In today’s market, you have to operate lean and it is always smart to do what you are best at. I was recently speaking to the CEO of a firm that makes a cleantech product. He was looking to outsource sales and marketing given that his background is in engineering with very little if any sales experience, except from warm leads passed to him. He simply said to me that “I am an engineer, I build and design products, I don’t know sales and I don’t want to know sales”. That says something right there. He understands value he brings and where he can’t add value.
Outsource sales and marketing as a way to add value in a cost effective way to drive your firm’s growth and profitability. Especially for smaller firms, where financial resources tend to be more constrained and the owner is still very active in all facets of the business, to outsource sales and marketing functions can make sense. Remember, there is a lot to sales now as the lines between sales and marketing have blurred especially in B2B sales. Your growing sales team is comprised of a number of positions, all which can be outsourced. Let’s look at the different aspects of outsourcing:
We feel it is always important for the owners, founders and leaders in an organization to drive their own sales through the very early days of the business. This learning is important to understand what is the actual business pain customers have, how your solution solves that and the results. Ultimately, understanding the target market and value proposition is key. To grow, it may make sense to bring in a part-time sales resource.
This resource can build on your early success and add sales horsepower to you in a cost effective way. Your sales rep can help qualify inbound leads, do the follow-ups, send emails, make calls, attend trade shows, update the CRM, follow-up on contracts, and all of the other activities associated with sales. This extra sales help can be a huge productivity boost for leaders or start-ups and growing companies.
We all have heard the statistics. How many companies don’t succeed and it is not for lack of great ideas or work ethic in many cases. Long-term and sustainable success is difficult in the best of times. Growing your sales team is an investment and you want to make sure you hire the right people, create a great communication plan, lay out the proper sales infrastructure and set up the correct processes to ensure repeatable success.
Leveraging a part-time leadership resource to pull this together for you and help guide you through its creation and ongoing management will be an important stepping stone into taking your firm to the next level. Sales as much as some would say is an “art”, it is more of a science.
Inbound Lead Generation
Lots of leads are good. Having high quality leads are better. This is where sales and marketing starts to blur. One of the core goals for the marketing team is to create a process that drives leads – we call them Inbound Leads. Inbound lead generation can be a mix of content marketing, social media, email newsletters, SEM, SEO and paid ads. The goal here is to catch people’s attention online and have it be interesting enough that they reach out to you. When folks talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) this is what they mean. One of the most important elements of success here is the consistency of the effort. This is not a one and done sort of initiative. It is an ongoing commitment so plan for that. The other component here is utilizing paid advertising on certain platforms, this could be highly targeted ads on Linkedin, or more general GoogleAds. Depending on what you are selling, there are a variety of inbound lead strategies to employ. Your part-time team can help you find the most suitable ones for your needs.
Marketing is necessary for an organization to be able to provide the right message, at the right time to the right targets. Creating a marketing strategy at the start of your sales and marketing efforts, measuring it, and then being flexible with it over time is very important. A senior marketing resource can work with you to define build out your marketing strategy, provide insight and expertise about the correct messaging and marketing tactics to be used.
In today’s market, there are a wide variety of marketing tactics that can be utilized. It is the job of the marketing manager to oversee and execute these. This could be project-based or one-time events like a website update or event support or ongoing initiatives like writing blogs or posting on social media platforms. A key to marketing today, if the goal is to drive leads, is to have consistent effort. Many tasks like social media, content creation, website updates, SEO, and other adhoc activities take regular investment. A part-time resource can be a good way to ensure consistency at a low cost.
As a growing company, there are many activities that need to be accomplished to move your business forward. You and your team may not have the experience or time to do it yourself. If you outsource sales and marketing, it may be what you need to help keep your revenue generation momentum going.
If you’re looking to outsource sales and marketing functions in your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For great insight into startup sales and marketing, feel free to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.