We have a pretty small marketing team at Integrate. Despite (and partly because of) lean resources, we’ve spent the last year laying a solid demand marketing foundation: a strong content plan; a kick-ass website; a defined lead funnel; a fluid data strategy; and (mostly) seamless integrations between marketing technologies. And now that our marketing organization is poised to drive and measure contributions to sales pipeline, we’re faced with some really big goals.
Oh boy. I thought the hard part was over.
To achieve these mandates, we really need to up our collaboration game, because the whole can definitely be greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s face it though – collaboration is a bit challenging when at least half the team is made up of introverts, spread from coast to coast and so focused on getting shit done that we feel like we don’t have time to take a step back. Changing the way we do things is a slow and arduous process. I’m a firm believer though that it all pays off in the end.
Just to clarify – collaboration, when done right, does not mean you’re stuck in meetings all day unable to even think about turning out any deliverables. Collaboration done right means everyone is focused on the same goals, executing their own pieces, openly sharing what they’re working on so that each member of the team can leverage one another’s efforts. But it’s easier said than done.
We’re implementing a few new tools to help us with the transition. I thought it might be worth sharing, in the event that you’re also focused on helping your marketing team work better together.
Project Management Software
Ok, this one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many marketing teams, particularly smaller ones, don’t have a project management software. Maybe even more surprised at how many have one that they don’t use effectively.
The fact is, it takes a ton of time to build everything out in a project management tool when you first get started. And then you have to convince your colleagues (and yourself) to use it. But once you get all your projects and programs set up and get everyone on the team to start documenting the associated details, it actually becomes much easier to work independently.
Next time you’re say…drafting up your demand generation strategy to promote the new program your teammate is launching, you don’t have to ask him for the details and logistics. You know exactly where to go to find the info you need without interrupting anyone to get it.
There are a ton of project management tools available. Make sure you involve as many of the users as possible in the selection process. It’s much easier to get collective buy-in when people like the tool they’re using.
Marketing Content Repository
Assuming multiple members of your team are responsible for contributing to and using content, it’s important that all marketing and sales content is accessible to everyone on the team. This includes company messaging, creative files, customer stories, ebooks and whitepapers, sales collateral, etc.
The most important things to keep in mind is that your content needs to be:
- Accessible to everyone
- Current and relevant
- Easy to search
Your marketing automation system or CRM may very well include a content repository, though these are typically a little lean on features. There are some great content management systems you can invest in. Or you can roll up your sleeves and build your own. Kapost offers a great guide on building an internal marketing content repository.
Where you store everything is not as important as making sure that everyone else is aware of (and, once again, using) the system. So the next time one of your colleagues emails you asking for the latest company boilerplate or the newest case study, instead of sending them back the content they need, provide them with easy-to-follow instructions on where and how to locate it themselves.
Marketing Analytics Dashboard
Whether you’re using a sophisticated marketing analytics software like Tableau or Domo, or you’re creating charts and graphs in PPT every month – it doesn’t matter how complex the solution as long as you’re using data to illustrate the story of marketing wins and challenges.
Some of the most useful marketing reports I’ve seen are manually populated with website data from Google Analytics, engagement metrics from marketing automation, and performance data from demand generation programs.
At Integrate, we’ve created customized dashboards for the marketing team and for executive stake holders. The executive team only cares about the bottom line – like how many new opportunities marketing influenced. As practitioners though, we leverage reports that drill down into the effectiveness of specific messages across individual channels. And we all use that data to identify what’s working and optimize our marketing tactics accordingly.
Templates for Everything
Templates are becoming a fundamental tool for our collaborative marketing organization. We’re building templates for everything. In our project management software, we can easily clone them to create new integrated marketing programs and campaigns. We're also using them to help us organize our email marketing, monitor SEO traction, manage our content calendar and identify gaps in our content marketing strategy.
They serve three core benefits:
- We can get stuff done faster. With the basic structure of tasks, programs and projects already laid out, we no longer have to waste time replicating steps we’ve already done before.
- Everyone is on the same page in regards to core marketing initiatives.
- We don’t overlook important details when building new programs.
If you’re new to the collaboration game and trying to get better – remember that it takes time and repetition to transition to new processes. One of the worst things we can do when paving the way to change is to toss our hands up in the air and say “no one’s doing it so I’m not going to bother.”
Start by getting collective buy-in on the importance of creating a more integrated marketing team. Decide on the initiatives that are most pivotal to your organization. Then find the tools that will help your team work better together, without slowing you down.