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Lucas HamonJul 20, 2015 2:39:00 PM9 min read

When is the Right Time for Outsourced Marketing Services?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg...? (pictured here: eggs that are chickens)

In this metaphor, we, of course, are talking about sales vs marketing. Now, before you write this post off as a self-serving ad for our outsourced marketing services, I want to make something abundantly clear. I am writing this from the perspective of a seasoned B2B sales veteran today, not a marketer.

Prior to founding Orange Pegs Media, I racked up a decade of experience working in staffing & corporate tax advisory services, always in customer-facing positions.... always in b2b ... and always at the top of my class.

I know what it means to cold-call more than 100 accounts per day. I know what it means to pound the pavement. I know what it means to have a pipeline that is stacked and ripe, and conversely know what it means to have to squeeze blood from a stone when the chips are down.

I survived the employment executions when the bottom of the housing market fell out in 2009 and the "Great Depression of Staffing" hit (like somebody flipped a switch)... Nay, with the support of a dedicated and wildly talented team, I THRIVED when it all hit the fan.

How did we do it? 

We never gave up. We never stopped selling. And we reinvented ourselves daily.

And, through the fray, it wasn't the "full throttle" mentality that got us there. It was the reinvention of ourselves as service providers, consultants, and most importantly, marketers. Everywhere else I've been it has been the same thing. Good websites and interactive marketing make us transparent, easy to understand, and better able to win clients at the sales level. Period.

So, which is first? Outsourced marketing services or sales?

It's a paradox, because in today's highly immersive, digital environments, you can't really have one without the other. It's like saying, which makes your car go? The gas or the engine?

Just yesterday I spoke with a prospect in staffing who said they lost their biggest client, an on-premise account worth 90% of their sales. And who HASN'T been there? Remember the recession? They are desperate to find clients, but paradoxically want to wait until revenue starts coming in before investing in marketing.

Before that I spoke with a SAAS start-up that had only a handful of clients, but "not enough to justify spending money on marketing."

I also spoke to an accounting firm that wanted to hire us for social media marketing services, but didn't have a way to convert leads, nor did they want to invest in a system that does it for them.

But not everybody sees it this way. In fact, one of my more sophisticated SAAS start-up clients set up their marketing strategy in parallel with that of their sales AND operational.

Guess who's winning right now?

That said, here are 7 reasons why marketing and sales should grow up together.

1. Credibility

What happens when you cold-call somebody, and finally get your hooks into a opportunity that has real possibilities? You set the appointment, note it in Salesforce, send out a calendar invite, then write it up on the white board. The office does a little jig (hopefully), you spend a minute talking about the battle between them picking up and trying to brush you off before you squeeze in your elevator pitch.

High fives ensue (along with a little veiled envy)... then it's back to work.

The next day, your appointment flakes. They won't take your call, respond to your emails, or generally acknowledge that you even exist. How did that happen?

Well, let's back it up for a minute... what's the first thing YOU do when somebody manages to penetrate your defenses? Google, Bing, Yahoo...? you search them, right? You look for dirt and credibility. You might type their name next to "reviews," or at the very least, check out their website to make sure it looks legitimate and professional.

Ah... Don't have a website, or you do, but it happens to look like you won it in a Crackerjack box? There. It. Is.

But, what about social media?

Sure, great question. I believe that social media is the great equalizer. It helps sales prove they are legitimate based on others vouching for them publicly. This is important, and salespeople know it. Many corporations, however, leave it solely in their hands. Me... I'm personally going to search for both, as are your prospects, so investing in both makes a lot more sense.

 

2. Cohesiveness

Marketing is the binding agent that brings your corporate flavor to the forefront of your salespeoples' efforts. A central marketing voice, whether internal or external, will help you identify big picture opportunities and weaknesses in the delivery of your message.

With accessible digital marketing tools that not only deliver but crush the analytics, you don't have to wonder what is or is not working. Sales, on the other hand... well, it's much more challenging to figure out. But if you have a central voice directing tonality and targeting, while feeding sales with accessible and compelling content, well.. checkmate.

