How to Hire the Talent You Need by Optimizing Your B2B Marketing Budget
The more your business grows, the greater your marketing capabilities will need to be. If you started with only one or two full-time employees working on your marketing efforts, you might need to add to your marketing team sooner rather than later.
The need to invest in your marketing talent is even more critical if your marketing efforts have been managed by employees or stakeholders responsible for other facets of your business. You need dedicated marketers to ensure that your marketing strategy is executed correctly.
The challenge, unfortunately, lies in the ability to hire the talent you need. As a small to medium-sized business, the odds are that you still have a limited marketing budget to work with. On the other hand, not investing in your marketing as your business grows can hurt you over the long run.
If you don’t scale your marketing efforts to match growing business, your business will eventually stagnate. As a result, you must make the most out of the marketing budget that you have. Simply optimizing your existing budget and re-evaluating how you allocate your funds can help you find the money you require to hire the talent you need.
Signs That Your Marketing Team Has Talent Gaps That Need to be Filled
The first step is to determine whether there are any talent gaps in your marketing team that need to be addressed. It’s worth noting that while talent gaps can develop as the business grows (and you begin creating and implementing more significant projects that require more specialized skills), they can also exist when the business is down.
If you’ve always had talent gaps and you’re facing a shrinking B2B marketing budget, you’ll still want to find a way to address those needs. Trying to address needs when your budget is smaller may not seem like a realistic goal; however, when business is down, it’s your marketing efforts that can help you survive and return to a period of growth.
With all of this in mind, the following are a few signs that indicate your marketing team has talent gaps that need to be addressed:
You’re Spending More Time on Marketing Than on Your Core Business
If you have employees who are juggling multiple responsibilities, for instance, or if you have people in leadership roles who are also tackling your marketing efforts, then you need to invest in more marketing talent.
Such a situation is not uncommon for smaller startup companies that can’t afford a marketing team of any sort. In such cases, your owners may be handling all of the marketing. While this can help save money, it won’t save time — and it will take away from their primary responsibilities.
It would help if you had personnel who are focused solely on your marketing so that everyone else can focus on their actual area of expertise.
Your Existing Marketing Team is Overworked
If your marketing efforts have increased over time, but your marketing team has remained the same, there’s a good chance that you’re overworking them. If they’re putting in overtime regularly or your marketing team is frequently behind schedule, it’s a good indication that you need more personnel.
Overworking your team to avoid hiring additional marketers is a big mistake. Overwhelming employees with work will only stress them, leading to errors, low morale, and declining performances.
Your Existing Marketing Team Members Are All Generalists
It’s good to have generalists on your team. Generalists are capable of doing a wide variety of tasks. However, they are called generalists because they are a jack of all trades and a master of none.
As you begin developing more significant marketing projects, you will likely need marketers with specific skill sets that generalists may not have. For instance, if you need to build an app, you will need programmers who can code in particular languages.
Your team of generalists may be able to develop something basic. Still, you’ll need specialists if you expect a high standard of quality for any big or complicated project that you’re planning.
Sales Have Stagnated After Experiencing Steady Growth
If sales were steadily increasing and suddenly they leveled off, it could be because you weren’t ramping up your marketing efforts to keep pace with your sales.
If you never invest in marketing, then your business will only grow so much. There may be other reasons that have caused sales to stagnate (such as a sudden shift in the state of the economy), but if outside forces don’t appear to be influencing sales, there’s a good chance it’s an issue with your marketing department.
You may need more talent to help get your business back on track.
Sales Are Up, And You’re Forecasting Future Growth
If your business is growing, you will need to invest in your marketing efforts to sustain that growth. If sales have been steadily rising and you’re forecasting future growth, then invest in marketing talent to help bolster your marketing strategy.
If you don’t expand your marketing efforts, you threaten any potential growth you forecasted, and your sales will eventually begin to stagnate.
Your Marketing Efforts Have Grown Stale
If you’ve had the same marketing team following the same marketing strategy with little to no changes year by year, your efforts are at risk of growing stale if they haven’t done so already. A good marketing strategy is continually evolving. The marketing world is continuously changing as new trends emerge and new opportunities arise.
