Growing pains are a good thing. It means your organization is growing and your reach is expanding. At the same time, it can be difficult to manage this growth a marketing team especially when you’ve got to manage the budget at the same time.
A recent survey of marketing executives reported an all too common complaint: Securing enough budget to meet the company’s needs is one of the top three challenges marketers face.
It likely means you’re stretching your team and your budget to service your existing client base, sales teams, and marketing efforts while to having to scale rapidly to handle new accounts.
Prepare for Scaling
When you anticipate growth periods, the best thing you can do is to prepare ahead of time. Easier said then done of course… Between organizing your marketing assets to streamlining your marketing campaign execution, there’s a lot to think about. Luckily, we have a few considerations to help you on this journey.
Ensure Your Existing Marketing Campaigns Are Streamlined
Marketing automation can be your best friend. The more you can set up ahead of time and let run, the more you can focus on growth. As the number and complexity of your campaigns increase, you need to exploit technology to track, analyze, and optimize your efforts.
You also want to make sure you build up your marketing assets and resources ahead of time. Plan for those changes ahead of time by building up a queue to prepare for the upcoming transition.
Your time will be split between existing clients, marketing needs, onboarding new clients, and developing new materials for upcoming campaigns. You will need to find ways to effectively manage your time. Preparation will save you loads of headache later on. Look 3-6-12 months down the line.
Build Strong Processes & Training
Your team will all have additional time demands. This means the better training materials and processes you have in place, the better your team will function without you.
Assess your current processes and streamline wherever possible. Adopt and build upon a strong inbound marketing process that leverages the efficiencies of each team member. Don’t depend on someone remembering to do something, have a calendar and checklists to guide productivity. If you can eliminate something, do it. We’re all great at adding on new things to do, but not as good about letting go of old things – even if they are no longer working. It helps to look at the ROI of your current marketing efforts and cut back on those that aren’t pulling their weight.
In a lean approach, you can adapt existing training materials or industry best practices. You don’t always need to create your own. If you are bringing on new team members, you want a formalized training plan to get people up to speed rapidly.
Organize Marketing Team Structure & Roles
As you scale and add people and more moving parts, roles can get blurred. It’s easy for this to become a problem. Your team needs to know who is responsible for what, who to go to with questions, and what authority they have to make things happen.
When building up a marketing team, you need an honest assessment of your team and the skills they have. Identify any areas where you are weak or don’t have the resources you need. As in your process examination, if you can alleviate any unnecessary workload, it helps when you need to ramp up.
With the added burden, you will likely have less time to get involved in smaller projects. Evaluate who can handle additional responsibility and make sure the team knows who has the authority to manage projects without waiting for your approval. In growth periods, a clear marketing team structure and delegation are crucial so that you can focus on the big picture.
This is especially crucial in B2B technology and Saas marketing strategies where product deployment, customer retention, & new marketing initiatives all collide. These industries often require strong inbound marketing strategies with agile thinkers because of the rapid evolution of things.
Budget Calculations & Hidden Employee Costs
This is always a little tricky. When looking to add team members, you’ll want to start with salary, but don’t forget about the hidden costs.
While it will vary based on location and benefits, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employee benefits costs (insurance, CPP, employment insurance, and other benefits) add up to 50% of the average worker’s salary. You’ll also need to add in any tools they’ll need to do the job (computer, software, phone, desk, etc.).
Once you hire, it takes time to train. Even if they already have the skills, it takes a bit to learn the way you want things done. That means there’s a lag time between when you hire someone, they get trained, and their work becomes productive. If you are figuring your CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs) against a per-employee formula, your formula will change the second you add another body. Your costs will go up immediately. If you’re figuring CAC against your current staff, you’ll need to add in new salaries to do projections for future costs.
Marketing budgets will adapt as well. Your CAC costs may rise as your market penetration grows (or they may fall depending on a variety of factors). Your marketing and promotion budget will need to adapt. In addition to reaching out to new customers, you’ve got to keep your current customers happy. Your marketing and advertising costs will rise, but revenue will trail behind.
Often overlooked costs are the measurement and analysis of marketing activities. 39% of marketing pros surveyed said proving the ROI of the marketing activities is their top concern. It sure helps when you’re asking for a bigger budget to be able to prove the return you’re getting. However, it takes time and money to accurately measure and monitor.
Integrate Your Sales And Marketing Team
You need to make sure your sales team is ready as well. Take a “Smarketing” approach to make sure the sales and marketing team processes and systems you put in place are organized at each level.
It’s easy to scale marketing leads, but the sales team has to be ready to handle the additional workload. You also want to make sure there is a process to qualify the leads and prioritize them.
Augment Your Team With Resources to Scale
Many startups fail because they rapidly take on expense when they hit that first big growth spurt. They hire quickly and build up teams while adding to the bottom line. When the revenue doesn’t follow immediately, they find themselves upside down quickly.
Here’s a common problem that internal marketing teams face: You’ve got a fixed budget for marketing and big growth plans for the next quarter or year. Your goals expand but your budget stays the same. You want to bring on board extra helps to meet those big goals.
When you consider that the average Marketing Coordinator salary in Vancouver, BC starts at $70,000 per year (plus benefits) on the low end, that can take a chunk out of your budget. That does not include any recruitment or training costs, or your investment in time to find them. That only gets them on board and ready to scale the next chapter in your marketing. It doesn’t cover the costs of paid ads and other marketing assets or services you need to meet your goals. It can get expensive quickly.
One solution many companies are using when building a marketing team is to hire specialized positions in-house while deploying the use of an integrated marketing team, such as an agency, to augment the workload. This allows companies to scale up as work increases without adding additional work on the current team and get upside down on payroll costs. Working in tandem with the internal marketing team, the external marketing team can expand or contract its role as needed. This allows you to delay hiring a senior position to oversee in-housing marketing until revenue comes in that can offset the budget or the time is right.
The burden of adding additional manpower effectively switches from you to the agency you choose at retainer rates that can often rival a single senior employee. This allows you to test and scale new campaigns and refine marketing initiatives over time without having to increase the salary line.