Teamwork! That’s the idea, right? Building the right B2B inbound marketing team can be hard work and usually requires a little trial-and-error. That being the case, let people have a chance at success and see what they can do. You never know who might ‘click!’
It takes talent. Lead generation content doesn’t just write itself. Content creation by inbound specialists takes time, and usually a team. Inbound marketers thrive when they’ve optimized their content marketing team structure; everything from email automation expertise to diligent social media management, and someone to oversee the marketing analytics to find out what’s working! There are even ways to use content marketing to attract the perfect employee.
The role of content isn’t going to be diminished any time soon in the online marketing world. Great content often takes a team in itself, from brainstorming and outlines, on through the editing and proofreading process. Good content can be a composite of several mediums, for example: the ubiquitous infographic. Every infographic you’ve ever seen was likely a product of team collaboration between writers and graphic designers, editors, and supervisors.
What is the key to social media unlocking possibilities in your organization? Consistency. A diligent marketer will find ways to extend various social media invitations for the same piece content. Releasing the same post several times is uncouth, as it adds no real value. Variations on wordings paired with various images, however, catch different personalities at different times throughout the day. The same piece of content might vary in popularity depending on which phrasing is coupled with which image by the social media team.
Lead Generation Management & Automation
Experts in marketing are experts in lead-generating. Leads are what “lead” to sales, and automating the process requires subtle psychology coupled with technical know-how. This All Star team member should understand how to get the best ROI from a lead generation strategy.
Web developers are like the mechanics of the web. They aren’t just designers, they’re coders and builders. They work in conjunction with graphic artists to bring a web-presence to life.
Being visually attractive is more important than it used to be in terms of SEO metrics. Logically, a user will spend longer on a website that appeals to them visually, and Google and friends are looking more closely than ever at how long a user spends per page on each website they visit. Strong content is vital, but more attention is being paid these days to presentation of content in addition to the usefulness of the content in itself.
#1 Optimize and Improve Performance
- Evaluate Team as a Whole and By Member
Individual weaknesses are opportunities for cooperation. A quality team’s collaborative efforts should be gauged not by the weakest link in the chain.
- Identify Strengths, Weaknesses and Needs
Listen to your team, and identify an individual’s strengths in addition to their weaknesses, so that you can maneuver the team member into the best position considering the talents of the team as a whole.
- Identify Gaps and Grow the Team
Expanding your team is the most surefire way to ensure demands of the work are met with expedience.
Structure your team in a way that aligns with core principles and values of your organization. Achieving the right mixture of talents and personalities in order to enable your team to be highly adaptive is in your best interest. Chain-of-command is critical for the workflow and understanding delegation of duties, and so your team’s performance depends heavily on how the team is built. Structure a solid team foundation and you’re likely to see organic team-growth, but manage your network well to convert that growth into productivity.
#2 Marketing Scorecard
- Content Performance
The role of analytics in marketing is to evaluate performance based on various metrics acquired through tracking audience engagement with your content marketing. Proficiency in event-tracking helps teams evaluate which areas to strengthen as well as identify what sticks to the wall. A marketing scorecard allows you to prove your results and maintain accountability to the hand that butters your bread.
- Audience Engagement
The metrics pertaining to the audience are often misused (a.k.a. vanity metrics). You may think your social media strategy is bang-on when your social media manager says “we reach 100k followers”. You would be veering towards “wrong”. While the more followers you have, the more you can reach, it doesn’t mean you have engaged. Make sure all members of the team understand the difference between vanity metrics and performance metrics.
- Competitive Position
A perfect team doesn’t shy away from reality, including the company’s position in its competitive environment. Any and all members should be able to study the performance of your competitors and learn from it. Do they fail, somewhat? Understanding what may prevent your marketing department from succeeding is imperative to your team's dynamic. Are they way ahead? Dissect, inspect and evaluate how your strategy can reasonably change. Adaptability is your focus keyword.
#3 Establish Goals
- Where you want to go?
The team should have a clear vision of where they want to go.
- Why do you want to go there?
Identify the individual steps it takes to get there and have a plan in place for what to do when you arrive.
- How do you get there from here?
Work as a team to establish who is best suited for each role required to advance the collective vision of success.
