You're busy staying on top of the latest and greatest marketing technology, generating content, building out campaigns, identifying buyer personas, or being a resource for your team (the list goes on and on). All of this activity makes it difficult to worry about how work is getting done, as long as it gets done.

Not getting tasks done in the most efficient way possible eats into your team's productivity. Instead of automating workflows, you may be doing everything manually, which isn't the most effective use of your time. But as long as it's not affecting the bottom line, right?
Let's take a closer look at that... 
Say your team was just 10% more efficient. Across 300 employees with an average hourly wage of $50 and a $5 productivity gain per hour, you will see an average productivity gain of $2.7 million per year
Convinced it's time to fix your workflow? 
Let's take a look at the most common workflow problems (and their solutions) that are killing your team's productivity: 

Mistake #1: No Formal Process for Collecting and Executing Ideas

Sure, you host brainstorming sessions and encourage thinking "outside the box" but are you actually making those ideas actionable? Using a Google Sheet or (if you're old school) a pen and paper is great for recording notes and ideas, however; there is simply no way to tie those ideas into a bigger project or riff off of those ideas with smaller tasks using those tools alone. You're simply wasting your team's time... and ink. 
Instead, institute a formal way of brainstorming effectively by trying out some tried-and-true brainstorming techniques. We're not telling you to put away your pen and paper; in fact, some techniques such as rapid ideation encourage you to use as many mediums as possible.
However, it's a good idea to find a platform that allows you to consolidate all ideas and make them actionable by tying them back to the goals. With the proper work management tool, you can archive all ideas related to a particular topic or objective so they're easily accessible to the team. 

Mistake #2: No Way to Manage Incoming Requests

According to our Work Management Report, which surveyed 1,400 knowledge workers, the top productivity roadblock for 60% of respondents was “working on too many things at the same time,” followed by “unclear priorities” (31%) and “too many requests from others” (28%).
It's no surprise that ad hoc requests are the top productivity killers in the workplace and yet, we need to face the facts: ad hoc requests are unavoidable. Receiving random requests from various teams is just par for the course when it comes to collaboration.
So instead of putting all your team's energy into pushing back and avoiding them, find a way to embrace these requests into your workflow so they're somewhat manageable. 
Adopting an Agile methodology that allows your marketing team to shift and mold to each hurdle makes your workflow much more flexible when it comes to incoming requests. 
Also, having a centralized location where you can direct all incoming requests and receive all the info you need to get started will help you get a better handle on the madness. 

Mistake #3: No Way to Corral Feedback

Sure, two heads are better than one, but any more than that can get a bit crowded. Waiting for others to provide feedback not only causes confusion regarding whose feedback to listen to, it also creates bottlenecks in the workflow.
Without a clear process to navigate and prioritize feedback, you're receiving chat messages, emails, text messages, and taps on the shoulder all with clashing opinions on the latest campaign. 
When requesting feedback, it's important to only involve the key stakeholders and perhaps one or two individuals from other teams whom you believe could provide some added value. Once you've set up a proper approval/feedback workflow and shared it with your stakeholders, attach a deadline for providing feedback so it's not just sitting on their to-do list for weeks at a time. 

Mistake #4: Only Measuring Performance at the End

There will always be a level of guesswork involved in creating content and designing campaigns. However, not involving customer data and metrics in key decisions is only hurting your pipeline.
According to Demand Metric's Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report, while 92% of marketers believe analytics are important for managing marketing processes, only 39% use marketing analytics effectively.
One reason for this is marketers are only looking at their analytics at a single point in time instead of throughout several stages of the marketing workflow. 
When setting up your workflow, create space for team members to check in and evaluate progress. What audiences are we not tapping into? What isn't working? What should we A/B test? Answering these questions throughout the workflow instead of just during the final stages can help your campaign gain some extra momentum. 

Mistake #5: Not Reviewing Lessons Learned

They say doing something the same way over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So let's avoid the insanity and learn from our mistakes in order to duplicate our successes. 
Not reviewing lessons learned only sets your team up to make the same mistakes, and fail to understand why some aspects were successful. 
Discussing lessons learned is helpful, but it fails to make them actionable. Find a tool that allows you to record lessons learned and make your conclusions accessible. That way, every team can share their findings and learn from yours. 

Moving Forward With Confidence

In the end, it's up to you to recognize the gaps in your team's workflow. Find ways to fill those gaps by:
  • Instituting a formal process for executing on fresh ideas.
  • Adopting Agile so ad hoc requests are more manageable.
  • Limiting the number of parties involved in providing feedback.
  • Measuring analytics and performance throughout the campaign.
  • Review and record lessons learned so they're accessible to everyone.
By tightening up these processes, you're making productivity a priority and enabling your team to collaborate with the kind of efficiency that affects your bottom line. 

What are some workflow improvements you've made recently?

Share your tips with us in the comments. 
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