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How to Outsource to Colombia: Finding Partners, Managing Relationships & Evaluating Results

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If you run a business, then you’re always looking for a way to protect the bottom line. It’s no secret that outsourcing is one of the best ways to do that, enabling you to take advantage of lower-cost software development providers, IT services, call center services, human resources, and general office tasks abroad.

An effective outsourcing relationship can both save you money and streamline your work process (which, spoiler alert, also saves you money). As a leader in the business process outsourcing (BPO) space, Colombia has been a top outsourcing destination for decades now, from Cartagena to Cali. The average salary in Colombia is significantly lower than the United States and other developed country rates, which is a cost savings for you. Plus, call centers in Colombia are well-developed, as are other services.

If you’re wondering how to outsource to Colombia, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to review common reasons for outsourcing Colombia, as well as 4 steps you should take when outsourcing to Colombia.

7 Common Reasons Companies Outsource to Colombia

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the top reasons people like to outsource their work to Colombia. In addition to the general ease of offloading tasks you don’t want to do, you will see a number of other benefits as well, such as:

  1. Owning its reputation as the Silicon Valley of Latin America, the Colombian government welcomes outsourcing tech companies and other organizations doing business abroad.
  2. Colombian universities are esteemed and offer high quality training in the IT industry, software development, customer service, and other fields.
  3. Colombia is a great “nearshore” destination, which means it is outside the borders of the United States, but close enough to its time zone that it doesn’t present a problem communicating.
  4. As stated above, the Colombia average salary is lower than it is in many other countries.
  1. Although almost all native Colombians speak Spanish, a large percentage of them also speak excellent English as it is the “dominant foreign language” in schools there.
  2. Colombia has different tax structures and rates than in-house US companies, so it’s usually cheaper to operate there.
  3. By outsourcing to a nearby, English-speaking country, you can focus on core business tasks instead of busy work and admin.

You can see how nearshoring to Colombia is an excellent idea. Yet that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily find the right partnership out of the gate. To that end, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to ensure the long-term success of your outsourcing partnership.

4 Steps for Starting & Maintaining a Lucrative Outsourcing Partnership in Colombia

Colombia is a fantastic place to send many of your business administration and even manufacturing tasks, due to its regulatory friendliness and real-time communication. If you’re looking to hit the ground running and maintain your relationship over the long haul, however, it’s important to start right. Here’s how.

1. Find the Right Colombian Outsourcing Partner

First and foremost, you’ve got to do your research. It’s not enough simply to decide you don’t want to perform a certain task in-house and set your sights on the BPO industry in Latin American countries. It’s critical you know exactly who you’re looking for while building your team.

Check the Cost

Start by researching the cost of doing business with each outsourcing company you come across. How much do they charge compared to US rates? Keep in mind that, according to the data, “The median household income (PPP) in Colombia was $15,812 in 2021,” whereas it was $70,784 in the United States. (Both numbers are in USD.)

Which is to say, if your Colombian prospect isn’t offering you a rate that’s substantially lower than what you can find in the US, you should keep looking.

Ensure an Expert Fit

Your Colombian partner should have the right qualifications and experience, and they should match the services for which you’re searching. If you want to move your software development team to an offshore or nearshore arrangement, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you find expert Colombian software developers – not just any old outsourcing company.

When you come across a company you think might work, dig into its background. Check LinkedIn profiles, read through their website, and ask them for testimonials. Speaking of asking …

Talk to the Company

Don’t be shy. When you’re interviewing companies to help you with your workflow, you are the one choosing them, not the other way around. Make sure to grill them (yes, grill!) on what they offer and how they’ll keep your business interests safe. Ask questions such as:

  • What experience do you have in [insert your industry]?
  • What are your compliance and security protocols?
  • Have you ever been hacked, lost customer information, or otherwise been compromised?
  • What is the financial record of your company? Has it ever been in trouble?
  • How does the migration of business processes work and how long does it take?
  • How will my account be managed?
  • How does payment work?
  • Do you have a big enough team to manage my needs?
  • Alternatively, is your team small enough that my SMB business will feel seen and heard?
  • How will you ensure adherence to the legal code of my country as well as yours?

Sure, that’s a lot of questions. But again, it’s important to put in that extra effort. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

And while going through the basics, make sure you ask for testimonials. How other companies feel about working with a particular outsourcing company can tell you a lot, especially if they’re in the same space. Request that the company furnish recommendations from businesses using the same services in which you’re interested.

