Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lead Generation – Is It Worth Outsourcing?

There are many questions (and even controversies) surrounding the topic of outsourcing. Some consider it as a cause of change in both the political and economic environment. Others say it is simply misunderstood and think people are only concerned when scandals are involved (such as what happened with Nike).

Regardless, the concept of outsourcing is simple. It's simply one company entrusting another to execute a certain business process (e.g. accounting, manufacturing, marketing etc).

Now another misconception prominent even among outsourcing supporters is that cost is the primary reason. That's not always the case. Cost can simply play a role in the overall decision. Here are two other common reasons as to why companies outsource that only involve costs indirectly:

  • Non-core Functions – Simply put, companies outsource processes that are important but still a little far from the company's main function and field of expertise. A car manufacturer might outsource another company for accounting services because accounting doesn't really have a lot to do with cars. (That doesn't mean they don't need accounting.)

  • Expansions – Many companies today are seeking to expand by placing more focus on their core functions. In relation to the first reason, outsourcing enables them to focus on these functions and thus enable expansion.

Take note that in the reasons cited above, neither of them deny that outsourcing saves them the costs of hiring experts and purchasing technology specific to a certain business process. In turn, what has been saved up can be used to focus on core functions and for expanding the business.

With that said, see if you can determine if it's worth outsourcing the process of generating B2B sales leads.

  • Is it a core function? - Generating leads for any B2B product or service doesn't automatically demand for its respective field of expertise. Sure, expertise is necessary in order to demonstrate and assure quality but there are times when such expertise tends to work against your best interests. One might even say that generating leads is its own field! Remember, you may be an expert but your prospects might not. All that knowledge does not automatically translate into knowledge of how a B2B customer thinks. Therefore, it might not really be as close to your core functions as you might think.
  • Will it make expansion more expensive? - Following up on the previous question, will this distance make it more expensive in-house? Take note that hiring and training the right experts and representatives requires a bit of expertise on your part. And as pointed out, getting qualified leads isn't necessarily within every company's expertise.

To further demonstrate, consider the tools used by lead generators. Some use email marketing to contact your prospects and exchange information. That may require a bit of industry expertise but it takes communication expertise as well. It's the same with older tools like telemarketing. Hiring and training your own agents might make expansion more expensive when compared to just using outsourced telemarketing while you focus on the core of your business.

There's no denying that a bit of industry expertise is necessary but that's why it's always a staple feature in many companies that are in the business of generating B2B leads. Some companies might even be more adept in marketing one form of product and service over another. And while they might not be as knowledgeable as the people in your company, they can be knowledgeable and at the same time, they're more knowledgeable about knowing what your prospects want.

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