Managing an internal marketing team is tricky.
You need to communicate continually and consistently, if you want to effectively manage and get the best results from your marketing team.
If you have the responsibility of managing an internal marketing team, then you need to be smart and always strive to understand each person in the team.
Why? Because if you’re able to relate with each team member, it doesn’t matter how complex the task is, you’ll build a formidable team. After all, 52% of marketing leaders desire their team’s culture to be based on exploration and creative thinking.
Whenever I attend a conference or listen to an expert, I pay rapt attention when they’re sharing their experiences, risks, and achievements – especially how they manage their teams.
With that in mind, what would you expect from a marketing team that tries to do their work without cross-discussions and meetings?
The answer is simple – failure.
According to McKinsey Global Institute, productivity is expected to increase at a rate of 20 – 25% in organizations with connected employees.
Just to give you a hint of what it really means when we say an increase of 20% in employee productivity, consider this: It has the potential to increase revenue by $1.3 trillion a year.
Don’t relinquish your team to fate, or assume that they will efficiently deliver on your company’s goals and objectives. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to drive the result.
What is internal marketing?
Before you can manage a team, you need to know the premise.
So let’s begin with a quick definition. Though a lot of companies have defined internal marketing in several ways, but here’s how Marketing Teacher defines it:
“Internal marketing is inward facing marketing. It’s mostly used by marketers to motivate all functions to satisfy customers at all level. With internal marketing the marketer is really extending and developing the foundations of marketing such as the marketing concept, the exchange process and customer satisfaction to internal customers.”
On the other hand, internal marketing is the relationship that an employee develops with the business.
The employees are treated as customers (internal though) and any business that ignores its internal customers or doesn’t listen to them will eventually see a decline in productivity, motivation, and thus revenue.
Internal marketing is mostly about effective communication with the employees and team. Can you imagine a business that operates without a customer support department? If there is one, you can imagine how much disservice this can be for the customer.
On the same note, businesses can’t exist without an internal marketing strategy.
Absence of effective communication
Your internal team, whether marketing or customer support will be heading backward, if it lacks effective communication system.
In a recent study by Prescient Digital Media, 31% of employees said they never use intranet while only 13% said they use their company’s intranet daily.
In reality, effective communication is a rare phenomenon in today’s businesses.
Every business suffers from the lack of effective communication among departments and employees and if communication takes place, it is potentially useless and yields no results.
Consequently, no one actually communicates in the organization and it ends up creating heaps of problems for the business.
Monitor your business’ current communication effectiveness and ask yourself:
Are we really communicating and does your finance department really knows what sales department is going to do tomorrow?
If the answer is no, ask yourself:
Do we have an internal marketing strategy?
How To Develop An Internal Marketing Strategy
If you have never developed an internal marketing strategy for your business, you’re the culprit. Why not do it now?
Here are the actual steps to create an effective internal marketing strategy:
1. Determine objectives: What exactly do you plan to achieve from your team. Communication, support during culture change, increase in productivity, or anything else.
The goals and objectives of the strategy must be clear and simple.
2. Integrate with business strategy and external strategy: The objectives of an internal marketing strategy must correspond to business strategy and external marketing strategy.
For instance, if the business goal is to increase sales by 5% in the first quarter, the internal marketing strategy should help the business reach this goal.
3. Incentivize: What’s in it for your internal customers?
Clearly communicate what your team members will receive if they do well and adhere to the strategy. For instance, it can be announced that if we reach the goals for the first quarter, all employees will get one week’s salary as a bonus.
4. Share it with the employees: Writing a perfect strategy during senior manager’s meeting is a great step, but not sharing it with the employees will do nothing.
Share the strategy especially with the employees that make up the team, so that they know exactly what they’re supposed to do, how they will do it, and what benefit they will receive.
How To Implement an Internal Marketing Strategy
Once the strategy has been devised and is written, the next immediate step is its implementation. It’s a two-step process:
A. Ensure every team member throughout the organization receives a copy of the strategy and understands it completely.
This can be achieved in several ways:
- Route an internal email
- Host an internal event
- Hold multiple meetings on different days and times
This is a continuous process and must be carried out throughout the year as and when new changes are incorporated into the strategy.
B. Monitor and track progress: It should be done simultaneously with the first step.
While you are constantly communicating and reinforcing the message to internal marketing team, take feedback from employees repeatedly, as well. Measure progress by looking at the KPIs and performance metrics.
Smart ways to manage your internal marketing team
Need more help with internal marketing? The following 9 ways will help you to manage your internal marketing team to achieve optimal results:
Note: These tips can be applied to non-marketing teams as well with minor tweaks.
Let’s dive in.
1. Create micro goals in the form of a marketing checklist
Breakdown bigger goals into smaller goals that can be tracked easily.
Create a simple checklist in Excel that states what should be done daily, weekly, and monthly. Share it with the entire marketing team.
Dividing a complete plan into micro goals help measure success in real-time. If your marketing team is not delivering, necessary actions can be taken right away. At the end of every month, compare the actual progress with the estimated progress.
2. Enable company-wide conversations
Empower employees and internal team members to communicate freely.
Provide them with multiple channels to communicate with peers, share ideas and thoughts, ask questions, and benefit from other people’s contributions. Create a chat room on the local server or maybe create WhatsApp and Facebook group for every department.
The benefits of company-wide conversation via instant messaging are endless as pointed by NFIB, but these 5 are truly amazing:
i). Seamless communication between onsite and offsite employees.
ii). Archived messages can be used for reference.
iii). Messages break the language barriers.
iv). It eliminates long-distance calls thus reducing expenses.
v). Employees can have simultaneous communication with peers.
