing – As stated earlier, the learning curve has a lag time. The company needs to provide ample and relevant background information and inform the vendor of the company’s vision. This way, the team will be aligned with every new project.
  • Co-sourcing – A dedicated team prevents additional time necessary to adjust to new projects or initiatives. That is because the team members get to retain learning and have a deeper understanding of the company’s products and services.

When and What to Choose for Your Business?

Comparing co-sourcing vs. outsourcing allows a company to choose the more beneficial option for its business. Before deciding, it is best to weigh the pros and cons of each. This way, you get to decide when and what to choose. Both start from the same point, which is the lack of resources. Getting extra resources onboard can be expensive and time-consuming. That is especially true for short-term and one-off projects or specific tasks requiring professional knowledge.

Outsourcing Pros and Cons

Sales outsourcing is a good alternative if the company cannot afford to create or train an in-house team.

Most companies that opt for sales outsourcing get higher value for their money. They get access to a range of experts who can handle the company’s sales strategies. These vendors can be there as early as the development phase. The team will also better understand current best practices to offer fresh ideas. They can also work to help the company achieve its goals.

Not all service providers are the same. Some may focus on a single area, such as website design, branding, or advertising.

There are certain things a company should consider before choosing sales outsourcing. One of these is whether this option will work well with the business. Generally, any business can benefit from this practice. However, certain business entities reap the advantages of outsourcing more often. These include the following

  • Tech companies
  • Startups
  • Those selling complex products
  • Companies planning on scaling in a new market

Before hiring a sales outsourcing service provider, it is also important to note that the most significant return on sales strategies’ expenses depends on good leadership. All relevant people should be on the same page to properly execute the company’s sales plans.

Co-Sourcing Pros and Cons

For some companies, co-sourcing is a better option. That is true, especially if the company wants to benefit from an in-house marketer while getting services and necessary resources from an external team. It is like combining the best of both worlds.

Those who prefer a flexible arrangement will benefit from sales co-sourcing. The company will retain control over its in-house work and those it will get from external partners. There is no need to hire an entire team. At the same time, the company gains access to industry experts and sales professionals.

While it does not happen often, there is a potential drawback. That is the risk of miscommunication.

Like outsourcing, sales co-sourcing can be done by all types of companies. However, it is more advantageous for those who want to grow fast and expand their sales capabilities. It is also helpful for employees who want to learn more about sales but would benefit from seeing things from an outside perspective. It is also suitable for companies that want to maintain a long-term relationship built by trust and loyalty with their service provider.

Final Thoughts

The line between sales co-sourcing vs. outsourcing can seem a little fuzzy. Each one offers benefits. However, it is crucial to ensure that the option the company chooses suits its needs and circumstances. Whether it is through outsourcing or co-sourcing, the goal is to boost sales to have higher revenue.