Preparing Your Organization for Outsourcing
Another important element to have in place when working with consultants is a core message, Iaquinta says. The institution is focusing on defining three main pillars it wants to convey to prospects. It also is working to come up with messages that correlate to those pillars that work for all its constituents, whether it be prospective students, parents or graduates. Iaquinta says this will be a good starting point and then, through interviews and perhaps even focus groups performed by the consultants, the institution can fine-tune its message to get the best results. Doing this type of work in advance of working with a consultant is key, Iaquinta adds, if you want to avoid unnecessary costs.
"If you haven't done a lot of that work in advance, you're just going to pay a lot of money in order to get there," he says. "You can bring in a consultant from day one, but we're trying to make sure that we do as much of the work as we need to do on our own before we bring the consultant in, so that we're ready to make maximum use of their resources and not waste money on things that we should do ourselves."
Some of the benefits Iaquinta sees in working with consultants are:
- An organization or institution can work with people who know similar organizations' or institutions' benchmarks. "One of the benefits that's often overlooked by boards until it's pointed out to them ... is that by hiring an expert firm that does a lot of this work with agencies, universities or independent schools is that ... you get the benefit of what's working elsewhere, and benchmarking from their experience as to whether you're on track," Iaquinta says. "That's very helpful. It's reassuring to you and your board that you're using best practices."