Crafting digital marketing and sales strategies is like building or renovating a house -- the house being your website.
It’s not something you throw together in a day and hope it works. It takes time, thought, and input from a variety of stakeholders.
You need people to draft the blueprints, gather materials, build/renovate the house, and oversee the project. When you get started, you need all of these people together in the same room (or virtual room) so there’s awareness of an agreement on:
- How to measure/define success
- Roles & responsibilities
- Target audience
- Strategy -- what to create, how much, & how to promote it
The hidden goal of any good digital marketing onboarding process is to align your marketing message across all departments. Otherwise, the sales process will be disjointed and inefficient -- for both your prospects and your team. Your team needs to understand what you’re doing and why it’s important.
Who Should Be at the Table?
When you're onboarding a new marketing or sales strategy for your business -- whether in-house or with an agency -- a variety of people should have a seat at the table, including:
- Subject-matter experts
- Customer service
You don’t need an all-hands meeting for every onboarding meeting or onboarding discussion, but don’t forget these voices.
Broadly speaking, this is anyone who has some type of buy-in or stake that they're holding in how the marketing is performing (e.g. your C-suite). They need to be informed and understand the tactics that are being deployed to avoid confusion later. Plus, who better to reinforce the company goals your strategy is supposed to help achieve?
This is anyone whose insight would be valuable to documenting your ideal buyer’s persona and journey. If you’re in B2B or manufacturing, think engineers and product managers.
It’s hard to produce quality content that matters to potential leads if the content strategy and writing team don’t have a great resource to rely on. Bring along someone with strong knowledge of your industry and the products or services your business provides.
Your salespeople are hearing questions from leads every day. They’re deploying strategies that come from these conversations. They have insight that can improve your marketing efforts.
The marketing team can directly spin these sales FAQs into new content (i.e. blog and video) topics.
Having your marketing team at the table is a no-brainer. Get those creative brains together to take all the information from everyone above and create a stellar strategy!
If your product/service requires lots of back-and-forth with prospects and current customers, it’s common sense to involve the customer service team in your ramp-up.
Your customer service team may know your ideal buyer better than any department in the company. It’s constantly hearing cues about your customers’ goals, problems, interests, and needs. The job of digital marketing is to create content that helps solve an audience's problems -- so your service team is a gold mine of great content ideas.
The CRM (customer relationship management) tool you’re using obviously can’t take a physical seat at the table. Nonetheless, it provides valuable information that deserves consideration throughout your planning process.
Success Comes When These Powers Combine
The beauty of cross-team collaboration on marketing is that one team may spot a red flag another wouldn’t think twice about.
For example, a marketing team may come up with what seems like a great blog topic, but someone
in sales may believe it won’t resonate with your ideal buyers. It’s better to hash these debates out
during onboarding rather than 8 months into a campaign.
A diverse table can manage expectations. Everyone should know the plan and the goal. For example, a CEO might expect the strategy to bring in 10,000 marketing qualified leads (MQLs), but those deploying the strategy know this is impossible. Sorting this out up-front can save some trouble down the road.
When Onboarding Your Strategy Hits a Brick Wall
Onboarding B2B digital marketing strategies can be exciting initially. You feel some momentum as the plan takes shape. And then the momentum seems to stop. How do you keep the excitement going and motivate everyone to stay at the table?
This largely depends on what motivates a team. Some teams may be motivated by seeing data. Numbers are tangible. A really in-depth competitor audit or SEO (search engine optimization) audit can help the team see why a marketing strategy is important.
Also, build in some time for quick wins that are low-effort, high-ROI. It could be as easy as seeing that a client doesn’t have a form on their site. So you build an RFQ page to gather leads. Or, you reoptimize existing blog posts to help drive traffic to the website, rather than starting entirely from scratch.
How Long Should Onboarding a New Strategy Take?
Is it 3 months? Is it 1 month?
This may differ depending on the complexity of your strategy and the length of your campaign. The important thing is to take your time. It’s OK if it takes 3 months for a team to do a deep enough dive to create a solid plan. That would include:
- Audit of website & offline marketing efforts
- SEO/keyword research
- Competitor identification & research
- Buyer persona & journey workshops
- Buyer interviews
- Strategy creation
- Content calendar creation
It's not likely that you can set aside an entire week of everyone's time to tackle all of that work.
To be efficient, make sure everyone comes to the table prepared. If you're looking to onboard a new strategy, gather documentation and access rights you probably haven’t thought about in a long time (like login credentials to your website). Share your Google Analytics and Search Console, and your CRM accounts, prior to getting to work so attendees not normally involved with such platforms can hit the ground running.
Getting Everyone to Focus
Sure, your company sells to different types of customers. But you aren’t looking to create a mega-strategy that reaches every type of lead with every webpage or social post you make. Diluted messages tend to bring lower lead-conversion rates.
How do you get your group to focus on the target of your strategy?
Start by ID’ing which target persona and/or product has the highest lifetime value. How much effort and cost goes into attracting, nurturing, and closing those customers?
We’re not saying you should only have one persona -- multiple personas are great for delivering personalized messages. However, we historically see success in starting with one persona at a time.
That doesn’t mean you ignore your other personas. Your strategy could address most or all of your personas but cater more heavily to your primary persona.
Communication Is Vital
An efficient onboarding process happens when everyone knows what the plan is and why the plan is worth sticking to. It’s hard to get buy-in and keep the momentum going if you don’t communicate how your strategy will help everyone meet company goals.
Regularly re-communicate the “why” of your plan. Create clear road maps that show the goal of the strategy and what benchmarks need to be reached along the way.
Make That Strategy Happen!
Crafting digital marketing strategies isn’t easy. We’ve got a checklist for you to make sure you cover all of your bases.
Looking For a Deeper Dive?
For a deeper dive into the topic, watch the video version of this article above. Josh Curcio, COO and partner at protocol 80 (and self-proclaimed HubSpot expert), and Holly McCully, inbound marketing consultant at p80 (and niche inbound strategy expert), explain how to develop an efficient digital marketing onboarding process.