What to outsource: a complete guide

Natalie Toniotti
AUTHOR
Natalie Toniotti
    12 minute read

Ok, so you understand the concept of outsourcing, its benefits and why businesses invest in offshore teams. But, you’re not too sure where to begin or more specifically, what tasks or roles to outsource. At this point, you need to start thinking about how an offshore team member can positively impact your business and add value to your customers.

To start, it’s about understanding what your core and non-core capabilities are. Which tasks or functions take up the most time, which are repetitive in nature and which are preventing your team from focusing what matters most - profitability and business growth.

In this blog, we take you through how to identify the tasks most suitable to outsource, what jobs roles are most commonly outsourced and the real-life success stories that demonstrate why outsourced teams are a worthwhile investment.

How to identify tasks best suited to outsourcing

Let’s look at this in two ways: the tasks that are time-consuming and repetitive in nature and the tasks that are more high-level but are still well-suited to outsourcing.

Why? It can be easiest when outsourcing to first offshore the tasks that are taking up too much of your onshore team's time. Easy to identify, these are the tasks that are quite repetitive in nature and could easily be delegated to an offshore team member.

When outsourcing to lower-cost economies, like the Philippines, you can actually save up to 70% on employment costs. So when considering that your onshore team will have more time to work on tasks that are focused on business growth and nurturing client relationships, long term, the investment will be worth it. While offshoring repetitive, high volume tasks is a great place to start, it’s also worthwhile considering the top-tier specialist talent available in offshore countries.

For example, say you’ve hired a payroll processor for your business to help with the additional payroll requirements due to an influx of projects. They are taking care of the time-consuming tasks of validating employee work hours, calculating wages, verifying employee time and attendance and handling payroll queries. However, they can also assist with far more. Depending how you go about hiring an offshore representative, and if you provide accurate job descriptions, your offshore payroll processor could also go the extra mile to offer recommendations in improving payroll operations or help interpret enterprise agreements and awards to help with compliance.

An outsourced team member isn’t just an ‘extra pair of hands’. They can be, if that’s what you require, but, outsourced teams can support your business in whatever capacity you require. From base-level support for highly administrative tasks, to high-level functions that require specialist capabilities like web development or accounting, the only difference is that they are just operating outside your business. With the right outsourcing provider guiding you through the recruitment process, you can find an equally qualified outsourced team member, often at a lower price point, to provide you with the support you need.

Roles best suited to outsourcing for small businesses or if you’re new to outsourcing

As we’ve mentioned above, any and every function can be essentially well-suited to outsource if you are offshore ready. But for those just starting out or those who may not have the budget or need for multiple offshore team members, or want to ‘just get a taste’ of what outsourcing has to offer here are some roles to help you get started:

Virtual assistant or personal assistant

An offshore virtual assistant can ensure that managers can work efficiently by managing their administrative tasks and diary. Virtual assistants can perform regular in-house administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, answering and making phone calls and organising travel arrangements. They manage email accounts and social media platforms, perform data-entry and a multitude of other tasks all as required.

Bookkeeper

An offshore bookkeeper is an integral part in the accounting process of any business. They are responsible for documenting accurate records of financial transactions and assisting in the production of financial statements. Bookkeeping duties and tasks can include bank reconciliations, BAS (Business Activity Statement) preparation and reporting, monthly management and accounting reports, checking financial records for accuracy and completeness and general ledger and journal entries.

IT support roles

Offshore roles such as service desk support specialists and help desk support specialists can offer your internal stakeholders and your customers with the IT support they require. They can also be hired to work 24/7 based on your business requirements.

An offshore help desk support specialist is responsible for troubleshooting and providing technical support to staff, customers or clients experiencing hardware, application and software issues. They are the IT first responders; resolving queries, analysing problems and implementing solutions quickly and efficiently. They may also be tasked with installing peripherals and performing general computer maintenance and updates. They are usually the first point of contact for businesses and their users when an IT issue arises and will escalate to the service desk.

An offshore service desk support specialist is responsible for providing technical support and assistance for problems, including software and hardware issues. They are troubleshooting experts and handle a broad range of technical complications such as connection issues and unresponsive applications. The main difference betweens service desk support and help desk support is the word “service.” When end-users seek more of an in-depth IT solution that is not as easily resolved, these issues escalate from the help desk to the service desk. Service desk support specialists are also known as desktop support specialists.

Sales support roles

While generating leads, managing databases and completing paperwork is all part of a sales person’s job, it’s often not the best use of their skill set; enter offshore inbound sales support and outbound sales support.

