A small business owner is often reluctant to relinquish control over any area of their business. With less control comes increased risks. However, there are ways to outsource elements of a business and do it in a way that mitigates those risks. There are only so many hours in a day and if a business is to grow it needs extra people to do extra tasks, but bringing on additional people also opens the business up to new ideas and new ways of operating that previously hadn’t been considered. Small businesses are often very cost conscious, so hiring offshore employees can make it cost effective.
A good place to start with offshore staff is all of, or elements of the sales and marketing activities. Marketing is often easier for a business to outsource because there is a brief prepared by the organisation and then the offshore team can produce the result. However, sales are more challenging, as there is often an element of customer interaction. When done right, outsourcing sales with marketing can be very rewarding and can free the local manager or leadership team to focus on the key offerings of the business. Sales and marketing are closely integrated and by outsourcing both elements it can create a seamless process.
Here are the top tips on ensuring that outsourcing of sales and marketing is a positive process:
DO: Share information
When preparing marketing briefs it is really useful for the marketing team to understand the sales goals that are linked to the marketing strategy. While some of this information may be sensitive, the more you can share the more support your team can provide. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, if they don’t have the picture of what the finished product should look like, it is much harder to put the puzzle together.
DON’T: Make a selection on price
When choosing a provider or offshore staff, don’t go with the cheapest option. Experts actually suggest discarding the highest priced and lowest priced offer. Selection should be based on the level of experience that they have within the industry, the providers resources and technology, and their capability for training the team.
DO: Examine the sales process and ensure alignment
It is important to map out the sales process so that the offshore employees have a clear guide as to how the process should work for the customer. This will ensure there is alignment with sales transactions with the on shore employees and the process is seamless for the customer. If the business owner doesn’t know what makes their customers buy, then it is unfair to expect that the offshore employees will. There needs to be a strong, mapped out process that can be handed to the new employees.
DO: Spend time on boarding
Hiring the offshore employees is only the start. Once they are hired there needs to be a time commitment from the onshore team to on board the new team members. Bringing them into the team, including them in meetings, and having regular feedback sessions will fast track their competence. The more time spent with them the better the results will be.
DON’T: Overlook training
Even highly skilled sales people require ongoing training and support. Once they are on boarded and had their initial training there needs to be a commitment to regular training. Whether it is for skill gaps that have been identified or for further development. Ongoing training and support will ensure that the customers receive the best possible service and the off shore employee feels valued.
Outsourcing marketing & sales can give a business the competitive edge. While there are challenges, the more information shared and time spent with the offshore employees the better the outcome. There needs to be a clear process, training and feedback provided to create a consistent experience for the customer. If these elements are addressed then the business will have loyal and valuable offshore employees, plus a marketing and sales system that will contribute significant value for the business.