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  1. #1
    Infusionsoft Staff josephmanna's Avatar
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    Question How do you select the right outsource partner?

    As businesses grow, so do their needs. Many times a business owner isn't able to keep up. Even with the best in class sales and marketing automation software suite, they need a little extra help to keep everything running smoothly.

    What's your advice in choosing the right outsource partner/contractor to help with your sales and marketing tasks?

    Would be great to trade tips in selecting the right partner to grow your business and the results from it. (Outsource does not necessarily mean offshore, in this context. Just outside help.)
    JOSEPH MANNA
    Developer Partner Program Manager
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  2. #2
    The number one key when looking for an outsource partner, is would you trust them to run your business!

    BTW, Feel free to contact me to discus how outsourcing to our Office+Call Center could help you grow your business.

  3. #3

    Consider the simple stuff first

    In no particular order:

    Their availability
    Are they sleeping while you’re doing business?

    Short-term contracts
    Don’t get locked into long-term contracts, test them out first.

    See their portfolio
    Can they really do what they say they can?

    Their additional knowledge, skills, and capabilities
    Perhaps they will be more important to your organization in the future.

    Their communication preference
    Emailing back and forth on complex issues can slow down the process.

    Cash flow

    Can they do it for less? It never hurts to ask.

    Thank you.

    JT
    Last edited by jonathan92591; 09-27-2011 at 12:29 PM.

  4. #4
    I look for a number of things when I outsource.

    1. Will they ask questions to make sure they understand the job? It's frustrating to find out they did the job incorrectly and wasted both of our time.
    2. Are the dependable? Do what they say they're going to do?
    3. Do they have a passion for the work they are doing? If not, I know they won't be sticking around long.

    I supposed these are the same things I look for in a full time employee. Hmmmm.

    I find the best people either by referral or by trying them first on a few small projects before committing to them on an ongoing basis. That way I can see how they far on those top 3 issues before making a commitment.

  5. #5

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    I think Jonathan summed it up pretty well.

    I like a short trial to give each party a chance to make sure it is a good fit. There are some people who are just hard to work with consistently.

    Skype's chat works well for me. It is much faster than email for complex issues or quick questions.

  6. #6
    Certified Developer Infusionsoft Certified ConsultantInfusionsoft Certified Consultant Juan Sutton's Avatar
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    I believe finding someone who you would trust to run your business is like finding a needle in a haystack! Find someone who has the *potential* to run your business and you have struck gold.

    Availability and responsiveness is key for us (and our clients). Are they available for immediate contact (phone/Skype)? Do they respond to email within 24 hours? If not, they probably won't work for us.

    If you can get a referral from someone who has experience using the prospective partner that should give you a good head start on finding the right person. It's great that Infusionsoft has introduced the new Infusionsoft Certified Consultants Program. This will make the Infusionsoft Resource Directory the place to go for Infusionsoft-related outsourcing.
    Juan Sutton
    Tel: 801-380-7176
    Skype: juan_sutton
    jcsutton.com

  7. #7

    My two-cents on out-sourcing

    Over the years, we have probably had 20 - 25 outsourcing relationships and I have had both good experiences and bad. If I had to guess, I would say it has been about 60% bad and 40% good. And the good ones have been really, really good and the bad ones really really bad. For us, there hasn't been any in between.

    My best advice is to give them a test project. Use that as a way to evaluate their skills, their work ethic, chemistry, etc. And that goes both ways. You get a feel for them. They get a feel for you. At the end of the project. You decide whether to go forward.

    Second, cut your losses early. In my experience, it never gets better. It only gets worse. I can usually tell within a week if it is going to work out. Sometimes sooner. If it isn't, better for both of you to identify it early and move on. The longer you wait, the more expensive the mistake becomes.

    Third, if it involves development, be very careful about getting talked into changing platforms, languages, etc. Every consultant/independent contractor we have ever hired has told us that the old code is terrible, is written in the wrong language, built on the wrong platform, etc. Sometimes they are right. Oftentimes it just isn't the way they would have done it. This can become VERY expensive if you listen every time you are told this. Pick a programming language/platform and go with it until someone can give you a darn good reason why you should change it.

