Creating a highly organized and efficient workflow for everyone in your department is an ongoing endeavor, but one with a myriad of benefits. From promoting employee morale and increasing productivity, to preserving your budget and preventing costly blunders, optimized workflows are essential to your ability to fulfill business objectives on-schedule. To help you get started, we’ve outlined several steps you can take to ensure your people and systems are on the path to ultimate optimization.
1. Take Inventory of Current Processes
Before you can fine-tune your marketing processes, you need to take a good long look at each team member’s daily activities from analyzing data and executing campaigns, to tracking budgets, measuring performance and producing reports. An easy way to do this is to ask everyone to make a list of each unique activity they perform during the week, as well as the steps involved. Although it may seem like busy-work to them in an already jam-packed day, this information will be critical to your ability to identify areas that need adjustments. If tracking activities proves too time-consuming for team members, consider delegating the task to interns, who will gain the advantage of learning the business by shadowing various people and tracking steps. Finally, be sure to ask team members to include all the ad-hoc project requests they receive and take care of for others, because these unplanned interruptions often account for significant amounts of time.
2. Establish a Step-List for Activities
For each activity a marketing ops team member performs, write down answers to each question in our Process Inventory Sheet. In addition to helping your team operate more efficiently, this activity establishes consistent steps that others can follow, reduces the need for supervision, enhances visibility into the time needed to perform an activity, and ensures bases are covered during unplanned absences of employees who regularly perform these activities.
Process Inventory Sheet
- Name of activity being performed:
- List in order ALL manual and automated steps this activity requires.
- Which steps are forgotten or missed the most?
- Are there complicated steps that could be simplified?
- Are there activities that consistently cause issues and breakdowns?
- What steps can be automated?
- Would integration(s) with other martech simplify this process or eliminate manual tasks?
3. Promote Transparent Project Management
In order for marketing ops teams to operate at peak performance levels its imperative that everyone knows what is expected of them, as well as where their fellow teammates are in the process. These days, there are a ton of great project management systems out there that allow everyone to track the progress of projects in real-time. Some even help project managers prioritize incoming projects by creating queues that scope timelines, assign resources, and automate approvals. Most are extremely user-friendly and have instant messaging systems for group feedback and input, as well as direct messages for private memos. Project managers can set milestones, and users can know at all times when a project is due simply by checking their calendar. A few of the better project management tools for marketing operations include Slack, Asana and Workfront, and all three offer free trials.
4. Integrate Marketing Technology
After you’ve investigated the people portion of workflow processes, it’s time to optimize the other half of the equation — your marketing technology. Everything in your martech stack needs to work together. When you integrate all of your tools, systems and platforms, it is much easier to create a CX-enhancing single source of truth. This step also ensures data throughout your enterprise is current, clean and complete. After all, you can’t make smart data-driven decisions with siloed data.
If you are nervous about the idea of B2B integrations for 20+ tools and systems, don’t be. There are a variety of integration tools and platforms on the market that are designed specifically to allow you to integrate everything in your martech stack. A few of these tools offer rich integrations that go beyond basic data transfer and actually allow tools to exchange information and work with one another in smarter and more productive ways. In addition, some platforms feature pre-built integrations, so your team members can DIY without bugging folks in IT. Lastly, make sure you choose an integration platform that is designed to eliminate manual tasks. Yes, we live in a digital age where everything is supposed to effortlessly happen by some intuitive and magical voice-command, but the reality is most marketing ops teams still have to perform a ton of manual steps in order to make everything work together like it should. Use your martech checklist when you go looking for an integration platform and make sure you get one that cuts out as many annoying manual tasks as possible.
5. Coordinate Multi-channel Campaigns
Perhaps the only process that has more moving parts than a martech stack is a multi-channel marketing campaign. To create one that is well-coordinated and easy to monitor the performance of, you will need a few tools:
- CRM — Provides critical customer data, such as previous interactions and preferred channels of communication. Lists can be developed and segmented here, or via a marketing dashboard.
- MAP — Automates the process of sending multi-channel campaigns and enables users to establish a campaign flow, as well as automated responses across channels. Offers or supports a variety of channels or plug-ins, such as SMS, MMS, RSS, etc.
- Marketing/Data Dashboard – Creates data-informed segmented lists that you can export to your MAP. Tracks campaign performance in real-time.
- Content Management Tool — Enables team members to develop and design content in templates for use across channels. Stores content for various uses.
- Automated Content Tool — Works as a plug-in with your MAP to deliver personalized, no-touch, cross-channel campaigns using content and data from other marketing and sales systems.
- Sales Enablement Tool — Enables sales to use CRM contacts to send marketing-approved communications to customers via their favorite channel.
- Project Management Tool – Enables everyone working on a multi-channel campaign to track its progress from development to launch. Great for sharing updates and reviews of campaign results.