Outsource vs. Insource & Skillset Matrix
About Common Sense - About John & Ed
John McTigue recently retired from his role as co-owner of Kuno Creative, one of the preeminent B2B content marketing agencies in the country, and is now the Martech Whisperer. In his new role he's working with companies to navigate the convoluted world of the revenue growth tech stack. John can be reached at:
You've met Ed here on the site.
For many years John and Ed have enjoyed talking about thorny issues around B2B marketing & sales, and recently we've started to record those conversations. We're calling it "Common Sense" based on our shared love of history, and the perspective we hope we bring.
You can follow our musings on Common Sense at:
Marketing Discussion Synopsis
Companies face a series of decisions as they work to build a revenue growth function that blends PR, as well as Marketing, Sales and Service functions in a way that mirrors buyers expectations.
- Insource and build the muscle internally as manufacturers prefer to do...or outsource, trying to find a firm which they can bolt on
- What's a reasonable budgeting approach as marketing becomes a core function and replaces parts of the industrial sales domain
- How do changes in buyer behaviors and expectations change the staffing, resourcing and organizational stature of marketing vs. sales
- The growing role of inside sales and blended approaches
- Identifying and prioritizing requried soft skills, industrial experience and technical skills rqruied for success
- Are agencies a good solution for many B2B industrials?
We dive into each of those and more as part of this conversation.
Ed Marsh: Welcome to Common Sense. Thanks for joining us today. I'm Ed and ...
John McTigue: I'm John.
EM: Hey John.
JM: How are you Ed?
EM: I'm good, thanks. It's getting cold up here in Boston. How're you doing in Houston?
JM: It's relatively cold, but that doesn't mean ...
EM: Well, we don't have snow yet, but it's coming soon I think.
JM: Well, we're expecting to be playing golf in the next few months down here.
EM: Oh man, you're rubbing it in.
JM: Oh yeah.
EM: All right.
JM: Welcome again to Common Sense. In this series, we're taking a common sense approach to discussing some of the thorniest issues in sales and marketing today, and today we're going to be talking about how to build an effective sales and marketing team. Both of us have experience in this area. Ed has had a lot more experience working with industrial companies and helping them to build out sales and marketing teams and capabilities. Why don't we start there with the big question and that seems to usually be how do you build a team and do you build it yourself or do you hire an agency? What are your thoughts about that?
EM: Well, that is ultimately the big question and what I've seen in the industrial space, and of course you've got a lot of experience from the agency perspective and so that's an important complement to this because sometimes we treat them is opposite perspectives, but maybe there are two sides of the same coin. Let's work through a collaborative way and see where we get to, but generally what I find is that industrial companies I work with, they've got a big field sales force. I mean that's the way they've developed business and they tend to have essentially an outsourced sales force in the sales channel, and they've got a relatively small marketing function.
Part of the problem that companies are having now as marketing becomes much more important with this 70% of the buying journey being done before they talk to sales rep and all the stats that we all know so well, that means that a lot of sales process is happening virtually. It was happening virtually, we need more marketing and I believe we talked a couple weeks ago about how we could take this whole revenue growth function and mash it up into a continuum of skills rather than these silos. The point is that most these companies need a bigger marketing department and so in that case, do they outsource the marketing or do they in source the marketing.
I think my sense and I'd love your perspective on this, a couple years ago companies were saying, "Well this is really different than what we do. This is fancy digital stuff. We're going to outsource this to agencies that really know it, they have social media and can do graphic design." Now more and more, they're saying, "Wait a minute, this is kind of core to our growth function," and manufacturers love building stuff themselves anyway. They hate the idea of outsourcing it. I think I'm seeing this shift whereas the marketing function becomes more important that more companies are trying to figure out how to bring it in-house. Does that match what you see?
JM: I think so. I think it's especially true in manufacturing because you have to know the product in order to sell it and if you bring in an agency from the outside, it's just going to be some learning curve unless they've worked in your specific industry for a long time. You might not get the insider knowledge that would really help you position the products and generate effective campaigns. I think it can be both, but it's really worth thinking about what is closely-held what needs to stay in house and what could be outsourced, what kinds of functions. I think it could be a blend of both.
EM: That function and skillset question is an important piece of it. You said what's inside knowledge and the product, the industry, the use cases, the value proposition, those tend to be unique in the manufacturing space and can be hard for outsource marketing firm to pick up on. The other piece of it though is some of the technical skills, so analytics. A good data analytics person can look at the data and tease out information without necessarily having specific industry experience or a great video skills are obviously horizontal across industry.
