Written by Matt Varley
Many firms are now re-discovering their lust for growth.
If you are looking at a mountain of initiatives – and do not want to spread yourself too thin, what should you do?
Smaller teams, same challenges
Years of belt tightening and reorganisations mean that many firms are operating lean marketing and business development teams who are already stretched. Even so, ask partners whether they are looking to create new opportunities and grow this year and the answer will be yes.
There’s only so much you can do
There are a number of key areas that you simply have to do in-house; budget planning, producing critical proposals, managing communications and dealing with suppliers for example. But while time is absorbed by daily practicalities other key priorities can drift; new business campaigns fall by the wayside, seminar attendees aren’t followed up, client reviews don’t take place, the sales pipeline gets out of date and partners lose focus.
In, out, shake it all about – only you can decide
There is the option of recruiting to fill the gap but finding good people is expensive, risky and takes a long time (it costs £8,333 in recruitment costs alone – CIPD 2010 annual survey, average recruitment cost of a senior manager). Hiring interim managers has a number of benefits:
- Talent on tap – gives you access to specialist skills and additional resource. You get highly experienced people who hit the ground running and you can turn this resource on and off as you see fit.
- Best practice – often you’ll have expertise in certain areas but don’t know how to bring all the pieces together. Experienced interim managers will have worked on similar solutions for clients in similar situations and are committed to delivering projects within agreed timescales.
- Improve internal skills – consultants bring a fresh external perspective to problems. Part of the deal is that they transfer their knowledge to internal people which improves their ability to deal with future problems.
- Objectivity – often external people are brought in to validate a decision or push through change. To do this you need people who understand the culture but are not involved in the politics. Instead they focus on delivery.
Key to the success of outsourcing any aspect of your marketing and business development is to really understand what it is that needs to be done and to ensure that you know who is responsible for what. Choose the right people, create a partnership with them and you’ll receive long term returns. According to the Management Consultancies Association, organisations that get it right report an average added value of 10 times their cost.