Who decides how you market your business? You or your team?

Seems like a silly question on the surface, doesn’t it? Of course, you make the marketing decisions and you rely on your team to help you implement them! But there’s a hidden dynamic you may not have considered – your team’s marketing skills may be dictating your strategy.

Many of us select marketing tactics based on the skills, abilities, and interests of our team. Not sure how to make Facebook ads work for you? You’ll likely avoid them unless someone on your team has experience in this area. Working with a gifted graphic artist? No wonder you’re excited about using Pinterest and Instagram as traffic sources, regardless of how your target audience uses these platforms.

How to elevate your team’s marketing skills before you launch

Your marketing toolbox is very likely limited by the skillset of your team. So, if you want to elevate your marketing, you need to elevate the skills available to you.

1. Evaluate your marketing skills objectively

This effort begins with a process of objective evaluation. Each person on your team (including yourself) has strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to evaluate these objectively – without regard for how much you like the person in question or their work ethic. It’s not about personality – it’s about skillset.

Since marketing is a learned skill, we’re simply establishing a starting point for growth – not making a judgment or determining who “belongs” on the team. As the leader, it’s up to you to bring the objectivity and look at results delivered rather than other factors.

2. Create a collaborative plan for growth

Once you’ve established the benchmark, determine areas and opportunities for growth by discussion your needs with each individual on the team. Ask your team member about her interests or his professional goals and aspirations. You may be surprised to discover a designer with an interest in webinars or a writer who’d enjoy learning more about Pinterest.

Look for ways to align the interests and goals you uncover with your marketing needs. This way, you can focus on building the marketing skills your business has access to in a way that empowers your people as it elevates your work

3. Take a growth friendly action

Growth is hard sometimes, especially when the required skillset involves multiple details and a fair bit of trial and error – such as marketing. Your team members will need positive leadership from you in order to achieve their growth goals. It's easy to say you're growth friendly, but acting like it takes time, effort and patience – especially when mistakes happen.

Here’s how you can intentionally support them as you all grow together:

1. Lead by example

Hopefully you evaluated your own skills along with those of the team (if not, go back and do this!). Be open about your own growth goals and share your efforts to expand your skills honestly with your team members. Talk about the books you’re reading and the courses you’re working through – and show them (by your example) that you’re all in this together.

2. Set clear expectations

Sustainable growth is quite often incremental, so it’s helpful to set small progress goals for team members. Don’t expect someone to master Facebook advertising in one day, but set a clear expectation of steady progress and offer feedback as small goals are achieved.

Sustainable growth is quite often incremental, so it’s helpful to set small progress goals for team members. Don’t expect someone to master Facebook advertising in one day, but set a clear expectation of steady progress and offer feedback as small goals are achieved.

3. Provide learning opportunities

Keep your eyes open for webinars, courses, and other learning opportunities that would benefit your team and paying them for the time it takes to complete them. Consider tasking them with “experiments” too, so they can learn by doing and try new tactics and skills without fear of trouble if they make a minor mistake.

4. Share support and encouragement

Learning is challenging and difficult work. We need cheerleaders to boost our morale and help us stay motivated. Be a cheerleader for your people, and create moments to celebrate as a group.

Be willing to hire up in order to elevate the team.

As you move through this process, you may realize you need more (in terms of marketing skills) than your team can easily deliver. While it can be tempting to try and “make do”, I encourage you to contract an expert to fill the gaps. It gives your team more bandwidth, reduces the chance of being overloaded and making mistakes. A little time put in by an expert can create excellent results fast and keep your tools or strategies current. That's so much better for business than spending time and money on mediocre results.

Here are a few examples:

  • Work with an experienced web developer to add more marketing functionality to your website or shop website.
  • Collaborate with a skilled copywriter to create the foundational story and message you use to talk about your business and your services.
  • Consult with a marketing consultant to assess your overall strategy and create a plan your team can easily implement.

These are just a few examples of ways intentionally investing in expert services can elevate your team and improve your results. Be open to using your resources to get strategic advice you can apply over and over again to your business. When you need to contract outside help to step up your game, that’s a sign that you’re doing things right.

Looking to elevate your marketing skills? Let’s work together to create your ideal sales system – so you (and your team) can easily achieve the next level of results for your business. Learn more.