When working with an outsourced marketing company, communication is an essential component of growing your business. Aligning your sales and marketing, whether outsourced or internal, is important to contributing to your bottom line.
A common mistake businesses make when working with an outside marketing company is to simply assume that they understand your business and what you expect from them. The problem with that is that that marketing company's goals and KPIs may not be the same as yours.
Instead, it is essential to be regularly communicating with one another and align your goals.
Defining Goals and KPI's
Let's take a minute to talk about what exactly goals and KPIs look like in marketing terms. The goals and KPIs expected for your company can vary depending on what is considered an important addition to your business. KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, measure the performance of your company's success through it's digital marketing.
But what do you define as success?
Conversions are your success rate. Conversions are the number, or percentage, of users who take the desired action. Desired by who? That is where it gets tricky. Your marketing company may have one answer, and you may have another. Conversions can be things like: increasing brand awareness by attracting more fans on social media, generating more sales leads, increasing the amount of time users spend on a website, etc.
The desired conversion varies by the goals of the company: Do you want someone to make a purchase online? Do you want them to make a connection with your company? Or do you just want to gain more followers on Twitter? These are questions that lead you to decide what type of conversion is most important to you, and will affect your business in the most positive way.
So why do you need to know what exactly your marketing company is striving to achieve? Here are 3 simple reasons:
1. You'll Be Speaking the Same Language
So lets say that your marketing company is counting conversions as those who purchase a product online. Your company, on the other hand, is really just looking to build a relationship with users and get them to spend more time on your website getting to know your company.
So while your marketing company's conversion may seem to be more sales driven, it is not really what your company wants. Maybe ordering online is not your desired action. You'd prefer people to speak to your company on the phone, or even visit a location. Perhaps part of your selling strategy has to do with making that personal connection with customers. And your not looking to always gain, but you want to retain quality customers who will continue to come back to you. But no one is really calling you any more, because the way your online marketing is geared is to just make that one time, online purchase.
You have a disconnect.
Instead, if you are regularly discussing your goals and KPI's with your outsourced marketing department, they are able to recognize what you are looking to accomplish, and help you achieve those goals.
Just be sure you are always speaking the same language. You may be using the same words: "goals", "conversions", "leads", but these terms may not mean the same things to each of you. Be on the same page with your goals, otherwise your relationship is doomed from the start.
2. You Can Work Together to Achieve Those Goals
This is a no-brainer. If you are able to come to an understanding of your goals, then you are better able to achieve these goals. Be straight forward and clear about what you expect and hope to gain.
And make sure your marketing team (and you, yourself) are setting SMART goals.
If you follow these goal setting rules you will be more likely to have a successful marketing campaign, and you will begin seeing the results you want.
3. You Will Be Able to Measure Success...Well, Successfully
If you don't know what your marketing company is trying to achieve, versus what they are actually achieving how can you decide if they are the right fit as a vendor for your business? The answer is simple: you can't.
Instead, if you understand their goals and they are reporting to you with complete transparency the results they are seeing, then you will be in a better position to decide if this is a successful union that you have together.
If you don't have a clear understanding and a good deal of input on your marketing teams goals, then you are definitely not getting the most out of your marketing vendor. Not only will you be unable to communicate clearly, but you may even be hindering each others success in certain aspects of your business. And never forget that your marketing company should be generating results and making you look like a hero. So if they don't have the results to prove it, then its time for a change!