3. Leads - Like... GOOD leads

In all of my years in sales, regardless of the industry, geography, or service offering, the leads delivered by corporate were always pretty freaking awful.

Why? Because they came from purchased lists - lists that were touted as being targeted and money well spent. Then, after digging through mountains of garbage to find the one or two that had buying potential, we'd call out of the blue and get hung up on if there was even a nanosecond of space between sentences.

They were cold, misguided, and mostly pointless.

Purchased lists don't come from marketing. They come from cutting corners. It doesn't matter if you're feeding them into a marketing machine or just pushing them to your sales people. They're just not as good as they could be... and they're costly 

A good lead comes from good marketing.

 


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4. Consistently stacked pipeline

I know what it's like when everything is humming along the way it should be... the days when the calls are inbound, referrals are abundant, and the pipe is stacked and ready to burst.

It felt good... but only good - not great. It's actually kind of terrifying, because my calls for new business were always lagging, since I was spending so much time with the low hanging fruit, as I should have been.

I always knew that if I didn't get back out there and nurture my colder leads, I would be in a panic with nothing to hold onto once the harvest was finished. It made it hard to enjoy the successes.

I know you know this too. It's something of a paradox, and one that I run into all the time. I had a website design client recently push off their inbound campaign because the referrals of late have been keeping them well fed. But when the frenzy is over, they, like many others, will probably say that they want to wait until revenue picks up again before making a real investment in their marketing.

Marketing takes time to take hold.

Something that I learned from being in b2b sales is that when I feel comfortable, it's because the other shoe simply hasn't dropped... yet.

5. Diversification

Having a diverse portfolio is key to the success of any organization. When one service or product runs its course, you need another to take its place. So, it's good business to spread out your investments, and look for multiple opportunities to grow.

For sales, the most common investments are in cold calling and nurturing referral sources. They both work and will get you business, but one of those is losing grip because it's annoying and unnecessary, and the other puts you at the mercy of an outsider's ability and desire to provide you with quality leads.

What happens if they go out of business or your contact leaves, and their replacement has somebody else to refer the business to?

Don't get me wrong: referrals are awesome, but it's a dangerous game to play when they are the main source of income. Just ask my friends who lost their big on-premise account, where the job order referrals were once automatic.

6. Timing is everything!

Not every deal you sign is executed right away. Many, and probably MOST have a longer sales cycle than you'd like. You put the good ones on the follow-up future opportunity backburner list, and touch them from time to time.

You and I both know that if you don't happen to reach out on the right day, somebody else will swoop in and take the deal right out of your hands, so you have to walk a fine line to make sure you are the first to call when the time is right, but not annoy them by reaching out too often.

Of course, when a salesperson leaves or drops the ball because something slips through the cracks, nobody in your organization wins.

But if you have a marketing engine running, generating AND nurturing leads, you'll know when the time is right before you pick up the phone. It's called email drip campaigning... smart content... sales alerts... lead scoring... behavioral tracking.

Why Outsource marketing?

Outsourcing marketing provides flexibility that hiring a bunch of full-time employees cannot. That said, I think it's a great idea to have somebody or even a team of marketers on the full-time payroll if the budget allows, because they are going to be your central voice and drivers of your corporate agendas. But they shouldn't be working alone.

Because digital marketing is evolving so rapidly, it's good to have a team that brings flexible diversity to the table. It's highly likely that your marketer will need contributions from blog writing services, professional SEO services, social media marketers, an email marketing agency, and somebody to glue it all together.

To often, the marketing falls on our shoulders as salespeople, because the marketing is either non-existent or misguided. It was hard to get it right when the recession hit, because inbound was still in its infancy, and most were still broadcasting their messages. But today, there really are no excuses. Increasing sales is important, isn't it?

So, which DOES come first, the investment in marketing or sales?

...Yes

Interested in learning more about how Orange Pegs Media's outsourced marketing services can amplify your sales efforts? Schedule a free assessment today!

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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