How Do I Avoid Burnout?

Hey Jo,

For the past month, I’ve been working late almost every night. I’m stretched thin across all the reporting and maintenance I have to do in a given day, and when I’m not on the clock, I’m still thinking about work!

It seems like there’s always more on my plate. More processes to improve, more leads to bring in, and more requests to handle. The MOPs world seems to reward this level of activity, but I need to take it down a notch. What can I do to stop burning out? How can I get time back for myself?

Thanks,

Always On Alex.

 

Alex, you did the right thing reaching out.

In the past, I’d fallen hard for this mentality of “MOPs never stops.” I thought “no” wasn’t an option, so I said “yes” to everything.

Soon, I was skipping lunches to catch up with reports. All of my reading outside of work was about Marketo. I’m pretty sure I was even dreaming about lead lifecycles.

Sales needs more opportunities, there’s never too much revenue for the business, and every other MOPs influencer has a blog and a podcast. With that much energy around me, I felt I needed to spend every spare hour catching up, being “productive,” and doing more.

I really didn’t. Neither do you.

Here’s how you take back control of your time:

 

Structure your goals and processes

There are always things you can improve on in martech, and it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew.

Got a big project on your hands? Break it down into small, achievable goals.

Come up with a plan and agree with your boss on what you’ll deliver and when.

For day-to-day tasks, reach out to your regular stakeholders and figure out workflows that mutually fit. Ordering your tasks based on urgency and time demands helps too—just factor in some meeting-free slots for yourself to really focus.

 

Ask for help

It’s impossible to know everything there is about a tool or have the time to do it all.

Speak with your manager about the budget for extra headcount or an agency to spread out the work.

Agencies are more likely to be within your reach, so it’s worth talking to other departments about their agency needs; you could score a better deal by approaching one with multiple streams of work.

 

Learn to say “no” and “yes, but…”

Be tangible about how much time a task takes, the knock-on effect of taking on new responsibilities, and the resources and sign-off you’ll need to do something well.

If a request brings something you don’t have the time or expertise to handle, “no” creates a boundary that helps everyone.

You get to focus on your main priorities, and that task goes to someone more suitable. Voicing the output consequences behind each responsibility sets clear, accurate expectations.

 

Give yourself space

Near the end of the day ask yourself ‘what am I really excited to do tonight?’

Put the laptop away when you’re back from the office; get up and move around if you’re working from home. What are you watching, reading, or listening to that you can’t do at work?

Whatever your hobbies, do them not because they’re “useful.” Do them because you want to.

Remember: eat right, sleep well, and look after yourself. There’s more to life than the grind.

 

You’ve got this, (and if you need any help, let us know).

Jo.

What Your CRO Should Know About CX

TLDR: Now that subscription business models are commonplace, customer retention is something you maintain by making proactive investments in CX. CX is all about how your business engages with customers at each point of interaction. To keep customer confidence high, your RevOps team should consistently collect customer feedback, discuss it cross-functionally, and strategize how best to solve customer pain points. Make CX a dedicated, long-term investment, and you’ll enjoy greater customer satisfaction, retention, and ROI.

 

Businesses often prioritize generating as much revenue as possible, as fast as they can. This encourages Sales and Marketing teams to pursue quick wins and short-term goals. Measuring Sales against quarterly quotas, for instance, drives Sales and Marketing to focus more on leads from which they can quickly close deals. 

There’s a logic to this short-term thinking: to keep costs low and be as profitable as soon as possible, pursue business you can easily win. But to sustain revenue long-term and maximize the ROI of each client engagement, you want to be equally dedicated to client retention.

In the age of subscription business models, customer churn has never been a greater existential threat. Retention’s something you maintain by making proactive investments in Customer Success and quality customer experiences; this Tough Talks Made Easy will help you explain what good CX looks like and the value it provides to your business.

 

Close the feedback loop

CX is all about how your business engages with customers at each point of interaction. Every instance where Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success interact with a customer is an opportunity to build goodwill and keep people interested in your brand, from campaign ads and content to the sales process to customer service and relationship management.

The latter part—when customers have already signed a deal—is where businesses typically fall short with CX. For self-service products where users sign up independently, invest in an accessible UX with support channels and documentation to address more complex use cases. Make it as easy as possible for people to use your service, and they’ll probably continue to do so. 

