I recently had lunch with Ankur Gopal, an entrepreneur who whose B2B technology company, Interapt, is growing rapidly. It was exciting to hear about what he’s been learning as his business grows, and when our discussion turned to marketing, he asked me two great questions: 1. TIMING: How will he know when it’s the right time in his business’ life cycle to get marketing help? Should I bring something like Argentum or a similar strategic marketing resource? 2. BUDGETS: Should he start saving money now to pay for marketing in the future? Today I’m going to tackle the timing question and then next month I’ll address the budgeting question. During our 7+ years in business, we’ve worked with many companies who are hiring their first marketing strategy resource. While the scenarios for making the leap vary, there are three rough buckets of reasons why a CEO/Founder hires us: 1. Communication issues 2. People resource issues 3. Growth needs Take this quick (and not especially scientific) quiz to see if it might be getting to a point where it’s time for you to add a strategic marketing resource to your team! COMMUNICATION ISSUES 1. Can you succinctly describe what your business does and do your advisors and people you meet agree with you? YES____ NO____ DON’T KNOW ____ 2. Are your sales people are all saying different things about why the company is great and/or why people should buy? YES____ NO____ DON’T KNOW ____ 3. Have you decided to redo your website but have realized that you’re not sure what it should really focus on? YES____ NO____ PEOPLE RESOURCE ISSUES 4. Have you been doing the marketing and it’s no longer the highest and best use of your limited time? YES____ NO____ DON’T KNOW ____ 5. Is your Head of Sales running marketing and do they worry that they’re not getting the best work out of your marketing person? YES____ NO____ DON’T KNOW ____ GROWTH NEEDS 6. Do you need to have an impact on your business fast? YES____ NO____ 7. Are you raising capital and do you want to clearly tell potential investors how much money you need for marketing and what, exactly, you’ll be doing with it? YES____ NO____ 8. Have you decided to spend more money on marketing (about $100K+) but you’re not sure how to best spend it? YES____ NO____ Answer Key 1. YES=0 pts, NO=1 pt, I DON’T KNOW=2 pts (and for heaven’s sakes, ask someone you trust!) 2. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt, I DON’T KNOW=2 pts (time to get your whole sales team in a room and have them each give you their favorite pitch) 3. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt 4. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt, I DON’T KNOW=2 pts (take a look at your to-do list and your personal time allocation) 5. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt, I DON’T KNOW=2 pts (probably time to check in with them and ask) 6. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt 7. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt 8. YES=1 pts, NO=0 pt If you scored zero, you’re free to go and congratulations! But if any of these scenarios sound familiar and if you got even one point, it might be time to think seriously about getting marketing help and get more strategic about your marketing. Check out some tools to get you started on our website including our Positioning Worksheet and Marketing Strategy Template.