How Outsourced Firms Shift Your Focus Back to Core Competencies
Focusing on your core competencies has never been easier with an outsourced firm
Imagine building a company where the only employees you have are those who work and focus on your core competencies and the product/service you deliver. All other activities are outsourced. The economic and workforce conditions have never been more ideal for making this happen than they are now.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s take the role of marketing as the example in a professional services company with revenues of about $10 million. In a traditional all employee scenario, you might have the following staff to support this function:
- Marketing Manager/Coordinator – 1
- Marking Support/Assistant – 1
In the above scenario, you have two for marketing with one of them likely a manager or director level employee. You are in the business of manufacturing water filters. Though you rely on marketing for lead generation and brand recognition, your product delivery and why your clients work with you is not dependent on these activities. However, how good your marketing team is can have a significant impact on your revenue activities. This will depend on how reliant are you on your sales team’s business development efforts vs. how many qualified leads is marketing helping to generate for them? Let’s assume you are at least partially reliant on marketing for qualified leads to the extent that non-performance would have a more than a noticeable impact on sales. Let’s walk through the typical scenario of building your internal marketing team.
When you hired your first marketing person, you and most in your company likely had very little experience with marketing. You are now very reliant and banking on this individual being the right hire for this new marketing position. You are also counting on their background being broad enough to cover the various activities you need and the creativity to think about how to contribute to the business. You want the individual to have a pulse on your marketplace, understand your customer base and what friction exists there. This is a lot to put on one person, not to mention you being able to find, hire and manage that person. As you hire the next marketing position or two, you can likely get more of the individualized expertise. The questions we see many companies asking themselves is at what point do you need the next marketing position? Are you currently getting the return from marketing activities?
You also have the on-going employee challenges of at what point will any of these individuals leave, voluntarily or involuntarily, and you need to replace them.
Now consider getting everything you need with marketing and not going through the hiring process, on-boarding, training, turnover, lack of individual expertise, learning curves, etc. Instead, you did your due diligence and found an outsourced marketing firm to deliver what you need. In fact, the firm comes highly recommended and also works for another company you know. Your point of contact is the owner, who’s future business (not just their current position) is dependent on performing for you. If you aren’t happy, you can make a switch or pull back on your marketing spend as needed. Given the structure of outsourced marketing, you get the benefit of the various employees at their firm with a range of expertise including staying current on new and innovative marketing practices. They are also testing marketing tactics and activities with a variety of customers, and you gain the lessons learned without having to pay the cost of learning it yourself.
Now, when an employee leaves, or there’s an issue, the responsibility rests on the marketing firm, not you or your company. The employee also doesn’t take all of the brain trust when they leave. To keep the core information internal, you can write documentation requirements into your marketing vendor contract to have all logins, passwords, and recap of all activities weekly/monthly.
As your company grows, your concern of having some duplication internally as well as someone who is available to you on a full-time basis will increase. It then makes sense to bring in a marketing coordinator who can be the touch point for the outsourced marketing firm. The firm will likely even help you interview and select the best individual.
Looking at it from a company valuation perspective. Most companies wanting to exit are concerned about what does and does not build value in their company. Rarely, will you find much of a weight being put on what is considered “shared services” for areas such as marketing, IT, and human resources. In many cases, these departments and personnel are among the first to be laid off when the acquisition or merger involves an integration. The positions are either eliminated or moved to another geography. What the acquiring company is paying for is your core competencies, your product, your customer base, and your processes. The more these are transferable and non-employee dependent the more it can be valued in some cases.
Is there a cost difference? Seemingly yes, however when all costs are considered, it can be the same or less. One of the biggest considerations is the access to better, more experienced talent than what you would find trying to build your own marketing team internally. Let an outsourced marketing firm do what they do best, lessening your distraction from what you do best.
This is not a one-size-fits-all that applies to any company. Consider it a viable option as you lay out your business plan and think about how to best support your company’s growth with the right talent and infrastructure at each stage. Focus more on the work that needs to be done rather than the employee to do the work and decide on the right solution for you.
Cerius is not an outsourced marketing firm. However, we do strongly believe in building core teams and keeping the focus on core competencies for growth. At Cerius, our core competency is learning and understanding what executives are best at and finding the right fit for our client’s needs. We know executives. The more companies stay focused on this, the more they will drive their growth rather than getting pulled in directions that are more distracting than they are productive.