Have you ever wondered what makes a high performing modern marketing team? This loaded question can be answered in one word – strengths.
Let me explain.
Skills can be acquired, which means you can pretty much teach anyone (almost) anything. Do you need someone with Marketo experience on your team? Great! That’s easily teachable. There are plenty of classes that a person could take to learn the ins and outs of Marketo. Want someone on your team that knows how to code an email? Again, it’s teachable. That person could easily enroll in classes to learn how to code.
But the things you cannot teach someone are the natural talents that they are born with.
Natural talents cannot be acquired. They are innate to you and pretty much stick with you for life. With the right investment – time spent on your talents, sharpening your skills and building your knowledge base – your talents become your strengths.
The more your marketing team can perform responsibilities that honor their strengths, the more engaged, productive, happier, fulfilled, confident, and high performing those employees will be. And the more high performing employees you have on your team, the more successful and results-driven the team will be as a whole.
Gone are the days of thinking you can hire a unicorn. Instead, the most successful marketing teams are built upon highly customized roles that allow each person’s strengths to shine.
The type of strengths to look for when building a high performing marketing team are based on the needs of the organization and what goals the marketing team is working to accomplish.
Here are top strengths that every modern marketing team needs to have:
Strategic thinkers are those who keep focused on the big picture, see the plan of action, and stretch the overall team’s thinking. For example, a person who is talented in thinking multiple steps ahead plays an important role as a visionary for the entire marketing team. They excel at keeping the team focused on how marketing impacts the organization as a whole.
Strategic thinkers find ways to get their team behind their vision and get excited about the projects they are working on. Most often, this type of role has been designated for the CMO, VP of Marketing or Director of Marketing. However, today’s modern marketing team has made strategic thinking a requirement for day-to-day employees because it impacts the overall vision of the team and even the company.
Another strength of strategic thinking is the ability to be creative and generate new ideas. This is the team member who is always asking, “What if we tried it this way?” or always saying “Here’s an idea…let’s try this.” This type of team member energizes the team with fresh ideas and perspectives because it’s easy for them to come up with alternatives quickly and get uber-creative with their solutions.
Someone who is analytical and a great problem solver is also a must for your marketing team. Whether analyzing data to make more intelligent decisions or pinpointing issues before they arise to create a better plan of action, these analytical strengths are a necessary addition.
Good leaders know that marketing involves constant analysis to make informed decisions. Whether you want to determine the right event for your budget, which social networks to invest your time in or to develop the ideal lead scoring strategy, someone has to be behind the scenes looking at the data. Someone who naturally thrives in this type of detailed analysis will help the marketing team hone their skills and do better work.
Strategic thinkers also have a high drive to learn. They aren’t afraid to take on work that they may not be entirely sure how to do. They figure things out as they go, and will naturally want to teach the team all the great tidbits they learn. Whether it’s a new technology or an idea to research, someone who has a natural love for learning will take the challenge like it’s a piece of cake.
Ability to Execute
People with executing strengths know how to get things done! These employees implement strategy with ease and work tirelessly until a project is complete. Being naturally high achievers, they have tons of stamina, take great satisfaction in being productive, and say “yes” when something needs to get done. They will motivate the team to work hard and often set the pace. Additionally, they are tactical, day-to-day players who thrive on making and checking off their to-do list.
Focus and discipline are nearly universal characteristics in these team members. They will help keep the overall team hyper-focused on their goals. Prioritizing comes easy for them – which enables them to take a strategy down into actionable, bite-size pieces. People high in discipline are great at focusing on timelines and deadlines and can easily build a roadmap of action in order to make your strategy come to life.
Influencer + Relationship Building
Marketers strong in communication, storytelling and speaking will help reinforce your brand and win clients over. These team members will be able to interview a subject matter expert at your organization and turn it into a compelling story to draw in potential clients. Additionally, they can help write powerful emails that convert, repurpose your content in 10 different ways, build relationships with clients and be brand advocates.
Another key relationship building strength is being a natural coach and developer. This person often serves as the cheerleader of the marketing team and serves as a mentor for new team members. They can easily lift up the spirits of the entire team, motivate them to reach new heights, and have the ability to pinpoint each team member’s strengths as a source for that motivation.
How to Find the Right Team
Using strengths to build a high performing marketing team is the only way to ensure the success of the overall team. If you simply hire for skills, you’ll be extremely frustrated trying to teach or train someone how to be a certain way. Hire for strengths, and you’ll easily be able to train any skill that is missing.
So, how do you get started?
First, decide which strengths are important to you as a marketing team and as a company. What are the non-negotiable strengths needed? What are the nice-to-have strengths? Note: these should also align with the overall company culture.
Next, do an assessment on your current team’s strengths. I recommend looking into a tool such as the Clifton StrengthsFinder (now called CliftonStrengths) assessment, DiSC profile or Kolbe A Index to help you identify each individual’s natural talents and personality.
Finally, identify any gaps that your existing team may have. There are many ways you can fill the need for a particular strength. Determine if it makes sense to fill that gap with a direct hire, outsource through an agency, hire a contractor, or look internally to see if there is an existing employee that wants a new opportunity and has the right strengths to fulfill the role.
How did you fare? Is your marketing team set up for success?
Meet Joy Martinez
Joy Martinez is a Sr. Marketing Consultant at LeadMD, a Marketo Certified Solutions Architect, and a five-time Marketo Certified Expert. She’s also a business owner and former podcast host! With almost 15 years of experience in marketing, marketing automation and digital marketing, Joy enjoys transforming marketing from good to great and playing a key role in driving organizational success with marketing automation. She’s worked in all kinds of industries from food & beverage (broker and manufacturer), financial services, information security, transportation, and has consulted in dozens of other industries.