One of the most important skills to master if you want to outsource marketing effectively – or even if you simply need to educate new hires and get them productive quickly – is teaching your marketing person what they need to know about your business.
The amount they need to know varies depending on what type of work you are having done. But typically, a marketing person needs to learn about:
– Your company – core areas of expertise, goals
– Your products and services – target market, pricing, differentiators
– Your clients – who they are, how they use your products/services, what value you deliver
– Your competitors – how you are better, where they are stronger
– Your market – what are current hot issues, trends, where you fit in
You can see that there’s a lot of information they need to acquire. People who work in your office can pick it up by osmosis – they overhear phone conversations, poke their head in your office to ask quick questions, chat at the coffee machine…
But people who are working remotely can’t do that.
And even for people who are in your office, it’s good to have a system for bringing them up to speed quickly.
So how do you educate them?
Most business owners point them to the company’s website or provide a stack of documents to read. The problem is, for most people that won’t work well. The information is too hard to absorb.
And I can pretty much guarantee that you can’t justify spending hours and hours on the phone with each marketing freelancer, bringing them up to speed. Very few people have the patience for that. Plus who wants to pay the hourly rate for the freelancer while you’re doing that?
But it’s important to educate marketing freelancers properly or you’re not going to get good results.
So how do you do it?
We’ve struggled with this over the years, trying a lot of different ways to make it work. What we came up with is a 2-part strategy.
The first part is that we collect the information most marketing freelancers need about the business in a template we call “About My Company.”
We ask clients to spend a couple hours filling this out. We spend another hour or two on the phone with them digging deeper and fleshing it out. Then we invest a little time every month or so keeping it up-to-date.
The “About My Company” document becomes a powerful repository of the most important information any freelancer needs to know to do a good job for you. You can also use it with:
– Business partners
You simply provide them with the document, let them read it, then schedule a call to answer their questions. You will have much better discussions – they will understand your business at a deeper level, so they’ll ask better questions.
You’ll be spending your time more efficiently and you will get better results because they have that deeper understanding of your business. Usually you save money too, partly because there’s less ramp-up time and partly because you are more likely to get what you want the first time.
You can create your own About My Company document with the information you want people to have about your business.
Here are some questions from our template to get you started:
1. What do most of your current customers have in common?
2. What are the top 3 benefits they get from working with your company?
3. Who is your ideal customer?
4. What are your core competencies? What is your company best at?
5. Who are your top 3 competitors?
6. How is your solution better than competitors?
7. What 3 things do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?
In the next post… The second half of our strategy for getting marketing freelancers up to speed quickly.