Marketing operations is often the center of organizational excellence — it’s essential for driving other marketing functions.
When you can upskill your marketing team by making them more efficient at what they do and upscale that team by applying those newly learned or refined skills, your marketing team can become a force multiplier, increasing overall business performance.
We’re joined by Pedrum Khosravi, Global Marketing Operations Leader at Convera, who shares his passion for the ideas of upskilling and upscaling, and how they work together for marketing operations teams.
Join us as we discuss:
- How to upskill and upscale marketing ops teams (and what kind of tools to use)
- Leading marketing operations as internal consultants, emphasizing best practices and excellence
- The importance of integrating physical and digital marketing
Implications of upskilling and upscaling
Upskilling allows employees to be more successful by way of their skillset. This can be done by formal education, such as classes or seminars, or work-based experience in the day-to-day operations of the company. By building new skills or refining existing ones, upskilling leads to elevated outcomes.
Upscaling takes the skills that were buffed during the upskilling phase and utilizes them to become even more productive — creating a force multiplier.
There are three essential skills behind successful upscaling. The first is technical skills. Usually, the prime focus in marketing operations is technical skills, which include managing marketing automation platforms, SEO, website development and analytics.
Equally important are soft skills. These are used in every interaction with another person or groups of people. Soft skills become crucial while handling negotiations, managing stakeholder expectations and navigating conflicts.
The final necessary skillset is functional skills. Often overlooked, these skills could bring the most value. Functional skills include analyzing data (without cherry-picking), effective program management, complex and functional problem-solving.
Molding the foundation of your team around those three skill sets will set the stage for impressive results in upscaling. “What it comes down to is taking those skills, making sure there's a framework to approach it. Then driving productivity,” Pedrum says.
Marketing operations as the epicenter of excellence
At the core of every marketing strategy, the operations team steers the ship while leading the push for core marketing functions. Building core values and skillsets into the operations team will rapidly lead to those skills dispersing across the entire marketing department — eventually, the entire organization.
Upscaling a marketing operations team begins with fully understanding where their skillsets currently reside. This often requires asking hard questions and discovering answers that may not be ideal. Addressing concerns as early as possible is the only way to ensure a prosperous upscaling venture.
Are the team’s technical skills getting a little rusty? Perhaps there is a new system in place that could call for new training.
Is it possible that some negotiations could lead to undesirable outcomes? Are stakeholders absolutely impressed or left wanting?
Often the hardest to address are those functional skills. Are projects being delegated to the right teams? Do the right people hold the right roles based on their own skill sets?
Upscaling results can have a quick turn-around time if the upscaling focuses on skills that are already strong. Without a proper assessment, tasks may be given to teams that are not comfortable with the assignment at hand for a number of reasons. A proper, in-depth health assessment of marketing ops is absolutely critical for positive results, regardless of the depth and breadth of the upscale.
The individualistic approach
Each marketing operations team is wildly different. Two marketing ops teams within the same industry could even be polar opposites. It is important to take the uniqueness of each individual on a team into consideration when preparing to upscale.
Differences considered, taking into account the interests and goals of each team is equally crucial. A team that has a laser focus on program management may not be readily able to massively upscale their negotiation game. Allowing a team to share their ambitions, then providing the resources needed to meet their own goals is key. Finding the flow of the specific team at hand will point to the needed direction.
Embracing the consultant mindset
While consultants and marketing operations serve different functions, Pedrum believes they should share the same framework and mindset. With each new company comes an entirely different set of functions for marketing ops. Successful operations team members can dig under the hood of the business and completely grasp the company as a whole, driving business problems.
“For marketing operations teams to be really successful at upscaling, they have to be just as good as the business stakeholders in understanding the business, the processes, etc,” Pedrum says. “So in that sense, marketing ops is the same as consulting. Every situation is different.”
No one is expected to jump aboard a marketing operations team and immediately know all, since, as previously discussed, they are completely different. However, the ability to look into a problem and discover a new way to solve it is what makes for a top-tier ops team member.
Doing more with less
When faced with lacking resources or funding, Pedrum stops the jump to automation.
Many companies do not have the resources available to purchase lustrous amounts of AI and automation software. Even if they did have the necessary resources, there would still be people who are needed to operate it — making a cyclic problem.
Managing marketing technology can take excruciating amounts of time as well. Closely analyzing the ROI for MarTech tools is of the utmost importance.
Physical marketing in a digital age
With every company shifting to a digital marketing front, integrating physical marketing into the digital world is a fantastic solution. For instance, posting a QR code on a physical table at an in-person event can embrace technological preferences while physically standing out.
Want to learn more about upskilling, upscaling, properly building marketing operations foundations and the value of physical marketing? Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you find your podcasts.