Small But Mighty – Building a Power Team

I recently had the pleasure of re-certifying as a Marketo Certified Expert for the third consecutive year. Preparing for the test always takes me back to the start of my career in marketing, and most importantly, to my transition from the trade show and events space into the world of marketing automation. Years ago I was a part of a startup with a two-person marketing team that made the decision to implement a marketing automation platform. I jumped at the opportunity to leave behind the world of trade shows and events and become the in-house expert on all things marketing automation and have never looked back.

shutterstock_348960512Although I didn’t have any experience in marketing automation, email marketing, or any of the related technologies, I drank up any information I could on these new subjects. I spent long hours engaged in online courses and reading any and every article, eBook, or white paper that detailed how to be the best-of-the-best. Within a year, I became a certified expert of the Marketo platform and a valuable marketing asset within the organization. Happily ever after, right? Not quite. As our organization grew, I faced the challenges that most marketing automation administrators encounter, and realized one simple truth: I can’t do this alone.

While we had a solid Demand Generation Strategy, a fantastic marketing automation instance in place, nurture tracks, and a rapidly growing database, however, we lacked many of the elements that “feed the machine” including fresh content, a proper SEO strategy, and consistent blog posts.

As the sole resource in-house that truly understood the role that our marketing automation platform played within our organization, I began taking on project after project in order to get things where they needed to be. Unfortunately, in the process, I also began a potential burnout that could have halted the progress taking place.

Thankfully, my boss and I were able to recognize the problem and make some hiring decisions to build a team that was appropriate to support our growing organization. We were small, but we were mighty! What are the best ways to build a power team?

Focus on the following to help maximize a small but mighty team:

  • Culture – Marketing is often the spirit of any organization. We spread the good news taking place, help drive revenue, are tasked with learning new technologies and tactics, and in many cases, keep the energy levels up within the building (see picture below from our office yesterday with the Marketo Certified team). A good cultural fit is important when hiring. Look beyond the necessary skill sets when hiring as technology and strategy can be taught, while, a poor cultural fit is not an easy fix.
    Markto champs
  • Initiative – While defined roles are critical to maintain some level of order, growing teams require that team members wear many hats and understand that sometimes you have to “do what it takes” to continue to grow and achieve certain milestones. Focus on encouraging ownership and initiative.
  • Love of Technology – A well-defined technology stack can ensure that your business runs just like the larger organization and the more team members that are cross-trained on each system, the greater your success. Embrace technology – it’s not going away.
  • Strategy is Key – Without a solid Demand Generation Strategy, no marketing team in the world can be successful. However, start by understanding your buyer and then mapping the People, Process, Content and then Technology to your needs and a power team can make magic happen.

Focus on the things that matter when developing a marketing team. Don’t focus on the size of the team, but on their ability to learn, adapt and execute the strategy. Small but mighty teams can power your organization despite their size.

*This post first ran on ANNUITAS.com January 7, 2016

Author: Sarah Rossborough @SarahShelnut Director, Strategy for ANNUITAS