Project management tools, social media marketing solutions, CRM platforms…the list goes on and on. As B2B marketing agencies increasingly turn to a growing arsenal of technologies to automate their activities, the role of actual team leaders who manage the workflow on a macro-level is easily overshadowed. Even with all of the advanced functionality of automated solutions, leadership remains key to scaling a marketing agency’s operations and maintaining its team’s productivity.

Employees are often averse to change, and have difficulty switching to new automation tools – particularly if they’ve already become accustomed to particular ones at their last office. In addition, many of them find it hard to change the way their workflow is organized, or adjust to a new type of project management strategy among team members. As a result, the leader’s role is crucial in bringing all the marketers on board with a new platform, ensuring each person is actually using it, and showing everyone how it actually saves time and resources in the long run.

One great example of this is the challenge of transitioning from using traditional e-mails to project management software, such as Trello, DaPulse, or BaseCamp to keep track of everyone’s tasks. Trying to coordinate projects via e-mail is extremely cumbersome and ineffective, especially when there are numerous people and attachments involved. At the end of the day, when it comes to e-mails, there’s always someone who accidentally got left off the CC list, an attachment that doesn’t open properly, or an excess of messages that makes it easy to lose track. B2B marketers are expected to manage a slew of assignments – from content creation and distribution, to launching webinars, engaging with existing customers, and much more. Online project management tools make it possible for everyone involved in a project to see the tasks involved, attribute a status to them, leave comments and share content with others – all from the same interface. So, the question is – how do you get people to stop e-mailing each other or managing tasks manually, and adopt this kind of method?

According to Kfir Pravda, who recently spoke about scaling marketing operations at an Oktopost customer-hosted webinar – the answer is simple: be harsh. As skilled and as talented as your newest hire might be, you have to tell him or her that the only way be part of the team is to adopt platform X, and then show them exactly what benefits it (e.g: does it track leads better, automate e-mail campaigns, or show valuable analytics?). To drive the point home, Kfir made it clear that he would no longer be accepting e-mails from team members, and that any e-mail he saw about a task or assignment would receive a one-word answer: BaseCamp.

Although it took his team a while to accept this, and take his request seriously – eventually it worked, and now they all use this project management tool. Keep in mind that it’s best to have a trial period, where everyone tries to use the program for at least a few weeks, and offers feedback on it – before you decide to implement it. Once you see that it answers your businesses needs, and actually makes e-mail campaigns, content distribution and social media marketing easier, it’s time to make the switch official.Keep in mind that when it comes to these types of technologies, it’s much simpler to make the switch for a small team – fewer than 10 members – than it is or a larger one, which may have to be divided into units.

Kfir’s story clearly shows the crucial role that leadership plays in getting each marketer to change his or habits and adapt to a new method accordingly. Without the right leadership qualities, and the willingness to encourage people (assertively)to open their minds to new kinds of processes, these technological solutions are useless – making it that much harder for you to scale your operations. On this note, Kfir commented, “As soon as you decide that you want your marketing agency to work in a certain way to achieve scalability, you have to be consistent, ruthless and not budge. Are you automating your workflow? If you’re not automating anything, but are repeatedly doing manual tasks, it’s probably best to look at the way you work and try to change it.” This is the only way to become a true advocate of automation and integration, and intelligently streamline your business.

When it comes down to it, the head of a marketing department needs to understand that it’s all about the team. A certain CRM platform or e-mail automation tool might really helpful, but it’s a leader’s responsibility to convince team members thatthe only way to achieve goals and organize their workload is by using it. Everyone has to be on board – even if this isn’t an easy to achieve – given that any such technologies can only work effectively if everyone is using them.

For example, a project management tool can’t work properly if one person on the team still wants to receive tasks by e-mail. You won’t be able to use a tool such as Nimble or Act-On if your marketing team doesn’t view it as part of its day-to-day basic workflow. Without the full commitment of your team, and a bit of assertiveness from the leader, your marketing agency will never realize the full benefits of working via automated marketing platforms.