For managed products and services, where clients have specific needs to address, Customer Success reps play a vital role in encouraging retention by regularly checking in with clients, listening to their goals and challenges, and helping them use your products and services to achieve their aims. Even if a customer isn’t using your product for all its intended features, quality customer support will encourage them to stay. Where Marketing gets peoples’ attention and Sales gets them to sign, Customer Success is why people remain loyal to a business.

In the spirit of active listening, you want to discover and resolve any issues before customers lose confidence. Collecting customer feedback through NPS surveys or simple Q&As integrated into products is important to understand where you’re succeeding and what improvements to prioritize in your roadmap, but siloed communication limits how quickly you can solicit and react to feedback. If Customer Success and customer support teams have no visibility into the social channels that Marketing manages, for instance, then implementing a process that encourages transparency becomes a high priority for RevOps.

For your CRO: To keep on top of CX, your RevOps team needs people to consistently monitor and address feedback. Budget the time for people across RevOps to collect and integrate feedback from every channel and discuss it regularly as a team, including the likes of BDRs and the Product team. You can then strategize together on how to address the realm of issues clients have, whether that means tweaking customer support or creating content to clarify certain processes and technical capabilities of your product. 

Because ultimately, your retention of customers, reputation as a business, and ROI from each customer engagement are threatened less by complaints than by failure to engage with criticism. Each of your channels and customer touchpoints should be conceived as an opportunity to collect feedback—as long as business memberships to sites like TrustPilot run tens of thousands of dollars each, it’s more costly to rebuild your reputation than to deal with issues at the root. Listen to what your customers and prospects are saying at the first possible opportunity and here on after. You’ll find out from their feedback where you need to make investments, and can rehabilitate potentially-damaging issues into demonstrations of care that inspire greater trust in your business.

 

The value of CX

The beauty of RevOps is its capacity to focus on CX in a proactive, planned manner. Take every opportunity to collect customer feedback, discuss it cross-functionally, and strategize how best to solve customer pain points. Make CX a dedicated, long-term investment, and you’ll enjoy greater customer satisfaction, retention, and ROI.

For any guidance you need in RevOps, get in touch.

How Can I Manage My Deadlines?

Hey Jo,

I’m drowning in deadlines at work.

The pace has been particularly fast for a while now, with multiple campaigns and events happening at the same time. I’ve got lots of different tasks on my plate, and it seems like I’m always playing catch-up to complete them all.

I need to manage my workload more effectively, but I’m not sure where to start. What can I do to keep on top of my deadlines?

Thanks,

Deadline Dana.

 

Dana, it’s good that you’re asking these questions.

After several years as the only marketing operations person in my company, I understand how tricky it can be to catch your breath. When your day-to-day involves a constant scramble to meet deadlines, you’re left with little time or energy to reflect on why that’s the case.

When the heat is on from mounting deadlines and expectations, I’ve found there are usually a number of dynamics at play.

From my experience, you want to think about ideas like how to:

  • structure your work
  • communicate with your team, and
  • stay on the same page using the systems you have in place.

5 ways to manage deadlines:

1. Plan in advance

Rushed turnarounds tend to arise from poor planning, so as eager as your team might be to get the ball rolling with campaigns, don’t implement without a solid plan in place.

Start with a target launch date, then budget how much time you’ll need to sort out all the steps, dependencies, and approvals to make that viable (be generous).

Share that plan a good distance ahead of your deadline, and you’ll be in good shape to deal with any setbacks.

2. Prioritize your tasks

List all the responsibilities on your radar ahead of each day. Then, focus on the most urgent items to keep your projects on track.

Start with any low-effort tasks that take less than 15 minutes. This strategy can shorten your list and make you feel accomplished.

Then switch gears to take on the more demanding work.  The less pressing items on your list are good candidates to put on the back bench or delegate.

3. Have ongoing check-ins

Proactively reach out to your colleagues to figure out ways of dealing with heavy deadlines.

Schedule regular chats with your manager about bandwidth. Talk about where your time’s spent and what your capacity is.

Also, schedule progress updates with your stakeholders on what’s on track and what’s at risk. This gives you an opportunity to surface any workload issues and collaborate in good time on a solution.

4. Get outside help

You only have so many hours in the day.

Outsource any tasks you don’t have the resources to handle effectively. Getting time back for more important tasks is money well spent. (Psst… see how we can help).

 

5. Implement transparent systems

To prevent excess deadlines from coming all at once, your tech should make it easy to understand where your teams’ activities and requests fit together.

A central project management tool, campaign calendar, and dedicated channel to submit requests can all accomplish this.

