In a time of flux, it can feel impossible to plan for your business’s future. Perhaps one minute your phone is busy and the next it’s dead. Maybe you’ve had to lay off or furlough employees. Maybe the entire way you do business has changed.
In times like these, it’s tempting to think that marketing is an easy area to cut expenses. But beware - because one of the top reasons businesses fail is a lack of attention to marketing.
Below, I’ll explain why outsourcing can help you, how much you can expect to pay and what you need to ask to find a company that’s a good potential partner for your business.
How Can Outsourcing Sales and Marketing Help My Business
Outsourcing to fulfill your sales and marketing needs is safer and less risky than bringing on a new employee. It’s much easier to outsource than to hire a completely new person, and it ensures you’re still reaching your potential customers.
Any form of marketing activity - although extensive market research may need a specialized firm - can be done by an outside agency. Agencies can also help with new initiatives and ongoing campaigns related to:
- Customer retention
- Automated lead generation
- Brand awareness
When it comes to sales, an outside agency doesn’t replace a skilled salesperson at your company. Where they can step in is to help support the salesperson’s efforts, ensuring they work more efficiently and effectively, even when their usual sales process has likely changed.
With an agency experienced in virtual sales techniques, you can teach your sales force how to do things like prospect online, nurture leads digitally and humanize their virtual connections. In essence, they’re learning how to work more efficiently in this world of modern sales.
How Much Does Outsourcing My Marketing Cost?
There’s no one magic number when it comes to the cost of outsourcing because it all depends on your goals and needs.
Sometimes your needs would be one-time fixes that must get done, like updating and maintaining an existing website. And sometimes they may be things like coaching to help your internal team handle tactics more efficiently on their own.
For example, what I’ve often seen in this situation are clients with an employee who doesn’t come from a marketing background and is now handling a lot of marketing activities. An outside marketing agency could help coach the employee in performing the new tasks and ensure her time, energy and efforts are being spent wisely.
Again, keep those goals in mind. If your goals are branding, that's one thing. And if your goals involve lead generation, well, that's a little more complex. More involved projects equal a higher price tag - but could also reap a bigger reward.
I always use the analogy of building a house. If you’re adding a new product, it’s like adding a physical room to your house. And if you’re planning on starting a whole new initiative, it’s like demolishing the building and starting over. Envisioning it this way can make it easier to estimate how much a project will cost.
Paying for a sales and marketing agency’s help isn’t like buying a widget; think of it as an investment that will help grow your business.
How Can I Find the Right Agency To Partner With?
As you search for a marketing and sales agency to partner with, try to find someone who will take the time to understand your specific needs and work with you on a custom plan - not a cookie-cutter strategy.
Below are five questions I recommend asking as you evaluate sales and marketing agencies:
- Did they just try to sell me something, or did they really take the time to understand our needs?
- Do they understand our business and industry, and grasp the concept of what we do?
- Are they nimble and agile, able to change and flow with us as our needs change? Can they show me examples of similar clients who’ve had success?
- Are they transparent about costs and the work they’ll be performing? Do they make an effort to present a realistic cost that’s in line with our budget? Make sure you fully understand what their statement of work (SOW) includes.
- Did we have a feeling of “connection” when we met? Can I tell they really cared about helping us? (Sometimes a gut feeling can tell you a lot.)
In the end, every agency is different. Take the time to really think about which one works best for you and how they’ll help your business succeed.
Next Steps: Finding an Agency
As for the fallout from the pandemic and economic factors, I don't think we've begun to see all of it yet. Companies are still in the midst of trying to figure out things like who to keep, who to let go and what to do differently. And it's going to continue to dynamically change over the next 12 to 18 months.As you begin to research marketing and sales agencies, it’s helpful to know where your current marketing program stands and how an agency can help fill in the gaps. Our free digital marketing checklist can help you identify opportunities to grow and discover how an agency can support you.