How To Effectively Manage Your Marketing Employees and Vendors
When you assume a leadership role in Managed Services, it will most likely put you outside of your comfort zone. A lot of IT Founders and CEOs start their company on the backs of their technical abilities, but have little experience when it comes to scaling and operating a business. As the company matures, they are forced to mature with it, gradually transitioning out of the technical role they once filled and into full time management of the business.
I found that one of the biggest challenges these Operators face is effectively managing their marketing employees and vendors. It is easy to manage technical employees when you have decades of experience in technology. Marketing, however, is a foreign subject to most. To help you in this chapter of your growth, we have documented some of our best tips to hold your marketing teams accountable and call “BS” when you see it.
Outsource/ Hire For Your Weakness
First and foremost, when building a supplemental marketing team be sure to always hire for your weaknesses. Sometimes IT Operators have a marketing formula that is working on a micro scale but they do not have the time to execute it on a routine basis. In this case, it is important to identify what that “special sauce” is that is working and then outsource and/or hire for everything else.
For example, if you find that you can write incredibly engaging technology content for your blog but rarely have the time to do it, the solution should not be to outsource the writing of your articles. Instead, you should continue to write the articles yourself but have someone else take over the distribution of them. This tedious work of editing, formatting, uploading, and posting to your blog and social media can take almost as long as it takes to write the articles themselves. By offloading this responsibility, you can free up more time allowing you to double the amount of content you can produce, which may exponentially increase your results.
Know The Value Of Your Customer
One of the struggles that a lot of MSP Operators have is identifying whether or not their marketing employee or vendor is actually successful . Lead costs can vary greatly based on the quality of the leads and how they were ultimately generated. Sometimes a lead can cost $50 and will rarely convert to a new customer. Other times it may cost $1000 and has a very high closing ratio. This makes it very difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison and determine what marketing efforts are working and what aren’t.
The bulletproof marketing metric that every Operator should use to gauge the success of their marketer’s efforts is Lifetime Value (LTV). By predicting how much profit a customer will generate over its lifetime, you will be able to make a clear determination on what the value of that customer is and what your Target Acquisition Costs (TAC) should be. For example, if a customer will generate $50,000 in profit over a 5 year retention, then you should look to spend no more than $10.000 (20% TAC) to acquire them. In this scenario, even if your leads cost $2,000 each to generate, closing 1 out of every 5 will still be considered a successful campaign.
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Have A Documented Marketing Plan
The best way to make sure you and your marketing teams are all on the same page is through a marketing plan. Since this plan is likely to change often, it is important to always keep a shared resource on file that can be referenced at any time. Your marketing plan should contain who you are targeting, how you are targeting them, and what you are targeting them with. It does not have to be an exhaustive document, instead look to simply outline your objectives and strategies as they pertain to your overall goal.
The most important reason to keep a marketing plan is to ensure that your marketing team is staying locked in on your target customer. Rapid experimentation is encouraged, however sometimes operating too many experiments at once can limit the amount you can learn from each. Keeping your experimentation focused around one particular targeting group at a time will allow you to maximize your learning capacity and shorten the amount of time in-between launch and optimization.
Put frankly, marketers are well-known to have the attention span of a goldfish, so it is important to keep them focused and on-task.
Take A Holistic View Of Your Funnel
When you hire a marketer or marketing vendor, you are most likely trying to generate brand impressions that will eventually turn into website visitors, leads and paying customers for your business. If you want to close more of these leads, you should make sure that the funnel you create builds trust in your brand over time. When executed properly, your funnel can generate a large amount of impressions and over a few month period filter them into high quality converting prospects for your business.
To conceptualize your funnel, you can simply ask yourself these three questions:
- What marketing activities will create awareness?
- What marketing activities will build trust?
- What marketing activities will drive conversion?
If your funnel is fractured or not complete, then your probability of success will be low. For example, if all your marketing vendor is doing is cold-calling prospects to set appointments and you expect to instantly close them, then you are trying force your prospect through the tunnel too quickly. While you might get the prospect’s ear, they probably aren’t ready to buy your services and have no reason to trust you even if they were.
Instead, look to supplement your cold calling with additional activities such as emailing or social media ads to promote valuable content. These build trust around your brand and each will make the other exponentially more effective.
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Have Realistic Expectations
If you hire an internal or external marketer, it is important to always maintain realistic expectations. There is an optimization process that every marketer must go through to develop a campaign. With a good marketer, this process never stops as they are always testing and pushing the boundaries in order to better results. This means tweaking the ad copy, trying new ad formats, or testing the ads on new platforms, or anything else they can do to get a slight advantage.
Unfortunately for MSPs, this process requires a ramp-up time and comes at a cost. Coupling this with a long sales process can mean that an effective marketing strategy might take up to a year to bear any fruit. If you are evaluating the productivity of your marketer after only a three month tenure, you probably are not going to be satisfied with the results.
One way to gauge success early on is to have open communication with your Marketer about how many prospects are in the funnel and what stages they are in. You might find out that while you do not have any conversions, your email list has grown substantially and after a few months of nurturing the list can turn out prospects on a routine basis.