Outsourcing Headlines – ITO, BPO, HRO, Healthcare…

Outsourcing Sales News3FORWARD’s Complimentary Weekly Bulletin of Outsourcing’s On-line Discussions and Updates.

Identify outsourcing sales triggers, connect with outsourcing industry leaders, spot trends and even chat with clients or prospects.  For outsourcing sales leaders, ITO sales, BPO sales, Analysts, Advisors and outsourcing consultants – these links are opportunities to engage your subject experts, showcase thought-leadership, link back to relevant blog posts and generate ideas for the future.

Industry-wide Outsourcing News

Steve Jobs was great – but Occupy Wall Street is right to criticise him for outsourcing manufacturing to China

Occupy Wall Street isn’t wrong about everything. Last Saturday, I visited the Los Angeles site to get a sense of how the revolution was going. It was a squalid affair: hundred of tents, bored teenagers waving signs, the hot air pungent with weed. I spoke with two protesters and had a lot of fun defending Capitalism/democracy/sobriety/religion/the benefits of soap. But then one of them suggested I take a look at what the free market is doing to American industry. “Google ‘Steve Jobs’ and ‘China’”, he said. I did, and I was disturbed by what I found.

How Vested Outsourcing partnerships can cut your total outsourcing costs

Securing pricing is a struggle for every manufacturer who enters into an outsourcing partnership. But is focusing on reducing part and service prices the best way to lower your total outsourcing costs? I recently spoke with Kate Vitasek, a faculty member at the Center for Executive Education at the University of Tennessee, and co-author of Vested Outsourcing: 5 Rules That Will Transform Outsourcing, about how a Vested Outsourcing approach can help manufacturers develop better outsourcing relationships, and cut outsourcing costs.

IT Outsourcing

IT outsourcing driving concentration of data centre hardware spending

The amount companies are due to spend on data centre hardware will reach $99 billion (£63 billion) by the end of the year, which could see additional capacity for handling IT outsourcing. New research published by Gartner has predicted that the market will expand by 12.7 per cent from 2010′s spending levels and reach $126.2 billion by 2015.

The 5 hottest IT Outsourcing Trends

As the global economy remains turbulent, corporate decisions-makers continue to remain laser-focused on cost containment and finding new ways of generating additional productivity and value to their organizations. As a result, these macro factors are shaping many of the current trends in IT outsourcing, though not all. Below are the key IT outsourcing trends that have emerged in 2011 and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Human Resource Outsourcing

Cost control in human resources

I work as Human Resource Manager of one medium-size organization engaged in drug distribution. Other than outsourcing, I’d like to discover other cost-cutting measures that can help us increase our net revenue. Please give me some ideas. – Trojan Horse

When non-HR professionals do HR work

We’ve all heard the clich© that, “to some extent, every manager is a human resources manager.” In many ways, I believe that’s truer today than ever before. Human resources management truly is a management function. Where there’s an HR department, line managers can be said to have delegated some of their responsibilities to HR.

Business Process Outsourcing

Here is The BPO Resource Center: breaking new ground in research, learning and debate

Today, we have launched  The BPO Resource Center that’s geared to become THE one-stop shop for anyone seeking to learn more about Business Process Outsourcing – without having to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege. In fact, you won’t have to pay anything. This is intended to be the site where buyers, providers, investors, advisors, analysts, academics and politicians can swing by to peruse content, download reports, get engaged in dialog or even contribute their own research.

Capgemini launches new supply chain services

Supply chain consulting company Capgemini launches three new Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services. The new services will provide clients with supply chain orchestration and optimisation to enable more efficient transaction processing and logistics management.

Procurement Outsourcing

Thought Leaders: Cable & Wireless CPO Charles Letizia – “Strategic Procurement Outsourcing” an oxymoron?

In the last decade or so we have seen a surge of outsourcing contracts in the procurement space. Most of these services are geared to offload most of the lower-value, reiterative activities that could free-up time for procurement executives to focus their time and their team efforts in higher value-add activities. After a few years of tribulations and adjustments, these days procurement outsourcing is living up to the hype and expectations particularly in indirect spend and supporting the procure-to-pay process.

Thought Leaders: A.T. Kearney’s Stephen Easton – is the ‘buy side’ helping the ‘sell side’ enough?

We often work with clients to help them select and negotiate with suppliers for complicated procurement activities. Some recent experiences of supplier behaviour and sales techniques have got me thinking: after over twenty years of strategic sourcing and the continued upgrading of procurement capability, one would have thought that sales functions would now be well versed in how to approach tender / RFP processes in a way that showcases their organisation in the most effective light.

Cloud Computing

How I Learned to Stop Whining and Embrace the Cloud

A friend asked me yesterday if we should be more worried than we are now about the prudence of entrusting so much of our personal data, our business assets, and to some degree our livelihoods to “the cloud.” My immediate answer (I always keep immediate answers on hand) is that cloud architecture is nothing to be feared. In fact, the more we understand cloud architecture, the more we may be able to apply it to solving some serious, fundamental architectural issues that face us this moment — as demonstrated by this week’s colossal failure of non-cloud architecture, the BlackBerry e-mail outage.

Protecting Yourself in the Cloud: Seven Tips for Building a More Customer-Friendly Cloud Computing Contract

The cloud computing business model is one based on conformity. In exchange for that largely standard approach to technical delivery and service levels, customers can gain access to cost-effective solutions for everything from desktop support to infrastructure to business applications with minimal capital investment or ongoing management. “The vast majority of providers will leverage a common set of terms and service level agreements (SLAs) across all of their clients,” explains Rick Sizemore, director of the cloud computing practice at outsourcing consultancy Alsbridge. “This is one of the ways the provider can dramatically lower their cost model to deliver services.”

Is Cloud Computing too big to fail?

