Articles & Resources on Operations Management | Wrike Blog
Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.

Operations Management

Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.
5 Marketing Operations Myths Debunked
Marketing 3 min read

5 Marketing Operations Myths Debunked

Marketing operations is a hot topic, especially for businesses looking to stretch their marketing dollars farther. And yet misunderstandings abound concerning what marketing ops teams do and how they do it. So, we're tackling 5 common misconceptions surrounding marketing operations to set the record straight.   First things first: what exactly do marketing operations teams do? They work to increase the efficiency and agility of the marketing department, aligning marketing efforts with both overarching business strategy and other departments (like sales and IT). Marketing ops manages strategic planning, budgeting, MRM marketing, process development, professional development, and marketing technology/data in order to measure and improve marketing performance and identify best practices. Myth 1: Marketing Ops' main goal is to justify marketing efforts. Fact: Marketing ops teams are objective. They don’t have quotas, so they can look at campaign results objectively to measure performance and attribute credit impartially. Their main goal isn’t to prove the ROI of marketing efforts, but rather to boost ROI through improved processes, analytics, etc. Myth 2: Marketing Operations is part of demand generation, and Marketing Operations managers come from traditional marketing roles. Fact: Marketing Operations teams are completely independent from other marketing departments, and marketers aren’t necessarily the ones filling marketing ops roles; they’re coming from finance, IT, sales ops, and other analytical, process-oriented positions. Myth 3: Marketing Ops is all about technology and data — automating processes, analyzing results, and crunching numbers. Fact: Gathering data isn’t enough, good marketing ops means interpreting it, understanding the business' objectives and how the marketing organization fits into the larger organization, and driving change within the organization. Marketing operations teams need to consider first and foremost the customer experience; only then can they determine how to tailor the marketing approach to improve that experience and boost engagement. Myth 4: Revenue generation is the realm of Sales Ops. Fact: Good Marketing Ops teams consider their marketing organization's process and strategy by considering this question: how does it contribute to revenue generation? At the Marketing Operations Executive Summit, they shared that "Marketing is now the strategy arm that is leading, and sales is following.” Marketing ops and Sales ops teams need to be closely aligned when it comes to revenue generation, not participate in hand-offs or operate independently. Myth 5: Your company needs a full-fledged Marketing Operations department in order to have effective marketing operations. Fact: You can improve your company's marketing operations right now, with the resources you already have. This article gives tips on identifying someone within your current marketing team who would be a good fit for taking on some marketing operations/marketing technologist responsibilities. And this article covers 6 ways your current marketing leaders can improve your marketing operations processes without hiring a marketing ops role (or spending any money at all). Learn About Marketing Operations Facts and Figures Find out which skills are most desired among marketing operations managers, the top challenge facing today's marketing departments, and how high-performing companies are boosting marketing revenue contribution by 69% in this overview of current marketing operations statistics. Sources: Marketo blog, Venturebeat, Wikipedia, Allocadia.com

A Guide To Creative Operations Management
Project Management 7 min read

A Guide To Creative Operations Management

Creative operations management isn’t an oxymoron. It can help you and your team deliver creative projects more efficiently. Here’s what you need to know.

3 Design Studio Management Challenges (and How to Solve Them)
Project Management 7 min read

3 Design Studio Management Challenges (and How to Solve Them)

Design studio management can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. As a design studio manager, you need to keep processes streamlined and deliver your best work. Here are 3 common hurdles in your design studio and how to proactively overcome them with the right design project management tools.