As companies begin to wrestle with this question, do we in source, do we outsource, do we build the muscle ourselves, there's a big philosophical piece of it, but then there are specific skillsets and so a blended solution often works really well.
JM: Right. I think that's a really good point about the analytics side, the data side of things too because it's one thing to collect a bunch of leads and then show that you've grown lead generation by X percent per month. It's quite another to qualify those leads and turn them into real sales qualified leads, and then understand what that data really means in the context of your industry and your competitors. It's hard for an outsider to really understand those nuances I think.
EM: Back to our CRM conversation a couple of weeks ago, you talked about the importance of data in that case. As you start to be able to look at sales cycle and how deals from different sources closed at different rates and all those kinds of really fascinating nuances that aren't just informational but can actually help provide a substance to the way you adjust the program, it can be a really important piece. Of course, you very much come from that data perspective so you understand that better than many people.
JM: Yeah. I think if you think about that, then really the heaviest weight inside the company needs to be on strategy and understanding the customers and then also on the back end of it, understanding what the results mean and what the next thing is how should we adjust, what are we failing in or what are we succeeding in and in which you might have some tactical things that maybe a freelancer or an agency might be able to handle effectively.
EM: You just actually touched on an interesting point. I would come out a little bit differently than you did though. You said that the critical foundation for all of it is strategy and knowing the customers, and one of the interesting things that I see with most manufacturers is they know their product of the service really, really well. They don't know the customers nearly as well as they think they do. Interestingly, even though your point is that that's a core competence that comes from the company, I would argue that that may be a really valuable place for an outsource consultant with a fresh perspective, clear eyes, open ears to come in and maybe even work on a persona process and really understand buyers perhaps better than the company does themselves.
JM: Yeah. I agree. I think you can't do it in a vacuum though, so it really will take a team effort at that high level strategy end of things because your sales team is going to be much more familiar with the customers if they don't really understand them. The consultant can really help to connect the dots and help them understand what's really going on right because they've been living in that place for so long, they may not even recognize it.
EM: Right, for sure.
JM: Well, that’s a good place to start then. At a very high level, let's say you're the CEO and some of the other decision makers, what should you start thinking about in terms of budget to start building out this capability, this modern digital team that's talking to each other and coming up with new ideas and even bringing in connected messaging and content across the whole organization? What does that really take?
EM: I think the first step is a baby ass room because I think that what happens most cases people have a stroke when you really sit down to talk about what this means because most of the kinds of companies that I work with, in the SaaS world, you've got development, you've got marketing costs. I mean marketing is a huge part of the budget. In the industrial world and manufacturing world or other parts more traditional parts of the B2B world, many cases the marketing budget is a trade show budget with maybe a little bit of there's a part-time person that coordinates and writes quotes, and maybe there's a little bit of advertising in journals.
It's a tiny piece of the company's overall operation and that was because they had this huge field sales force that did all of it, generated the leads, close the deals, took care of the customers, manage the sales channel, all that kind of stuff. As that shifts and as they need a marketing department to do things they've never done, well guess what? That means that the marketing department needs more resources than it ever had and really those appropriately come from the sales department because the sales department has a smaller closing role and the marketing department has a larger generation role.
As just a wagged, a rule of thumb, 5% of revenue maybe just to get people in the ballpark of the kind of thing that I would be thinking about, and that compares to in many cases like half a percent so it’s startling for people when you talk about that.
JM: For sure. I mean that's probably five, 10 times more than they've spent in the past on marketing.
JM: That's really like you said because they had a smaller footprint. They just had it may be a PR group and maybe an investor relations group, and they published some annual reports and did some other nice brochures and things like that, but that was about it. It didn't really take a big effort or a lot of budget.
EM: The good news is the print budget is going to be a lot smaller than it's traditionally been, so there's a place to save some money and plus they don't have the closet down the hallway stacked up to the ceiling with stuff that's outdated and they never use again.
JM: What are they going to be spending this budget on? What would be the priorities for getting started, getting off the ground with this new team?
EM: We can answer that answer and tackle at two different ways. There's skillsets that are needed, there's functions that are needed, but there's also the question of what do you need the marketing department to do. I always come back to start with corporate strategy, figure out where you need the corporation to go, what your revenue goals are, where you need that growth to come from, overlay that on top of revenue growth strategy, how are you going to do this, how the sales channel fit in, what sectors are we targeting, how we're going to increase each sale incrementally, et cetera, and then figure out what you need this marketing function to do.