Liability - it’s a word you don’t hear in most cloud discussions, but you might want to start introducing the topic. In the cloud world, questions of who’s liable for business failures and how much compensation can be expected are often overlooked. So, how do you know if you’re covered or not? The issue is concentration risk and stacked liability. What if one cloud provider got so many big companies (or companies in an industry) and then failed? Could this affect us all? Could it affect the economy? Could a cloud provider become “too big to fail?”

The Threat Cloud Computing Providers Pose to Corporate IT

People underestimate how much cloud providers present a challenge to IT as it’s practiced today in most organizations. A couple of news stories brought home this point. They illustrate the existential threat that cloud computing and its practices present to corporate IT groups. The first item that came across my desk was a blog entry about AOL and how it has built a completely unmanned data center. The writer noted that he came to AOL relatively recently and was tasked with streamlining its data centers. He says, “It was during this process that I came to realize that our particular legacy challenge, while at ‘Internet’ scale, was more closely related to the challenges of most corporate or government environments than the biggest Internet players.”

How Cloud Computing Helped Netflix Emerge as a Streaming Media Powerhouse

Netflix may be getting a lot of bad press in recent times due to its management’s ill-advised decision to raise subscription rates by almost 50% resulting in widespread customer dissatisfaction and a groveling apology by CEO Reed Hastings, but it was not long ago that it was considered the epitome of home entertainment. Netflix is another new-age company that owes its success to cloud computing, the same way that Zynga, the creators of Facebook game sensation Farmville, does (See: Zynga, the Latest Cloud Computing Success). And not surprisingly, for both of them, the cloud provider of choice is Amazon, perhaps the earliest player in the game.

Healthcare & Outsourcing

Outsourcing Health Benefits Grows More Popular

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s prime objective is to give more Americans access to healthcare. What it may also be doing is fueling a spike in the growth of benefits-administration outsourcing, as employers seek help in navigating recent, and ongoing, healthcare-reform measures. According to a recent report by Everest Group, a Dallas-based advisory research firm, the global BAO market is growing at a rate of 12.5 percent this year and has crossed the $5-billion mark.

Globalization of the Health Care Market

In 2007, Steve Lash, an alumni of USD’s MBA program, read an article in Time magazine called “Outsourcing Your Heart,” about the rise of medical tourism. A year and several articles later, Lash was inspired to launch Satori World Medical, a company that combines medical care with international travel. Satori has what Lash calls their “world headquarters” here in San Diego. Last Thursday, Lash presented his talk “Medical Travel: Globalization of Health Care Market” at USD as part of the Ahler Center’s International Business Speakers Series. Over lunch, undergraduates, graduates and faculty joined Lash as the President and CEO of Satori spoke about this expanding industry. With a resum© including 25 years of experience in health care, this worldly entrepreneur proves that his unique business model is thriving.

Legal Processing Outsourcing

Lawyers Paying $50-90m Too Much For LPO Services

Buyers of Legal Process Outsourcing services are at risk from paying above-market prices. The lack of benchmark data is costing the legal profession $50-90m a year, The LPO Program announced today. Even prices for transactional legal services can vary by up to 48% between suppliers.

Call Center Outsourcing

Are Companies Moving Their Call Center Outsourcing Operations Away from India?

When some people first hear the term call center outsourcing, they automatically picture a facility abroad (typically in India) where locals are answering phones all hours of the day, boasting fake Americanized names and reading from a script.

TMCnet Call Center Outsourcing Week in Review

Welcome to the end of the week, and another wrap-up of all the news that’s fit to print in the world of call center outsourcing. TMCnet’s Linda Dobel wrote this week that it’s possible, although highly unlikely that outsourcing your call center sales and service could do irreparable damage to your company’s brand. You were thinking that already, weren’t you? Of course, you’ve heard the stories; it happens sometimes when call center work is sent to companies that don’t pay attention to quality issues, whether it’s off-shore or domestically.

(3FORWARD does not endorse, support, seek nor receive funds from any of these sites, companies or individuals.   We take all efforts to ensure quality destinations, however as these are sites completely independent of 3FORWARD we are not responsible for their content or any other visible or technical elements present on these locations.)

Are Sales Rainmakers Made or Born?

As sales leaders we all want more Rainmakers on our team.  Successful sales people share key traits and attributes, the question is do we go find them or can we make them? The answer is complicated because individual DNA drives some of the attributes of Rainmakers while other critical skills can be taught or acquired over time.

A study by the Harvard Business School several years ago indicated that there is a common set of attributes shared by the majority of highly effective sales people.  At first glance they seem to make complete sense but some hiring managers miss some of the most critical components during the interview process. As you can see, many individuals have exhibited these traits since childhood while others have acquired skills by studying their performance and looking for ways to develop the needed techniques.

Can You Train Reps to Become Rainmakers

As a hiring manger you need to be able to quickly assess strengths and weaknesses to determine individual investment requirements.  Below are top attributes from the study which hiring managers should look for in new candidates.

  • Take personal responsibility for results
  • Ability to empathize with prospects and their issues
  • Posses above average ambition and willpower
  • Intensely goal oriented
  • Ego stamina (staying with the sales process to the end)

Additional attributes that a top salesperson may possess are listed in the article, What Makes a Great Salesperson? Links Between Our Heritage and the Future, by Sardar and Patton (2002) and many of these traits still hold true today.

  • Job commitment
  • Strategic orientation
  • Intellect
  • Mental alertness
  • Sociability
  • Authoritative
  • Dependability
  • Persistence
  • Courage
  • Ability to improvise
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Forcefulness
  • Tenacity
  • Straightforwardness

Remember, even if an individual possesses some or all of the above traits selling may not be come naturally to them. Fortunately selling is a process and can be taught to a willing student.  Highly effective sales organizations have well defined sales processes and expect their sales people to follow those processes religiously.

