It takes a fractional village

One of the top-5 trends in B2B content marketing according to a A 2014 report finds that “The most mentioned content marketing challenge is finding enough time and resources to create content. The next biggest content marketing challenge is producing enough content, followed by producing truly engaging content to serve the needs of marketing programs.”

From talking to many companies, I know how important content marketing is in terms of filling their sales pipeline. Ialso understand exactly why so many companies struggle with resources. It comes down to two major reasons:

Content marketing requires new skills. We frequently see companies who take their existing marketing communication staff and ask them to “take on digital marketing”.  They go purchase a marketing automation suite (such as Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, etc.) and try to run it—but they don’t have the skills. It’s a new technology, and very few have the proper training, background or experience to run it to itsfull capabilities—I’ve talked to many companies that ended up “shelving” the software because they couldn’t make use of it.  

The problem starts for most companies when they try to assign this function onto an existing marketing communications department. It always comes down to the urgent versus the important. Anyone that’s worked in marketing knows how often they get distracted by the crisis of the day, such as, “we have a board meeting tomorrow and I need your help preparing, so drop what you’re doing.”

Unfortunately, the “important” is a structured methodical demand generation and nurturing function that provides pipeline to your salespeople.  

Umm, that is important.  

I can’t tell you how many companies we’ve met that have the best plans in the world laid out for demand generation, only to be abandoned for the “urgent” distraction. They end up producing onlyone newsletter a quarter. Not nearly enough to move the needle. 

If you’re intention is to generate sales pipeline from content marketing, then it is critical to have resources dedicated to that function.

You must establish key performance indicators such has the number of marketing qualified leads to be generated, how many of those should turn into sales accepted leads or appointments, from those appointments into sales qualified leads or opportunities and closes. It’s the single most important business process a company can run and it needs to be treated that way, staffed that way and, and left to do its job.  

I’ve probably harped on that enough, but there’s a clear path to success,  and it starts with formulating a fully baked strategy before hiring resources and before purchasing marketing automation tools.

Next is to hire and or outsource the necessary resources to pull it together. A phrase we like to use is that it “takes a village of fractional people” to pull this off.  Some of the skills required are very technical in nature, while others are artistic. There’s a need for content creators, videographers, editors, web designer, and more. All of these different skill sets need to come together in order to execute a demand generation function in a digital world.

And yes, we employ all of those skill sets and synthesize their collective capabilities to drive leads and pipeline for our customers.