The Business Owner’s Guide to the WFH Galaxy
Outsourcing. Now there’s a word that conjures up an all too common misconception, suggesting that the only (real) reason companies contract work out is to save money.
The truth is outsourcing is much more industrious than that, not to mention productive and, if you play your cards right, profitable. As a matter of fact, outsourcing can be a business owner’s best friend, a contracted colleague to lean on through the thick and, considering the recent pandemic, the thin.
What’s the old saying? No man is an island? Well, as businesses go headlong into the fourth quarter of 2020, their employees armed with all kinds of protective gear (i.e. face masks, PPE, hand sanitizer, and latex gloves), socially distancing themselves from the rest of the world, it sure feels like it.
People have never been more isolated. And considering most are working from home, outsourcing has proven to be a real life-saver in this pandemic pinch, and not just when it comes to cost-savings.
Business owners, in particular, have enough on their plate, as they navigate these uncharted waters, doing their darnedest to keep consistency in their workforce. So, how does outsourcing help to ease their burden? Let’s unpack that thought.
Making It Up As We Go Along
As businesses hunker down at home amidst a global pandemic, running their shop from the comfort of their breakfast nooks, in the same space their children are haphazardly pouring milk into a bowl of cereal, the new reality for the remote workforce is fraught with stress, uncertainty, challenge and, unfortunately, longer workdays. Some businesses are better prepared for this unexpected reality than others.
For instance, those who had the foresight to document their standard operating procedures (crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”) are the organizations who have proved most agile. And managers who have successfully built up trust among their people are well-positioned to thrive in this WFH environment when it’s otherwise impossible to monitor hour-by-hour activities.
Gartner’s tips on responding to the lack of visibility into employees’ activities recommend managers double-down on trust, and fight back those urges to micro-manage. It is clear, though, that as we settle into a lasting remote reality, there will be more adjusting to do – if we’re interested in getting back to business-as-close-as-usual.
The truth of the matter is, nobody could have predicted such a catastrophic event, a novel corona-virus crippling the economy and sending offices worldwide packing, forcing them to take shelter and, at the same time, take important Zoom meetings from their homes with small children and animals running underfoot.
These are unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures, but what do those “measures” look like? We are literally making them up as we go. Are we not? This is the dastardly moment when you kick yourself for not carving out time to create that handy-dandy, little business continuation plan that systematically sketches out step-by-step how and when to take action when confronted with these types of hazardous, hypothetical “What could possibly go wrong?” scenarios – right?
The trouble is, if you’re like most business owners, you are tied up in the everyday “meat and potato” tasks of running a business, hyper-focused on driving revenue, and keeping your doors open.
Not every business owner has the luxury of time to invest in more “sophisticated” tasks, such as specialized sales development, let alone having the time to put together a solid business continuation plan that will save their company from being sucked into the ruinous vacuum of a global “rainy day” or, least of all, the child underfoot who is just one milk carton away from taking out their harddrive and their life’s work. Again … who can predict these things?
Eric Quanstrom, Chief Marketing Officer of CIENCE, put it best:
Businesses that successfully ran largely remote workforces before the pandemic tend to exhaustively document their processes and knowledge. That enables employees to join projects and get up to speed on their own time, without having to consult colleagues first. This reflects ‘sound management that companies with physical offices didn’t adopt simply because they could afford to be sloppy.
Eric Quanstrom, CMO
The remote work model is not a new concept. In fact, according to a Census Bureau study, as of 2017, 3% of full-time workers in the United States said they worked “primarily” out of their home office.
It might have been considered a luxury back in the day, but in 2020, the year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac, it has become a necessity, a way of life.
And while business owners frantically forge ahead toward an uncertain future, battling to overcome the many challenges that have cropped up within this uncharted space, one powerful option has become a mainstay, and that is (Drum roll, please!) outsourcing.