3. Improve peer-to-peer and employee-to-manager communications
A study by TinyHR surveyed over 500 organizations and found that peer relationships promote productivity. Why? Because employees feel comfortable going the extra mile at work. Improve peer-to-peer communication to create that enabling environment that nudges employees and marketing teams to put in their best.
A fairly large number of leaders don’t communicate with their marketing teams at the right moments when they are actually expecting an advice.
Some 52% leaders are unable to meet with employees when they need them and another 51% clearly refuses to talk to the employees. How sad?
Consequently, organization as a whole suffers when managers don’t communicate with the marketing team or do not have enough communication channels.
Tools like HipChat and Slack are must for your business, if you want to easily promote employee-to-manager communication. Remember that employees feel comfortable when they talk to the managers on a daily basis.
Not just tools, but managers should be trained to interact daily with their subordinates. For example, Lynn Good CEO Duke Energy, has the habit of leaving ‘thank you’ messages in employees offices on sticky notes every day.
Any gesture or even a few words that help nurture communication break the unseen barrier among peers and employees-and-managers.
4. Set a budget
Do you have a budget for internal marketing? Better yet, are you making plans to invest both time and money in managing your internal marketing team?
It’s so important. Sadly, not every business is doing it.
According to Colin Mitchell, a senior planner at Ogilvy:
“Unfortunately, in most companies, internal marketing is done poorly, if at all. While executives recognize the need to keep people informed about the company’s strategy and direction, few understand the need to convince employees of the brand’s power—they take it as a given.”
Ask yourself, what will you do if you have to convince your customers of your brand’s power. You will promote your brand, run ads, and will do whatever it takes to show your brand message to your customers at the right places and moments.
Do something similar for internal customers (i.e., your employees and marketing team).
Start with setting a budget. Maybe create a special team for letting your internal customers know how strong your brand and its products are. Run internal ads. Send daily emails. Organize events. Share free product samples.
It cannot be achieved without investing money and other resources.
5. Understand team roles
Role ambiguity is a serious issue. It can be a threat to any team. Your internal marketing team should consist of at least nine team roles to achieve maximum output.
- Resource investigator
- Team worker
These roles must be clearly defined and clearly communicated to everyone in the team. Every member of the internal marketing team should know what their role is and the roles of other team members.
This is the only way to make a team work.
6. Identify key performance metrics
When looking at the key performance metrics, some of the essential questions that you should answer include:
- What are the key performance metrics for the business, for measuring ROI, and for measuring the success of internal marketing team?
- What’s the primary purpose of your internal marketing strategy?
- What do you actually want to achieve from the internal marketing team?
Just as you measure the success of every other marketing campaign, the success of internal marketing should also be measured by identifying these important metrics. If you’re investing money into Facebook ads for example, you can’t afford to go without measuring its ROI, right?
Internal marketing team’s effectiveness can be measured in three different ways:
iii). Benchmarks and trends
Some of the key metrics include:
-Employee surveys and interviews
7. Analyze team weaknesses
A smart way to manage your marketing team is to track weaknesses and fix them. A weak marketing team will not perform, because if one team member is not a right fit, the whole team and its performance will suffer.
A team’s weakness can be gauged in multiple ways:
- Look for team role ambiguities.
- Get feedback from team members.
- Get feedback from others on team’s performance.
- Monitor team performance.
- Access individual team members for their individual weaknesses.
8. Develop an on-boarding program
An on-boarding program ensures that the new employees become an engaged part of the organization and/or any team quickly.
Generally, it’s referred to as organizational socializing. An effective on-boarding program results in employee satisfaction, commitment, reduced turnover intention, and increase in performance.
Data from Chronus shows that if an on-boarding program is extended over the first year, it results in a whopping 25% increase in new hire retention rate.
The on-boarding program can have varied length based on organizational culture, employee characteristics, employee type (professionals and past employees don’t need on-boarding programs), and on business’s strategy.
9. Find simple ways to express company ethos
Communicating and sharing company ethos and its philosophy isn’t a simple process. You must use simple yet effective ways to communicate company ethos so that every employee can get the message. Take this approach:
- Make values clear and self-explanatory.
- Seek employee feedback through surveys as to how much they understand the ethos and values.
- Communicate core values regularly.
- Senior management should practice company values.
- Use emails, notice board, pictures, storytelling, and fun ways to express your company’s ethos.
- Arrange special events occasionally to represent company’s core values.
Tools for managing internal marketing teams
We live in the age of connectivity, so doing everything manually seems a bit outdated. Here are a few tools for managing internal marketing teams:
Slack is a powerful messaging app for teams. You can use the tool to get more productive and connect with your teams in real-time.
Key features include:
- Use the open channels to organize your teams.
- Send direct messages to individuals or teams.
- Start a voice or video call.
2. Google Drive
If you don’t know Google Drive, then you must have been living under the rock. Yes you can use Google Drive for your team collaborations.
It can be used to share and edit documents simultaneously. Not just files but documents can be shared with the entire team with a single click. It offers cloud, collaboration, and mobility all at a single place.
If there are multiple teams working on a single project, truth is, there’s nothing better than Google Drive.
Workzone has powerful collaboration capabilities, like file sharing, comments and instant notifications by email. You’re whole team will stay connected with a team calendar and to-do lists, so you know who is working on what. You can also legitimize any of those requests that come through Slack or your communication tool by sticking a due date on them to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal on the same timeline.
Henry Ford said:
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
Manage your internal marketing teams well so that everyone moves forward in achieving the company’s set goals.
Don’t forget to constantly tweak and improve your internal team management techniques.
Above all, be considerate when dealing with your marketing team. Because to a large extent they’re the lifewire (e.g., they bring new customers in and educate existing ones) of your business.