At a high level, if lead generation used to be primarily the function of salespeople, out cold calling and working in the field and working with sales channel, and all marketing did was manage trade shows and do bingo cards and things like that, what we need to do is change the marketing function to create demand generation, to do lead generation, to do branding, to do PR, to do inside sales because now again if buyers are 70% of the way through the buying journey before they want to talk to a sales rep, they still need some interaction with somebody that’s thoughtful and can lead them at the appropriate point, hand them over in a way that's comfortable.
You need technology to support this and after the inside sales function, you need some sales enablement in order to help give the sales channel and the field salespeople the insights that you've collected and the right tools in order to capitalize on those. We're talking about a much bigger scope of responsibility for the marketing function, and so then what we can do is work back from what they need to get done and say, "All right, that means we need some PR functionality. We need some communications, we need email, we need product marketing, we need digital marketing, we need SEO, we need analytics, we need video, we need social media."
You can start to figure out what the discrete functions are in there and then depending on the size of a group, you start to think about how you're going to allocate those responsibilities across individual people or shared responsibility or outsource or whatever.
JM: The pushback I always get is that our customers aren't on social media, they don't read blogs, they're not visiting the website, so none of that stuff has ever worked for us. How do we get past that obstacle or that barrier to getting this thing rolling?
EM: I think what's always funny about that the same person that tells me that use their desktop computer 30 minutes before we sat down for the meeting to research something themselves. I mean there's a disconnect between how we think about the way we sell and the way we buy, and that's really a manifestation going back to the point of understanding buyers. It’s silly to say that buyers in your industry don't do it when statistically 93% of B2B purchases originate with an online search and personally anecdotally, we know that's how we begin something. We can have a conversation about that all day long. The simplest way to overcome it is to just look in the mirror and say, "How do you buy? Well, that's the way you buy and guess what? You're no different than your customers."
JM: Absolutely. What we need is a team of people with experience and people with skills, functional skills, and what else do we need? I know we'll cover those in a little more depth, but is there anything else that at the cultural level that we need in order to be more successful in sales?
EM: Cultural level, there absolutely has to be high level management buy-in to the fact that it's not just field salespeople out operating autonomously, coming back into the office to submit expense reports that are driving the business. It has to be a collaborative effort across the revenue growth function, and then there's got to be some cultural work to overcome the mindsets, like you described the people, our buyers don't use the internet, but even the kinds of things that companies think they're capable of. Companies that have bent and welded steel for years manufacturing something often recoil at the idea if you say well geeze, you're going to have to become publishers, you're going to have to start writing.
Culturally, you need to get comfortable with the idea that you're going to have to have writers, you're going to have to have journalists, you're going to have to have people to have great interviewing skills and can do research and can go to industry events and get up on the podium and speak to large crowds of people in an engaging way. You got to have people that can think tactically and strategically and can bounce back and forth between the two of them. I don't know, are you familiar with Carol Dweck's growth versus fixed mindset?
JM: Yeah, sure.
EM: That's a phenomenal tool and I think it could be a great screening tool for companies that are hiring. When you talk about culturally, I think growth mindset is critically important for this because if you're the kind of person that says oh well that's never worked in this company before, it's never worked in this industry, well you're right, it's not going to go in forward except it is for other people. Empathy for buyers is a huge component of that cultural switch that has to happen going back to your point about really understanding the buyer.
Not what we want to talk about our product and service, but why people actually buy it, and it's not for the features, it's not for the horsepower, it's not for the HMI or for the sealed bearings or any of that kind of stuff. It's because of how it gets them out of there at 5:00 in the evening or boost the profit or reduces turnover or whatever the case may be. Curiosity, I think the marketing teams that I see do the stuff really well are curious. They read their trade journals, they read WIRED Magazine, they read The Wall Street Journal, they read all these different sources. They read a lot books and industry journals and blogs, and that's actually an interesting point.
Reading blogs becomes an important discriminator because we're telling people they got to write blogs and if somebody says oh yeah, I buy into that idea and they never read any, well there's a cultural disconnect there and you can begin to recognize that.
JM: Plus they don't know how to write a blog.