With a modest amount of the requisite core skill outlined above anyone can be a top producer, and by practicing on skills improvement may one day attain Rainmaker status.  Get rid of the blue suede; attract and develop your own Rainmakers.

Just the (Sales) Facts Ma’am

Remember the 60′s TV show Dragnet? The term “dragnet” refers to a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects, and Dragnet was undoubtedly the most influential police procedural drama in media history. It showed the American public that the science of law enforcement was a defined process. Selling is similar to law enforcement in that it also requires that a process be followed for a successful outcome.

Remember terse Joe Friday, and the infamous statement, “Just the facts ma’am“? As a sales or marketing leader do you know the right facts and have you checked them lately?  Assuming you have a competitive product/service and you are focused on the right markets/targets you should begin your fact checking exercise in two key areas, process and people.

Are you still directing your sales and marketing teams that way you did 10 or even 5 years ago?

If that answer is yes you have likely been losing market share and existing customers to competitors that have aligned their selling efforts to the new buying model.  A recent study of buyers by the Corporate Executive Board indicated that 60% of the buying process decision is complete before a sales person is ever contacted by a prospect.

This means that your marketing organization must find ways to have meaningful dialogues with buyers before sales is engaged.  It also means that marketing must invest and build messages/content that can be used to engage in these dialogues – not just push ‘sales’ messages.  Marketing plays a pivotal role in putting qualified leads in the hands of your sale people, empower them with the responsibility, tools and processes to get the job done.

As your marketing engine begins to produce qualified leads is your sale team capable of taking those leads and producing the sales ROI needed?  Selling is no longer just a Rolodex and cold calling environment, if you have sales dinosaurs that have clung to the methods of the past and can’t seem to embrace the reality of the new selling model you should strongly consider replacing them.  That may seem harsh advice but the health and welfare of your company and all the employees depends on your sales team making their sales number on a consistent basis.  A good 4-step approach is the following:

  • Review all reps performance over the last two years to determine if individual performance is improving or declining
  • Stack rank reps into 3 categories A, B, C
    • A = top 30%
    • B=middle 40%
    • C=bottom 30%
  • Determine if additional training will improve you C players.  If you conclude training will not help C players begin exiting them.
  • Continually recruit A level talent for planned and unplanned sales rep attrition

One of the most common mistakes we see committed by senior sales and marketing executives is to try to use point solutions to bridge gaps in their sales teams and marketing processes.  They often can’t be bothered to spend the time needed to understand the fundamental issues keeping them from achieving individual and company goals.

Make time on your calendar and ask, “Just the facts ma’am”!

Outsourcing Headlines – Healthcare, ITO, BPO, Cloud…

Outsourcing Sales News3FORWARD’s Complimentary Weekly Bulletin of Outsourcing’s On-line Discussions and Updates.

Identify outsourcing sales triggers, connect with outsourcing industry leaders, spot trends and even chat with clients or prospects.  For outsourcing sales leaders, ITO sales, BPO sales, Analysts, Advisors and outsourcing consultants – these links are opportunities to engage your subject experts, showcase thought-leadership, link back to relevant blog posts and generate ideas for the future.

Industry-wide Outsourcing News

Clouds Vs. Outsourcing: The Next Battleground

IBM, HP, and other established vendors entering cloud computing are often already outsourcing partners to the firms that are now frequently looking for an infrastructure service provider. But that doesn’t mean they have an inside track on the business. They do not. Established vendors are going to face stiff competition for outsourcing business from the new infrastructure providers: Amazon, Rackspace, and others, according to a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Outsourcing fatigue: Why CIOs have gone from fans to fed up

Outsourcing has long been a standard component of business strategy, a popular choice for firms keen to get rid of tech infrastructure that provides little competitive advantage. The idea is that outsourcers – with their scale and greater experience – can deliver IT as a service more efficiently and cheaply than their customers ever could through having their own IT staff. Add in offshore support and the cost savings really start to pile up, so the argument goes.

Outsourcing:The loss of knowledge

The last Post-Trade Forum debate was all about the pros and cons of outsourcing v internalisation. A cross industry panel of outsourcing experts debated with an audience of equal experts and thrashed the topic to arrive at some really interesting conclusions and observations. Not least was operational memory loss. This knowledge can be expensive to replace, if at all and the Post-Trade Forum were unanimous that this concern must be addressed before any decision to outsource is made.

Outsourcing ‘does not aid services’

Most public sector managers say they outsource work to save money, with few believing it leads to improved services, a study shows. A survey of 100 human resources directors from government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and police forces revealed worries that outsourcing services to private firms would lead to a loss of expertise in the public sector. The research, by jobs website Totaljobs.com, found that almost two-thirds of managers believed outsourcing would cut costs, while only one in four said it would deliver better quality services.

Pudong pursues potential in outsourcing

The Pudong New Area in Shanghai aims to boost the outsourcing industry by attracting 500 outsourcing companies with 130,000 employees in the next three years. By the end of last year, Pudong had more than 300 outsourcers with 70,000 employees. The district plans to help three to five outsourcing companies based there to go public within three years as it builds outsourcing capacity.

Outsourcing World Summit Brings Together Thought Leaders in Multiple Industries Including Call Center

The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) has just released details about the 15th annual Outsourcing World Summit, an upcoming event that will bring together hundreds of outsourcing leaders from around the world including with the call center industry. The annual event is scheduled to be held from Feb. 20-22, 2012, at Disney’s (NewsAlert) Contemporary Resort & Conference Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

IT Outsourcing

IT outsourcing spend up on last year already

The first nine months of the year saw the retail, telecommunications, manufacturing and media sectors increase their spending on IT outsourcing. Figures published by the information service TPI show that outsourcing investment in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) has already exceeded levels set in the same time last year.

