Working at a high-growth company is unlike any other job. One big difference is that employees, no matter their role or department, rarely have a single job. They are often asked to do things that fall outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. A sales executive might be asked to attend a funding pitch. A startup CEO might need to negotiate a lease for a new office space. A HR employee might be asked to help plan a big customer event. The occasional added responsibility just comes with the territory.
Moving quickly, taking risks and helping out when needed is part of the challenge — and part of the fun — of working at a scrappy company with big aspirations. It’s a pressure nearly every employee is likely to feel at times. But for marketers, it’s a constant pressure that continues even after the “all hands on deck” stage of a company’s growth is over. While responsibilities silo and departments like Sales focus in on what they are hired to do- and work on just that- marketing tends to get pulled in even more directions just when financial targets for leads and pipeline get more demanding.
Many Jobs, Many More Responsibilities
At most high-growth SaaS companies, lead generation that leads to pipeline contribution is marketing’s No. 1 priority and often the metric marketers are measured against. But marketers today are often expected to multi-task, handling their daily/weekly/quarterly workload while also supporting other efforts that are only tangentially related to that No. 1 priority.
Does the professional services team need help with customer training? Pull someone from marketing to help. HR needs help rolling out a new recruiting website? Call marketing. G&A is having an offsite? Chances are someone in events gets a call to help. The list goes on. Whatever the request, more often than not it’s marketing that is asked to lend a hand. It makes sense, marketing often owns design and web resources, has skills to take rough presentations and tighten them up for external consumption, and understands how to execute quickly. But all this means juggling competing priorities and sometimes that can have a negative impact on No.1 if not enough time is spent on things that actually deliver against set goals. And most marketers I know are still learning, or took a long time to get comfortable saying one very crucial word- NO!
Avoid Marketing Misuse
I’ve seen these pressures surface throughout my 10-plus-year marketing career. I’m often saddled with responsibilities that fall outside of pure lead generation — and that’s fine. The face of your company is seen in many places, and it’s marketing’s job to ensure that face is shown in the best possible light. But it’s important that marketers also keep their eye on the prize: the job they were hired to do and the one they are measured on. Why? Marketing is all about efficiency, and misuse can have a serious impact on growth.
Companies rely on marketing to constantly fill the funnel with new leads, yet burdening marketers with one-off jobs can limit their ability to test and explore new things. The challenge might not be felt immediately, but even the most capable multi-taskers will feel the pressure eventually.
Whenever departments within your company grow — sales, HR, professional services, among others — CMOs need to consider whether their marketing team has the ability to support that growth. Your ambitious team may not cry for help when they need it, so it’s often up to the CMO to identify and fix the problem before it impacts the team’s metrics. Without additional resources or manpower, marketing can struggle to keep pace with their day jobs while also supporting ancillary functions on the side. CEOs and CMOs can’t expect the system to run smoothly with marketing filling in gaps ad hoc and supporting other functions as they grow and filling the pipeline without giving marketing the resources it needs.
Do you have a story or feel strongly about marketings unique position within companies to support growth? How do you think the multiple hats marketing wears impacts its performance? Chime in via the comments section below!