Let’s take sales development, for instance, the part of your business that sits at the front-end of your sales cycle, waiting with bated breath for a little TLC from a dedicated sales development rep, which you likely don’t have in-house. Much like with your business continuation plan, you won’t want to put this off.
The growth of your business hinges on landing your ideal clients – in good times and in bad. Anybody who has ever taken a business course knows that you’ve got to keep those sales pipelines brimming with qualified leads if you’re going to grow revenue consistently.
The basic principle in sales development is specialization, so whilst you’re juggling core tasks (remotely!), it might be best to leave the “specialization” to the experts who do it all day every day and whose organizations are set up to handle such a prolific task.
Knowing your target is at the head of every campaign, but in order to get to the head, you’ve got to lay down the groundwork and that means research … lots and lots of quality sales research.
The Benefits Of Outsourcing
Business owners have never been under so much pressure to perform, in order to effectively and efficiently move and manage all the working parts of their business. From employees to clients to coffee, they are doubling their efforts to keep continuity in this work from the home landscape.
Therefore, outsourcing has never been more important, particularly when it comes to specialized sales development. It could very well be the difference between going big or going home — which (ironically) is an easy transition since you’re already working from home.
Outsourcing might not always be the obvious answer, and it might not always save you money upfront, but it can be the smartest thing you’ve ever done for you, your business, and your bottom-line. So, let’s get down to brass tacks. What are the benefits?
FOCUS: Consider your company’s sales strengths. Do what you and your sales teams do best, including closing deals. From that point, outsource the rest.
When you are free to focus on what you are good at, your work is less likely to suffer. When hiring a team in a specialized field, such as sales development, you are choosing to let the experts do what they do best.
Many have found this a competitive advantage, without all the headache of creating a strategy and campaign yourself. On top of which, the outsourced team you hire should have both the capital and the capability to invest in the technology needed to make you (and their client base at large) look good.
FLEXIBILITY: By hiring a sales development team, a contracted extension of your team whose science it is to identify, connect with and land qualified leads, you are not limiting yourself to the time and staff that is immediately available to you.
Because business demands fluctuate, particularly as you set up a new workstation at home, meeting those demands can be difficult. Building an effective outbound sales campaign can be overwhelming, but when left to the hired experts, it can open up a whole new world of possibility, without expending what little resources you have left.
On top of which, it is a turnkey service. You only need to outsource when you’ve got a need to fill, alleviating both the burden and the risk that comes with the work.
EXPERTISE: No matter how smart you are, there are areas of your business that you are not an expert. Given enough time and coffee, you might become more knowledgeable in those areas, but how much time do you have in one give day to figure it out?
Essentially, as a business owner, it is your job to generate income. Focus on that and leave such things as sales development to the experts who are equipped to handle all those moving parts, as well as own the burden and the risk involved. However, if you have never met your employees, it can be tricky to understand their background sometimes. Therefore, we encourage you to perform an in-depth background check during the hiring process.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE: An article in Bloomberg reports that people who work from home are adding three extra hours onto their workday, just to keep up with the daily challenges that come with a makeshift home office.
Dividing up and delegating those tasks that aren’t your area of expertise and outsourcing them to trained professionals provides relief that can only be quantifiable by a decent work-life balance.
According to an article in Forbes Magazine, “a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey.” Letting go of some of your workload allows for more time to unplug.
At the end of the long workday, consider the greater value a contractor’s experience and expertise bring to your business, including focus, flexibility, expertise, and work-life balance.
Whether your overall goal is to grow your business, market your company, alleviate mundane tasks or essentially buy back time in your day, outsourcing is an excellent opportunity to rise above the challenges of working remotely, as well as rising above the competition.
Markets have shifted considerably since the beginning of 2020. If you’d like to read how other B2B companies are rethinking their go-to-markets with an emphasis on orchestrated outbound, check out Surviving Pandemics and Recessions with Outbound Marketing.
If you have additional questions about how CIENCE has helped more than 950 industrious B2B companies create more certainty in their pipeline, schedule your 1-on-1 workshop.
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