Audiences also change just as quickly. If your marketing strategy isn’t evolving, you’ll eventually begin falling behind the competition if you haven’t already.
Evaluate and Optimize Current Marketing Strategy
How effective is your existing marketing strategy? More specifically, how cost-effective is it? Investing in your marketing efforts to sustain your business’s growth won’t make much sense if you’re not investing intelligently. Re-evaluate your existing strategy to determine what is and isn’t working.
You can use various analytics tools to determine how you’re allocating your marketing dollars, what tactics are performing well, what tactics are underperforming, and where you need to make adjustments. This will optimize your marketing efforts.
Not only will your strategy become more effective, but you may find extra money in your budget that you can then invest in your marketing team.
Reducing Mis-Hires Frees Up Money in Your Budget
Mis-hires have an enormous implication on your B2B marketing budget. The last thing you want is to waste funds on mis-hires, after all. Having team members who aren’t doing their job correctly or whose skill set isn’t needed is not a cost-effective use of your budget. Take proactive steps to avoid hiring the wrong marketing personnel in the first place.
Mis-Hires Eat Up A Significant Amount of Budget Dollars
It’s not just the salary and benefits that you’re wasting on your mis-hires. Replacing them with a qualified employee who will fulfill a critical role for your marketing team long-term could address the situation. However, poor hiring decisions can cost more than you think. A mis-hire can hurt your budget in the following ways as well:
When you have to remove a mis-hire from your team, it means that you’re often creating a talent gap that needs to be filled.
Otherwise, you’ll be overworking your existing team members. If that mis-hire was a specialist, it could delay any projects you had planned as well. Unfortunately, it’s expensive to replace your mis-hire since you will have to go through the initial hiring process all over again. It takes time and money to advertise the position, recruit candidates, and interview candidates.
Depending on the circumstances in which the mis-hire leaves your organization, you may have to pay severance fees.
For instance, maybe you hired a specialist to help complete a specific project, but afterward, you realize that their skill set is no longer needed. If they have nothing to do with your team, you may be forced to let them go, in which case, you may have to provide them with a severance package.
Such severance costs can significantly impact your budget in the short term, especially when you consider that you still have to pay to hire and maintain a replacement.
Costs of Mistakes and Disruption Caused
You may not be able to account for the money lost due to a mis-hire accurately, but it can be substantial. For instance, a mis-hire’s poor performance can have a domino effect on the rest of your team and cause the quality of your marketing efforts to dip along with the ROI of your marketing strategy.
Mistakes can also cause projects to fall behind schedule and over budget, while a poor cultural fit can hurt team morale, affecting their productivity. The longer a mis-hire remains on your team, the more of a disruption it can cause.
How to Eliminate the Cost of Mis-hires
You’d be surprised at how much the costs associated with mis-hires can eat up your B2B marketing budget. By taking steps to reduce (and even eliminate) the risk of mis-hires, you avoid all the costs associated with replacing a mis-hire and dealing with the resulting financial damage. The funds saved by avoiding mis-hires can then be put towards additional talent.
Use Topgrading to Hire Higher Quality FTEs
Avoiding mis-hires is easier said than done. However, by using the top grading method, you’ll not only reduce the risk of hiring the wrong personnel, but you’ll also improve your ability to identify higher-quality candidates and build a much more talented and capable marketing team.
While it isn’t a 100 percent deterrent against mis-hires, it is a practical methodology for improving your hiring process.
Bypass Hiring New FTEs Altogether by Outsourcing
Another effective way to avoid costly mis-hires is to stop hiring marketing FTEs altogether. Instead, outsource your talent needs to a marketing agency. An agency has access to countless generalists and specialists, all of whom are highly qualified.
Their marketing personnel can supplement your in-house team without the risk of a mis-hire. A good agency will have already screened their marketers, all of whom will have the level of experience and expertise your organization requires.
Optimize Your Existing Marketing Team
Suppose you need to optimize your existing marketing team by removing mis-hires or consolidating your team due to budget cutbacks. In that case, your first instinct might be to remove as few FTEs as possible while saving as much money as possible.
For instance, if you need to cut $70,000 from your budget and you have a marketer on your payroll for exactly $70,000, you might consider letting them go and calling it a day. However, this is rarely the best course of action.
