3x the output of your marketing team without burning them out
Everyone in tech these days is being asked to do more with less. Teams are smaller, tech and ad budgets are being highly scrutinized, and buyers are just not buying like they used to. Yet in a lot of companies the goals are still as aggressive as ever for Marketers. So how do you actually get more from your marketing team?
Here is my playbook on how you can 3x the output of your marketing team without burning them out:
A recent report from the Wall Street Journal indicated that employees are spending two full days a week on email and meetings, leading to burnout and low productivity. This is especially worrying for marketing teams, where creativity, innovation, and speed are crucial for success.
A significant portion of these hours is consumed by project updates and check-ins, which, although necessary, can often be time-consuming and disruptive.
It also kills one of the big advantages start-ups have over more established competition, speed. The ability to go from idea to execution in hours. No big meetings, internal buy-in, legal for approval or brand guidelines to abide by.
So what is the answer? How do you find that balance? Here are 5 ways I have found work well:
Establish a North Star Goal:
Have a north star goal for your marketing team and only prioritize projects that help you hit that target. For most early stage start-ups this should be a revenue focused metric. Prioritize and say no to anything else.
Let’s be honest there are a lot of things right now your marketing teams spend time on that just aren’t adding value. One of the best ways as a leader to help your team is give them the permission and confidence to say no.
Say no to you as the leader.
Say no to the founder.
Say no to meetings that should have been an email.
Easier said than done.
But just don’t make those decisions as a leader. Empower your team to be part of the process as there are things on their plate you probably aren’t even aware they are doing. Run a Start-Stop-Continue (SSC) workshop with your team to identify and eliminate inefficiencies.
Run A Start-Stop-Continue Workshop
An SSC workshop is exactly what is sounds like, an exercise designed to identify what actions should be started, stopped, or continued to hit your north star goals. Here's how it works:
Start: Team members brainstorm on practices or activities that they believe should be initiated to increase productivity or help you hit your goals.
Stop: This segment identifies what is not working—things that hinder productivity or create unnecessary stress or conflict within the team. Campaigns that aren’t working but are still running. These are actions that need to be stopped immediately.
Continue: This is the affirmation segment, where practices that are working well and contributing to the team's success are acknowledged and agreed to be continued.
By conducting an SSC workshop before transitioning to the sprint model, your team can enter the new system with a fresh perspective and a clear understanding of their individual roles and responsibilities. Everyone on the team will now know what are the most important things they can do to hit growth goals.
For the next quarter - cut it all. Anything that doesn’t impact the 3 most important things takes a back seat, even if the request is coming from you the leader. You will quickly find that most of those other things actually matter very little to your growth.
Work in Shorter Cycles:
Have the team work in 2 week sprints. This will help you identify capacity and bandwidth of the team but also ensure focus and helps you identify possible blockers that are slowing your team down. Speed is one of the most talked about things in start-up culture, and shifting to a sprint model helps the team ship faster.
But why is speed even important for start-ups?
Working at a Start-ups is like being an explorer. They are in constant search of finding things. Finding product market fit, finding acquisition channels, finding the right verticals to target, finding the right messaging to use.
The known and predictable realities of their business are often very small.The unknown however is vast and often where all of the big opportunities lie. And this is why speed is so important.
Embracing speed allows Great leaders and their teams to try things at a faster pace - shipping new campaigns, testing marketing channels, testing messaging variations, designs etc.
The faster they can get to answers, even when the answer is failure, the closer they are to finding success. To finding the big opportunities for their businesses.
So how do you actually run a 2 week sprint? It comes down to 3 simple things:
Sprint Planning Meetings: At the start of each sprint, conduct a meeting to establish the tasks for the upcoming weeks, prioritize tasks, and set clear goals.
Limited Check-ins: Instead of daily updates or frequent meetings, the sprint model advocates for one check-in meeting per week. These meetings serve as a platform to discuss progress and resolve issues.
Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives: These are conducted at the end of each sprint and focus on evaluating the accomplishments and processes of the team during the sprint.
If you have followed this model you have now:
Identified the key goals you need to hit
Identified the things you are doing or should be doing to achieve those goals.
Eliminated every other thing which is a distraction to achieving those goals
Eliminated countless meetings and check-ins, giving your team 2 full days back a week to just execute.
I have run this exact playbook with every team I have managed and have always been amazed at how much faster teams are able to execute, without burning them out.
Thanks for reading!