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Outsourcing: pros and cons

If you’re down here, you probably have some sort of idea about outsourcing. Whether it’s positive or negative, you have to look into the matter. Perhaps the pros and cons list could help you decide. Let’s get you started with three of each.

You are hiring experts with a proven track record

Let’s state this frankly here: there is a lot of things we don’t know, that’s why sometimes we need outside help. Just as you may recruit consultants for a specific issue at your company, you’d hire an outsourcing company for their expertise in a particular area. For example, you may lack expertise in the sales field, such as lead generation. Or you may be introducing a new product that requires sales skills you haven’t tried so far.

Indeed, outsourcing is often more efficient than generating leads by yourselves because managed service companies have more expertise. They’ve probably been at it for longer than you have.

It all boils down to finding the right partner, a company that has experience in bringing results. Before signing a contract, take a look at your candidates’ track record and talk to some of their earlier clients. Pick a managed service company with an omnichannel approach (phone calls, email, online chat, social selling) and define their capacity to handle high-volume queries and/or in-depth conversations, depending on your needs.

Once you started working with them, specify some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the performance of your outsourced team.

You gain access to a larger talent pool

When you hire a team of full-time specialists, you’re usually restricted to local talent or the few people that are willing to relocate (and if they do, you may have to offer expensive perks or cover moving expenses).

Outsourcing offers access to the talent teams, as many of the managed service companies out there have offices around the world, with multilingual professionals that can serve your international customers. 

In addition to language and costs, global talent brings a fresh perspective that many times result in innovation in your field. People educated abroad and with job experience in different parts of the world bring a different skill set that local hires probably lack. Why you should limit yourself to those living around the corner when you can work with people across time zones?

Reducing the workload on your management 

Managers are busy people and they have a limited amount of time and attention. When you outsource, your managers have the opportunity to focus on your key business operations instead of spending time, energy, and resources on peripheral activities. Placing sales, customer support, and other operations under the supervision of an outsourced team will free up a significant amount of time for managers and produce a beneficial shift in your business as a whole.

Depending on the associate you choose, you get more than a sales or customer support manager — you may even get a whole management team. For example, our managed service teams include much more than reps — they include an account manager, a quality assurance analyst, and a content writer.

Cons of Outsourcing

Lack of control issue

You’ll get a large number of people working remotely, doing who-knows-what, communicating with your clients, and representing your company. It could be a risk. That’s why you should have a well-functioning control system.

Even though you won’t be able to control everything the outsourced crew does, but you can ask for regular updates and open communication channels to interact with the account manager. You can also organize monitoring systems to check on their work (you can use time tracking software such as JIRA or Timecamp, for example).

Still, with all these systems set up, you are risking them not doing the job as they should. The best way out is to rely on the results. Specify the pilot period or agree on the expected results — if they’re not met, give up on the partnership.

You may experience poor communication problems 

Communication issues are some of the most disappointing problems you can have, especially if your business requires quick actions or decisions. How to solve this problem?

If you hire a team that is on a different continent from you may experience several hours difference in time zone. This may result in a delay in response. Your emails would be responded 24 hours or more later.

So get ready for delays if you try to work with a team on the other side of the world. Our suggestion is: try to work with teams within your time zone or within a reasonable frame, who speak your language, know the culture of your company and your clients, and are constantly in touch with you. You would know if communication is an issue even before you hire them — the information flow and ease of communication during the recognition phase would give you good hints.

Third-party data leaks issue

Finally, outsourcing is risky because of IP issues. Judge for yourself, you allow others to access your company’s sensitive information. Could they end up hacking your network or revealing your commercial secrets? Would there be any legal issues regarding your privacy and information sharing policies if you give the outsourcing company access to your client database? Discuss it with your lawyers before outsourcing.

Then, if you choose to outsource, let them sign an NDA to protect your intellectual property and set up some restrictions on the information they can access — only share what they’d need to do their job.

Let’s summarize

Although not a complete list, these 3 pros, and cons should be a good point of departure to consider whether you’re ready to outsource or not.

Think twice before go ahead and don’t be afraid of taking calculated risks. Run a trial and see if it works. In a modern, competent environment many companies are outsourcing to get ahead of the competition. The question is, should you?

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