5 Challenges Sales Operations Teams Face Today
Leadership 5 min read

5 Challenges Sales Operations Teams Face Today

Some people compare sales operations teams to a car's engine. Although not seen by drivers, it's working away under the hood, powering the car to get from point A to point B. In the same way, sales operations teams are the people making sure the sales force is always moving forward successfully. They are responsible for leveraging technology and information to support sales, troubleshoot CRM issues, and design solutions that drive sales onward and upward. Today, the average sales representative is so busy with routine tasks like emails and meetings that they spend less than half of their day actually selling. An awesome sales operations team can help those reps cut back on administrative work and provide the company with a huge return on investment. While it's up to sales reps to keep revenue figures climbing up and to the right, the sales ops team must ensure everything is running smoothly on the back end — as well as face their own set of work-related difficulties. Here's a list of 5 common, but rarely-acknowledged, challenges sales operations teams face today: 1. Wearing too many hats Sales reps have a very defined role: convert leads into buyers. Everything related to sales teams that is not defined within that sales rep role is usually relegated to sales ops. If you look at a typical sales ops job description, you'll find a range of responsibilities that include overseeing sales performance analysis, developing a sales incentive program, managing sales force automation and CRM, evaluating and designing sales force strategies, and providing technical support for sales functionalities and tools. This wide range of tasks, in addition to addressing the immediate needs of sales reps, can become overwhelming and taxing for sales ops teams. 2. Keeping up with evolving technology The dynamic world of CRM, marketing automation, and predictive marketing analytics tools is forcing sales ops to constantly reevaluate their strategies to stay ahead of the game. With sales becoming more aligned with other departments like marketing and customer success, sales tools need to be able to integrate and connect to other business tools. Sales ops is responsible for making sure the tools in place are cost-effective and bring in measurable ROI. 3. Juggling ad-hoc requests Because a huge part of sales ops involves supporting and managing the sales force and corresponding tools, it's impossible to plan out when requests are going to arise. It's difficult to keep a consistent, predictable workflow in an environment where sales strategies and technologies are constantly changing. Work management and instant messaging platforms are becoming more popular across sales ops teams to stay on top of requests and communicate quickly. 4. Adjusting to the shift in customer interaction Currently, consumers have access to more information about a product than ever before. With blog content, videos, tutorials, reviews, and free trials all being thrown into the lap of a potential buyer before they even speak to a sales representative, it can be difficult to find a reason to get them on the phone. It's up to sales ops and managers to determine how to engage with potential customers when they already know so much about the product, as well as how to shift the sales conversation from "what" to "how and why." 5. Reaching larger, long-term company goals while keeping up with immediate sales needs Sales ops' top priorities are accelerating revenue and sales growth. But new lead-gathering strategies outlined by executives, combined with input from the full sales team, can be overwhelming. Unless there is a clear, continued understanding between executives, marketing, and sales on how to identify high-value prospects for sales reps, the sales funnel will flood with uninterested leads and general inquiries. And while sales ops may be focusing on reaching their lead conversion goal for their quarterly OKRs, sales managers could be pushing their reps to focus on target accounts — which could mean fewer overall conversions, damaging the sales ops' perceived success. What other challenges have you seen arise in sales ops teams? As sales operations become more common in organizations, it's important to recognize when these challenges start turning into full-blown barriers to success. Once resolved, your sales team can focus less on administrative fire drills and more on closing deals! What are some of the other challenges facing professional services firms and sales ops teams? Share with us in the comments!

