You’re ready to take the leap and hire an outsourced marketing agency or internal hire to help advance your business growth to the next level. It’s a scary endeavor because if you’re like most of the other companies I’ve talked to, you’ve been burned in the past. Something about this new hire intrigues you, but the last thing you want to do is waste more time and money. How can you ensure that things will be different this time?
While there are no guarantees in life, there are two things you can do to onboard your new marketing hire and launch a successful new relationship that maximizes your chances of getting the best return on investment. And one thing I can tell you from an agency’s perspective is that if the following two things don’t happen, we can’t do our best work.
Step 1: Openly Communicate and Share Information
Interestingly, if you’ve hired a marketing agency to help you, you might think the first step is for them to onboard you. But it needs to be the other way around.
To help you achieve your business growth goals, your marketing specialist needs to have full disclosure about your financial situation, revenue goals, customers, competitors, strengths, weaknesses, processes, technology, policies, corporate culture, introductions to key players, etc. They must become a true business partner - not just “an employee” or “vendor.”
Suppose you’re not prepared to share intimate business details or can’t commit to the necessary time to share information. In that case, you’ll dramatically decrease the effectiveness of what the agency can do for you. And if the agency you’ve hired isn’t asking for this information, it’s a huge red flag that you might have made a bad hire. Cutting ties early is better than letting a lousy relationship drag on. Any good business book will tell you that!
If you already have an onboarding process for new employees, that’s a good place to start. If you don’t, your new marketing agency should be able to guide you through the process to provide them with all the information they need to develop your company’s most effective business growth strategy.
Here is an example of the onboarding document we use to help us gather the information we need from our clients.
Step 2: Commit to Building Your Marketing Foundation
Once your marketing specialist has been indoctrinated into your business, it’s time to build or strengthen your marketing foundation. This process is where business leaders usually start getting antsy. They want results - now - and don’t want to spend a bunch of time working on things that aren’t moving the needle immediately.
But here’s the problem: if these fundamental elements aren’t secure, everything else you build will be volatile. Here are a few examples:
- Developing Buyer Personas: Marketing can’t create meaningful content that resonates with your target audience if they can’t clearly envision the people you want to sell to. It won’t hit on the topics that will pique interest and move prospects through the sales funnel. And then here’s what happens: you waste a ton of time and money creating content that doesn’t do anything for you. It’s much more effective in the long run to take the time up-front to do it right.
- Content Inventory: This can seem like a real time-consuming pain at the onset. But if marketing doesn’t fully understand all the content you have already spent time and money creating, they may recreate the wheel. There may also be hidden gems that they could repurpose or reuse, saving time and money and getting a better ROI on work you’ve already done.
- CRM Policies and Process: If sales doesn’t have strong CRM policies and procedures, marketing will never know if the leads they hand-off are converting into qualified opportunities and sales. No one will know what’s truly working and what’s not, which will likely lead to directing investments toward the wrong tactics.
Here is a list of the 16 steps we look at when helping our clients build a solid sales and marketing foundation. The good news is that when your foundation is strong, it is much faster and easier to onboard new hires across the organization in the long run.
What Are Your Roles and Responsibilities?
Your marketing specialist can’t get results working alone. You’ll need to appoint someone to work directly with them to provide the information they need and help drive strategy based on your business objectives.
Content and social media engagement are critical parts of a digital marketing strategy, so you must consistently commit to working with your specialist to create new content. You’ll also have to commit to learning and using social media to some degree. This idea can cause company leaders’ heart rates to increase because it adds additional responsibilities to their daily work. However - a good marketing specialist can institute procedures and processes to minimize your time investment and make it as easy as possible.
For most companies, digital marketing requires a corporate culture shift. But once you see these strategies start driving new business growth, there’ll be no looking back.
How Long Will It Take?
Every company is unique regarding the strength of its marketing foundation. Some companies may need a lot of help with these items, while others may be ready to rock and roll.
Here’s a quick example:
You want to engage in social media. To get started, you need a plan, well-developed social profiles, and content to drive people back to your website. If company A already has social profiles and a business blog, they can get started relatively quickly. If company B has no social profiles and has never blogged, they must set up those systems before they can even begin.
The time it takes to lay enough groundwork to start effective marketing varies greatly.
While onboarding and foundation building can seem arduous, doing it right at the onset will pay off in the long run. You’ll have more robust growth, increased efficiency, better ROI and a more secure organization.