• At emerging growth companies, expanding your team’s skill set is often more advantageous than hiring new talent
  • According to the SiriusDecisions 2018 Global CMO Study, investing in training substantially increases the growth potential of an emerging company
  • A culture of learning and growth will drive efficiencies to help emerging companies scale for hyper-growth

If you are a marketing leader at an emerging company, you are most likely familiar with the concept of “build vs. buy.” If you work for a company that is filling a market gap, your biggest competitor is usually not another company, but instead the very company you are selling to, which may prefer to build its missing capability rather than buy it. So, you create messaging and campaigns every day that help your prospects justify buying from your company. 

Did you ever consider how this concept could apply to your own marketing team? If you work in a start-up or hyper-growth company, you most likely wear many hats and have only a handful of team members to carry out marketing initiatives. When the expectations that are placed on marketing exceed bandwidth or expertise (e.g. creating new campaigns, making a new website, adding channel partners), the first reaction is usually to ask for more headcount or hire an agency to fill skill gaps. But what if you had a different option – one that didn’t include begging for headcount?  If you can find a way to simply spend some cash to fill a gap without incurring long-term headcount obligations, trust me, your CFO will become your new best friend.

seated group watching as woman presentsWhy not build instead of buy? You’ve already hired great talent, so why not train (building) them instead of hiring new employees (buying)? Investing in training allows existing staff to grow and develop, thus creating a loyal team. Additionally, many skill gaps experienced by start-ups are inconsistent. For example, start-ups do not usually have a large suite of products and are instead focused on a particular sub-segment of a larger market, not the entire market; therefore, multiple programs do not need to be created at once.  Although it is not necessary for emerging growth companies to have someone on staff dedicated to continually creating new programs and campaigns, there must be someone who knows what to do when needed and can interpret the metrics to make effective campaign decisions. What if one of your staff members could be trained to efficiently create and track programs and campaigns – instead of hiring someone full time?

Likewise, if your company has a limited product offering, a dedicated product marketer may not be needed, but product marketing is!  Why not train someone on your staff to implement a product marketing process that can be used when new products or enhancements are ready to roll out?

I know what you’re thinking – “My team doesn’t have enough time for training.” I would like to challenge you and say that you do have the time! According to the SiriusDecisions 2018 Global CMO Study, emerging companies that are growing annual revenue greater than 41 percent are 57 percent more likely to spend more than $1,500 on training than emerging companies that are flat to only growing annual revenue up to 10 percent. What you don’t have time for is hiring and onboarding new talent, or trusting critical operations to outside vendors or freelancers, or worse: having to step in and complete the work yourself when you are already overloaded with all of those hats you’re wearing!

Begin by incorporating a growth plan into your quarterly objectives for each employee. If you can find a training series in particular areas that employees can complete on their own, that is the route to follow.  Encourage employees to block time on their calendars each week to complete the training.  Ensure they set an end goal and assign a project for them to own that requires the training; let them know they will have a goal assigned to that project the following quarter.

The next time you find yourself struggling with the skill sets on your team, consider building your team (training), not buying a new one (hiring). To learn more about SiriusDecisions’ library of e-learning courses, SiriusPathways®, click here.