    My last piece of advice, find someone inside your organization if at all possible. We went through five outsourced programmers for a large project - some were local, some Russian, some Indian, some with big firms, some with small firms, some independent. We went for almost two and half years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and still had a piece of junk to show for it. Our CFO (who also happens to be my husband) came home one day and suggested we give the project to a junior trader. I thought he was crazy. This was a complex coding project! He said Tyler had built some programs he used when what we paid for didn't work. He had taught himself enough .net that he had built something pretty slick. What was the worst that could happen in comparison? He took the project, we junked everything that had been written previously and started from scratch, he did it on nights and weekends, had it done in a couple months, was just what we needed because he understood the business and we have been using it ever since. In fact, over the years, we have added on to it significantly and he is still the lead programmer!

  8. #8
    I'll keep it short and sweet.

    1. First impression is everything. Having a good looking website is #1 if my book. If i'm looking at 2 companies, and one has a web 2.0 site, and the other is unprofessional looking, I will immediately choose to pursue the web 2.0 company.
    2. They need to be able to be contacted easily (by phone, email, chat, smoke signal, etc...)
    3. If you're in the USA, keep enough materials within the States so that you can legally sell your product as MADE IN THE USA! Out of country may be cheaper, but it's amazing how great a selling point it is when you label yourself as MADE IN THE USA.
    4. And of course, when it comes down to multiple options that are all very similar, price usually takes the first priority. If the prices are similar, then we choose the company with the most human interaction (no automated services.. when we call for help, we want to talk to SOMEONE).

    Thanks!
    -Michael

  9. #9

    Red face Finding the right outsource partner

    When searching for the best outsource partners, we ask those we work with who they would recommend. We get several people that are recommended and check them out.

    If we think they will work well with us and our team we get in touch with them and see if they are able to and available to work with us.

    Another way is go to go through Infusionsoft's directory of recommended experts/people they work with to find out who would be a good fit to work with.

  10. #10
    When looking to find a good outsource partner we ask our business colleagues who they would recommend. We ask several people so we have more than one option to consider.

    Next we check them and their company's out and see who we think would fit the best with our business.

    We get in touch with them and see if they free to work with us.

    Another great way is through Odesk or Guru.com

    Infusionsoft also has a great directory in which to find outsource partners to work with.

    Lastly, fiverr.com is another great source and which we have found some great people to work with.

    Thanks,
    Alex Spirer

  11. #11
    Ask your friends who they've used or would recommend and why.

    I'd personally go for a recommendation over anything else to start off with.

    Then arrange a chat either face-to-face or over Skype to get a feel for the person and if they are someone I feel confident working with I'd go with them.

  12. #12
    Test out a potential outsourcee with a small (but representative) project of what you'd them to takeover. Too many people are willing to do the work so it's in your best interest to test 'em out first!

  13. #13
    It's pretty important for me that outsourcees can clearly communicate with me in English.

  14. #14
    Wow, this is great advice! Especially since we are looking for someone to help us with our needs with Infusionsoft (somewhere buried in one of these threads is what we're looking for - or feel free to contact me at maci@7starservice.com. We need some API help.)

    For us, when looking for solid outsourcing we rely heavily on asking our peers who they have used, who they like, who they don't. The speakers community is a strong one and we rely on others who have paved the way. It doesn't always work but you always gain experience.

    Thanks all!
    Maci

  15. #15
    I usually like to find a vendor that other business owners are using and are happy with. That's a great way to start at least.

    Like anyone I'm going to do business with, they need to be transparent. I want to see their website and verify they can be reached via phone and email.

    I try to outsource tasks that are not in my realm of expertise and that would just get in my way of doing what I do best. If you can outsource a sales task such as order fulfillment, and they can do it quicker and more efficiently than you, you're on the right path.

    Price is important too. If you take something like order fulfillment, depending on the size of your company, you could hire people in-house to do this, but if its a headache to you, try to outsource it. You'll probably find its actually cheaper than trying to do it yourself. And more reliable.

