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Is Your Marketing Team Ready to Take On Inbound?

Is Your Marketing Team Ready to Take On Inbound?

Inbound marketing, which reaches customers where they are with information they are seeking, has become the dominant approach for small- to medium-sized businesses, with 3 of 4 marketers across the globe placing a priority on an inbound approach. (Source)

This approach, however, requires different skills and ways of thinking than the traditional outbound methods. If your company is just on the cusp of tackling inbound, you will need to consider how to make this way of marketing a reality, including finding the talent and skills needed.

One option is to retrain and reorganize your existing staff to take on the key roles involved in implementing an inbound marketing strategy. This option allows you to build from the tacit knowledge of the company your current team has, without the time needed to bring an outside agency or new hires up to speed.

Find more options for resourcing your inbound marketing strategy in our free ebook.

Reorganizing and training your current team makes sense if:

1. You view inbound as a long-term approach and want to have expertise in-house.

Inbound marketing, which is closely tied to all aspects of digital marketing, shows no signs of slowing down. Having in-house staff ready to adapt to changes can make your inbound marketing more nimble and also provide a more consistent message and presence long-term.

2. You have the time/breathing space and money to invest in training despite external or internal pressures.

Support from above for an long-term inbound approach, and the flexibility to invest both time and funds in training for your staff, will be essential if you plan to reorganize and retrain.


3. Your staff is coachable and trainable. They are open, curious and enthusiastic about learning and doing things that are new.

If you don’t have a coachable, flexible staff, retraining may be an exercise in futility. But if your current marketing team is eager to try new things and learn, introducing inbound could bring a influx of new creativity and ideas.

4. You don’t have access to a strong local labor pool, funds to relocate new hires, and no options for allowing virtual workers.

Not all geographic areas are going to have a large contingent of inbound-savvy applicants ready to join your marketing team. If that is the case where you are, then training your existing staff makes sense.

5. Some team members are already using inbound marketing elements either personally or in their jobs.

Mike Volpe, chief marketing officer at HubSpot, says the best candidates (for new hires or for retraining in inbound) are: digitally inclined, analytical, have an established “reach” for themselves or their work, and are comfortable creating content.

If your staff members are already engaged with blogging, social media or link building, you are halfway to inbound marketing. Training may be able to focus on specific software implementation, such as HubSpot’s integrated offerings, rather than the concepts involved in inbound.

6. You have support from the rest of the company.

Before you can tackle retraining or major restructuring of your marketing department and strategy, you need to have buy-in from the executive suite for inbound marketing (customize this presentation to use when you introduce inbound: Convince Your Boss to Transform Your Marketing). Any reorganization may also require the blessing and assistance of human resources, along with a service level agreement to put sales and marketing on the same page.


You don’t necessarily need all of these criteria in place for retraining and reorganizing to make sense, but if most of them are true, it may be your best option.

Like any change, however, there are both pros and cons. Let’s look at a few.

Advantages of using existing staff to implement an inbound marketing strategy

One key advantage to retraining your current marketing team, as mentioned earlier, is the wealth of knowledge of your company, products, services and customers your veteran staffers already possess.

With training in inbound marketing strategies, and the experience of building your inbound marketing from the ground up, you will have a staff equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver the results you need, and to handle new digital marketing challenges as they arise.

By working with your existing staff, you also gain goodwill and loyalty. A 2015 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management showed by 58 percent of employees say that  opportunities to use their skills and talents in their work are very important to job satisfaction, with 42 percent and 41 percent, respectively, also giving a “very important” classification to the organization’s commitment to professional development and to job-specific training.

Disadvantages of using existing staff to implement an inbound marketing strategy

All of those pros don’t necessarily mean that it will be simple to teach your “old dogs” new tricks. It may take as long as a year to assess your team’s readiness for inbound, design your organization based on their talents and strengths, gain proficiency and start generating sales-quality leads.

Not everyone on your team may be able or willing to make the change, either. You may need to let some people go.

Retraining your existing staff is not a quick solution, and it will take time to bring your team up to speed and start making progress.

Have you already transitioned an existing marketing team into an inbound machine? What other advantages did you experience? What were the greatest challenges?

Or did you choose another route for resourcing your inbound strategy, such as hiring an agency or bringing in new team members? Find the pros and cons of those approaches, along with tips on transitioning your marketing approach to inbound, in our ebook, Resourcing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy.

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