Developing an Effective Marketing TeamBy Scott Wheeler CLP, President of Wheeler Business Consulting LLC
One of the greatest challenges for every commercial equipment leasing organization is building an effective marketing team that consistently positions the organization for growth. The economic landscape has changed significantly over the past few years, and even the most experienced originators have had difficulty performing at high levels of corporate expectations. Existing sales teams, which were once highly effective in the market, have become less compelling in the new economy. Individuals with years of experience are requiring retooling to enhance their ability to attract and win the best transactions. Lessors, banks, and independent origination firms of all sizes are struggling to attract new talent which can develop new relationships and business which aligns with the organization’s expectations. The commercial equipment leasing and finance industry is in need of a marketing renaissance.
The process of recruiting talent with a book of business, extensive industry experience and the ability to generate immediate results is suddenly falling flat for many organizations. Success with company XYZ in 2010 does not necessarily transfer to being successful for company ABC in 2013. Even the most experienced originators require ramp up time when transitioning from one company to another. The current transitional periods appear to be longer than in years past. Hiring industry expertise and experience requires a commitment of time and money to assist new hires to assimilate into a new organization. Organizations are being required to invest in training, support, and internal processes, which continuously enhance the development of existing marketing professionals and to assist new hires to more quickly integrate into the organization.
Organizations frequently continue to hire and retain the same type of talent, which has been successful in the past, rather than considering the type of alternative talent and complementary skills which will be required for future success and growth. The basics of the industry are universal, and many skills are easily transferable from one organization to another, or from the past into the future. However, there are many new skills and attributes which must be developed in order for professional originators to efficiently penetrate the market, create market value and maximize corporate and individual profitability. Building a successful marketing team requires complementary, experienced skills which can be shared among veteran professionals. The commercial equipment leasing and finance industry is an evolving, mature industry and old skill sets, marketing techniques, and processes are being challenged by newer, progressive attributes which are being developed by organizations and marketing professionals to better serve the needs of commercial clients. The status quo is insufficient. Organizations are investing in new talent, new marketing technology, and expanded offerings in order to grow and gain market share. Organizations are taking a long-term approach and investing in developing more efficient, better prepared and more knowledgeable professionals to represent their companies, products and services.
Companies of all sizes are considering training programs to encourage younger, inexperienced individuals to enter the industry. Comprehensive training programs are long-term investments which have not been consistently embraced by the institutional participants in the commercial equipment leasing and finance industry for many years. However, many of the most successful , yet aging, professionals in the industry were products of formal training programs offered by lessors and finance companies of decades past. Training programs are expensive propositions for any size organization, especially if developed for mass recruiting into the industry. However, the timing to recruit new talent into the industry may be excellent for those organizations which have a long term outlook and want to be leaders in the industry over the coming years. Training programs are a process which includes, but is not limited to: hiring individuals with the proper aptitudes, having a well thought out and extensive training program in place up front, creating concise developmental benchmarks and accountability matrixes which are easily measurable and setting realistic corporate and individual expectations. The younger generation has many powerful marketing attributes, especially related to technology, individual confidence and a desire for immediate results. Their career expectations for extensive structure, direction, and personal flexibility are quite different than the older generation. Creating a strong training program is a commitment of time, money and resources on the part of any company.
The most successful marketing teams are effective because the personal value propositions of the individual originators are aligned with the value propositions of the organization. Everyone is pulling together to achieve a common goal and objective. The success of each individual contributes to the success of the entire organization – and the team’s success encourages individual professional development. Weak links are strengthened or eliminated. Managing a marketing team requires the ability to recruit the proper professionals who complement one another’s skills, to instill corporate strengths and value propositions throughout the team, to align personal goals and objectives with the team’s strategy and to encourage continuous growth and business development through systematic activities and processes. The process of developing, maintaining and growing a successful marketing team is not an easy task or one that should be taken lightly. Marketing managers contend with many moving and emotional parts. Therefore, it is necessary to have a visionary personality to head a marketing team, a professional who can stay focused and lead a team through the weeds of every day challenges to the big picture objectives and corporate growth. Leadership is essential in building an effective marketing team. Corporate passion and team success disseminates from the top and is contagious within the ranks when successes are celebrated and challenges are seen as opportunities.
Marketing teams are the engines behind the industry. As pent up demand for capital equipment is released and opportunities increase in the market, those companies which are best positioned with the strongest marketing teams will gain the greatest benefits. Strong marketing teams take companies to a higher level of achievement and are the opportunistic components which allow small and large organization to grow and prosper. Investing smartly in the development of a world class marketing team is essential to the growth of every organization. Building an effective marketing team which is properly designed to position an organization’s capabilities and services in its markets should be an ongoing priority for owners, managers and investors in the commercial equipment leasing and finance industry. Although building an effective marketing team is one of the greatest challenges for participants in the industry, the challenge also represents the greatest opportunity for those organizations willing to invest, create and innovate.