It’s a difficult decision. Should you hire someone – and take a risk that they may not be the right fit or have the exact skills you need? Or, should you let an outside partner handle your marketing for now? This is a challenge that many growing B2B companies face. They need marketing expertise, but aren’t sure if they’re ready to take the leap to add headcount to focus solely on marketing.
The answer? It depends. Here are few things to consider before making a decision:
Dedicated to Your Business
If you hire an employee, then you will be guaranteed to have someone 100% focused on you and your business. With a partner, however, you will have access to an expert or team of experts with knowledge from various industries and other clients. So, think about what is more important, focused solely on your business or access to broader expertise.
Dollar for dollar, if looking only at hard costs, and not overall value, hiring someone as an employee is going to be less. If you need someone for at least 30 hours per week, even with benefits, it is going to be more cost effective. If you aren’t sure how much work you have, wait to hire someone for now, and find the right external partner in the meantime. You can always hire someone later.
Type of Support
If the help you need can be filled by one person (i.e., it’s all more junior level or all more strategic), then it likely makes more sense to hire an employee. If you need both, although you might be able to find someone with a mix of skills, you’ll typically have to hire someone with more senior experience that’s willing to do more junior work. Think about the percentage of time they’d be spending on the different tasks to see if the investment is worth it. To get the exact skills you need, it may make more sense to hire a junior person and create an external partnership for the more strategic guidance.
If the chemistry isn’t right, it’s hard to make a change if you hire someone. With an external partner, you can easily make a change at any time. Another option that’s becoming more popular is to hire someone initially as a contractor and have a trial period of 60-90 days. This will ensure your needs and their skills are a match longer term.
The bottom line is that only you can decide which approach is best for you. Still having a hard time deciding? Then the ‘safest’ route is to outsource for now. Once you have a better sense of the exact skills you need, then you can always make the switch to a full-time resource at any time.
Suffering from a lower than average win rate? Here are 10 things that might be having a (negative) impact on your win rate:
1. You’re proposals are full of errors. If your proposals are full of errors, prospect can’t help but ask, will your work be too?
2. You don’t answer the questions the client asks. It’s maddening to feel like you’re not being listened to. If you don’t listen now, what will it be like later in the relationship?
3. Your materials are full of jargon that no one can understand but you. Are you the industry-leading, best-in-class agency for the latest emerging trends? Enough said.
4. You gave them more than they asked for. That’s right. You scared them. Too much is just as bad as too little.
5. There’s no chemistry. Think about it. Would you work with someone you don’t click with?
6. You’re not responsive to their requests. They email you a question. You don’t get back for a couple of days. And, they’re left wondering – is this how it’s going to be when they win the business?
7. You’re too cheap. That’s right. Just like you can be too expensive. You can also be too cheap. Don’t be. No one wants their agency to be a Wal-Mart agency.
8. You’re too expensive. Way too expensive. If you’re just slightly more expensive, you will often have an opportunity to negotiate. But if you’re way more expensive, they’ll feel like you’re out of touch or don’t understand their needs.
9. You pulled a bait and switch. The team you listed in the proposal is a wee bit more experienced than the team that showed up for the in-person pitch. See #10. They don’t trust you.
10. They don’t trust you. Why? Could be many reasons. Just make sure they do trust you. If they don’t, nothing else matters. People don’t do business with people they don’t trust.
Take a look at how you run your new business development processes and teams and see if any of these apply. If they do, take some time to make some changes and you’ll likely see an immediate increase in your win rate. Good luck!