5 Rules for Scaling Your Marketing Operations Successfully
Marketing 7 min read

5 Rules for Scaling Your Marketing Operations Successfully

Marketing organizations are under tremendous pressure to perform. Budgets aren’t growing, but expectations are. How do you do more with less, without compromising on quality?  For marketing leaders at growing companies who are ready to expand their programs, scaling marketing operations is a top priority. But doing so comes with major challenges: coordinating different teams while managing priorities, resources, and metrics in a way that doesn’t slow you down is no easy task. But bigger doesn’t have to mean slower or less effective. By scaling your marketing operations, your growing marketing organization can stay lean and agile while continuing to deliver campaigns that impress customers and fuel business growth.  Wondering what is professional services marketing and how to excel at it? Follow these five rules to scale your marketing operations successfully.  Rule 1: Ensure Your Strategy & Processes are Scalable Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Scaling your marketing efforts can create needless complexity, hinder collaboration, and slow your team down. Smart planning is needed to avoid these growing pains and keep your marketing organization running smoothly.  So scale back before you scale up. Examine your current processes to see where you can streamline, determine which marketing efforts are generating a positive ROI, and cut back on what’s not working as well.  To help determine whether you're in a good position to scale, ask yourself these questions:  Do you know what distinguishes your brand from competitors in key vertical markets, or areas you've targeted for market expansion?  Can you clearly articulate that difference?  Being able to scale successfully means knowing what attracts and retains the customers you've already acquired, and leveraging that knowledge for growth that's sustainable. Rule 2: Make Sure Your Team is Ready Think about your team and its current workload and responsibilities. Are they equipped to handle a ramp up in projects without neglecting current customers, products, and services?  If your marketing coordinators are also supporting other departments, such as PR and customer service, analyzing performance data, and implementing new marketing tools, they’re doing too much. Go back to step one to streamline efforts and processes so your team has the bandwidth to scale. Or consider adding staff to balance your team's workload and responsibilities.  Next, ask yourself: does your team have the expertise needed to launch successful campaigns in the new regions or industries you're targeting? If not, should you hire new staff now, or contract out until you have a better idea of the kind of expertise your team needs? Evaluate your current team to identify each member's strengths and expertise, find out where your talent gaps lie, and hire for those roles.  Rule 3: Fail to Delegate, Fail to Scale According to a report done by CMO Council and Deloitte, 45% of CMOs say they spend most of their time reviewing and approving marketing plans, budgets and campaigns. 42% say most of their day is spent in meetings. 66% wish they could spend more time on business strategy with fellow company leaders, and 55% want more time to implement innovative new marketing approaches.  Making good decisions takes time — something few marketing leaders have enough of. So save your attention for the most important cases, and delegate whenever you can. Set your team up to be able to make good decisions on your current marketing initiatives, so you can focus on executing new strategies.  Because many marketing tasks are recurring, like setting up campaigns, planning and publishing content, or promoting events, so are many of the decisions your team has to make around these initiatives. For instance, which segments or channels should a new campaign target? Which metrics will you use to track success? Create templates for recurring tasks and projects, so processes are standardized and easy to follow. Set up reporting dashboards that make it easy to measure and share results. This visibility lets you quickly check in on campaigns without spending all your time in meetings, and it allows your team to stay aligned on priorities and know exactly what their colleagues are responsible for, and what goals they're driving towards.  Email and spreadsheets are about the least scalable solution there is, so find a work management tool that can grow with your team. This guide will help you evaluate your options and find the right fit for your needs.  Rule 4: Embrace Automation It’s the central puzzle of marketing: sending the right message to the right person at just the right time.  But as you ramp up your marketing machine, launching simultaneous, complex campaigns, it becomes more and more difficult to do so. In order to keep up with the complexity and volume of customer and campaign data, you need the right technologies to track, analyze, and optimize your marketing efforts.  So how do you scale without losing the personalization that's resonated with your customers and fueled your current successes?  Leveraging marketing automation tools allows you to send highly targeted messages to leads and shorten the marketing cycle. Automated lead nurturing helps you build relationships with customers through helpful emails, follow-ups, social media engagement, etc., to determine when they’re truly sales-ready. And by automating your creative workflows, you streamline repetitive tasks, cut down on errors, and execute faster.   Rule 5: What Can’t Be Measured Can’t Be Improved  A recent study by HubSpot found that only 23% of companies are exceeding their revenue goals — and of those not exceeding their goals, 74% don’t know the number of monthly visits, leads, MQLs, or sales opportunities they need.  How can you grow your customer base and revenue streams when you don’t now how leads are coming into or moving through your marketing funnel?  When you’re tracking the right things, growth becomes a much simpler task. Focus on metrics that make you a customer-centric organization, so you get actionable data and timely user feedback that pushes your company forward. Find out which marketing initiatives are creating value in order to improve results, boost ROI, and deliver mature leads to your sales team. Being able to properly attribute revenue across each of your marketing activities is key to knowing where to place your resources to fuel growth.  Basic metrics like lead volume and website traffic are important, but failing to dive deeper means you’re missing out on key insights into your marketing performance, and valuable opportunities for improvement. MQL to SQL ratio, unengaged subscribers, and other advanced marketing metrics will give you deeper insight into what's driving your success and where you should focus your attention. And don’t just measure campaign results; measure the effort that goes into them as well. Evaluate campaign performance based on two factors: did your efforts produce the desired outcomes? And did the outcome justify the resources required? Maximize Growth and Stay Lean  With the right foundation of marketing operations, you can grow your marketing organization into a responsive team that’s able to capitalize on customer needs and market trends.  Teams that embrace the Agile marketing framework stay lean while improving productivity and efficiency. In fact, 87% of CMOs have found their teams to be more productive after transitioning to Agile marketing. Get in-depth strategies for making your growing marketing team more Agile in this free guide, 7 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team.  Sources: Oktopost.com, Blog.marketo.com, Inc.com, Blog.Hubspot.com

Common Challenges of Working From Home for Business Operations Managers
Remote Working 5 min read

Common Challenges of Working From Home for Business Operations Managers

Remote work is more common than ever and the challenges of working from home are undeniable. Learn more about common operations management challenges.

