For many early stage businesses, the progression of your marketing department is often piecemeal.
At this stage, the marketing manager is often the single point of communication regarding the business’ entire marketing activity - and is in fact, the only one who knows how to manage and execute campaigns in line with the business’ strategy.
But rather than enlist a whole marketing team and spread the responsibilities, the business trudges on. Instead, it implements expensive marketing automation solutions to support the lone marketing manager – in the hope of achieving results sooner, rather than later.
Over time, the business expands. The lone marketing manager is reinforced and supported by a marketing executive or two, who are then followed by some marketing interns. However, while the business’ marketing department has expanded and the manager now has the ability to delegate tasks, the knowledge within the department still remains with the manager. The business’ desire to get results right away and utilise marketing automation has meant that little else has been done in the way of knowledge transfer and the development of the newer employees.
And, with all the knowledge and expertise in one place, a problem arises: what happens if that marketing manager leaves - and/or how does the company make the best use of the investment in marketing automation software?
At this point, work needs to be done fast to get the marketing executives and interns up to speed with the manager’s processes, as well as how he or she executes marketing campaigns. Rather than have a single point of knowledge and expertise, the goal is to progressively train and educate the marketing team so that everyone is capable of managing and executing marketing campaigns on the manager’s behalf. This allows the marketing manager to oversee day-to-day operations instead and delegate tasks across the team.
If this is you, you’re in luck! At The B2B Marketing Lab, we run what we like to call, ‘Knowledge Transfer Programmes’. This aim of these programmes are to train up a marketing team over a given period of time, enabling them to make the most of a tool like HubSpot and eventually be able to contribute to the marketing department’s day-to-day activities.
In this blog we’ve highlighted what’s involved within our knowledge transfer programmes...
1. Gantt chart planners
If you want to formalise your project management and clearly show the marketing activities that are being conducted, you need a structured, detailed document. At The B2B Marketing Lab, we’re partial to Gantt chart planners. Gantt charts enable you to see at a glance what tasks are being conducted, when each activity begins and ends, how long each activity should last, how many activities overlap with each other and the start and end date of the project.
By using a Gantt chart, your marketing manager can clearly convey to the business the individual marketing activities that are being conducted, their sub-elements, each phase of the marketing campaign, current progress and how much resource is being allocated to each project.
Of course, the level of detail the Gantt chart has is dependent on how many marketing activities are being conducted on a day-to-day, weekly and monthly basis, but having the chart in the first place will allow everyone in the organisation to see what’s going on - and assist if necessary.
Also, from a training perspective, you can use Gantt charts to plan each HubSpot classroom training & Inbound Marketing Knowledge Transfer session, as well as what will be covered in each session and how long they will be expected to take! Pretty nifty, right?
This may sound excessive, but better everyone understands what’s going on and what needs to be done, than for anyone to say: “I don’t know what we are doing!”
2. Cross-training of individuals on HubSpot tools & the Inbound methodology
Knowledge sharing is fundamental in any business with a growing marketing department but centralised knowledge. If your business’ marketing department is reliant on a single individual who conducts all of the marketing operations, what happens when that individual is unwell or decides to leave?
With this considered, you need to develop your marketing department and ensure everyone is prepared for the worst. One of the best ways to do this is through cross-training employees - something we actively partake in at The B2B Marketing Lab. While you don’t necessarily need two people for one job, it ensures your marketing team is thoroughly prepared for every possible eventuality - and has someone who can pick up the slack.
Your marketing manager should take the time to educate two (or more) people on the day-to-day activities they conduct. From an Inbound Marketing and HubSpot perspective, delivering sessions on how to use the HubSpot platform, including the creation of Inbound elements, such as: buyer personas, landing pages, thank you pages, calls-to-action, forms, website pages, blogs, custom reports, social media promotion, workflows, lead nurture emails and reports, will ensure your team are capable of picking up certain HubSpot activities in the absence of the marketing manager.
By cross-training individuals you can mitigate the risk associated with key individuals being unwell, off for personal reasons, or leaving the organisation, as you will have someone else capable of stepping into their shoes, so to speak.
If there’s an emergency, and you only have one employee capable of resolving that issue and they are unavailable, you could be in trouble.
3. Regular HubSpot and Inbound Marketing training sessions
Not just cross-training, but all-inclusive HubSpot classroom training & Inbound Marketing training sessions where everyone in the business comes together to discuss, listen and learn from the experts. At The B2B Marketing Lab, we hold regular HubSpot classroom training & Inbound Marketing training sessions, not only for those wanting to learn more about HubSpot and Inbound, but also for our new recruits to get up to speed quickly.
Not only are these kinds of events more comfortable, as employees can engage with senior colleagues without feeling awkward, but it also allows you to gauge the level of knowledge and the sophistication of that knowledge across the business.
Regular training sessions are an excellent opportunity for your HubSpot and Inbound Marketing subject matter experts to share their experience and to interact with the newest recruits.
4. Documented Processes
Knowledge transfer is a cyclical process. That is, once your marketing team is up-to-scratch, they should impart or leave their knowledge behind for the next marketing interns to utilise.
This knowledge could be left behind in the form of a ‘how-to’ guide, telling a new employee how to do specific things in HubSpot or how to approach things from an Inbound perspective. For example, a new employee might want to know how to build a landing page in line with best practice, but need advice from a marketing executive who knows exactly what ‘best practice’ is. However, instead of asking the marketing exec, the intern could head over to the company’s ‘how-to’ guide repository and immediately get the required information.
For example, a new employee might want to know how to schedule social media posts in bulk and need to ask a marketing manager the best approach. Instead, they can once again navigate to the ‘how-to’ guide repository and get the necessary best practice information.
As you can see, the benefits of documenting processes are tremendous - and extend beyond educating new employees. If there’s a streamlined, results generating process that someone in the business is using, sharing that process and documenting how to get the utmost success out of a particular activity is crucial.
5. Collaborative Marketing Activities
Above all, teamwork and communication are the most important components of your activities. With everyone working and conversing together, businesses can achieve greater operational visibility, streamline operations and be far more efficient.
Supporting both teamwork and communication are collaborative team management programs, for example, Slack, Trello, DoInbound and Teamwork. These programs can assist businesses in maximising their productivity and collaboration through a simple, easy-to-use and multi-functional tool, all while keeping on top of tasks and providing project visibility for the whole team.
Lastly, every newbie needs someone they can turn to for knowledge and support. Someone who can provide them with detailed feedback and actionable insights they can use to gain confidence and become more productive. With this in mind, having a mentorship program, where employees identify who they want to learn from, will give new employees the opportunity to develop their skills further and learn from the most experienced employees.
Ideally, knowledge transfer should occur or a weekly or bi-weekly basis - and every day, employees should communicate and share knowledge, tips and tricks with each other. As a result, over time, everyone in the business begins to develop a clear and concise understanding of what each person does, enabling them to be able to ‘step-in’ as and when required.
If you’re looking to develop your HubSpot & Inbound Marketing knowledge and share that knowledge with your marketing team, check out our HubSpot classroom training sessions!
Virtual ideas to keep your team connected during COVID-19