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The Outsourcing Dilemma: 6 Steps for B2B Marketers
To outsource or not to outsource. It's one of the great B2B marketing questions. Is it more cost-effective to handle things internally or to outsource? Sometimes due to capacity constraints and headcount freezes there simply isn't a choice but to outsource.
Here are some practical steps to take to help you decide whether to outsource.
Step 1: The plan
Based on your business objectives and your marketing strategy you will probably have worked out your tactics and execution plan. In particular, the plan for the volume of marketing activity you will require to make your lead and revenue goals.
Step 2: Work required
Peel away the layers of the plan and tactics and understand the specific volume of work required in terms of days of effort. Tip: allowing for holidays, sick leave, weekends, and an allowance for unproductive time in meetings etc, each employee has between 200-220 productive days per year.
Step 3: Employment costs
Based on your geographic location, estimate the cost of employment for different levels of staff required. Remember to include recruiter hiring costs, superannuation and payroll tax. Tip: Add approximately 50% to this cost for overheads and expenses or check with your financial controller what the per head overhead costs are for the organisation.
Step 4: Skills required
List the required skill sets and experience level to fulfill the tactics required. Map these to existing and new staff members. Identify the gaps. Consider this list as a starting point.
- Strategic Planning
- Project management
- Web copywriting
- High value content writing (white papers, ebooks etc)
- Blog writing
- Lead nurturing campaign design and writing
- Email marketing
- Lead database management
- Social media monitoring and participation
- Marketing automation tool expertise
- ROI Analysis and management reporting
- Web analytics
- Event planning and execution
- Webinar production and management
- ...and much, much more!
Step 5: Contingeny plan
Build a contingency plan that scales in line with the company's growth. Tip: Plan for unexpected eventualities such as staff members leaving in mid-campaign. This happens all the time and puts untold pressure on the remaining team members.
Step 6: Panic!
By stage 6 most heads of marketing have realised they face a daunting if not impossible task. Its time to seriously consider outsourcing if not all then at least a decent proportion of your marketing activities.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Marketing
1) Access a deeper pool of resources than you can afford to employ yourself. Modern marketing involves a swathe of new specialist online skills such as SEO, Social media execution and content creation.
2) Add flexibility to your capacity, both in terms of skills and volume of activity. Marketing effort comes in waves as new products are launched and campaigns go live. A full time team means your costs remain fixed in quieter periods.
3) Finding a team with the required skills is hard, they are expensive to hire and hard to keep. Outsourcing frees you from having to manage fluctuations in capacity due to staff resignations and absences.
4) Hold agencies to account via KPIs and/or ROI goals built into the agreement. Increasingly marketing is being asked to justify the investments being made. Good agencies will have advanced measurement and analytics capabilities and will be happy to commit to KPIs or to a particular ROI target.
...and we have saved the best for last!
5) Achieve significant cost savings. Using steps 1-5 above, will yield a result of $70-120k per annum per person, at fully loaded cost, depending on seniority.
A fully outsourced marketing retainer from agencies specialising in inbound marketing, also known as internet or website marketing, will be somewhere between 50-70% of the cost of a single full time staff member.
How is this possible? A recent study by HubSpot and MIT Sloan, showed that inbound marketing costs per lead are 62% cheaper than outbound marketing generated leads. Not only are the actual tactics significantly less expensive; due to the ability to measure effectiveness of tactics we are able to only invest in tactics that actually deliver quality leads to the sales team.
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Chris Fell is the Managing Director of g2m Solutions, and an accredited MathMarketing Funnel Coach. To read more of his insights, go to the g2M Solutions blog.