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No matter what business process you want to outsource, there’ll be a vendor to match your needs. But finding your perfect match offshore partner is like searching for a needle in a haystack, with hundreds of reputable vendors in the Philippines alone.
Matchboard has helped thousands of companies pinpoint their perfect match vendor, and we are happy to share our tried and tested tips.
One of the fastest ways to narrow the field of offshore providers is to eliminate any vendor which lacks representation on the ground in your country, e.g. Australia. There are a few reasons for this, and the first one is reduced risk. Vendors that have made the investment to have sales or account management resources in the target market are serious and committed, and much less likely to leave you stranded. Secondly, local representation means the vendor probably has other Australian clients already so you won’t be the guinea pig. The cultural training, infrastructure and processes will all be in place to accommodate working with Australian clients. Thirdly, local representation is about peace of mind – you can easily have a meeting in person in the vital contract negotiation and set-up phase, and you have someone to turn to quickly in your time zone and country if things go wrong along the way.
There are enough vendors out there that you can often afford to be picky around choosing a vendor with experience in your industry. Yes, this may be irrelevant for simple processes like data entry, but for more complex work, it’s less of a gamble to go with a vendor that can demonstrate a proven track record in your industry - or at least an adjacent one. Then you can hit the ground running with people who have context about your industry and can speak the lingo unique to it.
Look for vendors that deal with businesses of roughly your size and not way above or below your “station”. If the vendor typically deals with clients with 20 or more FTE, and your business has just a 2-FTE requirement, you may not be a high priority client and you may feel lost in a sea of whales.
Once you have your shortlist of vendors ready to go, it’s time to travel to see them and make your selection. Perhaps most important of all is meeting the people who will manage your business – do you understand each other? Are the key personnel reliable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with you? What is the communication and account management framework? For example, what sort of reports will you receive, and how often? Is there an escalation path for major issues? Most people leave a site visit with a clear sense of strong or weak alignment.
Before you embark on an offshore reconnaissance mission, do your homework on what the market rates are for similar services with other Australian companies. You don’t want to be ripped off, and on the other hand, you don’t want to gouge your new partner so they are barely profitable. Knowing the pricing dynamics in the market will make you a more reasonable and effective negotiator.
AUTHOR: Sharon Melamed, Managing Director, Matchboard
Sharon Melamed is a digital entrepreneur. In 2012, she launched Matchboard, a business matchmaking platform specialising in outsourcing, sales and customer service. With thousands of clients including many household name brands, Matchboard was named 1 of Australia’s top 200 Businesses of Tomorrow by Westpac in 2017. Sharon was awarded LinkedIn’s PowerProfile status for having one of the 50 most visited profiles in Australia. She holds a double honours degree from the University of Sydney, and speaks five languages (Japanese, French, German, Hebrew and English).
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