Inbound marketing is no longer a fad. It’s a proven strategy to reduce marketing costs and increase marketing ROI. That’s not a question.
The question is how you can implement it with the marketing department you have now. There is no question inbound marketing requires time and commitment, so how do you transition your existing resources into a new approach?
Retraining existing staff won’t be the right answer for everyone’s inbound marketing plans. Download Resourcing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy to learn about options such as using an agency or new hires.
Let’s look at when retraining and reorganizing makes sense and how to do so in ways that will keep your marketing momentum going throughout the transition.
Should You Retrain Your Marketing Staff for Inbound?
Once you’ve settled on a goal of implementing inbound marketing, it’s time to look at whether your existing staff is ready for that move.
Advantages to working with your existing staff as you introduce the new approach to marketing include the wealth of institutional knowledge they already have. Your current staff should already be well acquainted with your brand, your customer personas, and your products or services. There is no need to bring them up to speed on the basics.
However, retraining and potentially reorganizing your department will still require time and, more importantly, buy-in from these veterans.
Retraining and reorganizing makes sense if …
You view inbound as your long-term approach and want to have expertise in-house.
You have the time and budget to invest in training, without undue pressures.
Your staff is open to being coached and trained.
You don’t have access to a strong labor pool for recruiting.
You can’t afford to relocate anyone and/or your company doesn’t allow virtual team members.
You have staff members who are already digitally savvy and using inbound marketing elements in their jobs or personally.
You have support from the C-suite and human resources in implementing inbound and reorganizing the department.
You are committed to inbound and supporting your staff through the transition.
Do you need to have checked off all these conditions to successfully retrain and reorganize? No. But the more of them your department matches up with, the easier it will be to succeed.
How to Start Retraining for Inbound Marketing
The first two steps in setting up your existing marketing staff for inbound marketing are to assess:
What skills do you need in your department?
What skills does your staff already have?
HubSpot’s Mike Volpe says in this SlideShare that the characteristics of strong inbound marketers are:
Digital: Comfortable speaking and working in the online world of content, video, social media and more.
Analytical: They want to know more about and look critically at everything. If “digital” is their first language, “measurement” is their second.
Reach: Good inbound marketers show evidence of a natural attraction that brings people in.
Content: They are natural creators. Content creation should not be a struggle.
If your team has those characteristics, you may only need to teach them the nuts and bolts of actually generating inbound marketing campaigns and components.
Options for training include:
Working with an experienced agency such as JONES for a short time to get your team up and running.
The annual INBOUND conference, with opportunities for training, certifications and networking with other marketing departments deploying the same tools and techniques.
Workshops and online courses from other providers, such as MECLABS, parent company of MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments.
How to Organize Your Marketing Staff for Inbound
There is no one best way to organize a marketing staff for inbound marketing. Much will depend on your company’s size, current structure, and the skills sets of your staff, especially if you are working within your existing team.
Some departments function as a single team, or divide their focus based on the levels of the sales funnel (attract, convert and nurture, close). Others may split duties based on geography, industry, personas or product. These may work best for large departments able to devote several individuals to each team with varied expertise in writing, design, video, website development and social media engagement.
Other companies will organize based on those job functions or areas of expertise, with project managers who guide individual projects through the functional teams.
However you choose to organize, be sure that it is a structure that can be scaled as your company grows. And be clear with team members from the start about how they will be assessed, assigned, trained and evaluated.
Ready to turn your staff into an inbound marketing machine? There are more links to useful tips and information in Resourcing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy.
If your current staff doesn’t seem to be the right fit, or you don’t have the time to dedicate to retraining, check out our advice in the ebook about your other options for resourcing your inbound marketing: hiring new talent or hiring an agency.