Sales and marketing leaders have it tough these days. Constantly juggling new priorities, the need to manage staff, projects and vendors, the unending need to fill the pipeline and report to company leadership are just some of the demands on their time. Let alone taking the opportunity to work on their own skills and careers. The balancing act for being a great sales and marketing leader - especially in a business-to-business (B2B) company - can be hard to maintain for the long run.
Savvy sales leaders know that they don't have to do it all, because they quite simply can't do it all. And they're starting to turn to their colleagues in marketing to make their lives easier.
The problem for most sales leaders in B2B companies is that they don't have a strong marketing department to turn to. The majority of small and mid-sized B2B companies don't have marketing departments. Maybe they have one person who wears the marketing hat, but that person is often junior and has limited strategic marketing skills.
In the face of limited in-house resources, sales leaders are turning to outside demand generation specialists to help them solve some specific problems they're trying to address.
Here are 4 of the most common problems that a marketing agency can help a sales leader solve:
1. Disconnect Between Sales And Marketing Teams
In her book, “The Radical Sales Shift”, Mezzanine founder Lisa Shepherd talks about how buyers have changed and how marketing and sales must now work hand-in-hand to help their company close more leads. Traditionally, the marketing department passes on leads to sales. But, if sales isn’t closing these leads or aren’t getting the right kind of leads, it becomes a major problem for the company.
This is an extremely common problem in B2B companies.
This is where an outsourced agency can step in, as a third-party with no political agenda, and help close the sales loop. They can take an objective view when identifying issues, and provide guidance on process improvement. They can also help identify areas of opportunity to deliver more marketing qualified leads to the sales department, increasing the likelihood of gaining more clients.
2. Weak Lead Generation
Increased competition and changing patterns of buyer behavior mean that companies are forced to run leaner operations, and marketing departments are often hard hit when it comes to obtaining budget - often because they aren't strong at delivering (or proving) ROI for marketing spend. That’s why many marketing managers make do with a skeleton staff, pitching in where they can or sometimes, do the work alone. That leaves little time for strategic planning or growth - or accomplishing real results in generating leads and filling the pipeline.
An outsourced marketing agency can help ease the burden. They can work alongside the staff and manager, to help them accomplish goals. The great thing about an outside agency is that they need little to no training – companies can get access to experienced professionals of all levels who already know what to do and can start adding value right away. This can save marketing managers time and money, and free up their schedule to be involved in more strategic endeavors.
3. Outdated Marketing Knowledge
Thanks to technology and increased ease of communication, changes happen at lightning speed. While traditional marketing dominated for a very long time, it’s fast becoming outdated. Sure, some of the fundamentals remain the same, but techniques and technologies are constantly moving forward and, unless marketing managers dedicate the time and manpower to stay current, it’s difficult to keep up.
Marketing agencies live and breathe the most current methods and technologies in the world of marketing, every day. An outsourced agency comes with current research and experience so that the company’s team doesn’t have to. Agency marketers can instantly suggest and implement new programs and promotions that will help boost the company’s profits. They also use new methods of collecting and interpreting data, which can be used to create a roadmap to increase leads and close more sales.
4. Communication Gap Between Marketing and Executive
Often, there is a communication gap between marketers and executives within the same company. Higher-ups and c-suite execs may have difficulty understanding the thought process behind marketing decisions and often require “proof” in the form of numbers, that help rationalize spend.
Marketers know that measurement and analytics provide the “proof”. Relevant research and data are the keys to developing the most impactful marketing plans, bringing in customers and providing ROI. An outsourced marketing agency can be used to conduct research and collect data which, in turn, can be used to bridge the communication gap between executives and the marketing department.
Should You Hire a Marketing Agency?
If you’re a sales leader trying to solve lead generation problems in your business, consider if a marketing agency can help you tackle some of the specific issues you face.