Potential Outsourcing Faults

When a company is looking to expand sales, a major decision to be made is whether or not to outsource. There is an obvious appeal to outsourcing: it saves a significant amount of money. Take Intelemark as an example. Let’s say that Company X hires Intelemark to make cold calls and set appointments so that their sales people don’t have to. Now, not only is Company X saving the money that it would cost to train their sales people to do what Intelemark agents are already trained to do, they are also now paying their sales people to actually spend all of their time focusing on closing a deal. Company X’s sales people are no longer spending time making calls and setting appointments but they are focusing solely on closing deals, therefore making Company X much more financially successful. Sounds great, right? However, successfully outsourcing is not always so simple. Inc. Magazine published an article in their January/February 2009 issue called “Outsourcing to Save Money? Be careful, or your plan may backfire.” The article discusses several different instances when CEOs began to outsource and found that they were dealing with a bigger mess than they started with. One woman experienced that the outsourced team that she hired created a variation of shipping mistakes and inventory shortfalls. After searching for alternatives, she discovered that she could have done the job in-house for half of what she was paying to outsource. This is one example of a negative experience with outsourcing. However, if this woman had done extensive research before she hired the outsourced firm she would have realized that it was more practical to do the job in-house and therefore avoided the problems altogether. The problems encountered with outsourcing are usually the fault of the client’s.
Step number one when considering outsourcing is research. If your company is outsourcing to save money, be absolutely certain that it will in fact save you money. Carefully analyze the costs involved. If one company is charging significantly less than another company it is tempting to be drawn to the less expensive firm. However, you always have to keep in mind that there is a reason for such a significant difference in price. Intelemark’s rates are based on the fact that our agents are experienced, seasoned professionals and not kids straight out of high school looking for beer money. Our agents consider their positions their career and therefore we pay them more and in turn they do a better job. Research the company you are considering hiring and hire them only when you feel absolutely confident that they are experienced and knowledgeable enough to fulfill your expectations. Ensure that the vendor you are considering is a compatible match to your company’s needs. Here are a few helpful questions to ask your prospective outsourced team:
Q: How long have you been in business?
This question is important so that you can get a feel for how much experience the company has. If they have been in business for twenty five years, there is a reason for their success. However, don’t automatically make the assumption that because they’ve been around for a long time that they are the right fit for you. Similarly, if they have only been in business for five years, you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Q: What type of companies have you worked with?
It is not only important for them to have experience working with your type of company, but that your outsourcing firm has worked with an eclectic group of businesses. Knowing that the company you are considering holds this diverse experience assures that they are capable of handing any type of business.
Q: How long have you been working with your clients?
It is positive to learn that the company that you are researching has a history of long relationships with their clients. If your potential outsourcing firm is capable of maintaining relationships with their clients, it implies that their clients are satisfied with the work that the outsourced firm is accomplishing.

Once you are prepared to outsource, the next step is to precisely define the details in the agreement so that your outsourced team has a crystal clear picture of what is expected of them. An unclear contract is a disaster waiting to happen. Because an outsourced firm by definition is an entity “outside” of your company, they are unaware of what your company needs. Clearly defining your needs and expectations for your outsourced team leaves a lot less room for error. So, now that you have chosen and hired your sales team and created a precise agreement, the only thing left is to send them out into the world to do their job. After extensive research and clear communication, it’s easy to automatically take a big sigh of relief and assume that your outsourced firm knows what to do and how to do it well. While much of your work is over, a tragic mistake is to cut off all communication with the outsourced firm because you assume that they are on the right track. It is beneficial to all parties involved if you take just a few minutes periodically to check in and make sure that they are on the right track and performing up to your expectations. It keeps them headed in the right direction and helps you sleep at night knowing that they are successfully making progress. The good news is, as long as you have done your research and outlined a clear agreement, you can take a mini-sigh of relief knowing that your check-ins with your outsourced team will leave you feeling even more confident in their abilities.
Outsourcing is not always the perfect solution. However, if your company is careful throughout the process it can hold immeasurable benefits. In many circumstances outsourcing does hold great financial advantages. Putting the financial benefits aside, outsourcing can create an environment where everyone is left to focus solely on the most crucial aspect of their jobs. For example, if Company X were to hire an outsourced social networking firm to put their name out into the social media world, it would be a lot more successful than if they had given that job to one of their sales people who already has 100 other projects that he’s working on. The outsourced team works only on social networking and is extensively trained in doing so. Putting the job on top of an employee’s work load just deters him from what he’s initially supposed to be doing: selling. Therefore, Company X is now actually in worse shape than before they took on the Social Networking project. By outsourcing, they will be much more successful in the social media world and their sales person will be much more successful in his original duties. Outsourcing can be a great tool for any company looking to expand sales. It can be a much less expensive alternative to training people in-house. Our clients feel that outsourcing has held insurmountable benefits for their companies and with careful research and proper preparation you will too!


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