Almost half of all B2B companies combine in-house marketing solutions with outsourced ones. A hands-on approach in business has its benefits. For example, such an approach is useful for companies that have a culture that is dependent on privacy. When department heads are nervous about sharing business information, it may be more appropriate to hire in-house professionals.

Additionally, in specific scenarios, when operational margins are thin, or profits from high volume sales are low, revenue gained from such transactions may not be enough to outsource marketing. In other cases, a business may offer a novel product or service that external marketing agencies may not have experienced. When this happens, it may be more appropriate to run a marketing strategy internally or to develop a marketing strategy that involves both in-house and outsourced expertise.

Why Outsourcing is Important?

More often than not, the challenges mentioned above are most prevalent with startup businesses. However, for any business, whether large or small, marketing managers and other business leaders need to step back from micromanaging tendencies and instead start delegating in order to run the business more efficiently.

According to research conducted by Gallup, delegation is critical for business growth and expansion. The study found that CEO’s with weak delegation talent grew their business by 115% within a three-year period, while those with a strong delegation talent grew by 1,751% within the same three-year period.

Additionally, utilizing the right tools can make the job of the manager a lot easier and more productive. For example, a marketing manager that uses B2B Marketing Automation tools can efficiently and effectively manage complex marketing campaigns with precision to surpass marketing objectives. In fact, about a quarter of B2B companies outsource all or part of their marketing automation.

When to Outsource B2B Marketing?

A hands-on approach where marketing managers micromanage tasks can easily lead to exhaustion, or in the least, being spread too thin so that is effective in all the necessary marketing tasks becomes almost impossible. So, the question that begs to be answered is, how can you tell when it is time to outsource?

Figure 1: Outsourced content marketing activities (Source: 2018 Content Marketing Trends report by the Content Marketing Institute)

Although the answer to this question should be specific to every business, here are some universal indicators that can help a B2B company gauge when it is time to outsource their marketing.

  • When additional marketing personnel is required, and the business cannot hire internally. In this case, the business will only outsource the marketing services that it needs and when it requires them.
  • When the businesses current marketing strategies are no longer as effective as they used to be and especially when there are tunnel-vision and a lack of fresh marketing ideas.
  • When the business lacks the knowledge on how to quickly generate inbound leads, especially when there is no existing contact database to build a marketing campaign on.
  • When the business wants to ensure that marketing activities like demand generation are implemented based on best practices, especially when there are strict time constraints that prevent learning on the job or acquiring the necessary expertise.
  • When the business wants to tap new niche markets and/or expand into different geographical locations to meet steep sales targets.
  • When the business has the capacity to negotiate suitable outsourced payment packages that meet their financial strategy. For example, a commission-based system where payment is based on results.  These results can either be dependent on successful tasks/milestones achieved or revenue targets.

For businesses considering outsourcing, here are some of the key benefits that they will experience.

1. Access to Broad and Deep B2B Marketing Expertise

61% of B2B companies don’t have enough time, money, or staff to succeed in lead generation efforts. As such, outsourcing B2B marketing not only provides access to expertise that the business may not have but to a large pool of talent that costs a lot less than hiring in-house staff. For the same cost of hiring one marketing manager, a business that outsources its marketing can leverage a broad and deep pool of marketing talent that can ramp up efficiency and effectiveness within a short time.

Figure 2: Marketing priorities for B2B companies

2. Straightforward Upgrading of B2B Marketing Technologies

Due to the growth and expansion of tools, techniques, methodologies, and platforms used in marketing, business and marketing managers can quickly become overwhelmed by the number of available options, let alone understand how to leverage the benefits of these B2B marketing technologies. Outsourcing is a useful way to save on time and financial resources required to learn/train, purchase and use the latest B2B marketing technologies.  Additionally, it becomes easier for a business to move away from entrenched relationships or technologies that need to be upgraded to provide the company with a more significant strategic advantage.

3. Execution of Multi-faceted and Integrated Tactics

A successful B2B marketing strategy needs to be executed on several different fronts. For example, a B2B Email marketing strategy will involve content marketing, while a content marketing strategy must be integrated with a branding strategy.

In most cases, it is difficult for a business to effectively run different campaigns based on different B2B inbound marketing strategies. In fact, according to the 2018 State of Inbound marketing report by Hubspot, 61% of marketers state that their top inbound marketing priority is growing organic presence and improving SEO.

Figure 3: Hubspot survey results for priorities of inbound marketing projects

Outsourcing the necessary talent required to execute the details of a comprehensive marketing strategy is a more effective approach to take. In doing so, the risk of mistakes and execution failure is mitigated because the activities are spread out to a larger pool of talent that is experienced and able to accommodate the load.

4. Greater Accountability

Outsourced agencies have established mechanisms, systems, processes, and tools for gathering metrics and creating reports based on those metrics. These technologies allow outsourced agencies to identify relevant parameters based on mutually agreed-upon goals, track activities and realize milestones tangibly.

It is a lot more difficult for an internal marketing team to identify and quickly ramp up the use of technologies required to collect structured data, score activities, report, analyze and come up with meaningful insights that can transform marketing for the better. In fact, 39% of businesses have a challenge proving the ROI of their marketing activities.

With an outsourced marketing agency, the required cutting-edge tools are already in place, which means that there is an existing platform that can provide direct answers about current results, projected results, and ROI. As such, outsourced B2B marketing often results in a more accountable internal marketing function.

5. Access to Strategic Thinking

For small and mid-sized businesses that are experiencing growth (or that foresee growth soon), having expertise on their side to guide them through the journey can be invaluable. Outsourcing the shortage of skills/personnel to a team of professionals from a marketing agency can bridge the knowledge and expertise gap required to succeed.

Additionally, entrenched opinions and internal politics which stifle marketing ideas and perspectives can be countered by fresh perspectives and insights from outsourced professionals.

Wrap Up

Although every business needs to evaluate the format, benefits, and structure of their partnership with B2B marketing agencies based on what is valuable to the business, by and large, most B2B businesses will profit immensely from outsourcing.

Outsourcing delivers tangible and measurable metrics (including ROI) as well as a significant understanding of delivered results which means that the marketing function will not only be more accountable but also more efficient and effective.