EM: Well, exactly. Yeah, good point, and I'd say another huge cultural point is I mentioned this last on the list, but it could well be first on the list, got to be willing to fail. I mean you're going to you're going to write a lot of stuff, you're going to produce a lot of stuff, and it's someone who's going to be great and it's going to fail. Some of it you're going to think was pretty mediocre and it's going to work really, really well, and so you got to just be comfortable with the idea that you are going to stub your toe frequently doing this.
JM: You're describing a person that's different from what most companies have now in their sales and marketing departments, and I know you and I have both been classically trained in sales, and this is quite different set of skills from what we were trained to do back in the day and probably most people that are in sales even today. Can you describe some of those differences? You've just touched on quite a few of them, but what's this new sales and marketing pro look like?
EM: I think your question has embedded in it a premise that's absolutely correct. I mean you're now saying this sales and marketing or marketing and sales pro, and that's a critical distinction. It used to be you had the marketing person that went to school and got a marketing degree and did this stuff, organize trade shows and got the bingo decks and out in the mail, and then threw the leads over the wall to sales. There was this bifurcation and now there really isn't. We talked before about encouraging companies to eliminate the silos and organizationally recognized that there isn't.
Even if you still have the silos, there needs to be a blend of capabilities between the two because salespeople in their personal use of social media and their use of content that the company has and their creation of content, their ability to go out and in some cases create their own content speaking in events, et cetera, they have to be marketers and at the same time, the marketing department has to be inside salespeople. I'd say that if I was going to pick place and I think is most different than it used to be, it's the whole question of qualification because it used to be the people would say we're going to qualify leads, and that meant a bent, let's use a bent model.
They had to have the budget, they had to have the clear need, they have the timeline, they had to have the authority to buy it. Well, if you've got in complex sales team buying and if you've got budgets that are very fluid based on what's happening and reallocated priorities within a company on a regular basis, sure there's somebody that can pull money from one budget put it into another and so in a sense, they're the ones with authority, but in most cases, there are consensus decision. The presidents and GMs are loath in my experience to have a team of HR, engineering, maintenance, procurement, and finance get together, evaluate products, make a recommendation.
It's very, very rare that you see somebody say screw that, we're doing it my way. It doesn't happen, it's consensus decision. Back to my point, this whole thing about a very classic qualification model I think needs to be revisited with this nonlinear buying journey that people go through and team buying and early research into things before they're ready to buy unlike the way they used to. I'd say qualification is the biggest thing. Does that match what you've seen or am I a little bit nuts about that?
JM: No. I think that's absolutely correct. I think you have to have a good eye for a good fit. You have to be a subject area expert yourself or you're not going anywhere, you're not providing that early value in the relationship, and they're not going to trust you to take it to the finish line. Those two things, really understanding what qualifies a buyer and how to get that information from them through conversation, and then just being somebody that they want to go to in order to get solutions to their problems.
JM: Those are the big things now.
EM: I guess the other piece is it's not all about conversation now. I mean a large part of that information that you collect is by info an observation of digital body language. I guess the other piece to it is that today's marketing sales professional has to be technically comfortable with technology let me say because if they're going to jump in to a CRM like we talked about a couple weeks ago and look at a timeline of activity and read between the lines of the buyer behaviors, it's got to be somebody that that can think that way and is comfortable with that perspective.
JM: Do you think that everybody's going to say well can I do that with my existing team with my existing people, can I get them there, can I train them up, can I identify those people it within the group that are fit for this new task or there's new role or do they need to think outside the box a little bit more?
EM: I mean that’s a tough question for every organization. I mean that's the crux of change management, and what we're talking about is change management. You're changing your business process for revenue growth and that entails resource reallocation and organizational changes, so it really becomes a change management challenge. That being said, in my experience, the growth mindset discriminator is a great one to start with.
If your sales or marketing people have been coming to you with ideas, well let's try this, let's try that, and even if it's the shiny object obsession, at least they're interested in new ways and trying different things, as long as just not to excuse poor performance saying, "Well you didn't buy that for me, so that's why I couldn't get my job done" If they're looking for new ways to do it, I'd say there's a great chance that they're the right people. On the other hand, if they say, "I've got a flip phone only because I can't get to a pay phone anymore because there's no more pay phones and I've got literally a Rolodex and I've got literally a paper calendar and I use sticky notes, and that's the way I manage my projects with a set of file folders and in a plastic file box in the backseat of my car," this may be unfair of me to say but they're not going to make.