#4 Communication Channels
- Set Clear Expectations
Without understanding the needs of your team and your company, success is a long-shot. Clear communication should be a tone set from the top-down when applicable. Being unambiguous in your expectations and requirements reduces the need for extra effort to be spent later on what gets lost in translation. It is also appropriate for people in different departments to regard their specialization when communicating across departments and bear in mind their audience to effectively communicate. Jargon can be jarring for the uninitiated. Communication is especially relevant to external teams, when daily face-to-face interaction is uncommon.
- Company Culture
Not everyone is going to fit into the same company culture. A good company tends to thrive when its members all share a similar set of values and can operate together towards a unified vision.
- Shared Expertise
Have you ever heard a phrase like “over 100 years of combined experience?” Strong team members are like puzzle pieces jig-sawed from the same plane of wood. All their curves and all their edges complement each other in a way that completes the big picture.
#5 Promote Growth
- Recognize Talent
Skills can be taught and learned, but an affinity for things is something that needs to be fostered in order to grow into the substantial asset that a highly-trained marketing specialist is to your team.
- Offer Education
Investing in people has among the highest potential ROI’s. Providing a means to further your team’s education and experience pays for itself, whether it be additional training, returning to school, or earning Hubspot certifications, educational opportunities are a smart thing to offer.
#6 Find Talent
- Hiring vs. Outsourcing
Outsourcing to freelancers is an effective way to maneuver budget constraints in a changing business-scape. Hiring full time with benefits is a good way to retain top talent, however, and so shouldn’t be discluded from consideration.
- The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate is a fantasy, conjured by resume-paper salesmen and their unrelenting greed.
- Social Profile and Digital Footprint
You can’t fake obsession--and you want to hire the most marketing-obsessed minds you can find when assembling an all-star team of marketers. Nothing is a better reflection of what goes on in someone’s mind than their social media feeds.
#7 Optimize Workflow
- A Winning Strategy
Strategy is most often conceived in your internal team. From this stage forward, your team may extend beyond the confines of your office as your goal is to gather the best minds in many places. The strategy phase is where ideas are bandied about in brainstorming sessions where there are no bad ideas, but yes there are. The perfect marketing team is comfortable with one another to where there’s no fear of a bad idea, because everyone understands and trusts each other that the best way to come up with a great idea is to blurt out about 100 awful thoughts. As you identify sub-optimal concepts, you’ll stumble across something worthy of passing through the workflow.
Deciding who to task with what content development is best determined by knowing your team’s strengths and interests. This ties into the importance of communication, as well as the value of incorporating a personal element into your workday. Engaging with fellow team members on a personal level fuels the creative process, and sharing ideas spurs creativity.
Content isn’t a product in itself. Content needs to be edited and SEO proofed to drive results before readers can actually see it.
Lack of oversight is a major oversight. Without an effective method of project management, the team is less cohesive and becomes gradually more ineffective. Timing your social media updates and blog posts is outstandingly central to gaining a broader audience, and adhering to a strict schedule is the only way to get any real work done.
The latest trend in content marketing applies the 80/20 rule. For best results, spend 20% of your time creating great content, then exert 80% of your efforts in the actual promotion and distribution of your product. Even great content doesn’t share itself, so it takes a network of players to get the word out.
What works? Analytics is the “rinse, repeat” part of the work-cycle. When you see what works, you know where to devote resources, so the next time around your team is not only still on the right track, but gaining new ground.
Bonus: Measure and Repeat
You are your own biggest competition. If you cannot measure something you cannot evaluate it, and so metrics are the magic that unveil your progress. Like a game of golf, you keep score so you can play against yourself, consistently striving to improve your game. Measuring performance is the best way to improve your aim.
Team engagement is a critical performance metric, and if you’re not holding your teammates’ attention with a project, it may not be the right project for them.
Adherence to Company Culture
Unified vision in a company is a galvanizing force. When your goals as an individual align with your team’s goals the progress you make intensifies, and your team can reach new heights of achievement. Finding ways to gauge how engaged your crew is can help shuffle folks until they find a place to settle. Identifying a poor fit for a position is an advantage as it provides an opportunity to change, and without deviation from the status quo, by definition, progress is impossible.
Nobody’s perfect. Assembling the right team can achieve greater and greater heights of excellence, however, and so the perfect marketing team really depends on what works for the organization and individual team members. In following these steps toward assessing talent and assembling a “more perfect union” for your enterprise, you’re playing a key role in building a powerful asset.
Remember, "Teamwork makes the dream work."