Should You Outsource Marketing And Business Development?
I question I hear a lot from professionals frustrated and struggling to get their marketing to work is “Should I outsource marketing?” or “can't I just hire a business development guy to handle it all?”.
It's not surprising really – if you neither enjoy business development nor get great results from doing it then it's easy to think that by outsourcing or handing over responsibility you can take one more worry off your plate.
But think strategically for a moment.
Let's imagine it goes well and you start getting a steady stream of clients. Put yourself in the shoes of the firm you've outsourced to or the guy you brought in to do all your marketing and BD.
If you'd brought all this success to the firm wouldn't you think you deserved a bigger share of the pie? In fact, wouldn't you think that really as the source of all the new clients you were the central cog in the system? The lifeblood of the business?
Ford Harding tells a story of a long-established law firm who hired in a couple of rainmakers as junior partners to help them bring in more clients. They passed over pretty much all the BD responsibilities to the new guys.
The strategy worked – or so it seemed. The new guys started bringing in lots of new clients. The practice started booming. All was well and good.
Until one day the new guys approached the senior partners with an ultimatum: “We bring in all the clients. Hand over majority ownership of the firm to us, or we walk”.
What choice did the senior partners have? Hand over ownership of their firm, or watch their client base walk out the door and have the firm collapse?
Sounds nasty. But in truth, those rainmakers had a point. The success of the business was due to them.
It seems harsh to say it, but the truth is that lawyers, consultants, coaches and accountants who can do a good job are a commodity. People who can bring in new clients aren't.
If you outsource your lead generation to an outside firm and become dependent on them – what's to stop them raising their prices to take all the value, or just passing on the leads to the highest bidder?
If you hire in someone to take responsibility for all marketing and BD – why wouldn't they think they deserve to get the lion's share of the returns – or walk?
Outsourcing or delegating responsibility for marketing and business development sounds like an attractive option when you're struggling with it.
But if you can't generate your own clients, if you become dependent on others to do it for you, then don't expect to become very rich these days.