That's independent of age, that's independent of educational background, that's independent of industry, that's mindset. I mean I've seen 27-year-old salespeople that have those same kind of restrictive mindsets and I've seen 65-year-old salespeople that are absolutely engaged and embracing this is fabulous, I wish I'd had this information about buyers 30 years ago when I started selling that kind of thing. I think you're going to have to replace some of them. You're going to have to balance that against maintaining revenue as you go through the process. I think you absolutely start to hire with your new ideal profile on mind and that changes the way you advertise for salespeople, changing the way you hire salespeople.
It could be that you're in fact hiring fewer salespeople, maybe what you're doing, maybe your next hire is an inside salesperson, maybe the next hire after is a journalist that would love to learn a little bit of sales or a journalist student that's been selling cell phones or copying machines because I haven't been able to find a journalism job. What a dream candidate, you get somebody that can write, that can interview, and that's actually done some really hard sales. I mean that that's the kind of blended skillset that I think you start to want to add again as you're adding new employees.
JM: Well, let's talk a little more specifically about those criteria that you'd either use in an external interview or an internal interview, so what kind of skills and experience would you be looking for?
EM: Those soft skills that we talked about, ability to write, ability to empathize a client's growth mindset, stuff like that, and then there's in my experience maybe categories of professional skills that would include familiarity with business finance. I mean in the complex sales world is some of them really silly ROIs that you see bandied around are they're embarrassing honestly, and so a little bit of familiarity with business finance and understanding of how budgets are set and how capital is allocated, that sort of thing. I mean marketing people auto understand sales and ideally have sales experience and vice versa. Salespeople ought to be comfortable in marketing, even if it's marketing themselves.
If you have a salesperson come to you and they've got a really crummy LinkedIn profile and they've got no social media activity and they don't write anything and you can barely find them online, well guess what? They're not a great salesperson going forward for the future. Management perspective, I mean part of change management, you want people to change, it's great if they can empathize with you as a manager just as you asked them to empathize with their buyers, and being able to sell effectively means understanding management on the other side of transaction. The fact that they may love the idea, they may want to do it, but they get 17 other things that they have to do before as a priority.
People are sold to trade shows, familiarity with PR, at least how PR could fit in, what it could do channel. I think sales channel background an experience is a great skillset to make sure you have on your team international increasingly as ... I mean if companies do digital marketing really well, they get international leads coming to them and they sell some international deals. Some familiarity and comfort with talking through international transactions and payments and currencies and logistics and just being able to get the deal set up, that's a great skillset to have. Events are becoming I think a bigger piece of marketing for companies.
Some familiarity with event management, doesn't have to be a professional event manager certified, but at least kind of knowing what goes into it and how you might use it, how could complement marketing, presentations, not traditional pitch decks where we flipped through one dreadful slide after another, but the ability to stand up and speak to a group and ask questions and solicit. Yeah, exactly, right. Project management, I mean these are often long complex projects and contract negotiation, and not just curling up in a ball and running back to the offices, "You know they say the price is too high, what am I going to do," but being able to have a substantive negotiation.
I guess going back to one of the earlier points, I'd say you need individuals to be a face of the business too. It's not just a company brand now, people are doing business with people. You need to seek out influencers that have following and can attract following and can be compelling online, and it's great to have a collection of those people, you got to manage CEOs, you got to manage the terms of engagement and make sure people are appropriate in what they're doing, but having those prominent individual marketers or personal promoters as part of your team will absolutely help the company as well.
JM: In reality, probably no one fits all of these criteria, right? Even us.
EM: Absolutely, yeah.
JM: How do you effectively rank order people when they come in? I mean let's say somebody comes in and is an absolute rockstar salesperson, at least track record wise, but they don't really have any marketing experience, they don't really know what this new digital stuff is about, how do you handle kind of putting those people into a bucket of qualified candidates or not well?
EM: I'd say this goes back to always that same foundation, company strategy, revenue growth strategy, marketing or revenue growth framework, and to where you started this conversation, what are you outsourcing, what are you in sourcing. Just because you've traditionally had a field sales force of 30 people in a marketing department or two, doesn't mean when a salesperson leaves or gets fired that that's the position you ought to replace. I'd say the first thing is be very clear about where you need to be putting bodies and as you're clear about where you need to put bodies and you'll be clear about the skillsets that you need for those roles.
