If your company needs a new kind of functionality, should you build it or outsource it?
There are strong arguments for doing either. If you outsource a function – be it marketing, lead generation, or anything else – you will only need to spend money on it for as long as you retain the company you hired to handle it. That could potentially save you money, help you direct your employees to spend more time performing their current functions, and enjoy other benefits.
But hiring and training people to perform the function in-house can offer benefits too. The people who you hire or train will be with you for the long term. Your company will build expertise and strength as it adapts to changing needs. And then there is the fact that training your current employees, or even hiring newcomers, could cost less than hiring an outside provider of services.
Meet Mike Farrell
In a recent Training Unleashed Podcast, Evan Hackel discussed these issues in depth with Mike Farrell, CEO of Green Leads, a Massachusetts-based company that provides sales, marketing and lead-generation services. Note that their discussion was not limited to outsourcing a lead-gen company, but to the larger question of how and when it makes sense to outsource.
If you’re determined to maximize your company’s efficiency and ROI for every dollar you spend, you will want to listen to this unique podcast discussion.
Until you do, here are some edited highlights.
Outsourcing vs. Building Internally?
“The reality is that is that this is a question that companies have to ask,” Mike told Evan. “And in some cases in startups, they don’t have the staff and expertise because they’re a young and not super-mature organization, either in the marketing department or the sales department.
“They may not have the technology tools, they may not have the knowhow. And guess what? They may not have the training right . . . A lot of companies in our area and a lot of startup technology companies hire young people right out of college. And that’s a perfectly fine model. But be ready for a lot of turnover because young people out of college are going to try to figure out what they want to do in their career. To retain them, you need to understand what their pains and challenges are.”
Onboarding and Training Young Workers
Mike added, “Let me speak specifically to young folks out of school, right out of college . . . there are literally thousands of jobs open right now. And for technology firms, it takes six months to train someone to be truly proficient. You have to make sure you hire somebody that has that curiosity to keep learning . . . but it really takes about six months for them to master skills and make all those mistakes and make course corrections.
”But then guess what? You know, we have experienced people doing one thing for 10, 20 years . . . sometimes people have the experience, but there’s so much changing now. . . So training is ongoing.”
The Critical Importance of Training
Evan pointed out that in order to keep employees once they have been trained, it is essential to provide career advancement and further training.
Mike was quick to agree and added, “Yes, absolutely. If your company is investing in that person’s success and their career progression and their career development, obviously that’s a benefit. It’s a win/win. The company gets a more productive employee and they can reduce that turnover timeframe. So that investment in training really pays back in multiple ways.”
Mike Offers a Reality Check on Training Internally
“Rarely do you find a team that doesn’t need a whole lot of hand-holding or training,” Mike told Evan. “And you know, let’s face it, those are the unicorns, right? They just don’t exist very often. You have to develop people.
“People need to have some innate ability and have tenacity. Those are attributes you try to identify in the recruiting process. You can’t teach or crack a whip for motivation. That doesn’t work, right? You have to find the people that have that. But if you find those people that have those traits and then you invest in their growth and skill development, it will pay off in retention, productivity and profit. And it becomes part of your employer brand, right? Yes, this is a company that invests in its staff.”
Mike Provides Context
“Even big companies have small parts,” Mike said to Evan. “Big companies are constantly trying out new business avenues, and different places, and those divisions aren’t the same as the bigger, larger divisions. And even in a big company, you could sit back and say, `Why don’t we hire out the expertise here?’ . . . ultimately everything is an opportunity cost, right? Do we invest in training here? And if there are limited amounts of training people and dollars, you’ve got to look and ask what the best utilization of your time is.”
Be Sure to Watch and Learn from this Dynamite Podcast!
About Our Guest
Mike Farrell is CEO of Green Leads, a Massachusetts-based company that provides sales, marketing and lead-generation services. Since 2007, Green Leads has produced hundreds of thousands of leads and appointments for clients.
Mike has an incredible track record of building companies and growing revenue. He has extensive experience selling into B2B and public sector markets, building sales development organizations, as well as developing channel partnerships.