Whether you are building your business’s marketing department from scratch or working to improve your existing team, there are some things you need to know in order to build a great marketing team. By taking the time to fully assess your current marketing strategy and existing personnel, alongside your goals and what it will take to achieve them, you will be able to develop a thoughtful plan for building your best possible marketing team.
Establish and Understand Your Company Culture
Before you bring new employees into the mix, you need to evaluate and solidify your company culture. You need to know who you are, how you work, how your employees communicate with one another, and what sort of person will fit well within both the workplace and social culture. This will not only lead to more effective teamwork and greater productivity, but will ultimately decrease employee turnover.
Workplace culture is defined by how the team functions, both when working together and individually. Consider how your team presently works and whether that aligns with your ideal vision.
Do entry-level marketers feel comfortable asking questions of managers? What percentage of work is done individually and separately? Do you feel like everyone’s time is being utilized well, or is too much time being spent in drawn-out meetings? Determine what you want the workplace culture to look like and work to instill that before hiring new people for your internal team.
The social culture also matters, of course. If your team doesn’t get along or doesn’t know how to properly communicate with one another as human beings, it is hard to have a great work dynamic. This doesn’t mean that everyone on your team needs to be carbon copies of one another. Introverts and extraverts can work together, for instance, but you need to make sure you have a team that respects one another and the way everyone works.
You also want to have a common language and an established feel for the company. Do you promote a relaxed environment, with flexible hours and no formal dress code? Or is your firm more by the book, where employees are expected to maintain a more formal veneer? A culture clash is one of the leading causes of employee turnover, which you want to avoid as best you can. Evaluating your existing company culture and addressing any issues before hiring is a good way to avoid culture-based turnover.
Evaluate Current Performance of Team Members and Strategy
Next, take a good hard look inward and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current team members and marketing strategy. Be honest with where you’re at and where you need to be.
Assess Team Members
Assess everyone on your team in relation to the skills they should possess, their productivity, expertise, as well as qualities such as enthusiasm and commitment. You can make this process more quantifiable and methodical by creating a weighted system for evaluating various characteristics, based on what impacts the team’s success or metrics such as ROI.
This may be a hard process, and could result in having to make personnel changes along the way. However, you can also take this as an opportunity to note what makes your best employees great, and try to instill that in lower performers, while looking for those qualities in potential hires.
Before deciding who you need to fill gaps on your team, you must understand what exactly you’re setting out to do through your marketing efforts. Remember that hiring choices should be specific to your company and its goals, not necessarily the roles you think you “should” fill.
Write down a marketing plan, consisting of a list of both short-term and long-term goals for your marketing team. Include goals you’re already working on, as well as things you want to be able to do once a new team is in place. This list should be an optimistic, yet still realistic.
Next, write down the list of steps needed to get to those goals. You can also look at this as a set of obstacles. What stands in your way of reaching this goal? What marketing tactics are necessary to get there? Do you presently have people with the skills to overcome those obstacles? Do you have enough people with the correct skill sets?
You also want to make your strategy scalable and think about the future, as well as potential things that could trip you up. For instance, if you rely too heavy on one employee who has certain skills or who takes on a variety of projects, what will happen if they leave? Or if you are growing quickly, are you setting up a marketing team structure that will be easy to add new employees to? Do you have people who could easily transition into management roles, should they need to?
Fill in Gaps
Evaluate gaps in the people you have for what you need to do. These gaps might be technical, creative, or may have more to do with creating a solid framework of directors, managers, and other employees.
Hire for the positions you uncover through this process, not for positions you think you need because of some preconception of what a marketing team should look like. At the same time, consider whether you need full-time people or whether a mix of full-time, part-time, and contract workers might be more appropriate.
Hire full-time and part-time marketers for generalist positions, and also for those specialist positions that will have consistent work. Use outside resources for more niche, short-term projects. For instance, if you rarely have to focus on branding, use an outside firm when you do, and keep your core team focused on what they do best.
Also be careful in your consideration of more experienced versus less experienced hires. A good mix is healthy, as senior team members bring a wealth of knowledge from various businesses, while newer marketers may have more open minds and bring a more technologically advanced skill set.
Ensure a Strong Digital and Tech Knowledge Base
Lastly, while we generally don’t suggest being too dogmatic when choosing which marketing positions you need to fill, we do suggest you make sure you have some people who are highly skilled at digital marketing, social media, and marketing automation. One thing is for sure, and that is that technology is an integral part of marketing today, and will only become more so over time. Hiring some people with these skill sets will allow you to compete in the digital realm without relying entirely on an outside provider for these services.
If you don’t have the budget to hire full-time employees for these sorts of positions, consider part-time hires, or working with freelancers with whom you can develop a relationship. This is one area where you don’t want to fall short, and people who have this expertise can keep up to date with changes in digital and social media marketing, so that you never fall behind.
Some Final Notes on Team Size
When considering the size of your team, of course you must consider the gaps you need to fill, but you will also need to take into account the size of the organization and sales team. Your marketing operations need to be large enough to properly support the sales team. Ideally, your marketing team will be able to keep the sales team busy 100% of the time by generating enough effective material to consistently keep inbound leads high. They will also be working on projects (case studies, whitepapers, etc) that will help the sales team close deals and present value.
So, while it can be easy to get carried away trying to create your ideal marketing team, you will want to scale it to the current size of your organization and its needs.If you are looking to build or expand your marketing team, CulverCareers can help. With an average six-month retention rate of 97.7% and a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, we stand behind our process for finding top-notch marketers with the skills you need.