Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late; If You Need Leads, Give Your Digital Marketing Enough Time To Gain Traction
The pressure is on! We need leads immediately! We can’t wait two months to start generating leads! Sound familiar? It should, because it’s the rallying cry for CMOs, CEOs, VPs of sales and other executives at companies of all shapes and sizes.
But what you don’t hear is what happened before these comments. What you don’t know is that these same executives who need leads right now spent months trying to decide what agency to hire and what direction to go with their marketing.
No one wakes up and decides they need leads. No one wakes up to realize they’re going to miss their revenue targets. This situation starts months or even years before. Sales start to slow down. Sales reps start to become less productive. You miss a revenue target one month, then the next month and it becomes a trend. You start looking around for someone to blame. You might fire a sales rep or two and then fire your sales leader. You change agencies (if you use one) and try some new marketing tactics you heard about. This goes on for months (and maybe longer).
Eventually, it becomes an emergency and you’re forced to do something about it. You start looking for a new agency with new ideas and innovative thinking. You do research on best practices and on what other companies are doing. Meanwhile, sales continue to struggle. You do your homework by evaluating six agencies, slimming the list down to three and then doing more due diligence. That takes another month. Now you have three proposal documents in front of you and you’re trying to remember which agency said what.
Another few weeks go by while you talk internally, ask trusted advisors, review their documents again and check their references. Meanwhile, your revenue continues to languish. Finally, you make a decision (months after you should have made it) and get your agency in the room to announce...
WE NEED LEADS IMMEDIATELY!
It’s a broken process. It doesn’t work. The pressure you’re putting on your new agency is going to cause them to make short-term decisions for your long-term problem. It took you years to get into this situation and it’s going to take you years to get it completely fixed. You might start to see signs of positive outcomes in months, but it’s going to take much longer to see long-term major improvements. This is why starting quickly is so important, but it’s often missed when companies are looking for help with sales and marketing.
Checking Out Your Agency Candidates
If you’ve been doing marketing internally and now realize you can’t generate enough leads, then you should be looking at other options. You have two legitimate options for this specific situation — either hire a new internal team or hire an agency to work with you.
If you’re in panic mode, hiring an agency is going to get you everything you need in one move. Hiring an internal team is going to take a lot more time and require a lot more energy from you. You can hire an agency quickly; see the start today tip at the bottom of this post. Hiring an internal team can take months.
When you find the agency you like, make sure they check all of your boxes. If you need content creation, make sure they have an internal team of writers. Make sure you understand the process those writers go through to intimately get to know your business. They’ll need that knowledge to write for you. If you need website development work done, make sure those people are in-house, too. You don’t want to deal with communication challenges, time zone differences and remote management of outsourced resources.
Making Sure There’s A Focus On Results
You need results. You need leads, you need new customers and you need revenue. Make sure you pick a team that can deliver results and not “stuff.” A lot of marketing people still view marketing as brochures, emails, blog articles, whitepapers and trade show support. That’s how marketers used to think.
Progressive marketers (and even more progressive revenue specialists) look at the entire buyer journey. They make sure that the buyer experience is proactively designed to get as many people to raise their hand at the top of the funnel and even more to raise their hand at the bottom of the funnel. They’re focused on converting visitors into leads, leads into sales opportunities and sales opportunities into new customers and revenue.
Agreeing On Expectations In The Sales Process
Nothing is going to happen overnight, so you have to be aligned with your marketing team on what you expect and what they commit to delivering. Ask them what you should expect after 30 days, 60 days and 90 days. Ask what you should expect month over month. You should be cautious if any of those answers seem too good to be true. If you’re getting five leads a month now from your website, don’t expect to get 500 leads after 30 days. Again, if that’s what people are telling you, run away.
Instead, you should expect to hear that you’ll get 10 leads in the first month and 20 leads in the second month, assuming you have the marketing and sales assets, marketing strategy, messaging, stories and content to support those goals. If you don’t, then it’s going to take time to build those assets. There is no other option. Build it now, or wait and suffer the mediocre results that come from misaligned, siloed and old-school marketing.
Running A Tight And Expedited Selection Process
Whether you’re hiring internally or hiring an agency, make it an expedited process. It shouldn’t take you 60 to 90 days to pick your agency and it shouldn’t take you six months to hire an internal team. Create a set of requirements and then work to find people (internal or external) that check all of your boxes. Understand in advance what you want to see from the agency or from internal candidates. You waited this long to make a change, and now you need to move fast and be decisive in how you want to move forward.
Remember that the sooner this team gets started, the sooner your challenges get attention and resolution. If you need leads quickly, you have to move quickly at this stage. Waiting two months and then pressuring your team or your agency is a recipe for wasted time and wasted money.
Pushing Fear Aside
You can fix revenue generation at your company. Believe it or not, all of the tools, processes and methodologies now exist to create a scalable, repeatable and predictable revenue machine. But it is going to take changes that might feel uncomfortable to you. It might take a set of tactics you’ve never executed before. It might take working with people you haven’t worked with before. It might take spending money you’ve never spent before or spending it on software you’ve never bought before.
Anytime you do something new, it usually feels weird or uncomfortable. Doing something new often requires hard work, and it remains hard work for months as you practice and refine your new skills. This is going to be similar. You are, in essence, teaching your entire company a new way to market and sell your company.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Expertise, Methodology And Insights!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.