Blog Post

Payroll Service Bureaus Biggest Marketing Challenge!


Guest author Ian Oxman, Chief Marketing Officer for Apex HCM

Hubspot, a leading marketing technology company, recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 small and medium size businesses about their marketing challenges. Far and away businesses reported lead generation as their top priority.  Of ten different marketing priorities, 63% selected lead generation.  Interestingly, at Apex we hear similar feedback from our payroll service bureau clients.

Apex serves over 300 payroll service bureaus and our customers regularly ask for our support around lead generation.  Often their challenge stems from the owner/operator managing the business while simultaneously handling sales.  Over time, as the bureau grows, the owner’s ability to proactively work sales and generate leads becomes increasingly limited.  Hence, the business needs to create an inbound flow of leads independent of the owner.  But how do you generate leads without a marketer on staff to create and run campaigns?

The answer is to not create marketing campaigns but rather create content centered around thought leadership.  As a payroll professional, you possess years, maybe even decades, of experience and you’ve probably seen it all.  You know the issues and problems that your prospects face.  Your payroll knowledge is exactly what will attract prospects and generate leads.  Let me suggest a simple three step plan to start your own lead generation engine and power your sales growth.


Step 1: Create – This could be a 10-page white paper, but a simple 1-page Tips & Tricks sheet can work just as well.  The key is providing the insights and advice that you’ve learned over your career.  People love lists like, “Top Five Tips to Smooth Payroll Processing.”  A person that downloads this document has self-identified as 1) someone Interested in payroll processing and 2) someone indicating that their payroll process may not be so smooth.  These are exactly the people you want to meet.


Step 2: Distribute – Of course you should post this document on your website homepage with a form required to download, but also be sure to distribute via your social media channels.  Circulate the document via your community organizations where you have relationships.  And lastly, distribute via your local newspaper; newspapers are always looking for free content!


Step 3: Capture – Not everyone interested in your content is ready to buy today, but they may be interested later.  Hence, you absolutely must capture their contact information and periodically reach out to them either via email, direct mail or phone.  Your content initially opened the door and created awareness of you as an expert.  Be prepared when they are ready to buy your services.


The hardest part of this simple process is Step 1.  But if you break creating content into bite size segments you may find the process rather painless.  Spread the task of creating your first content piece over a week or two.  Also, remember that Google and YouTube are your friends in finding ideas and data to support your thoughts.

Lastly, don’t worry that you will need to constantly be creating new content.  Focus on writing an insightful and useful document first and you will be amazed at the long shelf life and lead generation power just one good content piece can produce. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.


Ian Oxman is Chief Marketing Officer for Apex HCM in Roswell, GA.  Ian can be reached at ian.oxman@apexhcm and will be speaking about lead generation at the Apex S3: Selling Skills Summit in Atlanta GA July 19-20, 2018.