One of the most important jobs for any leader is to marshal their resources to optimize performance. Whether those resources include budgets, employees, outside consultants or even your own time – knowing how to get the most out of them can be a challenge.
Given that different people can be motivated by different things, when it comes to sales and marketing, understanding the balance between the motivational carrots and sticks is paramount.
Contrary to popular belief, not all sales and marketing people are motivated simply by money. Sure, it helps, and it’s always been a big factor in many ways, but small and medium-sized businesses need to look beyond just money to truly optimize the sales and marketing team’s performance.
Here are six steps to help optimize your marketing team:
1. Set Measurable Goals
There are thousands of book and articles about the benefits of setting goals. While you may consider it a waste of time (or are like me and don’t have a cup of coffee without a plan), goals do one thing really well: keep people focused.
By setting goals, you know in which direction you are headed and can calculate the steps you need to take to get there. If you need help setting goals search for S.M.A.R.T. goals for a great way to help hold people accountable.
#1. When you set goals, focus and prioritize. Remember, focus is one of the main reasons you set goals in the first place. Prioritizing is important because nobody can work on 15 different priorities at once.
By setting goals, you know in which direction you are headed and can calculate the steps you need to take to get there.
#2. You must prioritize all the goals and pick three. Why three? Because three is about everyone’s limit. I don’t care how well you think you multitask. Once you hit a goal, set another one.
Align Sales and Marketing
The larger an organization, the more likely it is that their sales and marketing team lacks alignment. The lack of alignment often means sales and marketing are headed in different directions and working toward separate goals. And if you have seen a three-legged race or paddled a boat, you are well aware of what happens when two people don’t go in the same direction…
Make sure sales and marketing are committed to reaching the same goals.
2. Give Good Direction
Giving good direction is the means to getting good results. Create a plan. Focus on the strategy. Use the plan and the strategy to decide what to do (and, just as importantly, what NOT to do). Remember, focusing on the goal is part of the plan. Being able to communicate the plan and the strategy to get where you are headed are key to giving good direction.
You must know your people. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they work best? What will help them get the best results? This is the job of a good leader. All people are different and want different things. Understand what motivates them and if you don’t know, ask.
3. Set Deadlines and Check-In
With any goal or plan comes a deadline. Regardless of whether that deadline is stated (preferred) or ongoing until the goal is met, check-ins, milestones and deadlines are part of the roadmap to achieving success.
Again, knowing your people is key here. Check in too much and they may feel you are micromanaging. While we all know how annoying it is to be micromanaged, it actually is bad from an efficiency standpoint, because you are wasting resources. Check in too little and you run the risk of going off course.
#1. The more inexperienced or junior the person, the more check-ins are required.
4. Offer Praise and Recognition
Offering praise and recognition is a great way to build teams and motivate people. Sadly, too few people do this poorly (or not at all). We’ve all worked with someone who loved to take credit for other people’s work. Leaders who get the most out of their teams know how to give praise and say thank you. As a result, their teams tend to work harder for them. It’s not rocket science, people like to work with people they like.
5. Be Flexible
It’s only luck if everything goes as planned. I like to tell people two things:
1. “Change is the only constant in my life.”
2. Most leaders have responsibility for many things, but control over very few.
You must play well with others. It’s been true in every job and project, both paid and volunteer, for my entire career. How people recognize, adapt to and overcome the changes and situations that are outside of their direct control make the difference between a leader’s success and failure.
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Scott Steer is a Marketing Strategy, Branding, Advertising, Promotion & Business Development Consultant with 25+ years working on iconic brands like Coca-Cola, Kraft, Anheuser-Busch, Gillette, and Texaco, as well as dozens of smaller niche brands. Scott helps small and medium sized companies use data and the resources available to them to optimize their sales and…
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