article | August 8, 2014
The Agile Marketing Leader’s Short-cut to Team Transformation
The crown jewel of sales excellence is the Field Ride-along. World Class sales organizations emphasize manager & rep ride-alongs. Sales Managers go into the field for 1-2 days with their reps and ‘ride-along’ to observe and coach. This is where individual rep skills are developed.
Top sales leaders hold their managers accountable to performing field rides. Regardless of the sales rep’s effectiveness (A, B & C Players), field rides serve as the backbone of continuous improvement.
Why Marketing Leaders Should Take Notice
Why do sales leaders invest in field ride-alongs? It works. Research from the Sales Executive Council has proven a correlation between coaching and sales performance. Organizations that provide more coaching to their reps see improved sales results. The primary vehicle for sales coaching is the field ride-along.
What is a Marketing Ride-Along?
Marketing leaders can borrow sales brilliance by incorporating the sales field ‘ride-along’ best practice. This becomes the cornerstone of your marketing staff development approach. Imagine the insights you and your direct reports will gain?
In the sales world this typically involves a series of sales calls held jointly throughout the day. The sales manager strategizes with the rep on the call plan and observes the calls. After the call there is a debrief summary.
A Marketing Ride-Along involves scheduling an entire day for the manager to literally sit with their direct report. The individual contributor conducts their day as if it’s a normal day. This involves everything a contributor normally does in the course of a day (attending meetings, preparing to-do lists, task completion, etc.).
Instead of sales calls, marketing teams are engaged in meetings. The high-impact sales Call Plan best practice is leveraged to create a new Marketing Meeting Plan template. The Toolkit includes a template to enhance your team’s approach to meetings. This is accomplished by leveraging proven sales best practices for meeting success.
The New Marketing ‘Ride-along’
The manager observes and provides real-time feedback at key points throughout the day. This approach provides real-time exposure to the greatest strengths and weaknesses of your team. Prepare to be shocked and horrified at some of the things you discover that need resolved. The only thing worse is continued blind spots.
Fortunately you will find the following pleasant surprises:
The average CMO has 5-8 direct reports. Each direct report manages multiple individual contributors. The CMO can perform field ride-alongs with their direct reports. In turn, the guidance is transferred down the line.
Transformation of the Team Starts with Individual Skill Assessment & Development
As a marketing leader, your primary objective is to achieve results. The best way to do this is to improve the skill level of your team. If done well, Coaching for Skills Improvement will always be welcome by your team. Skills improvement can be:
• Learning a new skill
• Honing an existing skill
• Becoming more proficient
Today’s CMO’s are often burdened with legacy teams. We’ve all seen where teams stagnated when they are allowed to operate without being challenged. It’s as if the staff was allowed to operate on a multi-year hiatus completely immune to marketing best practices.
As a marketing leader in a past position I inherited a team stocked full of RIP’s (Retired in Place). High salaries, low impact. I turned the team around through talent assessment and skills development. It was an 18-month process that could have been cut in half by leveraging the ride-along approach. The short-cut to team transformation is the ‘ride-along’ process.
Marketing Ride-Along is About Coaching vs. Managing
The marketing ride-along facilitates an interactive process to help individuals develop more rapidly. In Masterful Coaching, Robert Hargrove describes coaching as “challenging and supporting people in achieving higher levels of performance while allowing them to bring out the best in themselves and those around them.”
CMO’s who leverage the ride-along will help their direct reports increase their coaching abilities. Good coaching requires trust and proximity. The ride-along provides the proximity to observe and uncover key skill development areas. Below is an illustration of the difference between coaching and managing.
Marketing Ride-Along Adoption
The agile CMO can embrace a short-cut to marketing team transformation. Shave your evolution time in half by taking action now. Drive active skills coaching to raise the talent level of your team. Leverage the Marketing Team Ride-Along Best Practices execution kit and template form to transform your marketing team.
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