A Guide to Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
Leadership 10 min read

A Guide to Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

Business process reengineering can revive an organization, improving efficiency and cutting costs. Learn more about reengineering processes.

How to Achieve Operational Efficiency and Work From Home
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Achieve Operational Efficiency and Work From Home

Operational efficiency is essential to get the most possible ROI out of campaigns. Keep reading to get a deeper dive on what defines operational efficiency and how to achieve it, as well as how to identify and take action on low ROI campaigns.

The Ultimate Guide to Operations Management
Project Management 10 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Operations Management

Discover what is operations management, its key strategies, best practices, and how you can achieve business success in this ultimate guide.

7 Secrets of the Best Marketing Operations Teams
Marketing 5 min read

7 Secrets of the Best Marketing Operations Teams

By Lynn Hunsaker and Gary Katz, President/CEO and Chairman/Chief Strategy Officer, respectively, of Marketing Operations Partners Value creation is the ultimate measure of success in business: value to customers, shareholders, alliances, employees, and the community at-large. In the quest to be best, follow the money, or better yet, be the one that enables value (money, capability, opportunity) to be created. Marketing Operations is a role that can facilitate the whole marketing department responsibilities in value creation. Here are 7 secrets for success: 1. Know which side your bread is buttered on It’s a fact of life that you get ahead faster when you cater to whoever holds the purse strings. For Marketing, that’s first and foremost your customers. If your marketing is out of sync with content, timing, and methods that customers prefer, there’s not much point. Always start with WHO. This applies not only to messaging, but also to your strategic plans, tactical plans, process designs, people, tools, performance measurement – really, everything that Marketing does. This analysis and management of stakeholder needs is also known as ecosystem. 2. Set your CMO up for success Going hand-in-hand with the big picture of the ecosystem, the next layer in the bread-buttering hierarchy is enterprise objectives. Your CMO will be successful to the extent that the C-team perceives strong fit and contribution to their strategic goals. This is the WHY of the Marketing organization. You can align everything in Marketing with what the C-suite cares about by using a technique called cascading objectives. It’s the logical starting point for all marketing plans and performance monitoring. This orientation is the basis for your Marketing strategy. 3. Be a strategic enabler Someone needs to ensure the strategy comes to life, and that’s you. See yourself as a facilitator of Marketing’s success. Standards and oversight to help all marketers achieve enterprise goals are the WHAT of your role. It’s not about bureaucracy, but rather, connecting dots between strategy and execution, connecting people, connecting diverse data, and connecting interdependent processes. This is also known as governance or guidance. 4. Formalize the methods to your madness Process diagrams and procedures go a long way in accelerating necessities like onboarding, minimizing duplication of resources and effort across geographies and lines of business, and maintaining know-how when key persons depart. This is the HOW for your delivery of the why and the what for the who. Everyone’s work methods in Marketing comprise processes. 5. Remember: What gets measured gets done Help every Marketing sub-function select metrics that monitor early signals in their work. Typically, metrics are focused at the extremes of the spectrum: click-throughs (activity) and revenue (outcome). Don’t confuse outputs of a process to be early signals. These are junctures within a group’s work that signify potential re-work or scrap, or otherwise, potential successful outputs and outcomes. This is the SO WHAT? of everything Marketing does. By monitoring early signals before stakeholders can see outputs and outcomes, marketers are empowered to make adjustments that are efficient and effective. Measurement of progress is commonly known as metrics. 6. Prevent accelerators from becoming imploders Technology is intended to be an accelerator of everything. Select technology per who, why, how, what, and so what. When it’s selected in a vacuum, or without a firm understanding of the preceding, technology often derails strategy. Rushing to technology prematurely typically requires people and processes to bend in ways that aren’t sustainable. Conversations are taken over by what’s needed by the technology, instead of what’s needed for strategic opportunities. Make technology choices wisely to ensure Marketing’s strategic impact. 7. Ensure the horse is before the cart The combination of processes, metrics, and technology forms Marketing’s infrastructure: the vehicle to get from point A to point Z. This is the means for all the moving parts to function as intended. Remember that who, why, and how – ecosystem, strategy, and guidance – inform the necessary characteristics of infrastructure. The seven secrets of the best Marketing Operations teams fit together as shown in this framework.Notice the flow beginning with the ecosystem. Metrics, especially early signals, indicate what needs to be adjusted in every component of the framework. In our benchmark study, Journey to Marketing Operations Maturity, this framework represented the secrets of the best Marketing Operations teams, and is your path to value creation. It’s the lifeblood of your enterprise. In turn, it’s the ultimate measure of your success. These seven secrets can take root in your Marketing organization readily through our new Marketing Future Forum, which allows you to personalize these ideas to your business, access them on-demand in half-hour bites, and share them across your marketing organization. Join our Leap Day announcement webcast to learn how you can ready your Marketing organization for the future. Register now at http://ow.ly/YDCV1 Author Bios: Gary Katz, Chairman/Chief Strategy Officer and Lynn Hunsaker, President/CEO of Marketing Operations Partners, an organization that aims to transform marketing organizations as a value center via Accountability, Alignment, and Agility.

