We talk a lot about the role martech plays in getting impressive marketing results. Your marketing technology isn’t your only key resource, however. Successful organizations seldom drive big gains without hiring and retaining good people.
If you’re not nurturing your talent, then no single solution is likely to unlock the results you hope for. If you haven’t been prioritizing your staff the way you should, consider taking these nine steps to start getting better results from the marketing team you already have.
- Provide ongoing training and development.
You hired your staff for the knowledge they had at the time, but marketing requires staying apprised of near constant change. It’s in your interest to give your team plenty of opportunities to grow their knowledge and stay on top of the evolving trends in marketing. But don’t necessarily stop at investing in training and development that helps them learn more about what they already do. If your staff is interested in branching out to learn more about other areas of marketing, encourage that as well.
This is a good way to offer value to your team. By investing in their knowledge you help them keep their career strong and on track. But of course it’s good for the organization as well, since they have more knowledge to bring to the table when making decisions on behalf of the business.
- Give them room to be creative.
One of the best things about hiring good people is that you can trust them to do their jobs well. Don’t squander that benefit by micromanaging. If workdays are tightly regimented and all responsibilities are clearly delineated with no flexibility, employees will feel stuck with little room to grow.
Strive to create an environment where employees feel comfortable trying out new ideas and learning about new things. Marketing may increasingly involve technology and data, but the need for creativity is still there. Make sure your employees always feel encouraged to (and never penalized for) thinking outside of the box.
- Encourage collaboration through camaraderie.
Silos are bad for business. When various departments and teams stay connected, everyone has more knowledge on what’s working and can be improved.
Make a clear effort to encourage your team to be creative together and actively collaborate with employees outside of their department. All employees should have the means to stay informed on what their colleagues are working on and everyone should be updated on important insights other teams and departments learn as they go.
And create opportunities for your employees to mingle and enjoy each other’s company outside of work responsibilities. People who like and respect each other will always work together better than those to whom their co-workers seem distant strangers. Company parties, marketing happy hours, or social lunches (on you) create a space for people to become friendly and familiar with each other.
- Give them the tools they need.
The best martech stack for your team is the one that best complements their needs. Don’t guess what those are. Talk to them.
Before making a key technology purchase, make an effort to hear from your employees about their particular challenges and needs. What do they wish they could do more efficiently? What about the tech they use now drives them crazy?
Then loop them into the purchasing process, if possible. Give them the opportunity to comment on what a product you’re considering has to offer and what it will mean for them in their role. Maybe you’ll hear enthusiasm; maybe you’ll hear criticisms that the vendor should respond to before you take the final step of buying.
Being a part of the process will let your employees know their input is valued and your ultimate goal is to equip them with products that empower them, rather than make their jobs more difficult.
- Stay on top of who has what skills.
Often a need arises that you never specifically hired someone to own. When that happens, you need to be able to figure out if there’s someone on your staff who has the skills, knowledge, and time to take that need on, or if it’s time to get out there and hire someone new. If you end up retrofitting the staff you have into roles they’re not well suited for and don’t really want to begin with, the results may not be pretty.
Pay attention to what your current staff is good at and what they like doing. Both things matter. Roles can evolve and there may be times when shifting an employee you have toward new responsibilities is entirely appropriate to their skill set and career goals, but you’ll only recognize those opportunities if you’re paying attention.
- Make sure your meetings are actually useful.
Most marketing professionals dread meetings. They cut into the time you could be spending on your main work. And they’re far too often unproductive.
Meetings serve a purpose and you probably can’t reasonably do away with them, but you can make certain that the meetings you have are valuable to your employees. Avoid unnecessary sync-ups and implement department-wide procedures that ensure the meetings people do have will routinely be more productive. Cutting boring, unhelpful meetings out of the day will give your team hours back to work on more important tasks and make their day-to-day at the company better.
- Allow remote work and flexible hours.
A big benefit many marketing professionals value today is having a little more flexibility in when and how they work. This both presents people with the opportunity to learn how they work best and makes it easier to manage their work-life balance.
Allowing remote work may not be possible for every employee you have all the time, but technology should make it possible to keep most of your employees in the loop if they work away from the office at least some of the time. And flexible hours make it possible for employees to skip out on the worst periods of traffic and do their work at times when they’re the most awake and the least stressed.
Providing your team with more flexibility in how they work can aid in their general quality of life and influence how happy they are at your company. It also opens the door to them being able to devote their most productive hours to the company, rather than being hemmed in by the official workday. It’s a clear case of what’s good for them also being good for you.
- Reward success.
One of the benefits of better data and technology is that it’s easier to recognize when the work your team is doing is paying off. Use that as an opportunity to show your appreciation. Whether in the form of bonuses, raises, or other benefits they’d find valuable, make sure they get something back for doing good work. This both incentivizes them to continue making progress toward improved results and is yet another way to improve their relationship with the company and satisfaction in their work.
- Check in.
Don’t assume you’re doing everything right. Talk to your employees about what’s working for them and what’s not. You’re all spending a good chunk of your lives working for this company. Those hours should feel as productive and rewarding to your team as possible.
Do your best to figure out how to make that happen through employee interviews, surveys, and evaluations. You have to know your team and keep the lines of communication open in order to know how to keep them satisfied. And keeping your employees satisfied should be a priority on par with keeping your customers satisfied. The company’s success depends on both of them.Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0