Popularity of outsourced IT ‘is on the rise’

More firms are said to be turning to outsourced IT as a way to make savings and improve efficiency in their day-to-day operations. Martyn Hart, chairman of the National Outsourcing Association, told Computerweekly.com that the rise in popularity is largely the result of retailers turning to the process.

Study reveals sectors boosting investment in IT outsourcing

Meanwhile, the financial services sector, which accounted for about a third of total spending last year, has slowed its spending on outsourced IT services. After the first three quarters of 2011, the sector’s spending is just under half (48%) of its total for 2010. The latest figures from sourcing advisory TPI showed.

Now hiring: companies move away from outsourcing to control their IT destiny

With all the talk about companies becoming more “agile” and outsourcing their IT operations to service providers, there’s an interesting counter-trend starting to develop. While technology companies appear to be holding off on hiring because of economic fears, companies in sectors like healthcare and retail are moving to build their IT teams, in some cases reversing course on a strategy of outsourcing as much of their IT operations as possible.

Human Resource Outsourcing

The Market is Smarter than You Think

A group is trying to launch a survey to compete with the HRO Today RPO Bakers Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey. Our webmaster was checking on something with the web site for the RPO summit and received a number of automated RPO offers and one was for myrpobakersdozen.net. It seems someone just bought www.rpobakersdozen.com.

IBM signs $80m HR outsourcing deal

IBM’s expansion in the HR outsourcing market continued as the company inked a deal worth $80 million to provide a range of human resources services for Canadian flag carrier Air Canada, reports Information Week. Under the agreement, IBM will provide the airline with systems and administrative support for employee travel, benefits, payroll, time management, data management and other functions. IBM will also provide application support for Air Canada’s underlying HR systems.

Business Process Outsourcing

Phillippines tagged as the “rock” of global BPO industry

Citing the way Filipinos deliver their services through call centers and outsourcing firms in the country, the Philippines today was tagged as the “rock” of the global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

“If before we call the Philippines as an important key in the field of outsourcing, we call it today as the rock of the global BPO industry,” said Martin Noel Conboy, president of the Australian BPO Association (ABPOA), during this afternoon’s press conference of the 3rd Annual International Outsourcing Summit (IOS) at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel.

BPO Going the Rural Way!

Business process outsourcing (BPO) is an industry that people relate with the operation of outsourcing business mostly based in tier-1 and -2 cities of the country. However this thought has been rendered as a mythical view in the recent times. Rural BPO is not a new phenomenon anymore. From Bihar to Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, we are having enough examples of rural outsourcing initiatives run by different companies and authorities in India now. A growing number of outsourcing companies are shifting simple typing, data mining, or documentation kind of jobs from metros and tech hubs to poor rural areas. This move is creating many jobs at a fraction of the cost of running a business in a big city.

Bills to make BPO sector more attractive pushed

The House of Representatives is working on the passage of bills that will make the country’s business process outsourcing sector even more attractive to potential investors. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. related that the Data Privacy Act, one of the measures that the information technology and BPO sectors have been pushing for years, had been approved on third reading. Due to the nature of the BPO industry, which usually involves the handling of sensitive data, having a law that actually protected companies from data breaches was very important.

Cloud Computing

See what Martin Conboy had to say about the future direction of the BPO industry

(Video) Martin Conboy, president of the Australian BPO Association (ABPOA), was a guest speaker at the “Emerging Markets: What’s in Store for these IT-BPO Centers?” plenary at the International Outsourcing Summit (IOS) 2011.

Six Reasons to Use Cloud Services for Small Business

Outsourcing IT functions such as payroll, website hosting, email, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) has long been normal for businesses of all sizes. But outsourcing critical IT functions including database servers, file servers, document storage, or application development, gives many organizations pause. Many experienced IT admins point to recent well-publicized outages, data losses, and hacking incidents that have cost companies big in lost productivity, lawsuits or penalties, and even leading to bankruptcy.

Can there ever really be privacy in the cloud?

It’s a great time to be a cloud consumer. Now you can access all of your digital information – when and wherever you want – across a variety of cloud compatible gadgets (iPadKindle, etc.). You can store your music collection in iCloud, you can share work and personal documents over Box.net, and you can do your expenses on Expensify – the list only goes on. Despite its convenience, you must consider the cloud’s privacy implications. Who owns your personal information once you’ve uploaded it? Does the cloud provider have any rights to your data once it’s uploaded to the server?

Healthcare & Outsourcing

Outsourcing and the Pharmaceutical Industry

“From managing large scale R&D projects – testing product safety, monitoring reports, clinical data management and clinical development activities – and from supply chain networks to even leading on customer service, outsourcing has become an integral part of the way large, multinational pharmaceutical companies are run,” says Sanjiv Gossain, Cognizant Senior Vice President and head of UK & Ireland.

HIMOAP promotes Philippines as top healthcare outsourcing destination

The HealthcareInformation Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) is setting new heights in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) arena in the world today. As the leading markets – United States, Canada, Europe – pose for a growing healthcare information management (HIM) sector, the Philippines is poised to be the emerging and leading destination for various outsourcing in healthinformation management.

US healthcare regulation, technology advancements spell boom for outsourcing

Advancements in healthcare technology, apart from improvement of quality of care, are almost always associated with cost cutting. The US has the highest spending on healthcare in the world, at over 17% of its gdp. It is likely to reach $4 trillion by 2015. Steps aimed at reducing costs include mandatory implementation of emr/ehr, maintenance of minimum medical loss ratios for hospitals, and an overall emphasis on cost effectiveness. Many healthcare organizations use some form of outsourcing, offshoring or a mix of both.