Marketing Operations: A Primer on the Fastest Growing Role in Business
Marketing 5 min read

Marketing Operations: A Primer on the Fastest Growing Role in Business

For businesses looking to stretch their marketing dollars, marketing operations is a hot topic. In order to keep up with the current speed of business, organizations need to leverage technology and gain insight into customer needs and business performance.  And while marketing operations has quickly become the fastest-growing role in business, there are still plenty of questions surrounding this relatively new field: What is marketing operations, and why bother with it? How does it fit into the broader marketing discipline? Is there a conflict between operations management vs marketing? And what strategies can businesses use to improve their marketing campaign results?  What is Marketing Operations? First things first: what is the role of marketing operations? A typical marketing operations director or coordinator has many responsibilities, including measuring and evaluating marketing performance, strategic planning, budgeting, developing and improving the overall marketing process, selecting and implementing marketing technologies, and providing professional development for the marketing team. So the operations and marketing relationship is really that of a partnership. Marketing ops focuses on behind-the-scenes activity to ensure processes are running smoothly and campaigns reach their goals.  Digital marketing operations may be a relatively new field, but its beginnings can be traced back to the 1920s. This infographic shows its evolution, and growing importance to various marketing disciplines: Popular Marketing Operations Tools As with any branch of the marketing world, there are a zillion options when it comes to marketing operations software. In fact, in his annual Marketing Technology Landscape super graphic, Scott Brinker of chiefmartec.com identified a whopping 3,874 marketing technology solutions.  If you want to zoom in for a better look at the landscape, you can view a hi-res version here: 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (PDF) To save you some time looking through thousands of tools, we've rounded up some of the most popular software used by today's marketing operations managers: Kissmetrics: Build customer funnels and sort website visitors into groups based on common actions and triggers so you can understand how potential customers are engaging with your site.  Unbounce: Use A/B testing to discover which features, website elements, or marketing messages are most successful when it comes to eliciting a desired response from potential customers.  Hubspot: Analyze and improve landing pages and forms to collect the right information from potential customers and automatically plug them into the appropriate nurture tracks.  Clicktale: Heat maps track website visitors’ mouse movements, clicks, and scrolling to determine which parts of your site they’re paying the most attention to — and what’s being overlooked.  SEM Rush: See top organic keywords, keyword rank, and search volume for keywords that are driving organic traffic to your competitors’ websites, and discover opportunities for gaining ground.  Wrike: Give your teams a collaboration and work management tool for organizing incoming requests, delegating tasks, and tracking project progress and results.  Get 10 more must-have marketing operations tools, plus details on the metrics you should track, here: Marketing Ops Tech & Tools for a Customer-Centric Organization Marketing Operations Strategies Most bad marketing decisions come down to one simple mistake: not having the right information about your target audience. This is where marketing operations strategies become an essential ingredient to marketing (and business) success. A common myth about marketing operations is that it’s all about crunching numbers and automating processes. In fact, a good marketing operations analyst has the skills to interpret a mess of numbers and fill in those knowledge gaps. They use their data-driven insights to help the marketing team improve customer experience and boost engagement. Marketing operations also focuses on improving processes and cross-team collaboration. By coordinating the various arms of the marketing organizational structure and product management roles, marketing operations management can connect the dots between strategy and execution. They can ensure that inbound and outbound campaign messaging is aligned, content managers are on the same page as the Lead Gen team, and all efforts line up with the CMO’s priorities and business objectives.  Ultimately, marketing operations works to combine processes, metrics, and technology to support the entire marketing organization.  For more marketing ops strategies, both the CEO and the Chief Strategy Officer of Marketing Operations Partners give their best tips here: 7 Secrets of the Best Marketing Operations Teams The Future of Marketing Operations In an effort to make their marketing efforts more efficient and effective, more and more companies are turning to marketing operations. And in turn, marketing operations teams are focusing on a central goal: value creation — for customers, employees, and business owners alike. This focus will continue to make marketing operations a global discipline used by successful organizations worldwide.  The Road to Successful Marketing Operations By Diederik Martens from MarTech Conference Ready to Get Started with Marketing Operations? If you think your company needs a full-fledged marketing operations department in order to have effective marketing operations, think again. You can improve your marketing operations today, with resources you likely already have.  Radius provides advice on identifying someone within your current marketing team that would be a good fit for taking on some marketing operations responsibilities, Emmsphere explains how you can improve your current marketing operations processes without spending a dime, and industry leaders offer 10 suggestions for marketing operations success. 

