Building a High Performance Marketing Team

Posted by on May 16, 2011

The marketing department plays a vital role in promoting the mission and success of an organization. When joining a new company or taking on a new leadership position, it’s critical to quickly assess the marketing team you’ve inherited to determine what level of change and rebuilding may be required to ensure functional success.

By Grant Johnson, CMO, Pegasystems

Before rushing to judgment and a rapid makeover, take time to understand the structure, composition, talent, relative strengths and weakness of the team. Besides the obvious gaps in competencies, under-performers and open positions, often there are more subtle clues to the most pressing organizational shortcomings as well as staff member potential. In every situation I’ve encountered, there is always at least one person who is not in a well suited role. They often got there because they filled a vacuum left open for one reason or another – not because they had the requisite skills, desire or experience to succeed in the role.

There are four key behaviors that all team members should demonstrate in order to facilitate a high performing team and foster ongoing improvement to operational efficiency and increased impact:

  • Customer Focus: Making customers and their needs a primary focus of one’s efforts and actions is critical to successful marketing organizations (and companies for that matter). Thinking and obsessing about, contacting and connecting with, and “blueprinting” the value you deliver, the problems you solve, and the difference you make is essential to efficiently capturing, nurturing, and growing your customer base.
  • Communication: Clearly conveying information and ideas in a way that engages the audience or team member and helps them understand the message and take action. Demonstrated by how well one organizes the communication, maintains audience attention, listens to and adjusts to the audience and ensures understanding.
  • Innovation: Generating innovative solutions in work situations and trying novel ways to deal with work problems and market opportunities. Demonstrated by doing more, finding new and better ways to accomplish ongoing tasks and continuously improve output and measurable results.
  • Leadership: The phrase “lead, follow or get out the way” should apply to all team members, not just the few at the top. I believe that there are not enough leaders and risk takers at middle levels, so encourage others to sit in the driver seat for a chance to see how they do. You may be surprised enough to let them reach further in the future.

Grant E. Johnson is chief marketing officer for Pegasystems, responsible for global marketing strategy and execution, including corporate and product marketing; industry solutions marketing; customer, field, and partner marketing; communications; communities; industry analyst and press relations; and web presence.  He has also published several articles on best practices in high-tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™.