When companies decide to pursue a strategy of growth, they naturally look to their sales and marketing leadership. As they consider building out their sales apparatus, there’s often a temptation to look for a person — a professional who can be enlisted to drive change and build the engine of growth.
Obviously, there does come a point when it’s necessary to find a skilled professional who can come in and deliver the work. By starting there, however, some companies may be putting the cart before the horse. A better jumping off point might be to articulate a basic set of marketing priorities consistent with long-term goals and business values; and, to codify a general sales and marketing framework.
Once that scaffolding is in place, then it’s appropriate to hire someone who can flesh it out. The priorities and direction you determine will inform the kinds of hires you should be making, whether that’s a seasoned industry professional or someone more experimental and disruptive.
Priorities Last Longer
There are a number of reasons for this, and the most obvious is that philosophies tend to outlast individual people. A worst-case scenario would be that your company hires a marketing director or VP who only lasts a year or two, and then the recruiting process must begin all over again; then, when a new professional is engaged, they may fundamentally alter the values or initiatives that the team has already put in place.
You can avoid this pitfall by having an overarching direction to which the marketing team members are subservient; or perhaps more accurately, a philosophy the marketing team members are responsible for carrying out.
Companies can decide early on what their marketing mindset is, whether it’s something that emphasizes the lean-agile values and waste elimination, or another set of values altogether. Around that simple philosophy, they can build a culture, including policies and processes to which the entire team subscribes… policies and processes that are not dependent on any one person.
This way, no matter how much turnover there is in the organization, there’s always a kind of North Star that keeps the marketing team members moving toward the same goals, rowing in the same direction. There can be a sense of consistency even amidst personnel changes.
At the same time, having a philosophy in place can actually be beneficial in reducing that kind of churn. When you have a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish, it frees you to look for marketing personnel who have the ability to uphold that sense of mission; specific experience becomes a little bit less important.
Additionally, having a clear marketing philosophy can help reduce the kinds of biases and unchallenged assumptions that often lead to marketing waste. The marketing professionals you hire won’t be focused on implementing their own agenda so much as serving the vision that you’ve already vetted and agreed upon within the C-suite.
Of course, all of this involves a lot of up-front work. Determining your marketing direction and priorities is an initial investment that may seem onerous but can lead to greater efficiencies down the road.
The bottom line is that the sales, marketing, and communications arm of your business shouldn’t become directionless just because an employee leaves, nor should it undergo dramatic change simply as a result of who’s sitting at the head of the table. Real continuity and focus depend on a marketing philosophy that unites your team around a shared set of principles.
If you’re ready to articulate that kind of philosophy and are curious to know how the lean-agile mindset can factor into it, give us a shout. Lenses and Levers would love to chat with you about giving some shape to your marketing values.