Legal Processing Outsourcing

Conversation with David Morley, Senior Partner, Allen & Overy

Below is the conversation Pallavi Sawhney had with David Morley on varied issues ranging from Allen & Overy’s experience in assisting India related cross border transactions, structure of Allen & Overy’s India team, views of foreign clients on investing in India, his thoughts on Legal Process Outsourcing and his views on liberalization and entry of foreign law firms.

What Tasks–at Work or Home–Would You Outsource, If You Could? And What Would You Never Outsource?

Earlier this month, we saw a post at the blog Spend Matters on legal process outsourcing titled: “Outsourcing the Right Things for the Right Reasons.” The post discussed different imperatives a corporate law department might have for seeking to send work out: from reducing costs, to improving performance or competitiveness, to being able to provide new, previously unaffordable services to clients.

US law firm comes calling

The son of refugees who came to Chennai from Pakistan during the Partition, for Jagdesh B. Kirpalani, it has been quite a journey to his present position as Attorney at Law at the American firm Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, Alabama. In 2006 the firm decided to focus on India, and his job is to find Indian companies that want to enter the US market. “We tell companies how to open a market in the US for their products and get the right partners to grow their business. As they grow, we grow with them.” The firm had done an acquisition deal for Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals; it has 14 clients in India including the Shriram Group.

Contact Center Outsourcing

Contact Center Outsourcing Takes a New Turn

The reign of India as the leader of the outsourced call center operation has ended as salaries soared and the average cost of contact center outsourcing climbed too high to justify the destination. Now, even Indian businesses are moving to a contact center outsourcing strategy to take advantage of lower costs abroad.

(3FORWARD does not endorse, support, seek nor receive funds from any of these sites, companies or individuals.   We take all efforts to ensure quality destinations, however as these are sites completely independent of 3FORWARD we are not responsible for their content or any other visible or technical elements present on these locations.)

Marketing ROI – Is Your Firm Best In Class??

What Is Your Marketing ROISales Pipeline Should be the Primary Marketing Metric

Let’s play some word association; when you hear the word marketing what comes to mind? Most people would say brand, promotion, price, or place. Rarely would you hear the words sales pipeline, but according to a recent Aberdeen Group report titled Analytics for the CMO sales pipeline should be the primary marketing metric to measure.

The report did a really deep dive on the enablers and performance drivers of effective marketing organizations.  Using their standard Maturity Class Framework methodology, Aberdeen categorized firms as Best in Class (top 20%), Industry Average (middle 50%), and Laggards (bottom 20%).  Aberdeen then determined 3 key criteria to measure the contribution of the marketing organization to the sales effort:

1. Sales pipeline

2. Sales lift

3. Customer retention.

The results speak for themselves.

The contribution of the marketing organization to the sales pipeline
Best in Class 60%
Industry Average 10%
Laggards 3%
Year over year improvement in sales lift.
Best in Class 62%
Industry Average 29%
Laggard 3.2%
Year over year increase in customer retention rates.
Best in Class 9.5%
Industry Average 2.1%
Laggard -3.2%

Two major enablers that go hand in hand are web tracking/analytics and marketing content management.  86% of Best in Class companies have implemented web-tracking tools and 82% have invested in web analytics.  Compare that statistic to laggard companies. Only 68% of Laggard companies utilize web tracking and only 58% identified that they use web analytics.  Companies invest thousand or perhaps hundreds of thousands in web properties but many still have no clue specifically who is coming to their site and what their interests are.  Without analytics and tracking measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs it is impossible to know that information, which means many dollars are wasted.

True marketing effectiveness is not just about the quantity of sales leads delivered by marketing but more importantly the quality of the leads is critical too. Leads are only valuable when they can ultimately convert into new customers and higher sales. Moving from Industry Average or Laggard position requires investment and research. Take the time to learn the new rules of marketing and maximize your marketing dollars. Your sales growth depends on it!

Consider 3FORWARD’s Lead Optimization Review if you have questions on how to generate more qualified leads for your sales people.

Increase Your Sales Effectiveness With Sales Training

How Does Your Firm’s Sales Training Measure Up?

The Aberdeen Group’s Sales Training 2011 makes a compelling case for building a sales training process that trains everyone in a selling role. Based on a recent survey of 970 companies they measured the impact of training on sales effectiveness and the results speak for themselves!  Companies that trained their teams in training processes had more reps make quota, larger year over year increases in deal size, and better lead conversion rates.

Aberdeen suggests that there are 3 key areas critical to training success.

  • Establish a sales process
  • Invest in knowledge management tool
  • Implement enabling tools/technologies.

Sales Process

Best in class companies have established sales methodologies that define who the sales rep calls and on how prospects are moved thought the selling funnel. These methodologies can be internally developed or adopted from one of the many external providers. Establishing sales benchmarks that can be used to assess sales competencies and competency gaps is also critical.  Lastly, consider investing in a formal “train the trainer” program to ensure that first line mangers have the skills needed to further develop their sales team.

Knowledge Management

Another attribute of high performing selling team is that they have invested in centralized knowledge management tools that allow for easier sharing of sales best practices.  Tools such as sales playbooks, phone scripts, and current product information are some examples. Knowledge centralization allows the sales team to access the latest information quickly as well as have the ability to share the sales wisdom of top producing reps.

Technology and Tools

Since selling is a process it makes sense to employ technology and tools to make the process faster while also increasing selling efficiency.  Best in Class and even Industry Average companies have made significant investments in the 5 key technology enablers that were cited in the study.

  • CRM/SFA integration of call planning and selling milestones
  • Customized sales playbooks
  • Virtual or on demand learning
  • Learning management systems
  • Internal social; collaboration tools

As our economy continues to sputter along, finding ways to keep and grow your top line is a key imperative.  If your firm has flat to declining revenues consider investing in sale training as one of the means of improving individual and team sales performance. In the long run it will be less expensive than the cost of continuously replacing sales people.

