It’s practically inevitable: as a marketing team grows, silos start to form and the client experience deteriorates.
The complex functions of modern marketing demand specialization to work effectively. Past a certain point, no single person or group has all the necessary skills to handle all the tasks required. And so, specialist service teams form… the email team, the CRM team, the web team, the social team, the brand team, and so on. Each team develops its own ways of serving clients, and its own preferences for managing work. With the best of intentions, each team creates its own email address for receiving requests, and its own spreadsheet or database for tracking them.
And the internal client? Well, she’s getting frustrated. She has to deal with multiple specialists and multiple intake processes to get her project started. She has no way of tracking overall progress without calling the various teams and demanding their status reports. Meanwhile, the deadline is looming and she is uncertain about making it.
In the agency world, Account Executives solve this problem. They act as the single point of contact between the agency’s clients and the specialist teams – providing the necessary traffic coordination and communication to eliminate uncertainty for the client.
But dedicated Account Executives can be expensive. For many multi-functional marketing teams, a much more realistic solution is a shared Marketing Workflow with a “single window” for the internal client.
In a well-functioning Marketing Workflow system, the internal client has her own portal for making requests and tracking their progress. The portal provides a menu of the specialist services available, and realistic time estimates for performing those services. The client can request one service – or configure a complex project request with a bundle of services. She can view the progress of all her requests in real time.
Meanwhile, the internal marketing specialists use the same portal to manage their work. Using it, a team see how its individual deliverables fit together to create what the client needs. Specialists can keep track of deadlines and understand dependencies with other teams working on the project. They can prioritize work according to the capacity they have available.
In summary, with a Single Window, the work gets done more efficiently, with higher quality. Delays and overtime are reduced. Everyone is happier, less stressed, and trusts each other more.
Getting to this Nirvana requires hard work. Marketing specialists need to give up some of their autonomy – systematizing their deliverables and work processes in the name of a better client experience. Internal clients need to follow a defined process for getting work done, rather than relying on relationships and personal favours.
There are also costs involved – and the software purchase is only the beginning. Many great workflow systems are available, but none of them work out of the box. You need to plan for a major effort in documenting your current work processes, streamlining them, and building new ones.
In the end, though, workflow systems offer immense benefits to marketing teams and their clients. As marketing evolves and becomes more complex, the Single Window is becoming an indispensable tool.
To learn more about how Calibrate can help optimize your firm’s Marketing Workflow system, please reach out to Gordon Braun-Woodbury, Senior Marketing Operations Consultant at Calibrate.