Marketing teams have it tough.
You’re one of the few departments that are expected to have a pulse on what every other department in the company is up to.
From sales to support — you need to be plugged in to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how to improve.
BUT, how are you supposed to master cross-department collaboration when your own marketing team is struggling to collaborate amongst themselves?
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone on your team, regardless of specialty, knew what was on tap and how they could contribute to each other’s success?
Yes, it would.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not impossible.
Here are the best, best practice tips for improving your marketing team’s collaboration.
Why It’s So Hard for Marketing Teams to Collaborate
Silos are a big problem for marketing teams.
We’ve got Content Marketing, Public Relations, SEM, Social Media, Marketing Automation, the list goes on.
And each of these specialties has their own sub-department, which makes collaboration even more challenging.
If you’re a Marketing Manager, you’re painfully aware that these silios cause major problems.
Poor collaboration is likely causing…
… missed deadlines
… underperforming campaigns
… last minute fire drills
… and tension between your team members.
However, there is hope. With a bit of bravery, leadership, and a solid strategy in place, you can overcome these silos and start collaborating better.
How to Improve Your Marketing Team Collaboration
It’s clear that *a lot* of marketing teams struggle to stay on the same page.
But what are you supposed to do about it?
Set Clear Goals
Wait… what? You’re probably a little confused since this is a post about marketing team collaboration, not one about KPIs. But hear me out on this one…
You’d be surprised how many marketing teams have conflicting goals and no idea how their individual KPIs fit within the company’s wider strategy.
In fact, 29% of respondents included in this study said they found no clear relation between their role and the overarching company strategy.
Each team/individual should undoubtedly have their own KPIs, but there should be clear and consistent communication regarding how these are all working together towards a common goal.
Here’s an example:
Company’s main goal: $50 million in sales by 2020
Public Relations goal: Reach 2 million people per month
Content Marketing’s goal: Bring in 10,000 prospects per month
Paid Search goal: $5 – $8 ROAS
Marketing Automation goal: Convert 15% of prospects into customers
Simply giving everyone a clear idea of where the company is heading and how each team’s KPIs help contribute can lay the foundation for good collaboration.
Sometimes it helps to have a visual to get everyone on the same page. Here’s an example of how everyone’s goals fit into the marketing funnel and contribute to the company’s overall goal.
Research shows that improving your team’s communication can increase productivity by a whopping 25%.
Sounds great, right? But communication barriers are one of the biggest hurdles for any team to overcome.
Why is communication so challenging? Here are a few theories…
Firstly, marketers rely on outdated technology like spreadsheets to manage project plans, due dates, and tasks. These spreadsheets spiral out of control and leave you wanting to wipe the slate clean and start fresh… so you do.
And it works… for a while, but the spreadsheet inevitably returns to mass chaos.
Secondly, each team has hacked together a way to manage their own projects without a central, cross-team tool. This exacerbates the silo effect.
Responsibilities and daily tasks become murky because they are managed across multiple tools.
No one knows what they should prioritize nor when things are due. And there are a ton of meetings to try to figure it all out.
(Fun fact: An astonishing 62% of marketers say wasteful meetings get in the way of their work.)
So how can you improve the communication of your marketing team?
Start by Implementing ONE Project Management Tool
Getting all of your marketing team into one project management tool may be momentarily painful, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Imagine never having to spend hours tracking down campaign assets, sifting through emails to find due dates, or sitting through an overabundance of status update meetings.
Sounds pretty amazing, amirite?
Cutting out those spreadsheets and retiring all those single-use tools will keep your marketing team connected.
^^^ does this look familiar?
This is what CoSchedule solves.
CoSchedule is industry-leading marketing project management software that brings all your team together into one unified platform.
It’s a bird’s eye view of your entire team’s tasks, projects and deadlines… making it easy to communicate with your team, and for your team to communicate with each other.
Set Clear Workflows
A workflow is an essential part of ensuring seamless team collaboration. Set workflows help team members anticipate what’s coming next on every project and understand when their work enters the picture.
Also, having a clear workflow in place makes processes repeatable — so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project.
Workflow mapping for your marketing projects can help you:
- Reduce the amount of work within a project by 30-50%.
- Ease confusion over who is doing what.
- Collaborate more efficiently.
With CoSchedule task templates, you can create a workflow one time and apply it to all future projects. The due dates and delegation are auto-populated, so there’s no confusion about who’s doing what, and when things are due.
