Author: Daniel Rodriguez / Source: Entrepreneur In 2013, I made the decision to bring aboard a content creator as my first marketing hire
In 2013, I made the decision to bring aboard a content creator as my first marketing hire. Since bringing that employee aboard, we’ve experienced four straight years of triple-digit growth while growing the total number of employees at Seismic from about 15 to 250. Our marketing team has expanded to 25 strong.
So how did we get from two employees to 25? I grew my team in the order that people buy things.
Here’s what I mean: The mistake most marketers make when given the opportunity to build an entire department from scratch is to emulate large marketing organizations. They will bring in a content marketer, a product marketer, a customer marketer, an event marketer, hire a boutique PR agency (and for the record I think agencies are a complete waste of money), all in an effort to have a mature marketing organization in terms of functionalities if not in resources.
The problem with this approach is that it both focuses on programs you don’t yet need while also limiting those that are essential to the company’s growth. A strategic long-term approach to building out a marketing team should instead focus on the customer journey, building out lead generation first, and then product marketing before landing on customer marketing.
Think of a funnel with holes you can’t see: The only way to find them is to pour a lot of water in the top. As much as you’d like to think otherwise, any initial marketing strategy will have holes — areas of weaknesses where leads fall out of the purchase funnel. However, without leads entering the funnel in the first place, it’s impossible to have the data required to know where holes are, prohibiting you from building truly effective lower funnel programs.
When looking for inspiration to get started down this path, I turned to former HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe. He advocates for scaling a B2B startup marketing team by dividing the funnel into phases and adding resources in a manner which ensures that lead generation remains roughly twice as robust as lower funnel activities.
With this in mind, here is how we applied the funnel approach in practice at Seismic and why it’s been working:
Phase one: Lead generation and content development
The first step is building out lead generation, and that’s why my first hire was a content creator. We needed content that spoke directly…