Now to your point about when you have a candidate that's really appealing in many ways but you're not sure if it's the profile, I'm a big believer in developing the profile for that reason because it's easy to fall in love with somebody. If they're not going to do what you need them to do, then ultimately it often ends up being a bad hire and if they're just one of these traditional salespeople that that did a great job meeting quota and a certain industry in the past based on a different a model and they don't embrace some of the kinds of things and they can't manifest not just say oh yeah, yeah, yeah I agree, but show you that they've written something, they developed their online profile, that they've made videos of themselves discussing things.
They don't have to demonstrate professional proficiency, but just an open mindedness and an embrace of where you're going with your effort. I would say if they can't do that, then it's probably not going to be a good fit. You're going to be trying to take a traditional employee and fit them into this model that you're working so hard to get everyone else to change and now you're going to create this drag for yourself.
JM: Being really clear about your goals and expectations and then just being disciplined about sticking to the program, it sounds like really the key to this whole building of the internal team at least.
EM: Or even figuring out where you want to plug in externally. Discipline about what you need and you say, "We've got this person, they're in sales, but they don't enjoy it but they're really good at doing this other stuff. We're going to kind of slide them, make them inside sales and do a little bit of marketing," and that means we've covered a lot of what we need, but we don't have in-house video skills that are very good. Then you just go when you bring in the technical skill of the video from outside, and you outsource tactically to fill the gaps where you've got good people but you've got a skillset that's missing.
JM: Sounds good. Let's turn our attention to the some of the more modern digital techniques and tactics and skills that you need. I know there's quite a few of them that most of us that have kids are already experts at, but if we're hiring people who are experienced in sales and management and some of these other things that often take years to really develop, can we really expect them to be experts in Facebook advertising and things like that or is that a separate person, a different role?
EM: Well, let me ask you a question. How do somebody's an expert? Whether you expect them to be or not, how do if they are? I mean if they tell you they're an expert in Facebook Ads and I'm not, how can I gage whether they are? I have this conversation with people a lot, particularly business owners about and lawyers. "My accountant is the best in the world." "Well, how do you know?" I mean he talks about things and he knows things you don't know so you assume that that makes him an expert, but maybe he's missing 75% of what he ought to be telling you about. How do you gage particularly when stuff is changing so fast if Facebook Ads six months ago is different than Facebook Ads today and different than Facebook ads in six months from now?
How do who is an expert? I mean that's a tough question to answer.
JM: It is, and I think there's two answers really. The old way that we always did was having a resume that had a lot of things on it that you could point to and say I accomplished this and this and this and this, and then make it always call your ex-employer and see if it's true. That's not so effective anymore because everybody embellishes their resumes and everybody has things in there that probably aren't the case, but today's younger people understand how to build their own personas online. They know how to market themselves. They have profiles on all the difference social media sites and if they're smart, they're business oriented not just strictly fun.
They are learning how to sell themselves already and most of them have videos, most of them have blogs and things that they've written their artwork or whatever they can point to that shows off their skills. I think most younger people today really get that and they've been working on it for years, and so it's a little easier for them. They may not know how to write a resume.
JM: They can come in and tell a story and they can sure write something and they can stand in front of you and perform.
EM: I think the hardest thing facing any businessperson is finding somebody that's really as good as you think they are because there's a huge opportunity cost if they're not, and that's true whether you're talking about who you're going to outsource to, whether it's your accountant attorney or your marketing agency or your lead-gen remote telemarketing service that you're using or whatever the case may be. Just because somebody gets some results, doesn't mean they're getting the results they could and there's no good answer to that except to just be always reading and always trying to understand what's best practice, what's industry standard, what are benchmarks that we can be looking at. I think that's the only defense you have against that.
In terms of the technical skills, you're right. I mean there's more than any person or in most cases, any company's going to have and in some cases, maybe they don't need to have. Maybe having video early in the process is a lower priority, although videos getting more and more important but maybe that's one that you skip. Just running down a list, social media, email marketing, analytics. I mean analytics, analytics, analytics. We talked about it earlier, the value of data. Technology, the tech stack. I mean they can bring in the Mark, Tech Whisperer.
It would be great for them to know if they don't know that call tracking something they ought to be thinking about to supplement the inbound marketing to make sure that web leads are recognized as web leads rather than as phone leads coming out of the yellow pages, then that's a gap. Design, graphic design. I mean that's kind of been what people thought of as marketing the past. Now it's in many cases a fiber sort of a task, not for brand identity, but for simple tasks. Video, basic HTML. I would say augmented reality and virtual reality are absolutely critical technical skills to begin to think about.
