Outsource Marketing Pros & How to Succeed

VP of Marketing at Buyers Edge Platform, Andy Rosenbloom, shared his insights with Founder & CMO, Casey Cheshire, about the original hesitation that he had around using vendors for certain aspects of marketing and the success that he has seen with outsourcing. 

Why Hesitate?

Rosenbloom had expressed that he had originally felt that marketing should all be done in-house. There is the question of budget, do we want to spend more money on a vendor rather than having one of our own people learn a skill and complete the project? There is the question of control, if we outsource this project, will we always have full control over its level of success and be able to know what is happening the entire time?

These are questions that many marketing leaders wrestle with. 63% of B2B businesses outsource some or all of their marketing, meaning the majority of marketers in the B2B space deal with a vendor relationship at some point in time and then the other 37% that have it all in-house may have to weigh the pros of outsourcing when the time comes for them to justify it to their leadership, so an understanding of the benefits is critical.

Outsource Marketing Pros

Specialized expertise. Vendors are the specialists in what they do. There is a reason why people go to a mechanic when they have car trouble or why they go to an accountant or financial advisor when doing their taxes. A generalist has a high level of understanding, can speak to the project, and may even be able to execute certain parts of it, but there is nothing that can compare to the skill level of an expert that hones their particular craft day in and day out. Rosenbloom shared the question, is the vendor going to do a better job than the best person on your team? If the answer is yes, then consider the amount of knowledge that your team can gain from working with the vendor and how much better the end product will be.

Expedited turnaround time. If the team is considering using a vendor or hiring a full-time employee for a particular aspect of marketing, the question is, how fast does the team need this function up and running? It takes time to find the right candidates, interview them, hire them, and then onboard them. Once they are onboarded, it takes time for the employee to train and learn the business which means patience on behalf of management. Rosenbloom expressed that this same level of patience for the time it takes to train an employee is not needed with vendors because they are either able to deliver or not.

Operational costs reduced. With full-time employees there is the cost of salaries and benefits, but with vendors, it is simply the agreed upon fee for their services whether that is a flat rate on a monthly, quarterly, annual cadence, or on a per project basis. There is also the struggle of when full-time hires are not performing to the expectations of the organization. The amount of time and cost that it took to hire the person has already been invested and it will cost even more potentially to replace the same employee. Plus, there is the time to put in towards an improvement process. Oftentimes when a vendor is not performing to the expectations of the client, the vendor is let go without the negative impact on the operational costs that were already incurred.

Elevating the internal team. Outsource marketing can be pursued from a bandwidth standpoint, where businesses need hours for execution, or they might need specialized expertise and strategic advice to guide the business in the right direction. A good vendor will be able to provide both, but with either of these benefits the internal team will be elevated. They will either have their time freed up to focus on the important decisions to drive results for the business or they will receive expert level insights that will help them apply what they have learned to do their function even better than before.

How to Succeed

When there are outsource marketing horror stories it can leave teams with being hesitant to use different vendors for the same services again. They do not want to deal with the headache, but how is the headache avoided in the first place?

Aside from doing typical buyer research and their due diligence, Rosenbloom advised, “Most of the friction we encounter can be reduced by a clear setting of expectations.” Meaning before starting a project, does the vendor understand what your team’s idea of success looks like? If not, the chance for disappointment and frustration is high.

Share the overall goal that your team wants to accomplish first. Check to see if the services the vendor has defined in their SOW aligns with the end goal. Set up milestones along the way with realistic timelines, so that both sides know the phases of the project that will be completed in order to achieve the end goal.

Have a consistent internal resource that is managing the vendor relationship and has clear oversight into project execution. This internal point of contact can then involve other team members as needed. Is the project being completed going to affect the other departments in the organization? Should they have input into the services that are being provided? Is there an opportunity to share the budget among the departments, so that the specialized expert can be leveraged on a greater scale? Having a point person that checks in regularly with the vendor and who can also help coordinate other internal resources in conjunction with the project helps with the overall execution.

If there is budget allocation being spent on a vendor, it is essential for marketing to be able to justify the spend with the return on investment produced. If you are using a vendor for paid advertising, be sure that the CPA data is tied back to the Opportunity in the CRM. If you are using a content writer to help create a white paper, make sure that the white paper is able to be tracked, so that your team understands if there has been any revenue influenced from this. Rosenbloom boiled it down to, “If you can show the ROI, it is simple to justify the spend for a vendor.”

At some point, most marketers will need to consider whether or not to outsource. When this happens it is important to remember to weigh the benefits it will have on the organization, to set clear expectations, and to always make sure there is a process for capturing the ROI that comes from the product delivered.

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