Apr 13, 2018

Stop Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants

By: Polly Yakovich

Efficiency Marketing

MTA Martech Advisor recently published a blog post called "Stop Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants: 4 Ways To Take Control Of Marketing Work."

If you cringed a little and looked guiltily over your shoulder while reading the title - you probably need to take some of their advice.

We are often guilty of these things as well, but here are 4 things we've done this year as an agency to improve our workflow and maximize our time.

1. Hop on the Automation Train

Choose a particular portion of your work and see what you can automate.

This year we've made an effort to automate as much of our sales funnel as possible. We use Hubspot to automatically score leads that come in through our site. We then send automated email campaigns that cultivate these leads and qualify which ones we should reach out to individually. This approach will work for any business development or new name acquisition/donor conversion efforts.

In other news, I had a client tell me this year that they project manage all of their work in excel spreadsheets still because "people won't use the project management system." WHAT?! I literally said to her, "tell them if they want to get paid, they need to use the system." Don't be held hostage to people's inability or unwillingness to change. Train them, help them, and if they just won't do it, find someone who will. Don't waste your time dragging people along. Your business literally depends on it.

2. Get Out of Your Inbox

Another thing we've done this year is streamline our communications. Project-related messages (both internally and with clients) belong in our project management system (for us, this is Teamwork). With a system like Teamwork, you keep email clutter at bay, don't have to follow lengthy threads, and if you get hit by the proverbial bus, others can pick up the work for you.

We also use Slack for inter-office chit chat and quick questions that don't really need to be stored. This also keeps your inbox relatively tamed.

2. Evaluate Your Software, Often

One thing we do every quarter is evaluate our toolset.  Has it become bloated? Do you have two pieces of software that do the same thing? Was that great editorial planning tool really a headache and led to double work?  Make the tools work for you, not the other way around.

2. Streamline Those Workflows

Again, using a project management software like Teamwork allows you to set up workflow templates for projects that are often repeated. This helps you get started more quickly, helps estimate time, and allows you to improve your process over time. Make sure to track your time so you can evaluate where the process is breaking down and put some controls in to keep moving forward profitably. 

One challenge: Internal teams often get lax about some of these workflows or processes because they aren't measuring what their time is worth to the company. Have to redo something? No one is paying any project overages. In fact, in some of the worst cases, I've seen people keep the system bogged down because it provided them job security. I'd encourage you to track your time so you can see what your work is really costing you. You are paying for it - in opportunity costs, in lost opportunities, and in other places that I'm certain your boss (or the CEO) would be happy for you to help maximize.

What do you think? Do any of these problems (or solutions) resonate with how your team works?




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