As a leader of a growth-stage business, you are a superhero. You put out fires while moving the company forward strategically. Your typical day probably involves HR, finance, operations, supply chain, sales, and legal. Sandwiched between all of that is your personal life. You try to make time for blogging, writing newsletters, and marketing your business. Let’s be honest. You don’t have enough bandwidth to build a strong marketing foundation for your growing business while managing everything else.
We have watched marketing cripple some companies, so we are sharing some of the most crucial things you can do to set your company up for marketing success.
If you can find time to only do three things, please let it be these!
HOW TO BUILD A STRONG MARKETING FOUNDATION TIP #1
SLOW DOWN BEFORE MAKING A DECISION
One of the most frequent areas businesses want our help with is a CRM implementation. When we ask what the timeframe for the project looks like, they give us a blank look, and normally say “yesterday!” Then they say a week or two would work. This still isn’t long enough. You need to allocate more time!
At the MarTech Conference in San Francisco, I met a marketing technologist for a medium size bank. The selection and setup process for their CRM took over a year. For a smaller business that may have less data to migrate, it won’t necessarily take as long. But, a CRM implementation should not be rushed.
Plan to spend 1-2 months planning and reviewing software options. After selecting your CRM, get into implementation details like data cleanup. To do this, you will need to establish your CRM data structure. Allocate at least a month or two to set up your system and import data. Add data in batches, test the set up, and make changes to the system several times before rolling out to your team.
HOW TO BUILD A STRONG MARKETING FOUNDATION TIP #2
KEEP YOUR SYSTEMS SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE
Select tools that will support your company over the next 2-3 years. Hopefully, you will experience fast and sustainable growth. At a certain point, you will outgrow your systems and will need tools with more sophisticated and advanced functionality. For example, Google Analytics will capture all sessions on your website until you reach 10 million hits per month. However, when you reach a certain threshold, it provides only sample data. You will need to upgrade to see your complete data, which is critical to making smart business decisions.
That being said, don’t go bottom-of-the-barrel on your tools. You need them to be reliable and easy to use. You need to make decisions about your technology so that you can make adjustments in the future without the assistance of your designers and developers. Try not to complicate things that can be basic.
As a growing business, choose systems like WordPress for your website and Unbounce for your landing pages. These tools do not require technical skills or training to use. Plus, they integrate with a lot of other tools you may want to use. Using an easy content management system (CMS) will mean that, as you learn what messaging resonates most with your customers, you can rapidly update your website copy. This should cause visitors to convert to leads at a higher rate.
HOW TO BUILD A STRONG MARKETING FOUNDATION TIP #3
DELEGATE THE RIGHT TASKS
Since you’re reading a blog about marketing, we assume you respect the role marketing plays in growing a company. We’re not here to try to convince you that marketing is important. You can read plenty of other articles about that on a million other blogs. However, you would be surprised by how many growth-stage company leaders don’t grasp marketing’s importance.
We often encounter companies that say they understand the value marketing provides to a growing business, but turn around and hire interns to do a Marketing Manager or CMO’s job. Would you hire an intern to be your CFO? Probably not. So, hopefully you are also wise enough to realize that interns should not be employed as strategic decision makers when it comes to marketing either.
Building a marketing technology stack requires a series of strategic decisions. Creating an implementation plan requires specialized skills that experts spend years honing. Delegating these responsibilities to someone who is junior does not benefit your company – or your junior staff member. Instead, ask them to prepare comparisons between software systems and your requirements. Involve them in organizing data for export and import. Give them clearly defined pieces of the project to own.
LET’S WRAP THIS UP
Rushing decisions, using software tools maintain your dependency on designers and developers, and relying on inexperienced staff for strategic work are mistakes we see companies routinely make. Get these fundamental steps right and you will have a good foundation to build a strong marketing foundation.