Should You Outsource Business Development for Your Agency? Jonathan Herrick Business development is an important factor for running any successful agency. Unfortunately, with all of the projects on your plate, it can be tough to carve out the necessary time to keep your sales pipeline full. So it’s no wonder that so many digital agencies are starting to outsource business development to specialized biz dev firms. But the million dollar question remains: is outsourcing business development right for your firm? What Is Business Development? Let’s first unpack what business development is. True business development is a broad role within an agency that encompasses sales, partnership development and more. Here’s a breakdown of just what falls under the biz dev umbrella: Customer outreach and sales channel developmentMarket research and analysisPartnership managementSales strategy developmentCompany value growth As you can see, business development is tangled up in sales, marketing and even corporate strategy. By aligning the various parts of your agency through business development strategies, you can help ensure future growth for years to come. Why Is Biz Dev Important? Some agencies wonder why a dedicated business development role is important if there’s so much overlap with other parts of the business such as sales. While your firm is perfectly capable of running without having someone focused specifically on biz dev, your agency will miss out on the increased efficiency and overall boost in prosperity that real business development can bring. If you’ve operated your agency so far without a business development professional on your team, you might be surprised at the difference it can make to bring one on board. Outsourcing Business Development If you aren’t sure about hiring a biz dev professional as part of your team, another option is to outsource your business development needs to a third-party professional or service. This is an increasingly common practice as more agencies discover the benefits of business development. Instead of hiring a biz dev pro as a part of your staff, the business development firm you choose will work alongside your agency to meet your needs without you having to bring on additional employees. Outsourcing works very well for many agencies, though it isn’t ideal for everyone. It’s always important to consider the pros and cons of bringing in an outside business development team to make sure that outsourcing your biz dev needs is best for your agency. Pros of Outsourcing Here are some of the advantages of outsourcing your business development needs: Ensures that your business development needs are met by dedicated biz dev professionalsFrees up your employees to focus on other agency issues and meeting the needs of your clientsTakes advantage of years of biz dev experience — the outsourced team already knows what works and what doesn’t, and they have a system in place to aid your successLets your agency benefit from the latest trends in business development without your employees having to specifically stay on top of those biz dev trendsGives the outsourced team an incentive to perform, since they could be replaced if they don’t produce results There may be other positives to outsourcing depending on how your agency is structured and the size of your team as well. Cons of Outsourcing On the flip side, here are some of the disadvantages of outsourcing your agency’s business development: Puts a significant portion of your business flow into the hands of someone outside your companyCreates dependency on an outside team that may eventually close shop or otherwise part ways with your agencyIncreases your operating expenses with little protection against future rate hikes or requests for other fundingMay leave you unprepared to make business development decisions for yourself since all of the biz dev work is done by an external team As with the pros, there may be other negatives as well that depend on your agency and your team setup. Should You Outsource Biz Dev? Deciding whether or not to outsource your agency’s business development needs is a big decision. Ultimately, it comes down to the way the agency runs and how much control you want over your biz dev practices. For some agencies, offloading the heavy lifting of business development to seasoned pros is a great way to go. For others, keeping things in-house and creating your own business development practices is the preferred option. Regardless of which you choose, it’s essential to take the time to weigh your options and find a biz dev solution that will ultimately work for your agency.