In the B2B world, most organizations do not start off with a proper marketing department. In the beginning sales, operations and service are keeping the lights on whilst simultaneously executing ad hoc marketing tactics. For example, the owner manages advertising in-between calls while the admin assistant is posting on social media and the salespeople are doubling as content creators.

Stepping up with marketing

What happens when an organization decides it is time to make the leap to add a marketing department? That exact question was answered three years ago when Benchmark Business Solutions, a Xerox Agent on a mission to grow, hired their first Director of Marketing, Constance Barbian.

With seven locations, a seasoned sales staff and a CEO who understands the importance of marketing, they were poised to achieve their goals. But even when there’s promise of growth, not everyone jumps for joy when the marketing department shows up. They want the growth and help in getting new leads, and they like being busy in the field, but many have the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality.

If it aint broke…

Constance was hired to help fuel growth, not fix something that wasn’t broken which can be a challenging message for a new person to convey. Three years later, Benchmark Business Solutions has grown by five new locations, and in the process, learned lessons about working with other departments and using analytics to drive acceptance of marketing as an asset.

I recently spoke with Constance at the Xerox Digital Mastery Workshop in New Orleans and discovered some advice worth sharing…

How to assimilate marketing into an already successful organization

Find your marketing allies

The biggest role a dedicated marketer plays for an organization, outside of building awareness and driving demand, is to bring structure to marketing efforts. Not everyone is always ready to support the role but with buy-in from key people your message will be championed within the company and shows support for the value marketing brings.

Two-way communication is imperative

Marketing has to understand the sales perspective and in turn sales needs to be open to feedback and requests. Because sales drive conversations, campaigns and marketing initiatives, Constance suggests conducting internal surveys as a starting point for understanding sales goals and prioritizing marketing initiatives with them in mind.

Stop working in silos

If marketing is new to the organization and finds departments still working in silos, be a part of the solution. Interdepartmental communication is just as important as the external communication you’re working on for customers. If everyone inside your organization knows what marketing does, those colleagues will become your brand ambassadors during the sales cycle.

What a dedicated marketing position does for a company

Creates brand cohesiveness internally and externally

Aligning what may seem like small details actually creates a cohesive customer experience across entire teams and across locations. Make marketing the hub for internal and external messaging, branding and collateral. Do this across the entire organization and suddenly everyone knows where to go to get the collateral they need and potential customers recognize communications coming from your brand. Ultimately the consistency and brand recognition helps to make developing long-term relationships easier.

Marketing saves time for sales

When salespeople are responsible for developing campaigns, designing their own collateral, logos, proposal templates and other marketing materials, the sales process lacks efficiency. When marketing is in place, the collateral is cohesive, branded and customer focused. Plus social media messaging is cohesive and drives awareness, websites are optimized, and leads are generated.

Where to start when you’re the new marketer on the block

Use tools to help

Marketers can arm themselves with analytics and tools to show reach and engagement statistics. Xerox-provided tools like Social on Demand are a lifesaver to fill gaps in new marketing departments whilst they build and implement a comprehensive social strategy. Constance remarked that having Social on Demand to lean on as she ramped up Benchmark’s social strategy helped. Then once the social media engagement was in stride, she continued to use it to augment the strategy and relieve some of the time burden inherent in social content creation.

Brings analytics into the conversation…

It’s time to share the numbers. Once marketing is onboard and the efforts are centralized, analytics can more easily be collected and distributed. Since salespeople communicate in numbers, analytics are a natural connecting point as well as a motivator. Track how long customers have been with you, how much and how often they buy, their demographics and other pertinent information to help inform future marketing initiatives. As Constance says, “I found that website visitors, click-thru-rates, and metrics related to sales and social media were motivating to my sales reps. Once they saw the impact of marketing they wanted to help.”

…and earn your seat at the director’s table

Using analytics is a great way the new marketing department can earn their seat at the Director’s table and convince others to accept them as integral to the company’s success even though it is new. Using the numbers alongside robust internal conversations is how teams become educated and excited about what marketing can help them accomplish. Alternatively, as Constance explained it, “Analytics are useful to align the departments and they’re also valuable to help drive more sales, inform marketing initiatives and keep the organization aligned from the inside out.”

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