A lot of financial professionals have the desire to increase their integrated marketing efforts but may feel that they (and their team as a whole) lack the time and resources.
Many financial professionals are lucky to have dedicated support staff that may include one or multiple administrative assistants, sales assistants, operational managers, or office managers.
In the bustle of their day opening accounts, processing paperwork, answering phones, updating calendars – you get the picture. It may feel overwhelming or downright impossible to make room for something so consuming as undertaking the team’s marketing campaigns.
We know that your day-to-day operations are what keep you afloat, but if you are interested in genuinely reaching your potential and expanding your book of business, marketing is a crucial addition to your team’s responsibilities, and we know that many of these tasks will be absorbed by your support staff.
Let’s dive into the marketing tips on how to commit to the transition and shift your support staff into a more marketing-focused role:
1. How to Make Marketing a Priority
Developing and executing marketing campaigns is brain-intensive work and being interrupted by a ringing phone (even just to take messages) is counter-productive. If you have more than one support staff member, streamline your tasks by having one member fully dedicated to marketing efforts, providing operational back-up as needed.
This plan will allow each team member to fully own your campaigns and drive you to greater success. This dichotomy between operations and marketing will create more efficiency and accountability across both sides of your business and allow your staff to become masters of their domain, with the ability to seek support from one another.
If you have a solo right-hand staff member who will need to balance your ongoing operational, administrative, or marketing efforts, allow them to carve out time in their schedule to focus on marketing campaigns. Something as small as answering the phones for them for an hour or two (or getting some part-time coverage) can help allow your team member to dive into ideas that s/he would otherwise be distracted and pulled away from with every ring of the phone.
2. Define Marketing Goals, Dedicate to the Process
Not only do you need at least one person actively working on your campaigns, you also need to dedicate time as a team. Having a scheduled weekly or monthly marketing meeting will help you define your goals and ensure accountability. Similarly, the goals of the team should be communicated clearly and each member must understand their particular roles and responsibilities in achieving them.
A great way for busy teams to find time to brainstorm is through collaborative lunches. Buy lunch for your team and sit in the conference room to throw around ideas. No meeting agenda, no power point presentations. At lunchtime everyone needs a screen-break, and everyone is hungry. Take advantage by creating a fun and collaborative atmosphere, and remember: creative ideas thrive in relaxed environments.
3. Marketing Meetings Should Be for Marketing
When you are discussing marketing campaigns, it can be tempting to break out your prospect list and dissect your plans for each person. While these account-based strategies are essential to your success as well, incorporating them during a marketing strategy meeting can cause your team to digress and hijack precious time that was dedicated to planning campaigns at a high level.
Sales is about building individual relationships and closing business. Marketing is about your brand and its relationship with the community. Marketing is meant to cast a net for sales to “fish” from and requires a much broader focus on how your strategies will further your business goals. Therefore, meetings that discuss specific follow-ups and closing business should be defined separately from your marketing strategy with the onus on the sales team.
4. Know When to Outsource Your Marketing
You and your support staff are good at what you do, however, when you begin to plan more elaborate marketing campaigns that are outside your scope of expertise, don’t be afraid to turn to a professional. Just as you would not undertake a complete redesign of your website without help, many marketing efforts require careful planning and experience.
For example, consider hiring a day-of-event coordinator for complex events that you would like to put together. While you and your staff may be more than capable in planning, invitations, and preparation, you may find the day-of execution to be overwhelming. Day-of-event planners also have connections to vendors and venues in your area that could more than make up for their cost of service. Graphic design, printing services, and corporate gifting services are other outsourcing opportunities that can truly up your marketing game.
Think outside (and inside) the box: you may be surprised to find people within your network that have the skills, the time, and the desire to get involved in your events. Retirees, homemakers, and philanthropists are often looking for opportunities to get involved in their communities, just like you.
5. Find Marketing Challenges, Then Find Solutions
Take some time to assess the unique needs of your team as a whole and individually. Ask your support staff what they need to be successful. Everyone works differently, so finding out what makes your team members more efficient can help boost your team’s productivity and morale.
Narrow down what challenges your team faces in making time for marketing and then explore solutions to them. For instance, what part of your inbound marketing funnel could you use the most help with? Hiring an intern for part-time coverage or shifting your marketing assistant’s schedule to have less crossover with your busy hours may sound like an aggressive plan but can offer great returns!
Remember to keep your prospects and clients in mind throughout your marketing efforts. Better marketing should lead to more prospects and ultimately, more work for your sales team, so don’t skimp on what your audience wants.
Have a strategy in place to follow up with prospects gained through your marketing efforts and make sure that this workflow is able to be duplicated as your team continues to market and grow themselves!