Outsourcing in 2012: Adapting Your Sales and Marketing Work Force to Suit the Macro Environment
Often the success of a commercial idea or business innovation is dependent on its timing, or more specifically its potential to dovetail with any number of prevailing social and economic factors. Consider outsourcing as a particularly relevant example, as it is a concept that has thrived in the last decade against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty and a constantly evolving technological landscape. Rather than succumb to these factors it has actually thrived within several market niches, allowing I.T, sales and marketing work forces in particular to be adapted to suit an unpredictable macro environment.
Outsourcing and Independent Contracting: The Facts and Figures
Outsourcing as a whole is a now a global phenomenon, and one that grown significantly over the course of the last 6 years. 2011 saw a 10% increase in growth for outsourcing services, which is a sharp increase on the 7.1% rise recorded during the 12 months between 2009 and 2010. Within the industry itself, there was a marked increase in the number of sales, marketing and human resource jobs that were assigned to independent service providers, with 31% of all outsourced tasks existing in these fields. As a combined total, this even superseded the 28% of outsourced jobs belonging to the technology sector.
Even with this in mind, outsourcing would not exist but for the efforts of willing and highly skilled contractors, and fortunately the supply of independent workers has increased simultaneously to help fulfil demand. Again the growing popularity of freelancing is prevalent across the globe, and though it is North American contractors that make up more that 50% of the flexible global work force, the method of remote and independent working has never been more popular in the UK, Europe and South America. In fact, the number of UK citizens who offered freelance services rose to more than 1.4 million in 2011, which was the highest volume of independent contractors ever recorded.
The Economic Climate: Driving Employers to Create Targeted Sales and Marketing Teams
Despite the fact that the global recession ended during the summer months of 2010, the subsequent recovery has been painstakingly slow. In fact, although several leading economies (including the U.S. and the UK) have shown signs of recovery during the tail end of 2011, the threat of double dip recession continues to threaten any semblance of sustained or tangible growth. This perpetual gloom has forced employers to carefully address their business models and methods of operation, with a view to tightening their financial belts and maximizing the sum of their existing revenue streams.
Outsourcing has emerged as a viable solution, and while this concept is nothing new its increasing influence on sales and marketing roles suggests that employers are now strategically identifying which areas of their business can benefit from the skills of a flexible workforce. Given that sales and marketing tasks are often influenced by demand and relevant to specific projects, they provide employers with an excellent opportunity to create a targeted labor force consisting of talented independent contractors. This minimizes a firms financial liability, both in terms of long term salary commitments and expenditure on business infrastructure.
Aside from these financial considerations, it should also be remembered that sales and marketing both have a significant impact on how businesses fair during an economic slump. An ability to create and market a particular brand is key to acquiring new customers, while retaining them depends on the level of communication and customer service delivered by a firm. This ensures that sales and marketing skills are in great demand as businesses look to consolidate or grow tentatively in 2012, and outsourcing allows them to select their staff from a global pool of recognized industry talent.
A Technological Evolution: Changing the Face of Both Sales and Marketing Roles
Another factor that has encouraged firms to outsource their sales and marketing roles is technology, and more specifically the way in which it has changed the application of these principles in business. For example, just as CRM (customer relationship management) software has created a single and remotely accessible resource for individual consumer data, so too the mechanics of SEM (search engine marketing) have changed the methods used to promote and advertise a business. As a result both sales and marketing tasks now rely heavily on evolving technology, and therefore call for an entirely new set of employee skills and knowledge.
So with sales and marketing techniques subject to continual innovation, employers with a traditional workforce run the risk of either failing to meet their clients demands or being forced to invest vast sums of revenue into staff training and development. Outsourcing this workload negates both of these issues, and creates a labor force that is flexible and able to adapt to individual client requirements. This cannot be underestimated in a competitive market place, where affordable technology has created a level playing field for a series of small and medium service providers.
In addition to this changeable demand, it should also remembered that CRM and other examples of SaaS (Software as a Service) have been designed to help businesses streamline their operations. Relevant business and consumer documents can now be accessed remotely through cloud technology, which enables employers to share information with their contractors as easily as if they were sitting alongside them. The development of mobile media devices and improved computing speeds have also elevated online communication to an art form, so that sales and marketing freelancers can converse easily with colleagues from anywhere in the world.
The Bottom Line:
While outsourcing has always been especially prominent within the technology industry, 2011 saw employers take a far more open minded and considered approach to its application. By addressing individual areas of business and understanding where flexible working practices can be most beneficial, businesses have been able to adapt their sales and marketing teams to create a specific and task orientated workforce. This not only affords organizations a greater control over their long term financial planning, but also creates a streamlined business model that improves both the quality and sustainability of sales and marketing activities.
( By: InterConnecta Guest Blogger- Mr. Lewis R. Humphries)