You’re in a stressful position right now, but you can easily turn it around. The more proactive you are with planning and communication, the better you’ll get at keeping deadlines under control.

 

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse.

How to Develop a New Process with Your MOPs Team

TLDR: Developing a new process and incentivising your team to follow it takes two conversations. First, learn how your colleagues experience processes and why they perform tasks in certain ways. Once you understand why certain issues arise, you’re in a good position to make constructive suggestions that benefit the team. To get leadership’s backing, forecast the impact that implementing your process will have and suggest running a proof of concept. Keep an open mind to feedback after implementing the new process, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.

 

MOPs is often about delivering on requests and building things for teams around the business. Every webinar, report, or lead handover system you produce takes considerable planning and time-sensitive work behind the scenes. From gathering information to scheduling deadlines and approvals, processes that encourage efficiency and good communication are key to making your projects succeed.

If problems frequently hold back your team from getting things done—whether it’s missing data, poorly-paced deadlines, or low visibility into who’s responsible for what—a flawed or lack of process is likely the culprit. You might have a good sense of how to smooth things over, but suggesting changes to how your team works requires a sensitive approach, particularly in environments where people have been long attached to how they work.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to pitch a new process to leadership and incentivise your team to follow it.

 

Listen and learn

The first stage of developing a new process: get to know how your team works and why. People naturally feel a great sense of ownership and personal responsibility with their work, so sudden criticism is likely to make your colleagues defensive and resistant to change. Even if you think you’ve identified a problem and have some ideas to suggest, watch and learn from your team first. 

Ask people to show you how they perform tasks, why they do things in certain ways, what their challenges and priorities are. When you’ve experienced a process from a broader set of perspectives and you understand why issues come up, you’re in a good spot to make constructive suggestions. Do your request forms give the MOPs team all the information they need? Where could a new checkpoint or approval flow help with visibility? Is there a more efficient way to order certain steps? Are your deadlines realistic and attainable?

Listen to your colleagues, take an interest in how they work, and you’ll convey that this new process comes from a place of empathy; a desire to make work easier and more efficient for the whole team. To embed a new idea into a team’s culture, you need advocates to champion the process, share knowledge, and encourage more people to participate; a human touch is the best way to accomplish this.

 

Make the case

Cementing a process in the team means getting the backing of your boss, whether that’s your CMO, CRO, or direct manager. Your CRO or CMO will be less sensitive to hearing about flaws, but they ultimately care about solutions that positively impact the business. Be direct in your assessment of the problems at hand, but focus on the outcome that your process will deliver, whether it’ll help people to work faster and more productively, attract more leads and opportunities, or make reporting and requests more transparent.

Numbers play a significant role in this conversation. For one, C-Suite wants to know if a process is going to incur costs for training or additional tools, so it’s reassuring news if you can use your current software to introduce new forms, flow builders, and any other technical pieces. Even more persuasive? Forecast the ROI of your proposal. 

If you’re pitching a process for the likes of webinars, with lots of dependencies to manage, you’ll have plenty of data points on hand to substantiate your case. Explain how your process will change aspects of the webinar such as spending per channel, time spent confirming speakers, building infrastructure, creating promotional campaigns, the lead handover process—and project how these changes will cut costs, increase efficiency, allow enough time for promotion, or result in more leads and opportunities.

Short on data points to do a forecast? Suggest trialling the process with a specific campaign, workflow, team, geography, or in another relevant context. A proof of concept gives you an opportunity to gather data and show your boss how the process performs in action. Run leadership through the before vs. after to illustrate how your proof of concept saves time, improves the measurement of leads, lifts ROI, or otherwise makes work easier over the ways of old, and your boss will highly appreciate that you spoke up.

Continuous improvement

Many processes connect or impact each other in some way, and the beauty of this conversation is how it can spur continuous improvement. If you’ve made some changes to your webinar process, for example, talk with your team about lead handovers. How can you measure or qualify leads differently? Will that change get leads to Sales faster, or surface more opportunities against your webinars? After you’ve got in the groove of a new process, follow up with your team regularly to gauge how it’s working and see where you can make things better.

Developing a new process and making it part of team culture starts with an open mind—speak to your colleagues and get to know how things work to discover where changes can really benefit the team. Project the impact your process can make before talking to leadership and suggest a proof of concept—if the process makes lives easier or gets results, consider your boss and team on board. Keep an open ear to feedback while the process is underway, and you’ll help to encourage better collaboration and results.

Get in touch for more on improving processes in MOPs.