As the CEO, you want to hire great talent and give them the freedom to do their jobs. You also want results. The key to executing on both objectives is to ask tough questions and create accountability for your team around the results that matter to you. Marketing can be one of the toughest areas to manage as creative people often like to talk and think about “Brand”, “Impressions”, “Buzz” and “Reputation” rather than sales, margins and profits. There are some simple, concrete things that you can do to create a culture of results and accountability around your marketing team without strangling their creativity or micro-managing their operation.
Regardless of your market or product, it’s important to use questions to drive their overall system. The right questions give your team guidance in their decision-making process and engage them in providing answers in a way that aligns their thinking with yours. Here are the three tough questions that will increase the performance of your marketing team:
1. What are the stated performance goals for this campaign?
Ask your team to clearly define the expected outcome of any campaign BEFORE they start. How many sales, leads, emails, phone calls, etc. do they expect to get as a result? How will they measure it?
Don’t let your team slip on this. Even if they say “There’s no way to know that for sure”, or “We can’t measure accurately the total response for this activity” make them guess and offer a basis for evaluation. Accept that there may be some gaps in accounting for total results but have them put a number on paper. This way, when a campaign is over you can go back and compare what they thought would happen with what actually happened. Where were we wrong? Were there unexpected successes? What can we learn from this?
2. What was the conversion rate on this campaign?
For every campaign you spend marketing dollars on, your team should take time to assess the process when it’s completed. They should compare the results to their written expectations and calculate the conversion rate so it can be measured against other campaigns. Every campaign has some kind of conversion rate associated with it. If we send out 100,000 emails, call 1,000 businesses, mail out a 1,000 postcards, etc., some number of people will respond and hopefully become sales leads. Conversion rates are a great metric to compare one campaign to another and they also encourage your team to think in terms of end results, not just flashy web pages or cool product slicks. If the group is struggling to understand what the conversion rates are then maybe they need to examine new tools like trackable phone numbers, embedded code in email, trackable website code, etc.
3. What was the total ROI on this project?
Your marketing team should know what the real Return On Investment was on every activity they’ve spent your money on. If not, then they’re wasting it. What was the total amount we invested in this project and what sales can we attribute to it? This isn’t just the marketing “spend” on Google ads or magazine pages, but the total amount of time spent by staff to make it happen. Your marketing manager should have a good sense of the total cost of his/her team’s time and be able to attribute that to the calculations of ROI. If the entire team spent two weeks putting together a program that made the company $5,000 they might consider this a success, not factoring in the $6,000 in employee time it took to do it. How much did the business really invest in this and was it worth it?
Driving your team to answer these kinds of questions sets an expectation of accountability and gets them thinking about the bottom line at the front end of the process.David Moses and Max Helmer are seasoned executives who can help you grow your business. Please contact us to setup an evaluation with them.