The interesting thing about the economy slowdown and its impact on marketing as well as sales is that it's driven us all to do more with less. Yes budgets are tightening, recruiting is reducing and the workforces are either downsizing or remaining constant. Sales and marketing quotas? No, they haven't reduced. They have gone up. However, it's not just the recession and low budgets which are making businesses think of alternatives to increasing workforces to do more. It's part of the evolution of businesses in general and how staying clean and being able to contract certain activities to dedicated providers started becoming a logical strategy.
The noose around budgets in this recession is just going to push this trend further as businesses seek alternatives to scaling their internal workforces and operational costs while scaling their business. How The Virtual Workforce Is Changing Everything by Jack M. Germain is a great read on how perceptions on workforces are changing. Marketing data management is an area this applies well. Building, maintaing and managing lead and marketing data is a time consuming and tedious process but it needs to be done and needs to be done very well. Working with virtual teams at other locations or professional solutions providers in this area is a good alternative for marketers to explore at this stage especially if they are considering hiring more staff to manage marketing data.
There are several companies with expertise in list building, lead qualification, lead profiling, CRM data cleansing, email list management, data append and enrichment and more. Other than the more obvious benefits of cost and flexibility paying for support as and when you need it, it can really help free up your internal teams time to focus on other areas such as inbound marketing, lead nurturing programs, social media marketing and generating newer sales ready leads instead of spending it on data.
Perhaps you'll run some risk of engaging vendors or providers who don't gel with your requirements till you find one that works for you and build a relationship but this is a risk you face while recruiting a new person for the job too. While considering how to realign your existing marketing team to meet lead quotas give some thought to using vendors for your marketing data needs. It may just give you the edge you need.