2. Put in Extra Effort Up Front

Once you’ve signed a contract with an outsourcing partner, you’ll probably want to get it all done right away. And who can blame you? Unloading unwanted tasks for a better rate is certainly tempting, but you should always take the time to set clear expectations and goals.

As we’ve already noted, many South American outsourcing companies are excellent at what they do, especially those in Colombia. In recent years, technology has made beneficial nearshore partnerships even more possible. But they can only do so much without being properly prepped.

If you put in extra effort upfront to get your new partner onboarded and aware of everything they’re expected to do, and how to do it, you’ll lay the foundation for a longer and much more fruitful partnership.

Establish Communication Right Away

Establish a communication plan right up front, ensuring that everyone is on the same page about your needs. Whether you’re contracting for software engineers or back-office services like IT assistance or human resources management, lay out those goals clearly.

Be sure you and your outsourced partners are all on the same page on topics such as:

  • Who will be your go-to contact at the outsourcing company?
  • When they need to get in touch with someone at your company, who will that person be?
  • Will the budget stay flexible as you get started, or is there a fixed amount to which you must adhere for a certain amount of time?
  • What are the exact details of the work that will be done; how it should be done; and what should be done if any blockers occur?

Answering questions such as these might not feel necessary at the beginning of the relationship. But a “see how it goes” approach can leave you out in the cold – financially and legally as well as logistically – so it’s worth going the extra mile.

Talk to Your Own Stakeholders

Just because you have decision-making power doesn’t mean you should decide on a big move for your company without talking to everyone else who will be affected by your choice. In fact, quite the opposite is true: if you want your new partnership to be successful, you should make sure ahead of time that your in-house team is aware of how an outsourced partner will affect their work processes.

Discuss the partnership as a team, soliciting thoughts from everyone. Make sure to talk with:

  • People in the C-Suite to lay out the basic marketing, financial and shareholder concerns
  • Managers to see what they need in the day-to-day running of events at the company
  • Employees and salespeople at your company, who often have insights about what’s needed on a granular level
  • Anyone who will communicate with the Colombian team

3. Manage the Outsourcing Relationship

Once your partners have gotten off the ground, you’ll need to provide management and oversight—more frequently at first, and hopefully less often as time goes on.

We hear you: you’re wondering why you should have to manage anything. Wasn’t the entire goal of outsourcing software development and other business processes to an external labor force supposed to relieve you of management concerns?

Well, yes and no. You no longer have to monitor and pay for the everyday details of running admin tasks, app development, foreign investment, or other activities in-house, and that will prove a major load off your back right away.

However, you still need to monitor progress and performance. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company or a teeny startup; the left hand must know what the right hand is doing. That way, you can handle any issues or concerns that arise before they snowball into major fiascos.

4. Continuously Evaluate the Partnership

Once you’ve worked with the outsourcing partner for a while, it’s time to take stock. Note that you should always track your call center metrics, such as average call time and customer satisfaction. These can provide powerful hints about where you can improve your services, and are a great way to find out more about what your customers would like to see from you.

The metrics you do decide to track should be reviewed on a quarterly and annual basis. You’re looking for progress, not perfection. If your Colombian outsourcing relationship is strong, you should see steady growth in all of these categories. As needed, make changes to the process and accommodate unforeseen challenges that arise.

Resolve Unclear Expectations

No matter how dedicated everyone is upfront to the partnership, not every need or idea will get communicated effectively. That’s okay.

Simply identify expectations that weren’t clear from the beginning and reiterate them. You may need to use different language or “sit down” with the leaders at your outsourcing company to have a conversation and get on the same page.

Educate on Areas of Limited Expertise

Sometimes you work with a fantastic outsourcing partner, but they lack experience in just one or two areas. Naturally, you don’t want to move to an entirely new company just to check a few boxes when you’re happy with everything else.

In this case, provide the necessary training and information to get the job done, and trust that a good outsourcing company will learn quickly.

So, where can you find such a company?

TDSGS is Your Solution for Finding an Ideal Outsourcing Partner

Now that you know how important it is to take the right steps in outsourcing to Colombia – or anywhere in South America – you are prepared to find the offshore or nearshore partner you need. From Barranquilla to Bogota to Medellin, the Colombian people are ready to help you succeed – and so is TDSGS.

Who are we? Only your top solution when it comes to finding an ideal outsourcing partner for any company. We specialize in Colombian outsourcing for all your business needs, operating in the above cities and more. If you’d like to learn more about us, feel free to reach out at any time or schedule a call.

We look forward to helping you reach the pinnacle of success through greater freedom and more focus on the activities you love!

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