You have made the decision of going with a sales and marketing outsourcing company. So how do you choose who to use? Well, there isn’t always a right answer to that but we believe by answering the questions below you can narrow down your list of potential outsourcing partners.
1. Have they worked in your industry or one similar to yours before?
To be successful in engaging a sales and marketing outsourcing company, they must have a clear understanding of the industry you are in, who the key players are, and know what is the current economic environment.
Having some understanding of how the industry you service is structured, key players, and the economic environment will make it easier to market and sell your product or service. You want to look for firms that have had past experience selling to your target market or at least a similar target market. The other side of that is to ask firms what industries or markets they don’t sell to and why. You want your partner to be honest with you about their background and abilities. I know when we are asked this question we would tell firms we do not do B2C and we do not work in biotech or pharma.
2. Do they have experience working with the size/type of company you are?
Fit is important when selecting a sales and marketing outsourcing company. So you want to ensure the firm you are looking to help you has worked with firms of similar size to yours or a similar type of company to yours. There is a world of difference between working with a large company and working with a new startup. As an example, if you are a startup and you have a tight budget, you want to know the partner you choose understands this. Understands that the runway is limited and funds are precious.
3. What is their plan to get things started?
You need a sales and marketing outsourcing company that can plan and then execute quickly. A partner that is motivated to learn about your business and the products/services you sell in short order. Money and time are precious and there is no time for over analyzing or over strategizing. Work with a firm that is able to help you draw up a plan and then execute on it. If changes in the plan need to happen, your outsourced sales and marketing partner needs to provide you with feedback and the suggested tweaks right away.
One of the biggest challenges we have seen is overly complicated plans that require significant budgets that ultimately are hard to execute well. Ensure the plan is attainable, goal and activity oriented and allows for flexibility to change over time. The old analogy, crawl before you walk and walk before you run stands true here…you just can’t take too long doing it.
4. Will they get their hands dirty?
This is huge. There is a big difference between consultants that provide advice and consultants that provide both advice and do the work. You need to assess the sort of partner you need? If you have the resources in house to execute then obviously have someone help you design a strategy. If you don’t have the resources in house then you need a partner that does both.
It is easy to give advice. It is a lot harder to execute on it.
5. What does their ongoing communication model look like?
When undertaking a sales and marketing program it is hard to know at the beginning how it is going go. In many cases, the strategy one starts with needs to evolve. I have found from my experience that it takes several iterations to get the Plan right. A good consultant works to establish a timely feedback loop that keeps you in the know and enables your sales and marketing strategy and tactics to be tweaked as needed.
Ultimately treat hiring your partner sales and marketing outsourcing company as if you were hiring a full time employee, because a good consultant will become an extension of your organization.
If you’re looking for outsourced sales and marketing assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For great insight into startup sales and marketing, feel free to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.