Running a marketing department can be a tricky job, but running one for a company that’s quickly trying to scale up marketing efforts can feel like a whole other level of craziness. Sometimes, it feels like there are not enough hours in the day (because there usually isn’t) as you manage an ever-increasing number of competing tasks to keep everyone happy and the company afloat.
Whether it’s the fact that there never seem to be enough leads to please the sales team, or you’re walking a tightrope of hiring essential talent while managing a shoe-string budget, there’s certainly never a dull moment. Luckily for you, we’ve taken a stab at trying to ease some of these pressures for you.
So, here are our four top tips to scale up your marketing team.
Tip #1: Plan for the long and short term
When scaling up it’s easy to fall prey to keeping your eye solely on the short term, especially as you usually extend your runway. But it’s also helpful to make sure you take some time to focus on the longer-term future of the business you’re working so hard to secure. Make sure that runway is protected, but also ensure that you have a high-level, long-term plan that you can refer back to.
The key is flexibility - don’t lock things down so tight that it makes it difficult to pivot when necessary. A framework can be great for helping you keep the future in mind, but it shouldn’t be overly restrictive. You don’t want to have to start over again with a new plan every month so be ready to question priorities regularly and how these priorities affect the long term plan.
Tip #2: Outsource some activity to maintain momentum
One of the best things you can do when scaling up marketing is identifying what roles need to stay in-house and what can be freelanced out. To do this effectively, you need to have a good idea of where the revenue is coming from and make sure you prioritise these areas for further development. Having a decent marketing technology stack set up will be key to achieve this.
More often than not, anything niche or technical, such as SEO, PPC, marketing automation and even content production can be outsourced. Chances are you won’t have enough of that type of work to keep those specialists busy, and that’s a poor use of your marketing budget. Specialists also tend to be a little more expensive and difficult to recruit so you tend to get a lot more done by outsourcing.
Instead, focus on generalists - those individuals that can move between similar but different roles. This will allow you to spread them out across the team and get more bang for your buck.
Tip #3: Map out your marketing team structure
Taking the time to map out your team’s structure is something that many people don’t do - but it’s vital to your success. So, make sure you carry out some skills gap analysis and - as the leader - try to understand what needs your attention and what can be pushed out to others in the team. It’s also important to try to understand how much time goes into the different elements of the team as this will help you prioritise things.
Another thing worth considering is that nothing ever stays the same for too long and sometimes you won’t get much notice that change is coming. In situations like this it’s important to find a balance - know what you can and can’t do and work around this. Implementing a relatively flat structure - with clearly defined roles for the big ticket items - can also be a real benefit as you could gain insights and perspectives that may have been blocked off by a traditional hierarchy.
Tip #4: Improve your reporting capabilities
Last, but not least - reporting is an incredibly important part of scaling up because you need a good idea of where things are working and where they aren’t so you can adapt accordingly. If there is a part of the business that is consistently generating poor-quality leads, you need to know about it. That’s why collaboration is key when scaling up marketing and reporting can help align sales and marketing to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
There are lots of platforms like Hubspot, Google Analytics that can provide all the data you’ll ever need, but the key is knowing how to interpret it. Worry less about the platform and more about what information you want/need as most tools will be fully customisable.
And there you have it - four top tips for scaling up your marketing team. We know, we know - it’s never as easy as it sounds, but trust us when we tell you that these tips can help make a real difference. Efficiency is king in these situations and it can be easy to get bogged down in immediate issues and lose sight of the bigger picture. Ultimately, just trust in yourself and your team - know that you will inevitably have to weather some storms, but that you’ll come out the other side stronger for it.
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