Yeah, I know. A marketing agency blog about whether hiring a salesperson can replace hiring a marketing agency. The suspense is probably giving you indigestion — where will he land on this?!
But stay with me for a sec. While, as a marketer, I do have a bias towards the power of marketing, it’s because I’ve seen first-hand, time and time again, how marketing agencies are able to bolster sales teams to new levels. If you’re considering hiring a salesperson instead of investing in marketing, let’s talk about the common reasons people believe sales alone is the answer and a few of the big factors you should consider as you make this decision.
The Allure of the Salesperson
The fastest way for your business to grow is by generating new sales. If you hire a salesperson or Business Development Representative (BDR), their WHOLE JOB is to generate new sales. This makes it easy for you to track their impact on your organization, and with a commission-based salary, they should be motivated to bring in more and more clients. What’s not to love?
Meanwhile, the concept of a marketing agency can feel a little nebulous. Unlike the salesperson approach, figuring out how additional marketing assistance can impact revenue isn’t as much of a 1:1 ratio. If you’ve already done some branding and have a fairly modern website, then it can seem like the hard work is already done. You might feel like you can just designate someone on your team to keep an eye on AdWords and send some emails every now and then. How much more marketing do you really need, anyway?
Is Sales Alone Enough?
Now that we’ve given the argument against hiring a marketing agency consideration, I’ll take a look at the other side of the argument.
It may sound obvious, but let’s take a moment to recognize that foregoing an investment in marketing to focus on sales is inherently limiting in terms of the potential channels that can generate awareness and new business. In other words, instead of diversifying, you’re putting all of your eggs in the sales basket.
For some businesses, maybe the sales basket does enough. But let’s consider a few statistics that shed some light on how your customers are actually finding you:
Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% will consult a search engine. (HubSpot, 2016)
Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google, 2016)
80% of business decision makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Exact Target, 2015)
38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. (HubSpot, 2017)
This list could keep going, but you get the point. As it turns out, focusing on outbound sales isn’t taking the easy way. If you’re ignoring channels like SEO, helpful articles and video marketing, you’re likely not visible to the majority of your audience. If you have aggressive revenue goals and you’re relying on sales to get you there, you’re leaving a lot on the table.
Speaking of leaving things on the table…
A Marketing Agency Can Help Your Sales Team Focus on Generating Revenue
Earlier this year, we started formally offering sales enablement services because we saw first-hand how big of an impact a closely coordinated sales and marketing team can have on improving revenue. One crucial way we’ve been able to help sales people is by getting them out of the trenches and getting tasks off their to-do lists — freeing them up to put their time and energy toward sales.
Not worried about your where sales team’s time is going? Well, here are two more statistics: 32% of salespeople are spending an hour or more on data entry every day (HubSpot, 2017). Meanwhile, a lack of resources, including time, funding and staff, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers (BrightTALK, 2015). Put these together and it means your sales team is short on resources and wasting precious time entering data.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a marketing agency that’s helping your sales team convert, track, qualify, segment and nurture leads, your sales people aren’t wasting an unnecessary amount of their time chasing bad leads, entering data or trying to figure out who to follow up with and what to say. Maybe your marketing agency even uses marketing automation, in which case they can really help you streamline work and get things moving. Now your team can focus on closing those qualified leads.
Inbound Leads Are Generally Better Than Outbound Leads
This isn’t just an opinion I’m just throwing out there; there’s research to back this up. Specifically, according to research by HubSpot, inbound leads cost 61% less to generate than outbound leads. On top of this, HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound found that salespeople prefer inbound leads over outbound. This makes sense as inbound leads tend to be more qualified; they’re already familiar with your offering, which means your sales team has to do less selling and educating. The result is a simpler (and usually shorter) sales cycle.
If you’re only investing in sales instead of hiring a marketing agency, then who’s putting time into things like SEO, content generation and ongoing optimizing that generates those inbound leads? Your sales team can only get in front of so many people in a day; when you have an inbound marketing strategy, you’re able to drive significantly more people to your company than a single salesperson ever could.
Deciding What’s Right for You
I’m not arguing that every business needs a marketing agency; you’ve got to decide what’s right for you. But, in a time when launching a new business is easier and cheaper than ever, there’s no getting around the fact that competition is fierce. Without an investment in marketing, will your business be able to stay competitive?
Charlie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Simple Machines Marketing. When he's not doing the marketing, he likes playing guitar, hanging with his family in Chicago and lots of other stuff too but this seems like a good amount for a blog bio.