Now that could well be one of those that you outsource and maybe it's not part of your first three to five important skills, but in three years, it's going to absolutely be important part of what you're doing.
JM: For sure.
EM: SEO and SEM, and not just we're going to put a couple keywords and something, but really understanding the very rich and nuanced fabric of the way Moz talks about it with all the different elements of it. Account based marketing, I mean a lot of people toss the term around but who's actually doing them. You have the skillset, paid ads and not just Google AdWords under SEM, but LinkedIn ads and Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads I would even probably put as a separate category because it's becoming such an incredibly important and complex and really intricate process, like how to use messenger to actually get more engagement so that your posts end up boosted because of what you did with messenger.
It’s fascinating, it's very complex. Presentation building, how do you really tell a story, storytelling. Everyone talks about the importance of storytelling. Do you have people that know how to build a presentation? Media training, I mean if you're using PR and influence your strategies and your check-in hero and you want your CEO out telling stories, well you need some media training so these doing that the right way and that your internal PR people are competitive analysis, it's easy to say oh well, we keep track of keyword ranking but who's keeping track of from a product management perspective what's in their pipeline and what can you deduce from things they're sharing and a lot of good competitive intelligence?
CRM, we spent an hour talking about that last week, it's huge. I mean CRM needs to drive sales process, needs to give the front-end of the business, the efficiency, the backend has through lean and everything else. Certainly the comment tools Google Analytics, Google search console, those kinds of things, people at least need to be conversant with them. Influencer marketing I think is increasingly important, although some people say it's decreasing. I think maybe it's a matter of semantics. The point is upcoming generations of buyers use the opinions of other people as a very important indicator in their decisions and so call it referral marketing, influencer marketing whatever, but I mean those are some examples.
I'm sure you can come up with another 15 or 20 off the top of your head.
JM: There's a lot, there's a lot to try to understand try to at least have some familiarity with, so would you say that the team lead at least needs to be familiar with all of these things in order to make decisions, in order to understand what either the internal team is promoting or maybe an outsourced agency or something? You got to know what these things are or you can't really evaluate them and you can't really understand what they mean when the results come in.
EM: Again a place where growth mindset is so critical because if the team lead has a fixed mindset or is worried about pissing on fire hydrants and says oh no, no, no, Facebook advertising us, that's not for companies like ours, I know all about it and we're not going to do that, maybe that's the right answer but maybe it's not the right answer. That team lead you're right needs to be familiar with these things, needs to be a voracious reader, needs to follow a lot of blogs, needs to really a mass a broad breadth of resources that he or she continuously reads and have an open mind and growth mindset.
JM: Yeah. I think and we were hiring people for our agency, we always look for passion. That was one of the top things we really wanted to see, so you have to be it's that mindset but it's also really enjoying it and really diving in and trying new things and like you said earlier, not being afraid to fail but and being accountable, and then infecting the rest of the team with that same passion because they won't necessarily do it on their own.
JM: Well, let's talk now about what's first and what's next, how do we really get started with this if you're thinking about what to do next year, next quarter.
EM: Of course, it depends on where you're starting where you want to go to, but if we're starting from the typical 2-person marketing department and 20-person field sales department, then I'd say you got to start with the management buy-in. You got to start with the idea you need some are tech that you need content online, that you need a variety of content. I'd say just lead generation and content creation and strategy would be the places to start, so that means writers basically. A little bit of technical skill, some simple email marketing, some simple analytics, but a strong focus on the ability to write and create contents probably the biggest place to start.
JM: That's funny because most business owners and executives that come to us or came to us when I was working at Kuno, the first thing out of their mouths was we need to redesign our website. It wasn't about any of those other things. Why do you think that mindset is so prevalent and what should we say to them to get them on the right path?
EM: Well, so number one I say they're probably absolutely right. I mean I would it may not be the first priority, but I'm sure that they need to redesign their website, but I'd also say that my guess is their vision of what they want to redesign to is probably not going to support the other things they want to accomplish. If you just begin to build a muscle, you get the idea of creating content and attracting new unknown people with that content, converting new leads with that content, build the lead management process, understand that these leads are not like a traditional I'm ready to buy such-and-such, I'm getting three quotes send me a quote, but very early in the process of evaluating their options, get that stuff figured out, internalize that, take a few months, do a pilot project, take three or four months, get that going.