The outsourcing of inbound sales support involves engaging someone who is external to your company to manage the process of responding to potential customers and guiding them through the sales process to a close. Outsourcing inbound sales and their fulfilment will enable your business to focus on more strategic requirements such as business and product development. Businesses benefit greatly from having specialist inbound sales support representatives to manage this aspect of sales. It requires a strong customer service focus and the ability to build rapport with customers to effectively close the sale.

An outbound sales support consultant is responsible for providing administrative support to outbound sales representatives who contact potential prospects and existing customers to sell new or existing products and services. They are experts that provide the sales team with leads that will generate sales and revenue for the business.

Digital marketing specialist

The ‘always on’ nature of marketing means that many businesses struggle to keep on top of their online presence. An offshore digital marketing specialist is responsible for planning and developing marketing campaigns through online, digitised content focusing on techniques that boost engagement and brand visibility. They essentially use the internet to promote a business's products and services. The marketing campaigns they create are targeted to get the attention of users of technology like mobiles, computers and portable electronic devices.

Functions that most businesses outsource

The following are examples of roles that are outsourced frequently with great success to the Philippines for businesses of all sizes, whether you are at the beginning or middle of you’re outsourcing journey:

Find out what other roles your business could send offshore to leverage the power of outsourcing in our ‘10 offshore roles you need to boost your capability and grow your margins’ eBook.
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The proof is in the pudding

Now that you understand which roles are best suited to outsourcing, here are some real-life outsourcing success stories which illustrate how offshore teams have benefited businesses just like yours.

Accounting

  • The company: An accounting firm which provides tax compliance and business advisory services.
  • The challenge: To improve the quality of client bookkeeping so that the firm’s accountants could more effectively complete tax compliance and have time available to offer business advisory to clients.
  • The results: Implementing a dedicated offshore team has led to dramatic improvements in the quality of bookkeeping, so much so that their onshore accountants are no longer spending valuable time on correcting mistakes and redoing work - they’re able to get on with compliance. This strategy has resulted in processing times being reduced by 50% and a more profitable bottom line. In addition, offshoring has allowed the firm to offer bookkeeping as a service at a very competitive yet profitable rate. It also freed up staff to nurture client relationships and offer higher value services such as business advisory.

Marketing

  • The company: A medium-sized professional services business working across several industry verticals.
  • The challenge: To scale the growth of their business with improved efficiencies, a better lead generation engine and improved conversion rates by using the same annual marketing budget in a considerably different way. The ultimate goal was to develop an inbound marketing strategy to help grow their business with less reliance on outbound sales activity.
  • The results: With a blended marketing team and the ability to focus their marketing and use their resources more effectively this business was able to achieve a 100% inbound marketing strategy, no longer needing to rely on outbound sales initiatives. They also experienced a 104% increase in lead generation over a 12 month period after implementing a content-led strategy via their new blended team.

General business

  • The company: A market leading professional services business offering thought leadership and process automation solutions to customers.
  • The challenge: To support rapid business growth with a cost-effective resourcing strategy to maintain a competitive advantage in an ever changing marketplace across a variety of roles.
  • The results: The integration of offshore staff into their already successful business model, has allowed the customer to continue on their path of innovation and thought leadership, without being bogged down in the day-to-day operations of running the business and managing projects. This has allowed them to grow their client base by 375% in three years, and also offer additional solutions to remain competitive in a crowded market.

Finance

  • The company: A full-service property investment consultancy that focuses on providing investors with an end-to-end property service which includes tailored advice at every stage of the property investment journey.
  • The challenge: The client was struggling to focus on business growth activities such as sales and client engagement due to the high volume of administrative tasks and paperwork required to be completed for loans.
  • The results: The client was able to save around two to three hours of work spent on administrative tasks per day thanks to the help of their offshore administrative team. This time saved is now spent nurturing client relationships and providing solutions for investors. Offshoring loan processing, broker support and accounting tasks has helped streamline internal processes which had a positive effect on client satisfaction and engagement levels as the investment consultancy now has more time to add value to their client experience.

IT

  • The company: A website development company providing digital consulting services.
  • The challenge: To scale and grow their tech company quickly and cost effectively to meet the growing demands of an increasing customer base.
  • The results: Implementing a dedicated offshore team has resulted in the company seeing a significant increase in new business enquiries. In fact, the company has seen a 72% increase in customer acquisition since implementing an offshore team. The offshore team has also improved design turnaround times leading to an improved customer experience and the ability to take on more work.
If you are still not sure what tasks you want to outsource, get in touch with one of our outsourcing experts who are more than happy to talk about your business strategy and what you want to achieve. Why not consider a free consultation today?
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Next steps

So you now understand what roles and functions you can outsource, now it’s time to consider where. Where are you going to set up your offshore team? Why not consider the Philippines? Discover what characteristics make the Philippines a top outsourcing destination here: “Why the Philippines is a top global outsourcing destination”.

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