So, you feel like it might be time to FIRE your current outsourced marketing vendor and find a new one.
But how do you know whom to hire?
Should you hire internally, or continue to outsource?
How should you vet them?
What’s really going to make the difference for your marketing?
What needs to change for you to feel good about the money you’re spending on sales and marketing?
Effective marketing partners for IT services firms MUST have the following three things:
- Understanding and experience in the technology industry and channel.
- Passion for your success, as much if not MORE than their own.
- Measure and review ROI regularly to inform sales and marketing strategies.
Let’s break each one down further, before you cut the cord.
Understanding and experience in the technology channel
How do you know whether they understand and have experience in the tech industry?
The quickest way to do so is to look them up on LinkedIn. Where have they worked? Which companies have they worked with? Do they specialize or are they generalists?
Look up the companies they’ve worked for and see how well they’re doing in the marketplace. Look at their marketing and offerings. Does it match what you need and are looking for, and do they have the thought leadership to create a cohesive strategy that will ultimately grow your IT services company?
Then, ask for work examples and references. Any worthy partner will hand them over in a heartbeat. Then, obviously, call the list and ask for the pros and the cons of working with that partner.
Keep in mind that no one is perfect. You’re just looking for the signs of a good partner and work that delivers results. Signs that signify a good working partner include positive client relationships, ability to take and act on constructive feedback, desire to continually improve themselves and their work, and consistent communications.
Plus, they need to be easy to work with. If your outsourced marketing partner or vendor is difficult like a stubborn mule, then it’s time to move on.
Passion for your success, as much if not MORE than their own
Again, this is where to lean on the partner’s references.
Does the partner go above and beyond? Are they accountable? Are they able to easily pivot if a particular strategy isn’t working?
Do they keep on top of the latest marketing trends and topics?
Does the passion for YOUR success come from high quality words and copywriting, or subpar work?
Measure and review ROI regularly to inform marketing strategies
This is a HOT topic.
Everyone in the IT industry wants concrete measurements with sales and marketing.
I hear you. I really do.
I have a client who should literally tattoo ROI on his forehead so his mouth can get a rest from having to say it 24/7.
HOWEVER, for all you, tech folks out there, it’s important that you understand that marketing analytics and “data” is NOT at all the same as how it is seen and used in technology.
Marketing metrics are “softer” in many ways and there are like 100 million other factors at play in marketing, most of which we have absolutely NO insight into as that would be ILLEGAL (unless you’re pro-Big Brother government surveillance).
So, yes, track all the data and metrics you can and review them regularly.
Though keep in mind that marketing is BOTH an art and a science.
AND it’s only one side of a complicated, collaborative puzzle. Sales is the other side. This means that for your marketing to be successful, you need to have a sales arm in place, period.
Let me recap, you MUST have some sort of sales infrastructure AND sales staff in place for your marketing to truly get the ROI you’re after.
There are many reasons for this. I’ll give you a few.
As a marketing agency, we can only do so much on the sales side. Sales is getting on the phone and calling people, day in and day out. This is how you get RESULTS. If you’ve tried this and it isn’t working, my question to you would be: are you being completely honest with yourself?
- How are you measuring your activities?
- What are your benchmarks?
- Do you have the right salespeople in the right place to get the work done?
- Have you identified the barriers in your sales process?
- Do you even have a sales process to TAKE leads and work them as part of your sales funnel?
Time and time again, I see this happen. An IT firm owner invests heavily in marketing while ignoring their sales. They tell me things like, “I’m the salesperson,” “I’ll own the sales activities and processes,” “Just show me how to use Sales Navigator”, “Just get people going to my website”, “I need to increase my SEO,” and on and on.
Here’s the truth, it doesn’t take a genius to do sales and marketing, but you do need to know what you’re doing.
So many owners are trying to run a business while ALSO serving as their primary salesperson. At a certain point, this FAILS. BUT, instead of getting expert help, they just throw money away on the latest tools.
For example, SEO is a VERY popular one right now. If we just get a higher ranking, then people will call us and hire us.
BUT what they tend to forget is that businesses who are going to pay a premium to hire a managed IT Services partner (yes, I get that it’s “cheaper” to outsource than hire in-house but it’s still $$$$$) is going to do their due diligence.
Prospects may find you because of your SEO ranking, BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE THEM HIRE YOU IN THE END.
They’ll look at your websites, your social media channels, your blogs, your leadership team, etc. AND they’ll form an opinion about you before they even call you. If you’re online brand presence is less than professional and 100% cohesive across all channels, they will move on to the next MSP, next IT firm, next SaaS product.
SO, my point is this: your marketing MUST align with your sales (which must also exist) otherwise you’re just wasting money that could be put to better use. This alignment ensures that your online presence is consistent with your brand voice and message. It ensures that you are regularly producing and publishing marketing copy that SHOWS you understand our target audience and can FEEL their pain. There’s so much more to the marketing and sales alignment process. I could go on much longer, but I’ll save it for my next post.
Here are today’s takeaways:
- A good marketing partner gets tech, cares about your success, and tracks activities.
- Your marketing agency can ONLY do so much without a sales arm and proper alignment
Your next step? GET HONEST.
If you’re waffling on whether to keep your marketing agency or are already actively looking for a new one, be sure to get a 3rd party marketing audit first.
This sales and marketing audit will give you keen insight into what IS and is NOT working with your current marketing. It’s a one-time cost and extremely low risk because there’s NO long-term commitment.
Whether you’re not sure to say or already have a foot out the door, an audit will give you the information you need to make the right next decision for your firm’s marketing.
I want you to sign up for a marketing audit so you can STOP wasting your money and finally get the results you deserve.
As a special offer, I’m giving away a FREE guide on how you can use email to grow and leverage your IT services firm. CLICK HERE.
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