accepting unsolicited marketing advice. You can and should listen to the advice of your new colleagues to get the most complete picture possible. On the flip side, you were hired for your expertise in marketing and not simply to make everyone happy by implementing their suggestions. It’s up to you to take a professional look at the people, processes and programs.Earlier this week I wrote a post about
Here’s a checklist of some of the things that should be assessed within your first couple of months in your new role.
90 Day Checklist
Target market defined? – Does the company have a general consensus on who the target market is? The consensus in this case is important. If you have differing opinions of what the ideal customer looks like you’ll waste a lot of time and money selling and marketing to the wrong targets.
Value prop – Does your company have one? Is it pithy and focused on customer value? Is it used in your materials and on your website to help explain what you do? Even if you aren’t selling to big companies all the time, Jill Konrath’s book Selling to Big Companies is an excellent resource for honing your value proposition, even if you aren’t selling to big companies.
Universal lead definition/lead scoring – Is there an agreement between sales and marketing on what constitutes a qualified lead?
Marketing metrics – Are there marketing goals that are linked directly to sales goals? Are they based on some reasonable assumptions of close ratios? How is marketing performing against these goals and are they held accountable?
Sales SLA in place and agreed to by sales execs? – Just as marketing should be held accountable for generating a prescribed number of qualified leads, sales needs to be held accountable for follow up. For example, there should be set expectations for the amount of time that passes between the hand-off to sales and the first contact with the prospect.
Feedback loop – Is there a feedback mechanism where sales can provide input to marketing on the quality of the leads? For example, if sales didn’t accept them as “qualified” why not and how does marketing need to change their qualification procedures to ensure that only qualified leads are sent to sales?
Ideally, this feedback mechanism involves a human:human exchange and is not simply a requirement that sales complete a form in your CRM system. It’s in the conversations that happen between sales and marketing where real understanding occurs. Reading a CRM report just doesn't have the same impact.
Lead nurturing – How are leads being nurtured? This paragraph is far too short for the importance of this piece, but I’ve written a significant amount about lead nurturing. It is imperative that you have the processes in place.
Content assessment – Is the content fresh, relevant and customer focused? You may have the lead nurturing processes set up well, but if you are sending out garbage you won’t be effective. Take a complete inventory and be objective about the real value of the available content.
Website – You should understand what your company has done to optimize for the search engines, but in the first 90 days, I would be more concerned with the target audience optimization. Is the site customer centric or too focused on the company? Are there plenty of calls to action that inspire your visitor to sign up for your mailing program? What are the bounce rates for your various pages? (Where are you losing visitors?)
A solid website is the foundation for a nurturing program as it should be your best tool for creating an effective opt-in list.
Sales Tools – Which sales tools are the sales team using and how are they being used? Which sales tools did they create themselves? Notice, I didn’t suggest that you assess what sales tools are available. I find that many companies think they have great sales tools, but the majority of them are never used.
Campaign metrics/processes – What are the metrics used to measure campaigns? What is the process for reviewing these metrics? Are they ever looked at? Are debriefs done to assess what worked and didn’t work with your campaigns?
As you go through this one you should get a good idea of which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Tread lightly in your first 90 days though. This is one of those areas that can be filled with political landmines. You may not want to blurt out that you are going to cut your EVP of Sales’ favorite tradeshow – at least until you understand the ramifications.
Customer satisfaction – What does the company really know about their perception in the marketplace and their customer satisfaction. When were the studies last done and how were they performed.
Although new business is typically a priority for new marketing leaders, existing customer business increases in importance during a recession. You may find it a priority, but that the company has no real understanding of their customers’ satisfaction levels, how to improve them, nor how to capitalize on them.
Each of these areas could spin off into other areas that you need to investigate, but these are the major ones that you can’t overlook. Some areas are likely to be “major disasters” whereas others might need some work, but can function for awhile without your intervention. Others may be working just fine even if the methods set up are a little different from what you’re used to. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or at least focus your energies on the more important issues first.
From your assessment, and the opinions of others as mentioned yesterday, you’ll be able to create a plan of action that is prioritized and effective and you’ll be off to a great start.