Want help finding the right sales training company?

We have relationships with many of the best ones and would be glad to offer recommendations and introductions.  Contact us and let us know how we can help.



Who Should Be First In Line for Sales Training?

sales training is a processWho Should We Train?

Earlier this week we wrote a post titled Aberdeen Study Proves Sales Training is a Best Practice.  It’s based on a recently released study proving the direct correlation between sales training and quota attainment, deal size and lead conversion rates. It’s obvious based on this study’s results that investing in sales training pays off in a tangible way.

The next question to ask is what type of training should we provide and who in the sales process should be trained?

The Aberdeen study showed that best of class companies share several common training characteristics.

  • Over 90% of surveyed companies indicated that instructor led training was the most effective
  • 85% of companies have defined training and competencies for each sales role. (No one size fits all mentality)
  • 83% use a formal sales methodology that has been developed in-house or acquired from an external provider/consultant

Since training needs vary by sales role, who should be trained first?  Our recommendation is to start with your front line mangers that directly support your sales teams. This approach allows you to quickly leverage your investment and set the stage for follow up training with individual sales people, sales support, and account management.

Best in class companies train their sales teams on several selling disciplines, not just “product and price.” By improving important selling skill like sales strategy and coaching techniques, sales mangers and reps alike can bring their “A” game to their customer.

Per the study, best in class companies focus their sales training on 6 specialized areas to improve overall selling effectiveness.

  • Coaching skills
  • Product and pricing
  • General management training
  • Planning and sales strategy
  • Selling Skills
  • Hiring and recruiting

Sales training is a combination of strategy, process and enabling technologies. Our next post focuses on the components critical to effective sales training and the required activities that are part of the process.

Aberdeen Study Proves Sales Training is a Best Practice

Sales Training MattersFight for that Sales Training Budget!

2012 sales planning is entering the final approval stage for many of the companies we work with. One recurring theme we are hearing is that CFO’s are asking their sales leader to find ways to reduce expense where they can.  If this is happening in your company where can you reduce expense without impacting sales results?

The most obvious expense categories to consider cutting include variable compensation, sales support, travel, and sales training. If you think like many CSO’s, reducing commissions, restricting travel, and reducing sales support are a sure fire way to miss the plan. That leaves the training budget as the only possible option. If you feel cutting sales training is your best option you may want to reconsider that conclusion based on a recent study by Aberdeen Group.

Aberdeen Group released their Sales Training 2011 report just a few days ago and the results show that sales training is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Between July and October of 2011 Aberdeen surveyed 970 organizations to assess the adoption and impact of sales training.  Of those surveyed 707 or over 73% indicated that they currently utilize some type of sales training to increase sales rep efficiency.  Using their Maturity Class Framework methodology Aberdeen was able to distinguish Best in Class (top 20%) from Industry Average (middle 50%) and Laggard Organizations (bottom 30%).

The study reviewed three standard sales metrics to determine the categories and best-in-class companies excelled in every category!

Percentage of reps achieving annual quota
Best 87%
Average 49%
Laggard 4%
Year over year increase in deal size
Best 9.5%
Average 2.2%
Laggard 1.8%
Year over year increase in lead conversion rate on sales accepted lead to close
Best 4.5%
Average 1.1%
Laggard -2.4%

These statistics show that sales training is not a luxury; it’s a necessity! By ensuring your sales organization maintains an adequate training budget and effective sales training program you can transform your sales team from average to superstar status.

Our next few posts on this this topic will further explore the characteristics and attributes of best-in-class companies, including the role of sales training in developing your first line sales managers.

Why Hiring Sales Leaders is Tougher Than Filling Other Leadership Positions

Hiring a Sales LeaderYou are CEO or President of your company and you find yourself needing to hire a new Chief Sales Officer.  Maybe it’s because you have grown to the point where you can no longer manage sales along with your other responsibilities, or maybe you are replacing your current sales leader.  Either way, do you know what you are looking for in your ideal sales leader candidate?

How Did Your Sales Leader Candidate End Up in Sales?

It’s a far more interesting question than it might seem on the surface.   3FORWARD conducted an unscientific survey on the formal educational backgrounds of 100 sales leaders running B2B selling organizations.   We looked at our own LinkedIn group, Sales Readiness, as well as a couple other LinkedIn groups to balance it out.   Within those groups we examined the college degrees for anyone in a sales leadership role.   We found lots of the business degrees you would expect, like marketing, business administration, and even finance and economics.  We found a few degrees you wouldn’t expect like psychology, anthropology and physics.  Guess what?!

Not one Sales Leader had a degree in sales management! Even among those listing an MBA, none indicated a sales focus or specialization. (Yes, those degrees exist.  Many premier business schools offer graduate programs in sales management; several also offer undergrad level sales management tracks.)  So what’s a CEO looking to hire their next sales leader to use as a starting benchmark for candidates if so few have university level credentials backing up their career decision?

CEOs, ask these questions during your sales leader interviews.

  • How and why did you first get into sales?
  • When did you transition into sales management?
  • Where did you develop and formalize your sales leadership credentials?
  • And how do you maintain current best-practices expertise in your position?

The sales management profession has long been considered one based more on art and feel than time-tested management standards and formal credentials.   Traits and characteristics such as a warm personality, openness and approachability, even personal appearance and athleticism seemed to count as much as management and leadership credentials.   The sales and sales management role has changed so much in the last five years however, that those old sales manager stereotypes matter less than ever.

