Can Growth be Outsourced?

Rohit Dogra April 19, 2022

Growth is a strategic function of any organization that involves Sales and Marketing. They are the cornerstone of growth and are always closer to any founder’s heart.

Not every founder is a Sales and Marketing expert, nor does everyone possess a growth mindset by default. Had that been the case then would not every entrepreneur, who started at the same time offering the same services, would have got an equal degree of success?

As a founder, when you start your business, you are the default sales and marketing guy rolled into one (plus operations, HR, and office boy). Then once it occurs to you that you can’t do it alone and in order to scale faster, you start building sales and marketing teams, hiring people left, right, and center in order to grow faster.

Typically, these new hires are inexperienced and are on their own to learn at the founder’s expense. Unless you invest in training them, they could end up developing the wrong sales style which may or may not be aligned with your or your organization’s values.

For example, you would not want your salespeople to mislead or missell, or over-promise anything to your potential customers at the cost of achieving the sales target. But the salesperson in your team might make such mistakes either to achieve the target or being over-enthusiastic. Similarly, the marketing folks may send an email blast and spam prospects in geography which comes directly under GDPR rules and rather put you in some kind of trouble.

If you end up receiving leads from customers whom you don’t want to work with, or a majority of the contracts you win end up being in loss because of badly written proposals, this is a good cue that you cannot do it all alone and need professional help as you need to invest in good people and processes.

One way to solve this problem is to hire an experienced leader who understands both Sales and Marketing or maybe individual Sales and Marketing leaders who know their job and have a proven track record solving problems similar to yours. Assuming you have not started a long back and you are a small business either you will not be able to afford such guys or even if you do they might not end up sticking too long with you in order to make a real difference. Moreover, do you know what kind of guy you really need? What professional and personal attributes should that guy have in him so that there is a high probability of success. Can you figure out everything yourself?

Not every founder is a Sales and Marketing expert, nor does everyone possess a growth mindset by default. Had that been the case then would everyone have not achieved the same level of success? Hence, it is important not to try and experiment beyond a point as it can lead to a loss of time, money, and opportunity loss in the long term.

Once you are convinced that you need professional help, the next step is to figure out if this problem can be solved by hiring resources in-house or maybe outsourcing the whole sales and marketing function. Are these the only two options? Is it that easy? Can there be a hybrid model which can offer the best of both worlds?

If yes, how to decide what to outsource and what should be kept in-house.

In an ideal scenario, nothing should be outsourced. Sales and Marketing are the core functions of any organization and if you have the right mindset, skills, people, processes, and you can afford costs then everything should be kept in-house. The above sentence sounds like music to ears but is it always possible? How many such perfect organizations exist?

Following are some pointers that would help you get clarity in that direction:

  • As an entrepreneur, you would agree that time is more valuable than money. Anything that saves time also saves the opportunity cost for you can be outsourced.
  • Anything on which you have expertise in-house need not be outsourced. Anything, where you don’t have any expertise or where your team will end up doing an average job, can be outsourced.
  • Creating a new Sales or Marketing strategy or validating an existing one can be outsourced.
  • Training the Sales and Marketing teams and fixing gaps in their hard or soft skills can be outsourced.
  • Anything that you want to build as a practice in the long term, should be kept in-house even though you might not be good at it in the short term. In such cases, you can consider trying a hybrid model where you outsource in the beginning for some time until you practice and learn the skill enough so that your team starts doing it in-house.
    For example, it makes sense to build a good sales team in-house. Even though your sales team has some major gaps, it would be prudent to work with an experienced sales expert and get those gaps fixed. The long-term reward of an in-house sales team is far bigger in the long term than outsourcing it for a long time.
  • The tasks to implement a sales or marketing strategy can be outsourced. Here the key is to find the right balance between quality and speed. If you have the skills in-house, speed will be faster but you have to figure out whether the quality of in-house resources is as good as the expert whom you are considering outsourcing. For example, if you want to create a new website design or create a corporate presentation, you have to decide if your guys can deliver the quality required to be the best and beat your competitors. Another example is that you need to write 10 content pieces in a week and you only have one content writer, in that case, it makes sense to outsource.
  • All those tasks which require close coordination with other functions in your company should be kept in-house e.g. if you need to create a whitepaper on a new technology or want to publish research that requires close coordination with your technology or business teams should be preferred in house.

Were you able to resonate with these pointers? Were they able to answer your questions or have they triggered a new set of questions for which you are seeking answers. Regardless, we are happy to discuss and will try to answer those.

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