In-House Online Sales Counselors — The Key to Deep Customer Connections and Sustainable Growth

Infographic explaining the different between In-House & Outsourced OSC

The Hidden Value of In-House Online Sales Counselors

In the home building industry, the significance of having a strong online presence is undisputed. The role of the Online Sales Counselor (OSC) is critical in this digital-first approach, acting as the frontline of your brand’s online interaction with potential homebuyers. While some might consider outsourcing their OSC team to manage costs and operational overhead, it is crucial to delve deeper into the value that an in-house OSC team brings to a home builder.

Understanding the True Cost of In-House OSCs

It’s sometimes perceived that maintaining an in-house OSC team is expensive. While it’s true that the base salary, bonuses, and benefits contribute to the cost, these are investments in the quality of your customer interactions and the long-term health of your sales pipeline.

The figures quoted in outsourcing arguments — ranging from $125,000 to $190,000 per OSC when accounting for all overheads — require a nuanced understanding. This range reflects not only the salary but also critical investments in recruiting, training, and development that enhance the skill sets of OSCs, making them more effective and efficient over time.

When investments are made on the front end, you reap the benefits in an ongoing and long-term manner.

Hiring Talent for Long-term Growth and Compatibility

First, you must get the right person in that seat. It’s not just about the skill sets, it’s about their compatibility with your company, ability to understand your location and your offerings, integration into your company culture, and a deep team connection to both marketing and sales teams.  Without this kind of cohesive integration, customer interaction will suffer.

There is only so much an outsourced solution can provide to prospects, and first impressions make or break a customer experience. If you are already a builder building 100, 200, 500, 2000 or more homes – why would you leave the beginning of your buyer’s journey to an outside company? It’s YOUR company, YOUR homes, and YOUR company culture.

Believe it or not buyers ask OSCs all the time, are you there? Do you live in the area? Are you in the community? They want to know if they are dealing with a call center or someone who is truly a part of the company, they are looking at to make the largest purchase of their lives.

Understanding your buyer’s needs, wants and desires, their motivating factors, and their why is a key component to an OSC’s responsibilities. This is not easily accomplished by an outsourced OSC.

Everyone Has a Ramp Up Time

It doesn’t matter whether you are hiring an in-house OSC, or an outsourced OSC. It doesn’t matter if someone has been doing this for a few years or has no online sales counselor experience. It will take 3-6 months just to begin to understand the tools, the company, the communities, and build relationships with team members – both sales and marketing.

An online sales counselor is not “plug and play.” To do the role correctly, we’ve got to understand that anyone will have to learn something new. Even if they’ve been doing it for a while.

The Real Cost of Turnover and Burnout

The outsourcing model often highlights the potential for burnout and turnover in in-house teams due to high operational demands. However, this perspective undersells the benefits of a well-managed in-house team. Where OSCs are supported by realistic workloads, robust training programs, and a company culture that values their well-being and professional growth, there is less turnover and burnout, and there is a much more valuable connection to your team, your company, and your prospects.

An in-house team integrated within the company can navigate high-demand periods more effectively through internal support structures and direct oversight, mitigating the risks of burnout. Ultimately, it’s important to have a well thought out schedule, pay structure, and tracking structure. And again, it comes down to having the right people in the seats.

The Limitations of Outsourcing OSCs

Outsourcing OSCs might seem like a straightforward solution for cost management, but it comes with significant downsides:

  1. Lack of Local Expertise: OSCs who are not ingrained in the local market may miss nuances that can affect customer engagement and sales. Local knowledge is invaluable, especially when customizing offerings to regional preferences and understanding market dynamics.
  2. Reduced Control and Personalization: With outsourcing, builders lose a degree of control over how their sales processes are managed. In-house OSCs, deeply familiar with company values and strategies, can provide personalized experiences to customers that outsourced OSCs typically cannot match.
  3. Potential Quality Variance: Relying on third-party providers can lead to inconsistencies in service quality. In contrast, in-house OSCs maintain a standard of service that evolves with the company’s direct feedback and ongoing training.

The Strategic Advantage of In-House Teams

In-house OSCs offer several strategic advantages that outsourcing cannot replicate:

  • Cultural Integration: OSCs that are part of the company culture understand internal processes and products deeply, enabling them to convey genuine enthusiasm and accurate information to potential buyers.
  • Direct Feedback Loops: In-house OSCs can quickly relay customer feedback directly to marketing and product development teams, facilitating swift responses to market demands.
  • Adaptability and Long-Term Growth: In-house teams can adapt their strategies more flexibly and grow their expertise in alignment with the company’s long-term goals.

The Value of Investment in In-House OSCs

While the upfront costs of hiring and training in-house OSCs can be higher than outsourcing, the long-term benefits — including better customer service, deeper market insights, and a stronger, more consistent brand experience — offer a compelling return on investment. Home builders looking to truly excel in today’s competitive market will find that an in-house OSC team is not just a cost but a critical investment in their future growth and customer satisfaction.

Ready to Invest in Your In-House Team?

Understanding the complexities of in-house versus outsourced OSCs is crucial. If you’re ready to invest in building a robust, effective, and integrated OSC team, contact us to explore how we can enhance your in-house capabilities and set your brand apart in the home building industry.