Experience You Want to See in a Sales Leader

Sales success today requires a much more systematic, process driven approach than ever before and chief sales officers must reflect that change in their skills and experience.  Sales leaders must ensure their sales team, their selling process and all the ways they engage with prospects is built for today’s Google-driven buying process.  (A recent study shows B2B buyers have covered 60% of the buying process on their own before they ever need to hear from a sales rep). Sales leaders need to be aligned with their marketing counterpart on lead creation and also versed in their company’s SEO and content marketing initiatives.   They need to be data and metrics savvy and still fully capable of engaging with their field reps and best prospects and customers at a personal level.

These are the experiences and qualities you need to find in your next sales leader.  Accepting anything less will likely mean another stretch of disappointing sales results.

If you are a CEO or company leader and you would like to have a confidential discussion about your current sales leader – or get suggestions on starting your search for a new one – we are glad to talk.  Sign up for our SALES READY Review and we can help you sort through your options.

Outsourcing Headlines – ITO, BPO, HRO, Healthcare, more

Outsourcing Sales News3FORWARD’s Complimentary Weekly Update of Outsourcing’s On-line Discussions and Updates.

Identify outsourcing sales triggers, connect with outsourcing industry leaders, spot trends and even chat with clients or prospects.  For outsourcing sales leaders, ITO sales, BPO sales, Analysts, Advisors and outsourcing consultants – these links are opportunities to engage your subject experts, showcase thought-leadership, link back to relevant blog posts and generate ideas for the future.

Industry-wide Outsourcing News

How Did the Robot End Up With My Job?

The term “outsourcing” is out of date. There is no more “out” anymore. Firms can and will seek the best leaders and talent to achieve their goals anywhere in the world. Dov Seidman, is the C.E.O. of LRN, a firm that helps businesses develop principled corporate cultures, and the author of “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything.” He describes the mind-set of many C.E.O.’s he works with: “I run a global company with a global mission and one set of shared values in pursuit of global objectives. My employees are all over the world — more than half outside the U.S. — and more than half of my revenues and my plans for growth are out there, too. So you tell me: What is out and what is in anymore?”

Is the China Outsourcing Model in Trouble?

A number of articles lately have focused on the economic sustainability of the outsourcing model in China.  The articles in many ways are simply the same as others that have popped up in the past. With one exception. In the past, when the question of China’s outsourcing model being asked, it was nearly always framed as China being too expensive for firms, which would force firms to look elsewhere (in Asia) for low labor costs.  At the time, early 2008,the economies of the world were still largely “stable” above water, and consumerism as we knew it then seemed to have no end.  So, there was no question that demand would increase.  It was a “China” problem.

10 Steps To Successful Outsourcing

Outsourcing leaves many small business owners thinking, “if you want something done well, you have to do it yourself.” Not true…as long as you outsource the right way. In 2007, outsourcing seemed to be the thing to do. (Thanks in large part to Timothy Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Work Week.) After all, what business owner or manager wouldn’t like the idea of giving all the tasks they despise to someone else?

IT Outsourcing

IT Outsourcing: Study Ranks Best Nearshore Locations for U.S. Customers

A new quarterly ranking of Latin American countries rates Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and Argentina among the best locations for near-shore outsourcing.

Nadhan’s Top 5 Cloud Computing aftershocks in the world of IT Outsourcing

Disruptive innovation is infiltrating the traditional world of IT outsourcing and customers have several options that they did not have before. Outsourcing providers who plan to “sit back, relax and enjoy the ride” — or so, they thought — must get up and be ready to compete with renewed vigor. Cost is no longer a differentiator because it is being diluted by the onset of cloud computing-based options.

A couple of lessons from Mr. Jobs for IT service providers

I did not plan to ride on the Steve Jobs bandwagon today (Rest in peace, Mr Jobs), but his ghost is hovering, and everyone I’ve talked to today has brought up his early passing. The more I’ve thought about it, I realize he leaves a couple lessons that can be put to good use in the IT sourcing business. I met Mr. Jobs once, back in the forgotten days when he was promoting the remarkable but sort-of-doomed Next machine.

IT Outsourcing Survey: Provider Profits Shrink, Growth Slows in India

IT outsourcing providers heavily invested in India could be caught flat footed as growth moves to other countries and competition heats up for both commodity and innovation work, according to Duke University’s annual offshoring survey.

Affirmative Action

A Chinese IT outsourcing company that has started hiring new U.S. computer science graduates to work in Shanghai requires prospective job candidates to demonstrate an IQ of 125 or above on a test it administers to sort out job applicants. In doing so, Bleum Inc. is following a hiring practice it applies to college recruits in China. But a new Chinese college graduate must score an IQ of 140 on the company’s test.

Human Resource Outsourcing

Decision-making Insights for Companies Outsourcing HR Functions

HR outsourcing went through a shake-out over the past two years due to the continual issues around scope and other challenges that buyers and service providers encountered over the past decade. The dust has settled from the revamping efforts, but there are new challenges on the horizon. Here’s what your company needs to know for decisions in HR outsourcing through the next five years.

The future of recruitment outsourcing

Is it better to keep your recruitment in-house or to outsource to an expert third-party? As UK head of a major professional recruitment company you might think my answer would be obvious – promoting recruitment outsourcing is what I do.

Business Process Outsourcing

Phillippines tagged as “rock” of global IT-BPO industry

Citing the way Filipinos deliver their services through call centers and outsourcing firms in the country, the Philippines today was tagged as “rock” of the global IT and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry.

BPO Revenues Seen Reaching $25B In 2016 As Growth Accelerates

The business process outsourcing sector expects to hit its accelerated growth target of 25 percent or $25 billion export revenues by 2016 instead of a best case scenario of 15 percent growth or $20 billion five years from now. Alfredo Ayala, chairman of the BPAP (BPO Association of the Philippines), said in a speech at the International Outsourcing Summit that if government and the private sector jointly implement enhancement measures the accelerated case scenario is likely to be achieved.

