In my very first marketing role, I worked for a company of just seven people. I always think back on this particular position as one of the best (and most difficult) I’ve ever had. I learned a lot – and fast. On a marketing team of just four, I got to wear hats as diverse as copywriter, editor, admin and and storyboard artist. As a recent graduate, I wasn’t even aware of how much I was learning every day – instead there was just an overwhelming sense of having to get from one task to another in record time. To this day, I work fast when I’m busy.
Marketers on growing marketing teams face some interesting challenges. There was no shortage of good ideas, but figuring out how to execute on them with the resources we had was no mean feat. Between managing eNewsletters and email campaigns and keeping up with all the admin and content creation, we were swamped. We exported, outsourced, and scaled down, but it was always a juggling act, and the name of the game was growth.
While there were a lot of things we needed, these are three of the most important things that smaller marketing teams can use to ramp up their marketing efforts and make that juggling act a little easier.
1. Good Customer Relationships
As the business expands, small but mighty marketing teams are central to developing the brand and building relationships with prospects and clients. Those relationships are one of the most important resources we have, so making sure that prospects had a streamlined, customized and personalized first experience with our brand was focus #1 for us. Focus #2 was ensuring that once our prospects had become clients we were still cultivating those relationships.
It starts with building a brand that can go the distance. When you’re growing, these early interactions with customers are super important. You might not be new to the market, but you’re bound to be trying new things, so keeping your focus firmly on your customer, their needs, and their pain points, and creating strong branding and messaging that offers customers a clear understanding of who you are and what you do is going to help a lot in the long run.
2. The Right Tools
Back then, we struggled to balance the needs of both customers and clients because we didn’t have tools like marketing automation or even a strong data analytics platform to bolster our efforts. When I think of what we could’ve done with those tools in place, I wish I could go back in time and set them up. Building and maintaining those key relationships would’ve been a breeze!
Seriously, don’t underestimate how much the right tools can help a smaller team. No matter what, marketers wear many hats – but tools like marketing automation make the eternal process of getting things done a lot easier. Instead of agonizing for days over how to identify and then pass the warmest leads from your newest email campaign to your newest – and only – sales rep, you can open up a dashboard, and simply see it all laid out with scores and grades. Even now, I could cry thinking about how much time that would’ve saved us. Then, forget having to print off a list of contacts – try automated alerts that let your sales rep know as soon as you’ve passed him a lead. I think our sales rep would’ve cried too.
3. The Ability to Try New Things
This is probably the number one thing that any marketing – whether 1 or 100 should have in their arsenal. It’s not just about being agile when you’re trying to grow a business, although agility is bound to help – it’s about being able to take risks, smaller ones, and sometimes bigger ones – with your overall marketing strategy. When something doesn’t work, you need to be able to scrap it and find something better. Great new ideas are great – but looking critically at the processes you have in place, whether it’s your alignment with your sales team, or the way you qualify your leads, or making sure that you and your C-Suite share the same goals for your marketing programs is going to be the best way to keep inefficient processes from becoming too big and complicated to fix.
There are a bunch of things – more time, a bigger budget, matching t-shirts – that could’ve helped us back then, and there will always be more things that marketing teams would secretly like to do no matter what size they are, but when it comes to growth, smaller teams have some amazing potential. With the right tools, and a strong customer focus, you can put processes in place that will continue your success and increase your customer’s satisfaction no matter what size your team ends up being eventually, and that will affect not just your marketing strategy, but your whole business.