Marketing should be a core business function for every company. Smaller B2B tech companies do not always start out with a marketing department though. In our experience, many companies don’t possess a marketing plan until they’ve landed a handful of clients.
It makes sense for startups to focus on other priorities first, such as product development. Without an existing product or service, it can feel as though there is nothing to market. Although an argument could be made that market research should be done before you begin building a product in the first place, I digress.
Once you’re out of that initial startup phase and you’ve gained some clients, it is time to get serious about your marketing plan. The reality is that if you don’t work on your marketing efforts early on you won’t achieve growth as fast as you should. Having knowledge of this fact is only the first step though. You need to put a plan in place and begin working on getting results.
If you aren’t sure where to begin or if you aren’t seeing the results you expect, it could be time to consider bringing in a B2B marketing agency that has a strong track record of helping its clients grow. Here are 7 concrete ways to know if it’s time to hire a marketing company. If you relate to 3 or more of these, you may want to take action sooner rather than later.
1. No Consistent Marketing
This is a telltale sign you should look for assistance. If you have little to no marketing activities happening on a regular basis, you should strongly consider finding additional help.
Marketing is like gardening in many ways. The leads you have today are a result of the work you did months ago. If you go months without engaging with your audience in some meaningful way, you will see a dip in results down the road. If you and your current team aren’t able to spend time on marketing each week, then it is definitely time to look for a marketing firm.
2. Small or No Marketing Team In-House
If you’re riding solo, or close to it, then it might be time to consider using a digital marketing agency. You may have a good understanding of marketing principles, but a good marketing strategy takes time and energy to build and maintain.
It requires constant tweaks to hone your brand message, improve the customer journey, and generate results. If you are doing this on your own or with a very small team, it can become overwhelming fast. A marketing agency partner can run the show or supplement your current team. Before hiring a team, make sure you know what to look for in a new marketing agency
3. Marketing Activities Come Last
We understand that you are doing 3 or more jobs at once and it is normal to let marketing come last when other tasks that make money are competing for your attention. However, marketing is so critical to growth that it can’t come last every time. Marketing must become a top priority.
In the short term, you may only see a slight dip in results. If you put other priorities above marketing long enough, your brand awareness will suffer. That means you risk losing potential customers and prospects to your competitors. Since marketing agencies focus solely on marketing, they can solve this problem for you quickly!
4. Sales and Leads are Few and Far Between
Another clear sign your marketing efforts could use a boost is a declining number of new leads or closed deals. Of course, many different areas affect sales outside of marketing. Assuming you have a good product or service that is desirable and a good sales strategy in place, a lack of inbound marketing could be the issue.
Inbound marketing aims to attract leads into your business using various channels and methods. In a nutshell, it helps boost the number of qualified leads for your sales team to contact. When inbound leads and new sales are slowing down or falling off, marketing (or a lack of it) could be the culprit.
5. Marketing Resources are Out of Date
If the first three points above made you question your current marketing strategy, it’s safe to assume this one does too. Outdated marketing materials and a slow, glitchy website are problems that should be addressed ASAP.
Keeping up with design trends is very important for your brand. That sales brochure you had designed in 2016 was probably state of the art when it was new. However, your materials should be updated regularly to keep up with the times and to make sure your content is still relevant.
Likewise, your website’s page speed, design, content, and frequency of new content all play an important role in how search engines rank your website in search results. You should strongly consider hiring a B2B marketing agency if your campaigns are sparse and if your designs and website could use a refresh.
6. Little or No Marketing Analytics
In years past, marketing campaigns were somewhat difficult to measure. You could run an ad in an industry trade publication, but unless someone said they saw your ad when they called, it was hard to know if the campaign was a success or failure.
Digital channels offer greater visibility than traditional marketing, but the principles are the same in that you want to create and distribute messaging that connects your brand with your target audience. Online advertising, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and other digital marketing channels are all trackable.
Professional marketing teams know what is important and how to track the performance of campaigns across social network sites and other platforms. The best marketing companies know how to improve existing campaigns based on the digital media analytics they gather.
7. Unclear Marketing Goals
Traveling can be a fun experience for many, especially when the trip is planned in advance. Not many people would enjoy getting on a plane without knowledge of where it would land. Not knowing where the final destination is will leave you unprepared for the journey.
Operating without clear marketing goals leads to the same result. Before you can move from point A to point B, you have to know where point B is, otherwise, you’ll make no tangible progress in any direction.
Successful marketing plans rarely start out as a perfect answer to your specific growth challenges. The nature of marketing is that there are best practices, but there is a high degree of theory and educated guess involved. That means there can be more than one answer to many questions. There is usually a best answer for this situation at this specific moment for this unique company, and that answer can change from month to month.
The point is, if you don’t have a bigger plan and purpose that is guiding your marketing efforts, or if that goal is murky, it will be very hard to move forward and get the results you want. Some marketing teams are able to help guide your overall strategy so that you can navigate toward your end goal with confidence.
Hiring a Team of Marketing Experts
It may feel overwhelming to even consider bringing on a marketing team if you never hired an agency in the past. You may think it will be too expensive or time-consuming to even begin searching. I’d say that if at least three of the points above resonate with you, it is in your best interest to get support. At the least, you owe it to yourself to speak to a couple of marketing agencies to discover how they might help your business.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, reach out to our team for some guidance. We are passionate about helping businesses with their marketing and we love meeting new people.
At the very least, you can ask us questions and get some free marketing advice for your company.