I spent the first two decades of my career as a technology practitioner. Today, I’m a builder of a world-class services organization who manages and supports 20+ technology practitioners, including architects, developers, and implementation specialists.
As Director of Technology Services here at DemandGen, my job is to ensure we can provide the best service and expertise to our clients. My priority has always been thoughtfully scaling and growing my team. Because, at the end of the day, when you work in services, your product is your people.
“Building a world-class team” is a mantra I repeat often, both internally and with clients and prospects. I’m comfortable using the term “world-class” because I’m confident my team can stand toe to toe with any other organization out there.
As I orchestrate resources on a daily basis, I keep the following three principles at the center of every decision:
- Eliminate any single points of failure
We’ve all experienced it at some point in our careers, whether first hand or through harrowing tales shared by traumatized colleagues. Someone was unexpectedly out sick, went on vacation, or left the organization, and operations came to a complete standstill.
What would happen if a particular individual on your team weren’t available? Maybe their expertise is already required full time on another high-priority project. Do you have another resource who can jump in and keep things moving forward? Things happen, so it’s best to be prepared.
To ensure that no individual is the sole owner of a specific skill or specific set of knowledge, it’s important to create skillset redundancy. With the continual onslaught of ever-changing features and new technology, creating redundancy and mitigating risk has become a continual process.
We never want to be in a position where we’re unable to serve our clients simply because we don’t have the bandwidth or a critical skillset. By eliminating any single points of failure, you in turn mitigate any risk to your ability to provide world-class service to your clients.
- Expand your team’s depth of knowledge
Sometimes, there are surges in demand for a specific skill, technology, platform, or marketing discipline. You never want to be in the position where you have to decline work. If your analytics expert is already tasked on two other projects, or your developer is on a much-needed vacation, you’re stuck until those resources become available again.
As part of my job orchestrating resources and building a world-class services team, I’m continually identifying opportunities for people to stretch and learn new skills. This may sound a lot like professional development. That’s because it is, but at a more strategic level. Your team members grow in their careers, while you create redundancy and elasticity for your organization.
A big part of building a world-class services team is creating growth opportunities for your people. Open the door of opportunity for the people on your team to stretch and learn new skills that they may have not had the opportunity to do otherwise. Expanding their knowledge into new areas keeps them engaged, makes your team nimble, and leaves your clients satisfied with the exceptional service they’ve just received.
- Build resource elasticity
Oftentimes, much of the work we do— or, certain types of work, at least — is cyclical. It’s the proverbial feast or famine. Building resourcing elasticity, or the ability to quickly and easily move resources to where they’re needed most, means you can respond more quickly to client requests based on the natural ebb and flow of demand.
Eliminating single points of failure builds out this elasticity, so think about how you can create redundant skillsets through things like cross-training and shadowing opportunities. Having more people to draw upon for any given request makes you nimble, so you can take advantage of new opportunities and meet your clients’ time-sensitive requests.
That way, when there’s a surge in demand, this built-in elasticity allows you to flex in order to meet it. Then, when demand falls, you can reroute your resources because you’ve created redundancies and elasticity in your skillsets.
Never a dull moment
If you work in the services industry, you know that each day is a balancing act. Whether the technology you support introduces new features and functionality, your clients adopt new technology that your team now needs to learn and support, or your own organization offers new services to your clients, your team needs to adapt quickly to not only meet demand, but also exceed expectations.
I like to think of building a world-class team as a philosophy of continuous orchestration. You eliminate single points of failure by creating redundant skillsets. You create redundant skillsets by expanding your team’s depth of knowledge. Expanding your team’s depth of knowledge build resource elasticity for those unexpected surges and drops in demand. And all of these things serve to mitigate business risk. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that is always in motion.
When it comes to selling (and delivering) services, your product truly is your people. I’ve likened it to a game of Tetris because you continually need to ensure you can fit different-shaped pieces (your team members) perfectly into any open spaces (client demand). Every decision I make serves to perpetuate our ability to provide the highest level of expertise and service to our clients.
DemandGen offers a wide array of services that support marketers in today’s digital economy, including MarTech deployment and optimization, outsourced campaign services, lead management and optimization, data management and optimization, reporting and analytics, and more. Let us know how we can deliver a world-class services experience to your team.
What have I missed? Which strategies have you employed to deliver world-class service to your clients?
Tom Svec, Director of Marketing Technology Services, develops world-class marketing automation solutions such as lead scoring and nurturing, analytical systems and processes, and more for DemandGen clients. With deep experience in marketing analytics, campaign execution, sales and marketing alignment, demand generation and lead management tactics, honed over 15 years of B2B and B2C marketing operations experience, Tom is able to bring the perspectives of both the marketer and the salesperson to the table. Tom is certified as an Eloqua Master and an Eloqua Revenue Lifecycle Master, and is a Marketo Certified Technical Consultant.