49ers huddle football team

Football season can remind us how the right team, and team structure, can drive success. In fact, football teams are a lot like marketing automation teams – you need talented players, of course, but you also need dedicated roles, internal coordination, and sound strategy.

As head of our Customer Success/Account Management team here at Marketo, one question I hear frequently from new CMOs, VPs of Marketing and Directors of Marketing/Lead Generation is: “How can I build my marketing automation team?”

At least some of that answer is dependent on individual variables – your company size, your resources and budget, and the goals you want to accomplish. But I can share some examples and insights that should help any new team.

The Basic Structure of a Marketing Automation Team

From my observations of various customers and companies of all sizes, I typically recommend a marketing automation team structure like this:

how to structure your marketing automation team

At some small businesses, many of these roles are combined. If you’re using marketing automation software, you can do amazing things with as few as two employees – an Admin (who also does Analytics) and a Content/Lead Nurturing Manager. Cloning programs and templates allow small teams to accomplish marketing automation on par with much larger companies.

At Marketo, we have a much larger team. We have six marketing ops people who serve as admins and handle analytics, and 10 people in paid lead generation programs – three work as Event Managers, one does webinars, and one focuses on lead nurturing and engagement. These people prepare their own copy and content. We also have a four-member Creative Services team supporting the Marketing Automation team.

Strong Management: How Websense Structures Their Team

Websense, a global leader in the data security industry, is succeeding in their usage of marketing automation due to a strong team structure and savvy manager. According to Cristan Hutto, Marketing Operations Manager at Websense, “With a team of my size (three), we are able to effectively support corporate campaigns and the global marketing managers with their regional marketing programs.” Cristan describes their team structure as:

  • Manager, Marketing Operations – Overall marketing automation manager and administrator. (1 full-time employee)
  • Email Specialist – Schedules and creates all the programs/campaigns for email execution worldwide. (1 full-time employee)
  • MARCOM Team – Creates all emails for worldwide marketing teams and manages translations. (2 full-time employees)
  • Web Team – Landing page/form creation for our multiple language websites. (1 full-time employee)
  • Analytics specialist – Reporting and Analytics Management. Currently, the Marketing Operations Manager doubles in this role. (1 full-time employee)
  • IT Support – CRM/marketing automation integration/Optimization. (1 full-time employee)

Basically, Ms. Hutto describes a “core” marketing automation team of three full-time employees, with support from Marcom/Web teams for content and creative.

Lean and Mean: How Spear Marketing Structures Their Team

Spear Marketing is a full-service, B2B agency specializing in creative, strategic demand generation and lead nurturing. Depending on the volume of campaigns and overall activity, Howard Sewell, Spear Marketing’s president, recommends the following:

  • One CRM administrator
  • One Technical Program Manager (HTML/Email Campaign Launches)
  • One Email Marketing Manager (Strategist/Content Writer)
  • One Demand Generation Manager (Lifecycle Strategy/Content/Campaigns)

Depending on volume/size of organization, the Salesforce.com person (#1) and technical email coordinator (#2) could be the same person, although simply developing and launching email campaigns can be a full time job.

What Does Each Role Do?

Wondering what exactly these roles do? Here are descriptions, along with the recommended level of experience for each major role discussed:

Marketing Automation Admin

A marketing automation manager is an evangelist for your adopted platform. They will develop best practices and training, and work side by side with your marketing managers to achieve 100% adoption, and ensure that everyone is using marketing automation to its full potential. They must have a deep knowledge of marketing automation, working to both improve and demonstrate marketing’s contribution to pipeline and revenue. A strong background in lead generation programs, email marketing best practices, and inbound marketing is crucial, along with experience improving marketing and sales alignment through continuous business process improvement.

Content Manager

A content manager is responsible for creating smart, compelling content that supports both strategic and tactical marketing and sales initiatives. This person works closely with design, lead generation, and product teams to generate marketing content and collateral that drives the highest possible impact and results. They will be creative, flexible, dedicated, and able to meet aggressive deadlines. They should understand both content marketing strategy and the use of analytics to measure and optimize performance.

Lead Nurture Manager

A lead nurture manager is the person who develops communications to the customer throughout the entire customer experience. They will work with your content manager, mapping the right content to the right place in the buying cycle. This is a critical role – when done well, nurtured leads can produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities, compared to non-nurtured leads. The person in this role should understand your buyer and user personas, and should be adept at planning workflows.

Analytics Role

Brian Hansford at Heinz Marketing describes the Analytics role this way: “The Analyst knows the right information to capture, analyze and report. Also, the Analyst can share insights and interpretations of marketing information that are meaningful to the executives at any level. The Analyst and Marketing Automation Manager need to work closely together to review data sets, test hypotheses and ensure the Marketing Automation and CRM systems are capturing meaningful information for the CMO, CFO, and CEO

Want to find out more about structuring your marketing automation team? Check out these resources:

How does your company structure its marketing automation team? Do you have any questions about improving your current structure, or creating one from scratch? Let us know in the comments below!

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