Outsourcing deal will “sustain employment”, says Civica

Local government business process outsourcing provider Civica is to build a new “centre of excellence” for tax collection and benefits administration in the city of Gloucester, as part of a new outsourcing agreement with the local council. Civica already supplies Gloucester City Council with IT equipment and services to support tax collection and benefits administration. The council spent over £70,000 with Civica in March, according to its open data portal.

Procurement Outsourcing

Thought leaders: Kate Vitasek on Governance in Outsourcing, part 1

When I ask people how their governance is for their outsourcing agreement I often get a blank stare. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because legal scholars have called out the fact that managing supplier agreements is woefully lacking. It is for this reason I wanted to devote the next few thought leaders columns to the topic of governance. For starters, let’s define what it means to have good outsource agreement governance. For this the University of Tennessee teamed with thought leaders at the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) and the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) to define (and think) about agreement governance in a new, more relevant way–one that not only embraces good management practices, but that also encourages deeper collaboration with service providers.

Cloud Computing

Don’t Get Burned: 4 Steps To A Cloud SLA

(Registration required) For IT teams that like control, the “black box” cloud model, where customers implicitly give up the right to direct how and when most tasks are performed, can be stressful. The remedy: robust service-level agreements tailored to the as-a-service paradigm. The problem is that not all service providers agree.

Can Cloud Really Replace Offshore Outsourcing?

The cloud is changing much about how IT is done. But has it changed or possibly even eliminated the need for offshore outsourcing? In the short term, the answer is no. That’s mostly because the cloud is not yet in full play. However, given the current momentum behind the cloud, change is inevitable and the impact on offshore outsourcing is unavoidable.

IBM Buys Platform Computing

IBM is buying HPC pioneer Platform Computing for its cluster, grid and cloud management software.

Terms were not disclosed. The privately held Canadian company, now almost 20 years old, is thought to have revenues of around $70 million-a-year. It claims 2,000 customers including 23 of the Global 30. IBM said it considered the acquisition “a strategic element for the transformation of HPC into the high-growth segment of technical computing and an important part of our smarter computing strategy.”

Consumer Cloud Computing

With its iCloud announcements, Apple set the consumer cloud market on fire. Clearly it is the runaway leader in the area of “contextual unified integrated services.” But will the first-mover advantage last, and for how long? Amazon, Google and Microsoft are all active in the consumer space and have big plans to expand. Their “contextual unified integrated service” is not as explicit as Apple’s iCloud. But those companies have advantages of their own, especially in openness.

The three key trends shaping cloud computing

We examine the three dominant themes that are beginning to define the speed and trajectory of cloud computing: A – the shift from confrontation to collaboration between central IT and cloud vendors, B – the increasing complexity of cloud migration options and strategies and their impact on virtualization, and C – the dramatically rising focus on cloud security and management issues by both central IT as well as the LOB buyers of cloud services.

Healthcare & Outsourcing

More physicians partnering with outsourcing companies

Many physicians find that receiving the correct reimbursement (from the first billing submission for services rendered) to be a challenge, which is why many choose to work with companies that specialize in providing outsourced physician services. According to the American Medical Association, “the nation’s top three payors adhere to paying contracted payment rates only 68% of the time,” as reported in “MDNews.com.”

View from New York: India reshaping pharmaceutical manufacturing

India is rising. The country is on a fast-track to replace Japan as the world’s third-largest economy by 2020, outrank China in population by 2032 and the U.S. in English speakers by 2050. One of India’s main drivers of its economic rise and modernization is the outsourcing industry. In India, it is typically divided into two main sectors: information technology (IT) /software services and business process outsourcing (BPO).

Everest Group: Pharma Firms Expected to Increase Outsourcing Spend Following 10-Year High in 2010

Pharma firms leveraging hybrid sourcing models, deepening global sourcing adoption across the value chain to include drug development and research, supply chain, data management and analytics functions

Legal Processing Outsourcing

Outsourcing is key to law firms’ future

Law firms are looking to outsource business and legal functions to help fight off competition from new entrants to the market, a report showed today. Research by Connect2Law, a legal referral network started in 2001 by Manchester practice Pannone, found 77.3 per cent of respondents to a nationwide poll see outsourcing as a key way to enable them to compete against high street giants. The most popular areas are marketing, IT and human resources.

Outsourcing, offshoring and right sourcing for the future

This is the title of an interesting blog post on the Practice innovations site which provides an introduction to the concept of outsourcing and offshoring for anyone who hasn’t come across the terms before. If you work in a Law Library in the UK and aren’t aware of these terms, where have you been!?!

Help Desk Outsourcing

Help desk outsourcing in retreat

The help desk is a people-intensive operation, often comprising 8% or more of the typical IT staff, and can benefit from investments in systems that support repetitive processes, all of which make it a prime target for commoditization as a packaged service. In fact, many IT organizations find outsourcing this function can be a quick way to successfully reduce costs. It is surprising then that our study, IT Help Desk Outsourcing Trend and Customer Experience, finds the percentage of organizations outsourcing this function is relatively low and has been declining over the past few years.

TMCnet Speaks to Andrew Kokes from Call Center Outsourcing Provider Sitel

Founded in 1985 and based in Nashville, Tennessee, Sitel, a call center outsourcing provider has over 135 global contact centers in 27 countries around the world. Recently, the Company launched the Sitel Work@Home Center of Excellence (CoE), designed to meet the increasing demands within the home agent model.  The CoE is a centralized management hub designed to raise the standard for virtual workforce performance, security and scalability to align virtual customer service quality levels comparable to or better than any call center.

(3FORWARD does not endorse, support, seek nor receive funds from any of these sites, companies or individuals.   We take all efforts to ensure quality destinations, however as these are sites completely independent of 3FORWARD we are not responsible for their content or any other visible or technical elements present on these locations.)