Chris Winfield, who’s moderating our next panel about building a great company team, started by asking the attendees, “How many people work with people?” Perfect question, as this topic affects everyone, no matter what industry they’re in.
Richard Zwicky starts.
Some businesses manage to last longer because of team and brand building. It doesn’t matter if we’re trying to build our own company or trying to provide services and products for someone else; everyone has to be able to understand, absorb and convey their message appropriately.
You don’t win just by taking a lot of really great elements, people and tools and jumble it together for something better. It takes time.
There’s certain fundamental truth to success, and that’s quality. If you don’t have it, you’ll never succeed.
Do you broadcast your company’s message and beliefs out to the world to help people buy-in? Do every one of you post something about your job community? Probably not, but you need to. Your customers need you to. You need to get everybody buying into the fundamental beliefs you commit to.
Customer perception isn’t just in search engines — it’s everywhere else. If you’re not getting buy-in, there’s something wrong. You’re not listening to your team well enough or not conveying your message properly.
The market changes, so respond to these alterations and take advantage of opportunities.
Don’t sell what you can’t do. Your customers will see through it, and your team won’t be able to connect with you and they’ll move on. It’s a great way to run a turnstile business.
You better make sure that whatever your vision is, it matches the marketplace. You can go off and spend millions of dollars in the wrong area if you don’t pay attention.
Define how different from your competition your customers will perceive you to be. The reality is you don’t just have to that in selling — you have to continue to engage and build up your organization, and brand engagement has to be consistent.
When you’re building and leading an organization and team and somebody messes up, it’s your fault. You either didn’t hire the right people, didn’t give them the right training, or didn’t put them in the right position, but it’s the leader’s responsibility to address the situation and solve the problem.
Brands can’t succeed with poor leadership because it’s seen and exposed by the teams working inside the company when they verbalize and show lack of respect. This destroys the transparency of the organization. Organizations only succeed through accountability.
When you’re building a world-class team, why is everybody not accountable? If no one is responsible, you won’t succeed.
If you’re building out and up, the CEO will look around and see that they need help in certain areas. They do two things: bring in advisers and/or seek the help of an independent board. If too many people are in every single area, you won’t get enough outside perspective.
“You can’t expect the team to operate as a cocoon unit and succeed,” he said.
Leadership has to be stable, unemotional and objective. “Problems arise. Shit happens. Deal with it.” Far too often we panic, and it shows to your organization and clients.
Get involved but don’t micromanage. Don’t hire rockstars and then control them. Trust your employees to succeed.
Accountability is not top-down. It’s across the board. Everyone in an organization works together and builds value.
Team building = engagement. It’s all about bringing every single success right to you.
Next up is Melanie Mitchell.
She starts by saying that building amazing teams is hard. We all get so caught up in the day-to-day work that we forget about the people there sometimes.
You really have to build an environment and team that feels fortunate to be at your company, and it’s not easy to do.
You don’t have to work for a super-large agency — you can take these tactics and strategies and apply them to any size team.
Without our people, we’re nothing, and it’s a mantra we should all live by. When you’re recruiting, it’s about selling them on you as well as attracting great talent.
People misstep on the on-boarding process, too. It goes beyond that first week. You really have to build that relationship and connection with people. Get them in with the right people so they can continue to grow and develop. Especially in Internet marketing, it changes so quickly, and it’s important to take that time to let people feel like they’re part of something larger.
To deepen relationships and retention, think about individual coaching. Share what you’re working on. People want to hear about what’s happening and find out what they’re a part of on the grand scale.
It’s great to have someone who’s your boss or manager who sets a direction, but they want to know more about you and your path; use this for “coachable” moments and give your employees advice. Get to know them.
Employees will stay if they really enjoy the people they work with and love the company culture. Take employees to lunch or for coffee because it’ll really make a huge difference. It’s the little things we all tend to forget because we get stuck in the work day after day.
Transparency is really important. People start to speculate when they don’t know what’s going on and they start to lose focus on their work. When these things happen, talk to your team and be very honest. They appreciate it.
As an agency, there are two important things to remember in regard to clients: client on-boarding and management and setting expectations and education.
When working with clients, the process comes in four phases:
- Discovery — understand the brand goals, the target and the competition
- Assessment — decide your measurement plan and how you’ll determine success
- Strategy — finalize strategies and forecast success metrics
- Implement and Measure — project management for on-time execution; keep measuring and adjusting
In order to not lose your client, let the data do the talking for you. If you can’t get them to realize that what they want is unrealistic, you’re going to have problems. Don’t mislead them because you’re worried about upsetting them; it’ll come back and bite you later.
Decide what success looks like and make sure that the education is there. For example, some clients don’t understand search and PPC at all. Try to educate them and train them to make your life easier.
Communication is key. Layout plans for daily contacts, middle management, executive management and the C-Suite. Quarterly business reviews are how you make them love you. It can be just a way to give them an understanding of the landscape and some insights about what you did for them and what it means.
Make sure to communicate your point of view and express why they should care.
There are six steps you need to think about:
- Create core search team (tech lead, systems architect, SMEs, front-liners, program manager and project managers)
- Set priorities, goals and incentives
- Train, train, train
- Set internal standards
- Provide tools
- Measure and track (and adjust)
It’s incredibly important to emphasize why people should care about what you’re doing. People are doing amazing things but aren’t working to show others why it’s significant.
Send out a weekly email, create a dashboard, do something to show people what great work you’re doing. Celebrate it! Make sure your teams are excited about what they’re doing.
Remember: Without our people, we’re nothing.
I can’t believe there’s only one more session left! Look out for the last segment of my live blogging.