Outsourcing sales and marketing….yes or no?

Outsourcing sales and marketing....yes or no?A question posed to me recently by a prospect was “is this process called “sales” something that could be outsourced as we don’t really have the time to do it properly?”

My simple answer was…”no!”

To me, is it possible for an outsider to make the impression required and not be found out as some sort of impostor! The only way in which it could work is for that third party to be incredibly economical with the truth especially if the prospect presses for answers to questions such as “who exactly are you?!”

I would never advocate putting your companies reputation on the front line without the person doing it having an intricate knowledge of your company. However, what you can outsource is the marketing of your organisation; the getting in front of people bit.

We’ve met a number of new organisations already in 2014 and have uncovered a trend in the larger ones where “marketing” is largely initiated in house. When pushed what they mean, inevitably areas like the brand, the website, the construction of the sales database and even the printed material had been done in house. So, on face value, these larger organisations seemed to be very active with their marketing, but they had turned to us for a review of their activity to see where things could be improved upon.

There is nothing wrong with having an in house team of people to administer marketing, but in our experience, the messaging and strategy must be correct before platforms like social media, direct mail, email marketing etc are configured and used and, to get these elements correct, I feel that turning to someone external and independent is the best way forward.

Be careful not to treat all prospects the same and bombard them with the same message. Similarly, why not take a step back and actually ask them if they want to hear from you and if so, using what platform. Do they want an eshot or something printed in the post? Would they prefer to hear certain things like case studies, advances in your resources or even new people? What features and benefits are you telling each category of prospect about – do you cherry pick the information you send out?

Also, what about your team? Do they all understand the core values of your business? Do they buy into them? Have you talked to your clients about what they like about you?

Do not under estimate the effectiveness of going backwards a step before going forwards with your marketing!

 

Market Research – DIY Tips

Knowledge is power.

I have been involved with a number of blue chip clients over the years who have embraced my idea of actually engaging an external agency to research the markets they operate in before actually implementing marketing initiatives, in terms of buying behaviour, competitive analysis, cost comparisons etc, but what about if you are a small business and want to conduct research yourself?

Well, this thought process prompted this post about tackling research in house.

Firstly, dont underestimate the time and effort required. Most organisations are simply not set up to conduct their own research as it requires considerable time to do properly not to mention space for handling the volume of paper it can create + costs incurred for things like post, the time needed for checking data etc. So……below are some key areas to use as a checklist for you:

Define your sample, its size & selection method
Choose your data collection methods (face to face, post, telephone…)
Design your questionnaire
Collect your data
Clean your data
Enter your data into the computer & define analyses required
Interpret & report your findings

There are immediate solutions if time, resources and/or actual knowing what to do is a problem. There are loads of small agencies offering research and these can offer you help in the areas you need or simply do the study for you. Yes, there would be a cost, but I personally believe research should be a key part of your marketing plan.