7 Questions Marketing Leaders Should Be Asking Their Employees

    by Sarah Goliger

    Date

    April 9, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    question-marks-1In order to grow a strong, successful marketing team, you need to have a team of effective marketers who deliver real results. But with so many marketing channels to manage, and different members of your team working on different projects, it can be tough to keep track of who’s doing what, and how well.

    How do you make sure that every member of your team is measuring up?

    Use this list of seven critical questions to ask each member of your team to make sure that they're hitting their own goals, contributing to the overall team goals, are aware of and able to articulate the reasoning behind their actions and decisions, and are performing at levels that meet your expectations.

    Question 1: What are the most important metrics you’re tracking this month?

    One of the first rules of inbound marketing is that all of your marketing efforts must be measurable. The concept of closed-loop analytics was invented to give marketers a way to tie critical metrics like leads and customers back to its original source. Each of your marketing team members should have a specific numerical goal that they are focused on achieving in any given month. This will make it extremely easy for you and your employees to measure progress and performance month over month.

    Question 2: What are your top three priorities this month and how are they going to help you achieve your goal?

    It’s not enough to just ask what your employees are working on. They should be able to assert the reasons for focusing their time and efforts on those chosen projects over others, and ideally it should be because those projects will best help them hit their goal and increase the ROI of your marketing. Ask them directly how working on X, Y, and Z will help them hit their number. If they don’t have a good answer, they may be prioritizing their time poorly.

    Question 3: What’s working particularly well -- or not well -- for your channel/team right now?

    This question will help you gauge your employees' understanding of the results of the projects or people she’s managing, and give you a better idea of where the strengths and weaknesses lie in that particular piece of your marketing puzzle. Feel free to ask her to elaborate on why each of those things is or isn’t up to par.

    Question 4: What have you done differently this month to drive better results? What new initiatives do you plan to try next month?

    Two of the key qualities you should look for in a marketing employee are that they are agile and innovative. Having an agile marketing team means that they fail fast, learn fast, and change fast. It keeps your company ahead of the curve and at the forefront of the industry. As does innovation. You want your team members to be thinking of new ways to drive more and better results, instead of just executing routinely on the same tasks month after month.

    Question 5: What do you understand to be the current, primary goals for our marketing team as a whole?

    It’s extremely important that your marketing employees are not just focused on their own channels and goals. At the very least, they also need to be aware of the goals of the overall marketing team, as their goals should ideally be supporting these overarching goals.

    One of the best ways to have a strong marketing team is to encourage cross-collaboration. Empower your employees to make suggestions for improvements or brainstorm new initiatives to try in areas of expertise that are not their own. Getting input from folks who are smart and capable marketers, but are not thinking about those specific problems every hour of every day will offer a fresh perspective and help your team innovate faster.

    Question 6: What do you think the marketing team should do differently to better position ourselves to meet our goals?

    This question will likely reveal a few important things to you. First, it will give you a good indication of how well that particular employee understands the overall team goals and priorities. Second, it will allow you to get his feedback, which may help you better shape the team structure or team direction. Third, besides just offering a new perspective, his answer will offer you the perspective of someone on a different level, with a different focus than yours.

    It’s important to collect feedback from every level of your team, because you likely don’t see everything that they do as they execute day-to-day.

    Question 7: What can I do to help you?

    Aside from being a great way to build trust and good rapport with your employees, asking this question will give you deeper insight into where your employee is struggling the most. If she asks you to help her with a decision that you believe she should be able to make on her own, first find out exactly why she’s struggling with it, and then gauge whether or not this is a red flag. In answer to your question, she may indicate that she’s facing major blockers from a manager or her team members, in which case it may be appropriate for you to step in and clear those blockers for her. Or perhaps she has everything under control and you can breathe easy. Either way, by asking this very simple question, you’re able to both learn more about your employee and offer her your support.

    You may notice that while these questions are designed to help you evaluate the performance of your employees, you may very well also be measuring your own awareness of what your team members are working on, which will hopefully help you evaluate where you stand and what you need to work on with your team. In either respect, these seven questions should give you a good framework for getting the conversation started.

    How do you evaluate the performance of your marketing team members on an individual level? Your team as a whole? What other questions would you add to this list?

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    Written by Sarah Goliger

    Sarah Goliger is the Head of Paid Marketing at HubSpot. She manages online advertising and vendor relationships to generate leads. Connect with her on Twitter @sarahbethgo.

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