While the fundamentals of strategic marketing haven’t changed much in the last decade, the tools and technologies we use have. Everyone, from CEOs to sales people, knows that old B2B marketing tools (catalogs, directory listings) don’t deliver results the way they used to. Because of the shift in how buyers make purchase decisions, there’s a growing role for marketing in generating revenues for B2B companies. From raising market awareness, to supporting the sales team, to generating leads, marketing is contributing more than ever to the revenue growth of B2B companies.
The challenge for executives running B2B companies is to know when to add a marketing function. How can you identify if you need outside help? Here are five questions to help you identify if it’s time to hire a marketing company.
1. Is my website and digital presence turning off potential clients?
People today expect all businesses to have some web presence, which means a website and a social media account (eg LinkedIn) at a minimum. Your sales team can work hard, knocking on doors, but once prospects see your outdated website, do they get discouraged? If so, it may be time to hire a marketing company to bring your digital presence up to date and ensure your sales team’s efforts don’t go to waste. This is especially true for services companies who need to present a professional image not just to the individuals hiring them, but to the colleagues of those individuals.
2. Is my marketing investment generating acceptable results?
If you’re still spending the majority of your marketing budget on tradeshows and print advertising, chances are good (VERY good) that you’ll be able to get better results by shifting your budget to digital tactics like search engine optimization, social media, email marketing and webinars to name a few.
Most marketing companies will do a free assessment to help you evaluate if your investments are generating good returns, which gives you the opportunity to evaluate if you want to hire the marketing company.
3. Is my sales team spending its time wisely?
People working in small businesses have to wear many hats. However, having a salesperson wear too many hats is a recipe for failure. If a single sales person is responsible for raising awareness, generating leads, nurturing prospects and closing deals, their attention is usually too fragmented to produce strong results. Instead, if you hire a marketing company to take care of raising awareness and generating leads, it will allow your sales team to focus on closing deals.
4. Do we have the in-house resources to learn new marketing technologies?
Marketing technologies are growing at a rapid pace (take a look at this insane LUMAscape of marketing technologies as proof). It’s near impossible for anyone to keep up. Even our company has a tough time. While the technologies are fantastic and help B2B companies generate tremendous results, it can be exhausting to learn about these new techniques and tools, and constantly evolve. Hiring a marketing company will help you navigate these tools and determine which to use, and when.
5. Is my sales team getting the support it needs?
Marketing departments are usually responsible for generating the collateral that sales people use to progress conversations with customers. Materials like case studies, ROI calculators and spec sheets, among others. Is your sales team telling you that they don’t have good materials to support their discussions with prospects? If so, it’s time to consider hiring a marketing company.
These questions can help you determine if it’s time for outside help. A good marketing company will support (but never replace) your sales team. Thinking about hiring a marketing company? Here are 5 more questions to help you choose the right one.