How Operational Inefficiencies Result In Employee Burnout (UK Survey)
Leadership 3 min read

How Operational Inefficiencies Result In Employee Burnout (UK Survey)

The results from our latest survey across Europe shows that 33% of UK workers have gone as far as looking for a new job due to frustrations around operational inefficiency. We talked to 3,000 workers from across the UK, France, and Germany. The findings highlight frustrations over inefficiencies at work and the worrying impact this is having on how engaged, productive, and happy employees are in their roles. We conducted the Wrike Digital Work Report 2018 to better understand the knock-on effect of operational inefficiencies on workers, and ultimately businesses. Nearly a third (29%) of UK workers say that they have become disengaged due to inefficiencies at work. Of those who were feeling most stressed, 66% said that over the last two years they’ve seen increased expectations around the speed at which they must deliver work. Added to that, 59% of all UK workers said that their workload has gone up since 2016, with a negative impact on stress levels (69% said it had increased). With an ever-increasing workload and a seemingly endless desire to have work completed ‘yesterday,’ here are the reasons UK workers are citing for their frustrations: No clear direction on projects or tasks (31%)
 Using slow or outdated technology (38%)
 The company’s way of working demonstrates outdated thinking (39%)
 New processes and changes to processes spark anxiety (34%)
 For those who are already stressed, lengthy approval cycles are adding to the frustration (45%)
 In addition to these functional frustrations, 50% of the most stressed UK workers said that they felt undervalued by their boss, despite the fact that 67% of them are doing more hours in the office, 46% are working more on weekends, and 56% are taking fewer breaks. 47% of the most stressed respondents believed, given the opportunity, they could do a better job than their managers. Demands on businesses to offer top-rate services or products, personalised to individual requirements, and delivered in real time are the reality of today’s business environment. It’s down to leadership within companies to figure out how to keep up with these demands without burning their employees out. Of UK workers who’ve admitted to looking for another job, 81% also experienced rising stress levels (this figure was 77% in France and 76% in Germany), suggesting there is clearly an emerging issue that needs to be addressed immediately. So, if you’re aware that your team is super stressed, maybe the starting point is to look at ways to genuinely help them be more efficient – simplifying approval processes, using the latest technology and ensuring they have crystal clear direction. Share this infographic with your colleagues on social media, or post it on your site using this embed code:

Start Enterprise Trial
Free 14-day trial, Easy setup, Cancel any time
Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.