ebManaging a marketing team is not for the faint of heart. You start feeling like you need an extra arm, eyes in the back of your head, and the ability to read minds and forego all sleep just to keep up.
While it won’t help you grow an extra limb or stay up all night, using a good project management tool means you won’t have to. You’ll get better communication, easy collaboration, and an organized approach to managing your marketing team.
1. “Will my team actually use it?”
You’ll only reap the benefits if your team actually adopts the software. They need to see that it will improve their daily work in a real way — making it easier to see what teammates are working on/responsible for, giving them a central place to communicate, complementing their personal work styles, and so on. Make sure whatever software you choose is easy to adopt and fits in with your team's current habits, standard processes, and other favorite tools.
2. “Can multiple departments use it?”
No team works in total isolation. Easy handoffs, clear communication, prioritizing tasks, and coordinating projects with other departments requires a tool that's flexible enough that everyone from marketing and design to accounting and IT can easily use it for their daily work. Look for a customizable tool that allows teams to create their own workflows and folder structure. When everyone's using the same tool, communication and collaboration across teams is much easier and more efficient.
3. “Does it support transparency & clear communication?”
Being recognized for your efforts isn’t a trivial matter. When people feel their work is going unnoticed and unappreciated, they aren’t as engaged and don’t put forth as much effort to go above and beyond. Positive feedback helps build good habits, strong teams, and thriving companies. As a manager, when you always know exactly who’s responsible for which tasks, where work stands, and what the results are, you can share successes with execs, keep projects aligned with new business goals, and get credit for your team's accomplishments. Look for a collaboration tool that notifies you of project updates, and allows you to create "favorites" or easily track your high-priority projects.
4. “Is organization flexible?”
You can't be efficient if you can never find what you're looking for — and neither can the rest of your team. Find a tool with an organizational structure that makes sense for your group, or better yet, one that lets you tailor your folder structure however you prefer. Also make sure you can change the view to show the precise information you want to see, so you can quickly make sure important projects are progressing as planned or easily alter your schedule.
5. “Can you generate custom reports?”
Keeping spreadsheets updated, accurate, and organized takes a lot of work. Complicated formulas, data accidentally entered into the wrong cell, tracking who made which changes and when, and trying to find and fix errors is time consuming and frustrating. And yet you need to account for how you’re allocating resources, demonstrate your team's efficiency, and pinpoint any areas where numbers aren’t meeting expectations to discover the root cause and most effective fix. Make sure your project management tool creates reports in real time so you always have the most up-to-date information, and that reports are easy to share or export.
6. “Does it easily (and securely) allow for external communication/users?”
Working with contractors, clients, freelancers, or volunteers has become a routine part of daily work for most teams, and yet so many are still resorting to email when it comes to communication. Attachments are too big, easily lost in old email threads, or get caught in spam filters. Keeping track of every piece of feedback or updated attachment in conversations 15 messages deep creates even more work, and it's all too easy to miss an important comment or request. Many project management tools allow you to temporarily invite external users who only have access to certain tasks or projects, making it easy to discuss progress, get timely feedback, and make updates quickly and accurately.
7. “Does it integrate with other tools we use?”
While you want to be selective about the number of apps you use, no one tool will meet every one of your needs. And you shouldn't have to give up the tools you love and rely on just because your team needs a better way to work together. When your task management tool integrates with your other favorite apps, it's easier for your whole team to fit it into your established workflow so it doesn't slow anyone down.
Get the Complete Buyer's Guide to Online Marketing Tools
Download our free eBook for more advice on selecting the right collaboration and task management tool for your marketing team, plus a printable checklist to help you quickly evaluate your options.