5 Distinct Traits of Highly Effective Marketing Teams – Iris Chan
Iris Chan is the Marketing Director at Seismic for the Asia Pacific (APAC) & Japan. She has a vast experience in building, leading, and nurturing global marketing teams. She is a keynote speaker and author.
She shares from her valuable experience what are the key ingredients to bring a marketing team together, how these marketing teams enable growth spurt in b2B organizations in specific. She also sheds light on how cohesive marketing teams benefit organizations and customers in having an immersive product experience.
The essential 5 qualities she speaks about are:
- Marketing and sales alignment with a collaborative mindset: Iris shares how great marketing teams have managed to double the revenue of the organizations. According to her, a central repository of content that becomes a single source of truth for both marketing and sales, which can not only help align sales and marketing but also have synergy in customer experience or buying experience.
- Focus on personalized and connected buyer journey: Great teams create buyer journey from initial customer contact to closure of the deal. Marketing automation tools are a significant part of creating these journey maps. Customer journey maps enable faster, personalized, and connected buyer experience while affirming to brand compliance.
- Use Insights to optimize customer engagement and marketing operations: High performing teams improve performance through insights. It enables marketing teams to know what resonates with the prospects, tailor conversations, drive better engagement, and optimize the content through efficient operations. You can deliver the right content at the right time. Great teams create predictive content that is relevant to the buyer. It allows you to recommend the right content to the buyers, improve success ratio, and replicate success.
- Measure marketing contribution to revenue: Great teams that measure the metrics that matter the most, not the vanity metrics, like more than a lead generated to revenue generated through marketing because 40% of marketing budget goes to content development.
- Adapt resilience in storytelling: Good team works as a unit; they can pivot as the situation changes unexpectedly. You have to become a great storyteller.
She also shares vital team-building exercises that build synergy like virtual knowledge sharing sessions to create synergy and enhance the overall skill of the team. Iris also sheds light on hiring great marketing teams based on the stage of the business.
AMA session with Iris Chan
The following are excerpts from the Live Q&A session with Iris Chan.
How do you plan a cross-learning session within teams?
I think one of the great ways to do that is to do quick tutorials where you have different teams um teach one another. For example, when the COVID19 hit, our teams have had to pivot to digital very quickly. So what we did was we got specific marketing teams that were specialized in digital activities to start sharing knowledge with other groups that focus on the in-person interactions and experiences.
In that way, they began to cross-pollinate their expertise and learning, and that was the fastest way for us to do the cross-learning. It was very much in the form of virtual sessions, tutorials, and virtual classes that we held within our team.
Another thing that I would strongly encourage everyone to do is look at some of the courses online. There are many courses on Coursera or Udemy where they provide you very snackable learning content that doesn’t take a very long time to pick up those new skills. So I would also strongly encourage you to look at some of these online courses.
What are the tools used to manage a digital marketing ecosystem? What exactly do you use at Seismic?
We utilize the marketing automation systems, and we have Marketo what we use as a platform. We also like to drink our champagne as they call it. We use seismic predominantly to drive closer alignment with our sales teams. As you know for marketing would generate leads, and we typically pass the marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to our sales reps to follow up and for our client development reps.
They find that it’s terrific to have a tool like Seismic where they can share content and get the analytics around it so that they can tailor the conversations. And for us as marketers, we can see all of that analytics at an aggregate level. So that’s one platform we use a lot. We also use webinar platforms now, given the COVID19 situation, as well to drive virtual events. We’ve been using a platform called On24.
Do marketers with tech backgrounds have the edge over non-techies? How can they cope up?
Without a doubt, given the current age that we’re in and also with the latest, you know global events that you need to have strong tech expertise, or you need to upskill yourself from on the tech front. So if you don’t already have that background, that’s not too late. Learning is a lifelong process, so what I would encourage you to do as I was mentioning was get on to some of the online courses.
They are fast and easy to go through. They’re bite-size snackable, and they’re online. So get through those classes and start to upskill yourself in terms of digital capabilities. If you’re in the b2b sales area, upskill in terms of virtual selling, remote selling. Many such courses now available, and you should join some of the societies like the sales enablement society. They help to provide beneficial sessions where you can get experts to share knowledge. Join some of those, so I think that would be my recommendation.
If you’re building a new marketing team today, how will your team structure be?
There’s no one answer fits all, unfortunately. It depends on which stage of the business development of your companies is in right now. If you’re still in the early days, you will not have a considerable amount of resources to build a large team. So that’s when you need to think about you know having a very lean organization and do more with less.
That’s when you need to think about hiring someone who has skills across multiple areas so they wouldn’t specialize in one specific part of marketing. They would tend to have expertise across a broader set of marketing activities and functions. You build up, starting with that as the starting point. And over time, you can begin to bring in more team members who might have specialized skills.
If you know, you are at a point where the company is ready to scale and got a massive amount of budget, or you know you’ve given many headcounts, then what I would suggest you do is to structure your team around a few essential functions. It’s vital to have PR and media relations, but you also want to have someone who focuses on demand-generation.
That could take many forms, whether it’s digital in-person events and so on. You also want to have somebody who can drive product marketing or solution marketing if you’re in the tech space. That is very important because it is all about positioning the product and service that you’re selling. So those are the very fundamental functions.
If you do have some additional budget or headcount, you can start looking into other areas like account-based marketing. As a starting point, make sure you have someone looking at demand generation, brand awareness, and the positioning of the solution and services. As a marketing leader, you want to be the custodian of the overall brand and brand strategy.