Sales objection: We're already doing this in-house

by Steli Efti
in-house-sales objection

Dealing with sales objections is always difficult. But if you sell a product or solution that your clients could create for themselves, in-house, you face a unique objection:

“We’re already doing this in-house. Why would we hire you to do it for us?”


Even the most experienced salespeople can have trouble with this one—you need to tread carefully to not come off as dismissive, confrontational, or out of touch. But if you can determine what’s driving this objection, your response can turn into a great sales point.

Want to learn how to handle any sales objection? Download your free sales objection template now.

Before we look at tactics for dealing with this sales objection, let’s talk about something you should ask yourself first:

Is the lead actually qualified?

If a prospect is already solving this problem in-house, you need to know whether it’s worth your time to pursue the sale.

The ultimate question is this: should this sales objection disqualify a prospect?

The best way to answer is to look at your past customers. If some of them had in-house solutions and they switched to your solution anyway, there’s no reason to disqualify a potential customer just because they currently have a team or a piece of software that works.

Conversely, if you don’t have evidence that companies are likely to switch from in-house to your solution, reconsider whether you should pursue this prospect. Take some time to work on your value proposition and develop a stronger reason for companies to switch from an in-house solution to yours.

If you’ve seen a number of people switch from an in-house solution, think about what they have in common:

  • Is it about the size of the company?
  • Industry complexity?
  • A fast rate of growth?

If you can find common factors, it will make prospecting (as well as selling) much easier. And you’ll be able to use that information with the tactics below.

As long as you’re sure that having an in-house solution doesn’t disqualify a prospect, you can move on to determining the best course of action:

1. Put them on a follow-up list

in-house-follow up list

Sometimes a prospect with an in-house solution won’t be interested in changing or supplementing their current method. In this case, your best bet is to put them into a follow-up sequence.

Ask a few more qualifying questions before the end of the call or meeting to get a better idea of their needs. Tell them about companies that have decided to switch after they’ve grown or increased the complexity of their business.

Then follow up regularly using an automated email sequence. There’s no need to email these prospects every couple weeks. You’ll probably get in touch every quarter, or even every other quarter, just to remind them that you’re still around and would be happy to help solve their problems.

If you’re using our inside sales CRM, you can set up sequences for specific time intervals, use templates to write emails faster, and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your email sequence.

Even if your prospect doesn’t respond, you’ll stay top-of-mind. When they eventually need help solving the problem that they currently tackle in-house, you’ll be the first company they think of.

2. Offer your solution as a supplement

in-house-offer solution as supplement

In many cases, you’ll offer your solution as a replacement to the in-house one currently in use. But sometimes your prospects won’t go for that. They’ve spent a lot of time setting up their in-house solution, and they don’t want to just get rid of it.

That’s when you change your angle to focus on your solution as a supplement to their existing software or team. It’s not an either/or situation.

Ask them how they deal with specific problems that your product is well-positioned to solve. Tell them about other customers who have paired an in-house solution with your outsourced one.

The important thing here is to not position your solution as a threat. It’s a way to supplement what they’re doing already and get better results. You’re not looking to put them out of a job—you’re trying to help them improve their process.

Focus on what you’re offering. You’re going to help the manager of the in-house solution look better. Get more done with less effort. Superpower the results they’re currently getting.

That’s the best angle to take in this situation.

3. Make the case for your solution

in-house-make case for solution

This is the most confrontational option, and can be risky. Put simply, you tell your prospect that they should transition from an in-house solution to an external one.

Of course, approaching the issue like this can start the conversation off on the wrong foot. It’s better to present yourself as a provider of information. Share the percentage of companies in the field that are outsourcing, or the most common reasons listed for outsourcing.

Show your prospect why the most successful companies in their space have switched to an outsourced provider, share information on the wider market, and give the prospect enough knowledge to make the right decision.

Make sure to address the reasoning behind other companies’ external shift, too:

  • Is it because this type of software has become very complex?
  • Or that internal teams aren’t able to push out updates fast enough?

Find the reasons why this information is relevant to your prospect.

It’s important to note that you should only choose this tactic if you’re 100% confident in your ability to provide compelling information. If your prospect says “we’re already doing this in-house,” trying to convince them to do otherwise will be tough. You have to be able to back up your claims with data.

Provide help, not challenges

When a prospect tells you they’re already handling a challenge in-house, it’s tempting to tell them about why that’s a bad idea or why your solution is better. But you’ll notice that the tactics above don’t take that approach.

Instead, they aim to help the prospect solve the problems they’re facing (or will be facing in the future). In many cases, you’ll provide this help by showing them information about their industry and your company’s success in assisting members of that industry.

“We’re already doing this in-house” might seem like the death knell of a sales call. But if you’re prepared to offer useful information, you can turn this common sales objection into a launching point for an entirely new conversation.

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