One of the more common questions I have received is, “When is the right time to hire a marketing professional?”
When I talk with partners about adding a marketing professional to their team, I often evaluate their firm in the following areas:
- How quickly does the firm want to grow? If a firm has aggressive goals, then having dedicated resources to execute on their plans will be critical. A marketing professional often owns or helps facilitate growth plans, which takes some of the burden off the partner team.
- Does the firm know what it needs? If you don’t know what a marketing person would do at your firm, it might be best to wait on hiring. It’s important to first have a vision for a marketing role and clear expectations around how you will measure success. The biggest mistake we see is undefined and unmet expectations.
- Have stakeholders bought in? While you don’t need 100% consensus, the stakeholder group should at least be on the same page, being committed to growth. While not every stakeholder will use marketing, you don’t want anyone undermining marketing efforts or challenging every action or investment.
If you answered no to any of the above questions, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a marketing professional. Investment in marketing is a must for every CPA firm. Beyond dollars and cents, a good marketing investment is determined by doing it for the right reasons and choosing the best person for the job. So, how will you know when to invest in marketing at your firm?
Firms reach the point when they need a marketing professional in different stages. There is no formula for the perfect timing, however, the 2016 AAM Budget Surveyindicated that most firms invest early. The highest growth firms employ one marketing professional for every 34 employees, while the average firm employs one marketing professional for every 54 employees.
There are only so many hours in the day. The more active a firm is with business development, the more likely it could use some support in marketing. Many firms benefit a great deal when their partners can stay focused on developing business with their non-billable time instead of facilitating marketing goals like event management, strategic market research, prospecting and more.
If you think you might be under-investing in marketing or wondering if you are ready to go to the next level, please give us a call. We have helped many CPA firms invest in their growth and successfully hire their first marketing professional.
About the author
Ranked twice by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People, Sarah Johnson Dobek of Inovautus Consulting is an accounting marketing growth advisor. She helps Accounting firms identify and implement strategies to help them grow their firms and distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Connect with Sarah to learn more at 773-208-7170, firstname.lastname@example.org, orwww.linkedin.com/in/sjjohnson.