Let’s start with accepting the universal truth.
Team building is hard.
There is so much to consider yet so few resources that can ensure success. How much can you know about your confidence to make a confident decision over a 30-minute interview?
You need to validate your candidate’s all-around skills, after all, both hard skills and soft skills. See, there are always potential risks associated when you hire.
The worst part?
This team-building drill becomes harder when you are recruiting your SaaS marketing team. However, there is nothing that a strategic hiring approach can’t alleviate. All you need to focus on is candidates with a growth mindset with T-shaped skills.
This will ensure you have a comprehensive team that is equipped to support every facet of the marketing needs of your SaaS company.
In this post, we dive deeper into the5 step framework that can help you structure your marketing team for success in 2021.
5 steps to structure a high-performance SaaS marketing team
At the core, any high-performance team has one similarity. They are all powered by a cross-disciplinary team.
The modern marketing landscape is complex and tremendously dynamic in nature. What works best today may not even give average results tomorrow. Gone are those days when you could deliver results with one marketer who was the jack of all trades.
Today, if you have to win, you need masters of their domain. Be it analytics, optimization, channel specialists, SEO, or content, it is the interplay of all these specialists that can result in desired growth. This means each of your team members needs to be able to complement each other. They need to build on each other’s ideas.
But in building so, you need to be cognizant of your marketing goals and resources. If you are just going to stick to blogs and Facebook campaigns for a while, there is no need to hire an Instagram expert.
Now, when you know the core strategy, let’s take a look at the steps on how to structure a SaaS marketing team.
1. Brainstorm your ideal team structure
The opening phase might look like a stage where you might jump but take a pause. Think again. Does your best marketing idea come in one shot or is it the production of a few quality brainstorming sessions?
Just like your strategy, your team structure needs some time to settle down. Your foundational requirements for building a team might appear on the surface but the roles that can transform your team into a success story may need a little bit more tinkering.
This is exactly why brainstorming your team structure is critical. It can give you multiple versions to choose from and decide what works best for your marketing goals.
You can do this via multiple methods. Two of the most popular methods are goal-centric team development and inspiration-based team development.
In goal-centric team development, you write the core tasks that are required to complete your marketing campaigns successfully. You can sit with your team and list out the tasks here. On the basis of this draft, you can finalize a list of tasks that matters the most and align it to the job role who would be responsible to perform it. It would create a great sense of responsibility and clarity of job roles and make your marketing team productive.
The other popular way, inspiration-based uses a mood board to create clusters of the team structures of the top-performing brands. Here you assess their strengths and weaknesses (do a SWOT analysis) to figure out which one fits your brand the best. Later, you can just simulate the model and customize it to make it your own.
2. Organize and structure the team
After you have the basic team players list ready, you need to think about organizing them effectively. Chances are you would find some roles that you thought were important could be struck or supplemented new ones in order to maintain a consistent flow of the team structure.
Ideally, you should try to create an all-inclusive team. This is the structure of a growth team. This usually includes a product manager, marketer, analyst, writer, and channel specialist. Together, you can design the best possible team with a free flow of related information cutting down the redundancy. What follows is faster growth.
Yet again, you can use features or functions to cluster your teams. For instance, a sales team to manage sales only. Analytics team to manage every facet of analytics. But the only downside here is these structures wouldn’t be as agile and comprehensive as growth teams.
This may often cause glitches in marketing performances and decrease customer experience. But if you do not have the resources or access to develop a growth team, function-driven team structuring performs as one of the best.
However, if you are still unsure of which one is the right pick for you, create anyone and give it a try for a month. Note the key frustrations and limitations that you are facing while working. Then you can try another and compare the results.
3. Align your team structure
You got the team structure. Now it’s time to design the workflow of your team to support your entire organization. After all, marketing is that one critical department of your business that supports every stakeholder relationship – be it employees, vendors, partners, or customers.
The real question is how to align your team structure?
You can start by revisiting the business model you operate in. In your SaaS model, finding out the key areas of feedback collection and the in-charge can ensure you know how to align your marketing team members with the other departments of the team. This will create a flexible yet cohesive organizational structure.
From the macro to micro-level, each of the structures will build into each other’s strength creating maximum speed in communication and knowledge without redundancy.
Using a knowledge base software here can be a very profitable tool here.
Again staying inside the loop with your technical team will ensure you have a better understanding of the strengths and loopholes of the product and create a desirable placement accordingly. The best part?
Finding growth levers will be much easier if you can spread the reach of your marketing team in every other department of your organization.
4. Define your team size
Now when you have a thorough idea of what and how to organize your team structure, it is critical to take some time out to calculate the size of your marketing team.
Ideally, this is determined by three factors: the structure of the SaaS marketing team, key requirements to meet your goals, and the size of your organization.
The structure of the team will give you an estimate of your size on a micro-level. This is where you put the roles as per functions and responsibilities.
The second criteria focus on aligning your marketing structure with your business goals. This gives the final version of the structure personalized to meet your unique business challenges.
Then comes the final criteria, organization size which helps to pan out this micro-structure into macro-level smoothly.
Here, your structure is tweaked on the basis of your organization’s size. If you have an enterprise brand with multiple locations, chances are you would have marketing teams set up for the respective locations. Yet have a central team to control each of the location teams. The only commonality of all these teams would be in the structure and how they function on a day-to-day basis.
This will create more consistency, control yet keep you off from the complexity of managing a huge team.
5. Prioritize team hirings
By now, you have a complete idea of the roles that you would need to invest in to get the maximum output from your marketing teams. Yet, the biggest setback that your ambitious hiring goals can hit is budget.
More than often, marketing teams’ budgets are more constrained than they require. But that doesn’t mean you cannot overcome this challenge.
All you need to do is use a little strategic approach here.
Start with prioritizing job roles that lay at the core tasks of your marketing goals. But remember to put them under broad categories.
This means if you are hiring for analytics, hire for a role who can look after analytics end-to-end. From data scraping to insight development, everything can be created by this person. If you are looking for social media expertise, look for a person who can conduct that for all social media channels. Do not laser focus on channels like a Facebook expert or an Instagram expert. Got the gist?
But this is not the only factor.
Now consider which roles do you need help with right now? This is where the prioritization can work for you.
With time and resources, you can build up your team strength and hiring momentum.
Building your marketing team for successful SaaS will always be another climb. The above steps are sure to give you a foundational road as to how to approach team building.
But you are far from done.
If you have to sustain the performance of your team, fostering a learning culture is critical. Ensure your whole team is obsessed with learning. Be it new tools, techniques, or pain points of your customers.
It will only foster a stronger creative culture and maintain your competitive edge. The best part?
Your business will stay agile and can adapt fast to disruptions.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as an Instructional Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and parents. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org for any content writing/marketing requirements.