Marketing is one of the most critical elements of your business. If you get marketing right, you can drive sales, increase brand recognition, and establish a foundation of enduring success; get it wrong and your company is probably in trouble. The key to every business, improve your marketing.
Your marketing team’s effectiveness, therefore, is extremely important. Companies that build motivated, highly competent marketing teams can achieve significant advantages over their rivals, leading to more sales and increased profitability.
However, good marketing teams, like anything else, require a substantial investment of time and effort. Here are some proven ways you can improve your marketing staff, and add to your company’s bottom line today.
Hire and Keep the Right People
One of the best ways to ensure you have an optimal marketing team is to hire the right people from the start, and ensure everyone on the team is value added. You should seek out experienced sales representatives with a demonstrated track record, preferably in your company’s line of business.
While training and education are extremely important (see below), your company will get a greater return on investment if the sales representatives you hire are already competent to start with.
You should also look for people who have the skills to market effectively in today’s business environment, too. Since so many leads and sales are generated through online marketing these days, for example, knowledge on managing social media presence, placing online ads, and search engine optimization (SEO) are essential skills for your sales staff.
So take the time to review resumes, ask the right questions, and ensure any potential hires have what it takes to make a difference on your sales team.
Also, managers or small business owners should always look carefully at the performance of marketing team members, and be willing to make hard choices when it comes to staff that aren’t cutting it. Recent studies indicate that managers spend far too much time attempting to coax a better performance out of the bottom 20 percent of their marketing staff.
Invest In Your Marketing Team
Hiring talented sales staff is the foundation of building an effective marketing team, but it isn’t enough; you must continue to invest in each marketing team member, and the team itself, in order to gain and maintain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Consider establishing an orientation program for new marketing hires, so they understand all aspects of your company; this will make them much more effective when designing marketing content like ads, or when they interact with potential clients.
Also, consider having your marketing staff members attend training conferences, workshops or classes, so that they develop new skills to be more effective. If your company has the resources, consider funding advanced education opportunities for marketing team members with the most potential, so they can contribute even more to the company after earning advanced degrees and certifications.
Investing in your marketing staff won’t only improve their skill level, either; it can also lead to increased employee motivation, performance, and loyalty.
Help Improve Your Marketing Teams Collaboration
One of the best ways to ensure your marketing team is as effective as possible is to make certain that they are a team in the first place. Help set conditions so that everyone on your marketing team can work together, collaborate, develop a shared vision, and ultimately are in the best position to achieve your company’s marketing objectives.
The marketing team should have sufficient workspace to meet, collaborate on projects, and share ideas; an open office environment may be a particularly effective way to instill a shared mission and team spirit for your marketing staff.
Additionally, you should ensure your marketing team has the right tools to collaborate effectively as well. Virtual meeting applications, such as Skype are critical for the team to share information, even when team members aren’t in the same location.
Software that allows your marketing staff to share files and collaborate on projects, such as Dropbox or Evernote, is extremely important as well. Mobile devices that help your employees leverage collaborative tools like these are also investments worth your consideration.
Finally, remember to consider low-tech collaborative tools when working to improve your marketing team; for example, simply adding whiteboards in your marketing staff’s office spaces can increase creativity, and foster a shared sense of mission when it comes to problem solving.
Monitor, Measure, and Postmortem Everything
As important as hiring the right people and investing in them is, keeping track of their performance is equally critical. Your company needs to monitor the performance of the marketing team as a whole, as well as individuals. You should track lead development, sales, and effective marketing campaign contributions closely.
Doing so can help you make critical decisions about your marketing staff, and your overall marketing strategy itself. Additionally, following any major marketing effort such as a sale, a new ad campaign, or a venture into online content and social media, you should ruthlessly postmortem the event.
A postmortem is essentially an after action review of the event, to determine the overall intent of the marketing activity, whether it achieved the intent, what worked well and what didn’t. Postmortems can help you make decisions about future events, and will also help improve your marketing team, so they are even more effective in future endeavors.
Keeping easily accessible files on sale activity, marketing performance, and postmortems can help to further educate new team members during orientation, and will aid in overall company transparency as well.
Final Thoughts on Effective Marketing Teams
A competent, cohesive, highly skilled marketing team is critical to developing the attributes your business needs to grow and prosper.
Managers, particularly those in small businesses with limited resources, need to take the time and effort to build marketing teams that can truly make a return on their investment. Hire the right people with the right skills, invest in their training, and give them the tools to collaborate more effectively as a team. Monitor everything that your marketing team does, and always seek to improve the team’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Your investment in a competent marketing team today will drive future sales and profits, and ensure your company’s success over the long term.