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Where Marketers Go to Grow

November 17, 2014 // 6:00 AM

How to Structure a Marketing Team of Any Size

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build-team-structureA few hours after giving my session at INBOUND 2014 on how to build an inbound team, a colleague of mine told me there was one slide in my presentation that caused around 80% of the audience to stand up and take pictures with their phones.

The slide illustrates exactly how marketing leaders should structure their teams in different team sizes and stages. This subject clearly struck a nerve with the audience in the room, so I'd like to address it here in more depth. (I also recently hosted a webinar on this topic -- click here to watch the recording.)

When it comes time to adding headcount to your team, marketing leaders want to know which specialties they should hire for -- and, more importantly, in what order they should hire them.

The question of who to hire next requires you to first take a look at your current team. Try placing each member of your team into the first three stages in the inbound marketing methodology: attract, convert, close. Here's an idea of which roles belong where:

  • Attract: Your content writers, designers, SEO specialists, and social media managers.
  • Convert: Everyone involved in conversion optimization, including landing pages, calls-to-action, lead scoring, and nurturing.
  • Close: Your sales enablement marketers helping the sales team close opportunities.

Once you've categorized each person, you'll have a better idea of which parts of the funnel you have been prioritizing when hiring. Next, compare your current team distribution to how you should organize a team of your size (this is that slide from my INBOUND presentation I mentioned earlier):

organizational-structure-slide

Notice how many fall under the "attract" bucket. Chances are this isn't what your team looks like right now.

The biggest mistake I see marketing leaders make is over-investing in marketers who specialize in the bottom of the funnel. In fact, the best way to help your sales team is to build brand awareness and create content that generates a lot of leads over time. An increase of twice as many leads means twice as many quality leads -- as long as you have software that lets you filter those incoming leads efficiently. That's how you build a successful sales and marketing machine.

So if your team has three people on email marketing but only one content creator -- who probably also runs social media and puts together design hacks on the side -- then you're not investing enough headcount in the "attract" stage. Your next hires should be top-of-the-funnel marketers. The more helpful and compelling content your team produces, the more effective you will be at driving traffic to your website and building a base of loyal followers and fans who eventually convert into customers.

No matter how small your marketing team is, build your "attract" team first and fastest. The long-term payoff of content is enormous. I promise you'll kick yourself later if you aren't investing in content now, for the same reasons you'd kick yourself for not contributing to your retirement fund until you're 40.

Watch my on-demand webinar "Building and Scaling an Inbound Marketing Team" to learn more about structuring and growing your organization at every stage.

download: free guide to org structures

Topics: Management Leadership

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