They could be sat in the same room, at the same table, or even next to each other, but despite the close proximity, consultants and marketing teams are all too often seen as separate departments.
Their daily operations might focus on different aspects of the customer relationship but, for a recruitment business to grow, they have to work together as a single unit. After all, to shepherd leads and opportunities across the finish line, each needs the other to succeed.
So, how can you improve the relationship, and stimulate a cohesive working environment?
1. Perfect your target persona
From their demographic and education through to the newspaper they read or the brand of car they drive, it all matters. Do they read The Sun or The Guardian? Facebook or Instagram? Love Island or I’m A Celebrity? Ant or Dec? Red or blue? Sweet or sour?
Developing a deep understanding of your target persona is critical to ensuring the success of any marketing activity. Consultants have an in-depth understanding of exactly the kinds of candidates they need, and which clients they want to appeal to. Once target personas have been established, marketing teams can begin to adjust their activity accordingly.
Target personas can define the kinds of events that will take place, PR messaging, advertising channels and the content marketing strategy, to name a few.
2. Create a culture of collaboration
It might take a whole new mindset but, by creating a culture of collaboration, recruitment agencies can reap the rewards.
Consider quarterly focus groups with consultants, facilitated by the marketing team, and change up the consultants in attendance to receive 360° feedback from across the business. This will help to define goals, receive constructive feedback, generate new ideas and set objectives for the quarter ahead. Consultants’ experiences on the ‘front line’ also provide a great opportunity for marketing teams to gather feedback about topical client and candidate concerns.
Consultants might also want to participate in marketing activities, and these focus groups should provide a window into their key strengths and areas of interest.
3. Open up the lines of communication
All too often, different departments have no idea what the other is doing, or why they are doing it. If consultants directly understand and can see the benefits of the work the marketing team are doing, then they are more likely to buy in to a closer working relationship.
The marketing team should share wins, challenges and marketing activity with the company on a regular basis, both verbally and face to face. Once consultants understand how marketing contributes to their business development and the potential impact on their desks, they’ll also be more likely to share the ROI that can be attributed to marketing activity – which is gold dust to the marketing team!
4. Understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses
Much like any industry, different departments possess different skillsets, and consulting and marketing is no different. With only so many hours in the day and a finite amount of time to talk to each other, consultants and marketers should look to work towards each other’s strengths to build the most effective working relationship.
With much of consultants’ time spent talking to clients or candidates, if marketers need information from them, be it to send an event invite to a client, ROI on a print campaign, or reporting on placement activity, they should look to keep the process as simple and time-efficient as possible – otherwise the consultants just won’t do it.
On the flip side, if consultants need marketing help to generate new business or candidates, they need to be prepared to offer as much detail information and context as possible. Why do they need it? Who is the target? When do they need it by? Only then will the marketing team be able to put together a strategy that delivers.
5. Accurately demonstrate ROI
Marketing departments that measure ROI are 1.6 times more likely to have the higher budgets that they want and need, according to State of Inbound research, rather than being stuck with what the finance department thinks they need. For many marketers, however, calculating the true return on investment is a complicated process.
Multiple factors often play into each conversion, making it hard to determine which interaction – for example, read an online blog, saw a print advertisement, or attended an event – was the tipping point for a client or candidate. In order to accurately establish ROI, marketers need a helping hand from the consultants who convert their leads.
If consultants are aware of the work the marketing team are doing, they should be able to establish the leads they receive as a direct result of their efforts. Sharing any resulting conversions means that marketing teams are better placed to accurately record ROI and request greater budgets. This, in turn, will reap rewards for consultants, year-on-year.