Every employer wants a dream team of employees who are skilled, productive at work, and trustworthy. It's possible, but you won't get there without working some management magic.
When you're talking about your marketing team, your crew's effectiveness directly affects your company's balance sheet. If your marketing isn't working as you expect, it may be time to take a look at your team rather than launching another expensive campaign.
If you're ready to take your marketing department to the next level, try on these tips for size.
Tips for Improving Your Marketing Team
Whether you want to make the most out of the employees you have or you want to bring in new talent, our expert tips can help you get the job done.
It's impossible to know exactly how a new hire will perform when you bring them onto your team. As they settle into their new role, you'll discover that they handle some tasks better than others. In many cases, employees develop or foster skills you never knew they had.
Let's say you're a marketing firm who hired three marketing assistants to share the functions of the team: Jamie, Sam, and Alex. Over several months, it turns out that Jamie has a great rapport with your clients, while Sam and Alex struggle with this. Meanwhile, you discover that Sam has outstanding writing skills and Alex has great design taste.
In this case, you can re-organize the team so that each assistant puts his/her strengths to work. Jamie can be the Client Liaison, while Sam becomes the Head Copywriter and Alex is the Graphic Design Assistant.
Re-Evaluate Your Processes
Sometimes the problem isn't the team themselves but the tools they've been given (or the tools they're missing). This should be especially clear if you're having the same problems today as you did years ago with different employees.
One helpful strategy is to start using a predictive analytics model. The concept is simple -- doing more research about your target audience ahead of time and using that research to carefully predict the best ways to reach them with your message.
Most marketing departments use some degree of predictive analysis, but spending more time on this type of planning can pay off by giving you much higher ROIs on your campaigns. If you're a marketing agency, this also helps you give your clients more accurate information about the results they can expect.
Start a Cross-Training Program
Let's go back to the example above with Jamie, Sam, and Alex. As beneficial as it is to have each employee putting his/her strengths to work, you really want them all to have a better understanding of each other's job as well. After all, if Sam leaves unexpectedly, you can't put all copywriting on hold until you find a replacement.
Establish a program in which employees take turns teaching each other. For instance, have a standing meeting every Wednesday from 10:30-11:00. Every Wednesday, one employee spends the half hour teaching his/her coworkers about a specific area of his/her job.
Another tip (and this one is crucial): make sure you're a student, too. Every business runs better if a manager understands more about the employees' jobs, and this is an easy way for you to get up to speed.
Ask Your Team What Skills They Want to Learn
One of the most desirable traits to look for in an employee is ambition. Every manager wants employees who are always looking to learn new skills and strengthen their abilities. But after you hire them, you need to give them opportunities to do this.
The next time you do a one-on-one performance review (which should also be added to your list if you don't do these already), ask your employees what they want to learn. Ask them what skills would help them better do their current job and help them advance in the direction they want.
There are plenty of marketing continuing education opportunities available, and the cost is minute compared to the cost of losing the employee to a more growth-minded employer.
Get the Team Involved in Hiring Decisions
Some hiring managers have an in-depth understanding of the role they're hiring for; others know nothing more than the job description they've posted. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, there are certain aspects of the hiring process only your team can weigh in on.
For example, finding a "cultural match" for your team is one of the most vital parts of candidate assessment. You can teach many of the skills an employee needs, but you can't team someone to have a personality that jives with the rest of the team.
While you can still retain the final decision, try bringing one or two of the candidate's potential co-workers into the interview. At the very least, get your employees' input on what questions you should ask to see if the candidate can perform the job's functions.
Add a Pre-Hire Skills Assessment
Nearly every manager has at one point hired a candidate they thought was qualified only to discover on the job that his/her skills weren't as strong as represented. This is a costly mistake, but it's easy to make when your only way of knowing that an employee can do a job is by him/her saying, "Yes I can."
Create a skills test for all serious candidates to take. This should be based around their future role (i.e., have a graphic designer make a poster or have an account executive plan a theoretical campaign).
There are a few advantages to this. First, not everyone does well in interviews, but their skills are what really matter. This gives the socially uncomfortable a place to show you want they can actually do.
Second, it's a perfect tie-breaker when you're deciding between two qualified candidates.
Third, if you have the candidate complete the test in your office, it's a great way to find out if he/she is a cultural fit and give the candidate a chance to see how your office runs.
Setting Up Your Marketing Team for Success
No matter where your marketing team ranks against your expectations, there's always room for improvement. Whether you need to make personnel changes or you can just help your existing employees grow, the tips above can help you develop a five-star crew.
For more ways to strengthen your employees and to advance your own career, check out our career tips blog.