Everyone on your team has a clear idea of what’s on their plate for the day.
Here’s a brief rundown of how Task Templates work:
First, create a task for every item that needs to be completed before the project can go live.
Next, add relative due dates to make sure things get done in the right order at the right time. Maybe your designer needs 2 days to create graphics or your social strategist needs a day to pull their reports… build these requirements into your task templates by setting relative due dates. Just select the number of days before publish each task should get done.
Finally, assign the tasks and set approvals to make sure everyone knows what their role is within the project.
Now your workflow is ready to be used for every upcoming project. Simply apply the workflow to new projects and CoSchedule will automatically assign tasks and due dates to your team.
Choose a Couple Supporting Tools
Even with all the collaboration tools inside CoSchedule or other project management tools, you may need to have a couple of other software services to help get improve your team’s collaboration.
Here’s a list of our favorites:
G Suite is like Microsoft Office, but for the Google generation. It’s a collection of cloud-based services — Google docs, sheets, presentations, etc. It allows for real-time document collaborations, so no one is left searching for the latest version of a document.
Despite the fact that all your project communication can live inside a project management tool, it’s nice to have an instant message service for quick questions and cross-team collaboration.
Slack is one of our favorites.
The communication on Slack happens either 1-on-1 with direct messages or you can create channels with multiple people contributing to conversations. This makes it easy to keep everyone in the loop about specific projects or campaigns.
While setting goals is important, tracking how your success toward reaching those goals is paramount.
This is why we love KISSMetrics.
The learning curve can be a bit steep, but once you get the hang of it, it’s likely to become your go to analytics source.
It helps you gain insights like where your most valuable customers are coming from; identifies which marketing campaigns are producing the best results; and even how long it takes someone to become a customer after their first website visit.
Take an Agile Approach
Agile isn’t just for software development anymore.
Marketers everywhere are realizing its benefits. Applying agile methodology to your marketing team allows you to:
- Collaborate more effectively.
- Improve cross-department alignment.
- increase the speed and responsiveness of marketing.
How can using an agile approach improve your collaboration, you ask?
The Team is on the Same Page From the Beginning
For starters, agile teams are produced with collaboration in mind. Each member has a specific function within the team and a clear view of what the team is setting out to accomplish.
Creating these expectations and responsibilities on the front end makes collaboration easier as the project gets rolling.
Everyone Partakes in the Planning
Next, agile marketing works on sprint planning.
Sprints are short bursts of activity instead of long-term marketing strategies.
The sprint helps teams break up big projects into small, easy to accomplish tasks.
BUT before the sprint can start, each team member partakes in the sprint planning process.
During this session, everyone on the team meets to divide and agree on responsibilities and timelines within the project.
For example, say you’re launching a white paper based on original research, here’s what the outcome from your sprint planning might look like:
Daily Check-Ins Help The Team Stay-In-The-Know
When you’re following an agile methodology, the team meets daily for short, 10-minute status updates, also known as Scrums or standups.
These short meetings are designed to maintain alignment within the team and improve collaboration. Each member gives a short synopsis of they’re working on, where they are in the process, and the roadblocks they’ve encountered.
These standups help managers stay on top of daily tasks, and increase accountability between team members.
How to Run a Daily Standup Meeting
- Don’t sit down! Standups are meant to be quick check-ins, so encourage everyone to remain standing so the meeting moves fast.
- Everyone should answer three questions
- What did you do yesterday
- What will you do today
- Roadblocks you encountered
- Avoid going down rabbit holes. 1:1 chats should happen outside of this meeting. Everything discussed at the meeting should be of value to everyone at the meeting.
- Don’t introduce new ideas. This is not a planning meeting – stick to the 3 question agenda.
CoSchedue’s Team Management Dashboard Makes Daily Standups Easy
CoSchedule’s new feature makes your daily standup meetings super easy.
The Team Management Dashboard gives Marketing Managers a granular view of each team member’s daily tasks, so you can see exactly what everyone is working on any given day.
It’s essentially an agile stand up built right into your project management software.
No more chasing down status updates, decoding your spreadsheet that doesn’t update in real-time, or trying to assign tasks in a platform that’s not designed for marketing teams.
Collaboration is a challenge faced by too many marketing teams. It’s time to solve this problem once and for all and FINALLY get everyone on the same page.
If you’re ready to stop dreading coming to work on Monday and are over the missed deadlines and last minute fire drills, hit us up for a free demo.