Then with that insight, in the meantime, you can let heat master on your website. You can build some insights into what's actually going on and get people thinking about this whole idea of conversion and then begin the conversation about how you redesign the website with a goal toward user experience talking about what's important people not to the company and how to maximize conversions.
JM: One of the reasons that agencies win deals or retainers or whatever is the idea that they can jump into the fire and get it done quickly. A seatbelt may say we got these goals and we have these things and we think we need this and this and this, but I don't have the staff to do it and I really want to build one over time, it may take me a year or two to get to where I need to go, so here you go, I'll pay you a premium to go do all this stuff for me. What kind of decision is that? I mean do you find that that's often a problem, it often backfires because then they have nothing left after the website's built or whatever it is?
EM: Well, so I would say those are two different questions. An agency to build a website as a discrete project is different than an agency to develop a program, and I never spoke to anybody that took that step with Kuno and then said gosh we made a mistake. I think that it’s a question of finance, it's a question how fast you want to run, it's a question of the philosophically where you come down on outsourcing this versus insourcing. I would say though that what's often mis-gaged is the amount of management time that's going to be involved even with a great agency because you've got to have to review content.
You're going to be involved in planning at least a framework of what's happening, maybe not checking every email or being involved to that detail, but you can't just ... What's a good way to think of it? If you outsource your payroll to a payroll service, you go online, you submit the numbers once a week, and that's all you're worried about. You outsource your revenue growth process or at least a marketing piece of it, you may have worked on a model where you could really wash your hands of it, but I'm not familiar with it. I think that the decision is not necessarily as black-and-white as people think it is.
JM: Yeah. I always used to think of it as they want to touch down so they want to throw a Hail Mary and if it works, great. If it doesn't, you get another quarterback.
EM: There's a lot of churn I think need ...
JM: Way of growing business. What's that?
EM: There's a lot of churn in agencies. I mean it’s problem for sure.
JM: Yeah, and it's because on both sides the expectations are unrealistic. It's really incumbent on the agency to help the buyer understand what the relationship is really going to be like and like you said, it has to be a 2-way street and there has to be some even really some passion on the company side to derive ...
EM: Even sometimes a discussion about what happens if we're really successful. I mean if you can create a bunch of leads for them and their salespeople won't or can't or don't follow up on them, then the investment was tremendously successful but a complete failure, and so you got to think through a couple steps too.
JM: That also fits your internal team. You really need to negotiate with them on a regular basis and make sure that everybody is accountable, everybody understands what the goals are, that there's a way of monitoring it for everyone to see how things are going, and you have regular stand-ups or regular meetings and review the things that are not working.
EM: Accountabilities. I mean when you keep coming back, somebody who's supposed to have done something and it's been three weeks and it's not done yet. I mean there's got to be a clear process in place either that was a task that was a sign that should never have been if it's not important or that's a person that's not part of the team and we need to figure how to make them part of the team.
JM: Okay. Well, I think we've covered most of the major issues that business owners and executives face in building sales and marketing teams. Was there anything else you thought needed to be added or discussed?
EMh: I think growth mindset coming back to that, that's the biggest thing and this whole idea of a continuum that you can't split a few marketing people and a big sales force. I mean it's not working because that doesn't match the way buyers want to buy, so people that are excited that want to grow, that think there's no options, that think there's opportunities and want to be part of it, want to move the company forward and are willing to embrace this blended model, I'd say the bottom line is that’s what you need to find, and then you adapt in terms insourcing, outsourcing to your preferences and to fill certain technical skillsets.
JM: For owners and executives that are looking to get started with this, would you be a person that they could talk to get some help trying to understand how to get started and put a plan together?
EM: There's a fastball out of the middle. For many of them, I would be. Obviously in certain cases, not a good fit. I work primarily B2B and a lot industrial manufacturing, that's just language that I'm conversing in, but certainly I mean you and I are both experienced in the business and would be happy to take a call from somebody, and just spend 15 minutes talking about what they're trying to do. If there's no way that we could help, then refer them to other resources that we know would be appropriate based on our extensive connections.
JM: Yup, that sounds good to me too. All right. Well, I enjoyed our conversation today and we'll see you all next time.
EM: Sounds good. Thanks very much John. Thanks everyone for joining us and hopefully there's some common sense in there.
JM: Always. Take care.