At a digital marketing agency it can often seem like there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish everything. In order to maximize the time we do have, I’ve implemented several processes and technologies to help my team work as efficiently as possible. These tips can be implemented across any organization and on any budget to help your marketing team accomplish its goals.
Get Everyone On Board
We have a lot of moving targets in our industry, and everyone has individual tasks, small group projects, and massive team-based assignments. It’s a lot to keep track of. That’s why we have daily departmental “scrum” meetings, where each department briefly meets for 15-20 minutes to go over the day’s priorities, processes, and deadlines for each member. These quick meetings keeps everyone in the department on the same page, alerts the team to each member’s individual pipeline, and helps the department head in the loop on every team member’s workload.
Additionally, we hold a weekly staff meeting for the entire company to come together to discuss both company initiatives and projects. This meeting is regulated to a thirty minute time limit to keep everyone on target. This meeting is an opportunity for team members to ask for resources to check in with other departments on joint projects. These weekly meetings help minimize the risk of miscommunication across departments and avoid emergencies which end up holding up multiple projects.
In order to keep these meetings effective and to prevent them from being productivity drains, always have a clear meeting outline and routine so that everyone involved knows what’s going to be covered in the meeting. If two people have an issue or need an extended conversation, have them set up a follow up meeting just for themselves to keep from holding up the scrum.
Establish Meeting Attendance Policies
While scrums and organizational meetings can be great tools, meetings in general have the potential to kill attendees’ productivity. Therefore, it’s important for the meeting organizer to invite only the most necessary people; don’t tie up team members’ time if they’re not crucial to the meeting. In order to effectively know who to invite, we ask that the meeting organizer have a clear goal that the meeting should accomplish, a general idea of the resources and personnel needed to accomplish that goal, and an agenda for the meeting. By making the meeting as efficient as possible, we can make them shorter – letting everyone get back to their work more quickly.
Don’t Get Lost in Your Inbox
Email is a two-edged sword in the business world; while it makes it easier than ever to connect and collaborate with team members, clients, and vendors, it can also become a massive distraction, and keep team members from accomplishing or correctly prioritizing assignments. A disorganized or busy inbox can also become a black hole, where requests, questions, approvals, documents, and other resources can be lost and never seen again. Weeding through archived conversations to see if you followed up on that client question, or if that vendor ever got back to you with a new pricing proposal, can be a major time-waster. Worse yet, forgetting to respond or follow up can damage relationships between stakeholders and slow projects down.
The best way to make sure that you neither stay chained to your inbox immediately replying to emails and not accomplishing tasks, nor lose track of any conversation that requires a reply, is to use a reminder tool to help you keep track of your email conversations. For example, we use followup.cc, which allows users to schedule tasks and reminders within their email client in order to prioritize email workflows without disrupting other work. With followup.cc, you can schedule when you will reply to something, so you can keep working on a more critical task without fear of forgetting to reply – and you can let yourself know if you haven’t gotten a reply that you need from someone, so you can follow up with them.
Get Approvals Quickly
For us, getting approval signoffs on documents can be a huge block in the project pipeline. Marketing plans, proposals, ad copy, and other content can sit in a manager or client’s inbox for days and weeks, handcuffing us and keeping the project from moving forward – a productivity killer for several team members. Creating an efficient process to follow when submitting documents for approval can help keep everyone accountable, and make the process less painful for everyone involved.
Online tools, such as approveforme.com (disclaimer: inSegment is affiliated with approveforme.com), allow users to create, track, and manage document approvals in one convenient place. We use this process to keep documents from getting lost in inbox black holes, or allow for confusion with multiple drafts of the same document. Systemizing the approval process allows for quicker signoffs, which helps keep the project running smoothly.
Identify and Systemize Time-Intensive Processes
Every marketer knows certain business elements and responsibilities will crop up and divert time and attention away from marketing focused projects, such as hiring a new team member. While necessary, the process can be arduous – and long! The best way to ensure you’re not wasting time meeting with unqualified candidates is to use a pre-employment testing service.
We use TestUP (disclaimer: inSegment is affiliated with TestUP.com), which is a pre-employment testing and video interview system to gauge candidates’ proficiency on specified skills, and to hold a “pre-interview” via a video submission. This way, we only bring in our top candidates for face-to-face interviews, which considerably shortens the hiring process and helps minimize the risk of quick employee turnover. It frees up our team members’ time from sitting through endless interview rounds, and adds a new member to the team quickly, which helps with the workload as well!
We’ve found that implementing processes and systemizing as much as possible can really help free up our employees’ time to focus on completing tasks or projects more efficiently. Even though we implement these guidelines across our entire agency, they can be easily adapted to help your marketing team work more efficiently within your organization.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com. Used under license.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.com. Used under license.