DLT Solutions' Christine Schaefer on the Benefits of Cross-Training Your Marketing Team
Realizing a more than 20 percent year-over-year growth in revenue during the past three years—bringing in $612 million in 2009. Generating more than 40,000 leads in 2009. Forecasting even more leads and higher sales revenue in 2010.
Who wouldn't like those numbers? Those are the figures Herndon, Va.-based information technology product and service reseller DLT Solutions saw after its vice president of marketing, Christine Schaefer, implemented what she calls the "marketing factory model."
What that means is Schaefer organized her marketing team around DLT's clients' needs, ensuring that that the cross-trained team could perform direct marketing tasks interchangeably, as required. Here are the details of the process, including how a dashboard plays a central role.
Target Marketing: How did DLT reorganize its employees through its dashboard?
Christine Schaefer: In response to the demands of supporting six different sales divisions, all with different peaks and valleys in their selling cycles, I organized the DLT marketing department in an agency-like fashion—with account owners and others charged with account support—and then instituted practices within my division that transformed it into what I now call my demand generation "marketing factory," specializing in producing leads for sales through direct marketing.
My team is the machine at the heart of the factory's success. I strategically hire marketing generalists and train them to market for multiple divisions. Because the factory must be able to respond to the needs of so many different clients, it had to have parts (people) that could be interchangeable—able to produce leads for any client without fail. In that way, we meet the challenges of cyclical account demands without needing to increase staffing. Instead, we just adjust the machine by reassigning account team members to change the results. To manage that very complex factory model, I designed an integrated custom workflow and marketing activity monitoring system. That system allows me, a well as account owners and all of the sales division leaders, to see all marketing activities for the six different sales divisions and the work needed to execute those activities in one dashboard. The dashboard format allows the team to make real-time decisions on how to invest resources in order to achieve the desired output.