Before you begin making massive changes to your marketing team for the sake of your budget, perform due diligence in evaluating your team person by person.
Optimizing your marketing team requires you to evaluate your team’s talent and importance. You’ll want to categorize each team member in order of importance to your team. You can achieve this by taking these steps:
Evaluate every member of your marketing team to determine how important they are to your organization. “A” players are the best of the best — the personnel who are arguably the most important members of your marketing team.
Without them, your marketing capabilities would take a huge hit. They are also the most ambitious employees and are likely the most productive and the most creative in thinking outside the box.
B-Players are more than competent. They are employees who do the job that they are hired to do well. They tend to offer the most stability since other companies may try to poach your A players away from you, whereas B players are typically overlooked.
C-players tend to be the lowest-paid members of your marketing team. They’re typically generalists whose responsibilities can easily be replaced. Some C-players are underperforming, some are unmotivated, and some are disengaged.
Optimizing Your Team
Once you’ve evaluated your marketing team and identified your A, B, and C players, carefully consider the best course of action to optimize your team. Getting rid of A-players will free up a lot of money from your budget, but can also cripple your team.
It would be best if you did everything you can to retain A-players. You could let a B player go to make the necessary room in your budget. However, you will have to replace their skill set somehow. Hiring a replacement for less money typically isn’t the way to go since the associated hiring and onboarding costs aren’t usually worth it.
On the other hand, some of your C players may have the potential to replace your B players. Not all C players are inadequate at their jobs. If you engage them, provide them with more training and responsibilities, they could become B players.
But if you have C players that are simply incompetent or unproductive, removing two C players instead of one B player can provide you with even more room in your budget. The money you save can be put towards hiring another B player or even outsourcing, which will give you access to a wide variety of marketing talent consisting of all A-level players.
Outsource Marketing Talent
If you’re working with a smaller B2B marketing budget, you may not find room in your budget to hire the FTEs you need. Hiring FTEs is particularly challenging if you have multiple talent gaps that need to be addressed and a shrinking budget limiting you. In such a case, outsourcing is the most cost-effective solution.
However, even companies with larger marketing budgets choose to outsource. Not only does outsourcing help eliminate the risk of mis-hires, but it’s also a more efficient and effective way to boost your marketing capabilities immediately.
Consulting Firms Can Help You Optimize Your Marketing Budget
Finding room in your budget to outsource can help you save money both in the short and long term. A consulting firm can evaluate your existing marketing budget as well as your strategy. Using their expertise, they can optimize your B2B marketing budget and find ways to make your marketing strategy more cost-effective.
Marketing Agencies Can Help You Identify Your Needs
Just because you outsource doesn’t mean you can’t also hire FTEs. There’s no reason why you can’t do both. The most balanced marketing teams are those that consist of in-house personnel and rented marketers. A marketing agency can help you identify your needs, both in terms of your marketing efforts and your existing talent, and they can help you avoid making costly mis-hires.
Agencies Can Fill Your Talent Gaps and Augment Your Marketing Team
If your team has talent gaps, hiring an FTE isn’t your only recourse. If you’re working with a marketing agency, they will be able to fill your talent gaps by augmenting your team with rented marketers.
A good marketing agency can fill any marketing position of need for however long you need. You could even outsource your entire marketing strategy to an agency if you decide that this is the most cost-effective course of action.
Making Room in Your Budget to Outsource Marketing Can Help You Obtain the Talent You Need to Succeed
Considering how important your marketing is to your business’s growth, finding talent for your marketing team is critical to your success. Unfortunately, addressing talent gaps in your marketing team can be challenging if you’re working with a limited budget.
One of the most cost-effective ways to find the talent you need is to outsource. While you will need to find room in your budget for outsourced marketing, outsourcing itself can help you free up money over the long run.
Outsourcing will also allow you to optimize your in-house marketing team more effectively by giving you access to a vast pool of talent at a lower cost than hiring and maintaining FTEs.
By making room in your B2B marketing budget to outsource, you’ll have more financial flexibility that can be used to address future talent needs, while also letting you augment your existing team with the talent available at a marketing agency.