    Feel free to ask for a better price if the first quote you receive doesn't sit well for you. Most likely you'll be using this vendor over and over, and its important that both parties are happy.

  16. #16

    Trust

    Its all about trust. When you decide to outsource to another company, you trusting them with your customer. If you haven't built up a working relationship, then you just hope and prey that they will do a good job. Referrals are definitely a good way to go about finding a company to work with.

  17. #17

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    Best way is to go with a company or person that has been recommended by someone you know well or someone that you've been doing business for a while that has worked with the potential outsourcer before. I've only had one good experience from unsolicited contact from an outsourcer or trying to find another company to do work for us on our own (from the myriad of options on google). The best relationships have been referrals from people I've know for at least 6 months and know if I trust their judgement/abilities. If that isn't an option, I find following the potential company/person's blog, user groups, or forum the next best way to determine how active/legit they are and how interested they are in the outcome for their clients.

    I currently am working with a photo processing company in India that we are very happy with as well as two virtual assistants (customer service, Photoshop, production) in the Philippines through a third party (they recruit, provide equipment and oversight, but the VA's work solely for us just as a full time employee). I'd be happy to make an introduction if you are interested. (the VA company is more expensive than you can find directly on your own, but the quality and oversight has been excellent and worth the additional $).

  18. #18

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    Thanks Joe for starting this Thread. I raised this question during our ICC class last week. We had several good comments & feedback from those at the round table session. I actually tried to start the Thread here within the community on that same day. Question; What does one need in order to start their own Thread?" This is an important topic, since customer support is our front-line in our company. One bad experience can multiply weeks or months of good work.

    Staying within the US, would be our 1st choice. I have to believe with so many talented people out of work, we should be able to extend our needs to our US citizens, for our US based businesses.

    Thanks,
    Doug
    Last edited by DMasi; 09-27-2011 at 09:00 PM.
    Douglas J. Masi
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  19. #19
    I take a different approach than most people.

    I don't want to be one to learn by trial and error. I'd much rather go by referrals of other people. This is the best way to work with other businesses. Who has your buddy trusted and used. I don't have time to make crap shoots on fiverr.com and odesk (I've used both for minor work). When it comes to something major I'll always ask around to somebody else who has more experience than me. I'll come to a forum like this one and ask who has worked well and who has not. Once I hear a couple of good things about a company I'll just roll with that if they can accomplish the tasks I need completed.
    ---
    Patrick Allmond,
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    405 283 6287 - Oklahoma City
    If you are in the area drop me a line some time

  20. #20
    I think the best way to establish a relationship with an outsourced partner is to start out with small, well defined tasks. Let them do it, see how long it takes, were they able to tackle it on their own without a lot of help from you, did they do it correctly and on time and then go from there.

    Skype also helps time consuming phone conversations and works well with people in time zones that are 12 or 13 hours different than yours.

    Laura

  21. #21
    Infusionsoft Certified Consultant DHanchey's Avatar
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    I've been on the other side of the outsourcing question, and this is something I do: I will actually work with them on a small project with no money or expectations just to see if we work well together. If I can work with them in this capacity, then I am willing to move into a more structured setting and so are they.

    This probably goes against everything they tell you about good business practices, but it has worked well so far.
    Deborah Hanchey
    Automatic Methods

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by wunderkinder View Post
    It's pretty important for me that outsourcees can clearly communicate with me in English.
    I thought I was alone. This is basically how I also assess the people whom I hire as virtual assistants.

    I usually start by noticing their oral and written English communication skills. If they are good at it, chances are they are great assistants.

    Aside from that, their rates are a great factor for me to choose them. I once got a VA that offered only $4 per hour but still delivers excellent results.

  23. #23
    oooh you know you've made it big time when your forum gets SEO spam
    ---
    Patrick Allmond,
    Livin' it up at Focus Consulting and StopDoingNothing
    Twitter Me: @patrickallmond
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    405 283 6287 - Oklahoma City
    If you are in the area drop me a line some time

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