Setting Our Team Up for Success in the New Year

2015 was a big year for the Apptentive Marketing Team. We grew from a team of 2 to a team of 6, built a demand generation engine with 250% growth in new leads, produced a crazy amount of content including 130 blog posts, 16 eBooks and 7 case studies, streamlined our lead funnel, generated 3 times more press than the year before, and unified our systems so that we can make data-driven decisions, among many many other things. We were on fire!

Take time to reflect on successes and progress

Before charging into 2016, our team took some time to reflect on what went really well in 2015. We asked ourselves, what were our biggest wins in 2015? Everyone shared what they were proud of and we left it up on the whiteboard all day.

Apptentive Team Wins

We then reviewed the Q4 Company OKRs and then the Marketing Team OKRs. (OKRs stand for Objectives and Key Results – it is a system used by companies like Google to set quarterly objectives that are the equivalent of measurable stretch goals). While we didn’t hit all our objectives, it was extremely energizing to see how much progress we made in the last three months.

*In our next quarterly recap, I’ll ask the team: “What did we learn?”

Evaluate what will have the biggest impact in the next quarter

Back to the whiteboard. This time the question posed was: “What can we do in Q1 that will have the biggest impact on the company? (This same question was posed and answered by the leadership team just days before). The team quickly filled the whiteboard with ideas ranging across marketing disciplines.

We used these ideas to build our Q1 OKRs. We ranked, prioritized and grouped the various ideas. Some objectives were for the whole team and others specific to an individual on the team.

Last year we were very focused on building a demand gen engine and connecting our systems. Now we need to focus our efforts on demonstrating more value to prospects so we can shorten the sales cycle.

We landed on four main objectives:

  • Accelerate Inbound Funnel
  • Shorten Sales Cycle
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Customer Love
  • We then created key results for each objective. Next each member of our team will each develop our individual OKRs and break down projects and tasks by month.

    Break down your big objectives into deliverables

    After a short break, we set the editorial calendar (our home for all things marketing) and reviewed who would be the owner for each item. (Much of this work was done ahead of the meeting). We negotiated roughly which month we would tackle projects and content pieces and set preliminary dates. We also changed our editorial goals to reflect new focuses, for example, this quarter we will produce more sales assets than lead gen materials.

    Apptentive Editorial Goals

    Get excited about what’s coming next

    To wrap up the day, our CEO shared a story with us about a plant that had been with the company since our founding. It was a money tree to symbolize good luck and prosperity. On the plant was the following quote:

    “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire” – Ferdinand Foch

    I couldn’t agree more. People, and especially teams on fire, are unstoppable.

    We are all pumped for 2016 and the new challenges and opportunities it brings. Yes, we will be tacking on a lot. By starting with high-level objectives, we are able to prioritize and break down big initiatives, identify dependencies, and break the project down into the various tasks. I am extremely excited to see what our team will accomplish and how we will contribute to building Apptentive’s growth. 2016, let’s do this!

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