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Much a Do about Nothing – Why Your Inhouse Team Will Always Underperform
William Shakespeare was a brilliant man. So adept with insight, wit and words. He could see patterns of behavior amid the clamor and folly of people being busy and going nowhere. He knew, as many business leaders know today, that “busy-ness” alone offers little of value and can actually foretell a slide into unprofitability.
In the last 7 years, there’s been a push to bring various types of marketers inhouse instead of using expert consultants. The obscure fuzzy belief is, that anyone can do what various consultants do, the cost is too high, and the value proposition isn’t there. They conducted a quick assessment (or none) to justify their position on it, and then turned a blind eye to expert Business Coaches, HR consultants, Branding Experts, SEO Consultants and Social Media Consultants. You may have already struggled with this inhouse vs outsource problem. Which did you choose?
I hear it all the time: “My people just don’t perform at the level I expect“; “I’m not getting the creativity and innovation from them that I need“; “Why am I the one who always has to come up with all the bright ideas around here?” from 3 Reasons Your Team Is Underperforming by Les McKeown @PredSuccess in Forbes Magazine.
It’s not easy to find competent providers and experts to outsurce to, but on the question of inhouse vs outsource to experts, high growth companies will go to experts first. Excellence and leading edge ideas along with experience trumps all.
I’ve received a number of inquiries from managers who are reconsidering their earlier stance, but they’re still of the mind that they should keep their inhouse people and ask the consultant to work on the cheap. Unfortunately, the whole business model of inhouse sourcing is flawed. Plans, delegating, and accountability won’t inspire them to perform even if they’re talented. And let’s not forget that this is the gig economy where businesses look for good specialists for key tasks. Specialist consultants are more skilled, knowledgeable, and motivated.
If they are consultants, it means they thrive on excellence, professionalism, results, and striving for tough goals.
I wonder if you’ve probably witnessed your inhouse team flounder and underperform enough that you’re worried of the long term implications. When the market peaks or crashes, every professional and business person begins to look further down the road, because it dawns on them that they could go out of business.
Let’s Evaluate Your In-house Team Objectively
- they’re not greatly knowledgeable – they aren’t motivated and why should they be?
- they keep you company all day long so you don’t feel lonely
- they may leave at any time for a better paying position
- they are stressed from low income living and high expectations they feel they can’t fulfill
- future career growth is unlikely unless your business really excels and how can it?
- they don’t have the skills or experience with many businesses to apply to your projects
- they rely on marketing automation and mediocre customer engagement practices
- they don’t have time or your confidence to test and try something bold and new
- they may not really like what they’re doing or what you require
- they’re young and don’t have the big picture wisdom to draw upon — they need to experience and learn over many years
- their work ethic isn’t what you’d consider ideal
- you spend a lot of time and effort compensating somehow for their weaknesses – micromanagement
- they are a low cost solution for a high value opportunity
- they make mistakes with your clients/customers
- they lower your brand image
None of the above you don’t know already, however you do need a reminder.
Let’s Evaluate an Effective Consultant
- they can handle a big project and add significant value
- the words premium, success, profit and consultants are connected
- their work is highly profitable and often creates long term value
- they may have other things going on that distract them
- their skill and productivity mean you can go for a bigger share of the market
- you can hire them and pay them as you need them
- they are highly motivated but will cost more on a project basis
- they improve your brand and value proposition significantly
- they can manage SEO, Content Development, and Social Media at a deeper more personal level
- their expertise can generate valuable dialogue and persuasion with top level clients
- they may be able to wear several hats for better integration and performance
- they prefer to work with others including competitors
- they can be almost brought in-house if you have a good value proposition for them
The differences between in-house and expert consultant are in 3 dimensions:
- potential value in new business
- expertise and high quality productivity
- branding, reputation, referrals, and social media sharing
Branding Experts and Consultants
Let’s look at branding. If you’re a successful realtor with high quality clients, would they be more impressed with a team of inhouse employees, often young, or a team of select highly capable professional experts?
Do you build your marketing and Realtor® brand on your team of financial experts, housing forecast experts, SEO and social media experts, home staging experts, and real estate lawyers, or, a no-name group of background people?
Richard Branson says he always brings experts in and he says hire for their passion. Who has more passion and joy for what they do than expert consultants? They love what they do. And almost every millionaire you care to speak to will tell you that expert consultants fortify key points of their unique value proposition.
In fact, their presence within the value offer often makes it personalized and significant for their elite clients. It intensifies the value proposition and lifts the brand to a high plateau where it gets noticed by the right target audience.
The moral is that if you hire the top experts or those are incredibly productive, you stand a much better chance of becoming a millionaire yourself. A team of inhouse people is much ado about nothing. You hire mediocre talent and you get exactly what they are capable of producing. This is readily apparent to your clients and customers.
Go to your local retail store and ask the service reps something very specific about a product and you’ll get a blank stare and “I don’t know” response. That’s why I never go to the retail store. It’s more productive to go online and search for an expert in that brand or product — such as type of smartphone or automobile. The experts give you what you actually need and want. The service rep gives you vague answers you don’t feel confident with.
With high involvement purchases such as branding, SEO, Content Development, Social Media and conversion optimization, you need experts. Your business success is at stake. Please choose the wiser option.
The choice to choose in-house is an insecure one where you bounce back and forth between low-cost/vanity all day and time consuming micro-management. Lose the micro-management and low expectation mindset and get yourself optimized to be a market leader. That’s where the real fun and profit are.
- identify your key high profit generating tasks
- outsource to the best consultants your budget will allow
- look for topic and industry skills
- look for consultants with a passion for your industry
- don’t outsource just because you hate that task and want to get rid of it
- leverage the consultant further by refining the specific goals and strategies that are most vital because this is where you need to get involved — these are top priorities
- don’t get cheap or you’ll undermine achievement of key results
- work with the consultant – don’t just hand things over and say good luck!!
- meet with your consultant frequently and have questions that help you drill down to the most important activities and strategies
- improve your market visibility and conversion rates by setting up and pouring over analytics reports
- advertise only to pull in needed conversion data
- use SEO consultants and social media consultants – because of their long term value and the fact they are free — save your money
- hire consultants as needed
- hire one key consultant to almost become a partner with — this person is vital and you want to keep them away from competitors
- pick their brain and grow your expertise
I wish you all the best luck, whether you have an inhouse team, consultant, or some hybrid version of them. Your situation is unique and your solution will be as well. My final point is that long term – the expert consultant is the one who will take your business to the top.
So whether it’s human resources, marketing and branding, IT management, financial planning, or SEO and content, experts will not only generate it, but also ensure it helps you exist at a higher level for long term sustainability and profit.
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