Take a moment to think back to the days of group projects at school. In my tenure as a student, I found that, no matter the class, no matter the assignment, there would almost always be four types of people in a group:
I was that last person. For me, group projects were utter torture. But you already knew that because you were that person, too. Your Type A tendencies served you well in school, and they continue to serve you well as a marketer.
Lately, however, your marketing team has been struggling to perform. The more you try to take on, the more desperate the situation seems. It’s your director’s opinion you need help. And I’m not talking outsourcing this month’s eBook kind of help; I’m talking long-term strategic help—the kind you get from an outside partner.
But like me, you don’t want to surrender your control until it’s absolutely necessary. So how do you know it’s really time to work with an inbound marketing agency? Here are a few signs:
There’s a difference between having a busy week (or even month!) and being so overburdened, you couldn’t get all of your work done even if you took a vacation from work just to catch up on work. When you and your team are overextended, marketing efforts suffer. What’s often worse is work becomes less enjoyable for everyone—which can lead to departures. An inbound marketing agency can give you the help you need to get your heads back above water.
There’s no doubt you’re a strategic thinker. In fact, you’ve always been the one to gently remind the team that, in marketing, strategy always comes before tactics. But strategy takes time, and if you don’t have the time to clearly lay it out (and ensure it’s being followed), it often becomes disjointed. Is everyone on your team devising tactics to work toward your ultimate marketing goal? Or are you simply doing anything and everything to get more leads? A new team of strategic thinkers can reevaluate what you’re doing to build an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Your website traffic is increasing. Your contact database is growing. Your sales team is receiving more phone calls. Do you know why? Where are these leads coming from? Are they marketing qualified? Sales qualified? If you’re not sure what’s working, you can’t know which tactics are most effective at getting you more customers and, therefore, most worth your team’s time. Working with an inbound marketing agency known for proving marketing’s effectiveness can solve this problem.
Your team is producing and promoting content like a well-oiled machine, and yet, you’re not acquiring more customers. The problem could be you’re not targeting the right people with the right content. To ensure your marketing messages are on target, you need to clearly define your buyer personas. The problem is developing buyer personas can be difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. By working with an inbound marketing agency experienced in buyer persona development, you will receive the information you need to create highly targeted messaging that resonates with the right audiences.
Commission is usually a big factor in salespeople’s salary, which is why they’re not shy to say when something is affecting their ability to perform. If the sales team is complaining more than usual—assuming your salespeople are knowledgeable and hardworking—it could be your marketing efforts aren’t producing quality leads. An inbound marketing agency can evaluate your company’s lead scoring process along with your marketing efforts to better align sales and marketing.
Marketing is tasked with reaching a number of goals to benefit the overall business, whether that's nurturing more qualified leads to drive sales or growing the CEO's online presence to help her become a thought leader in the industry. The go-getter you are, you enjoy the challenge of building strategic plans to reach—nay, exceed—those goals. But with your current resources, building robust strategies and completing all the grunt work necessary to reach those goals simply isn't possible. Delegating the responsibility of reaching just a few of those goals to an inbound marketing agency (for example, funneling more qualified leads to the sales team) can take some of the pressure off your shoulders.
Surrendering control, especially to a group of people you haven’t worked with in the past, is difficult for people like you and me. But it sometimes becomes a necessity. If you and your marketing team are experiencing any of the above signs, it’s time to begin your search for an inbound marketing agency.