Performing a marketing skills gap to help you plan for the future – in just 60 minutes

Ledger Bennett Talent & Resourcing

The importance of skills gap analysis

Following on from a blog we wrote recently about building agile marketing teams we’d referenced the importance of performing a regular skills gap exercise. Team dynamics across most businesses have changed since COVID-19. Companies have been forced to operate a high percentage of their activity online and huge numbers of employees are now working from home. Ledger Bennett have talked extensively about building pipeline in the absence of face to face events and how to develop a non-contact sales approach.

It’s highly likely the experience of lockdown will change organisation’s perspective on how they run their business and accelerate the move to an increased reliance on technology and more open policies around remote and flexible working.

The other issue is we’re not yet sure how long social distancing rules will be in place, so combined with the shift in the way businesses operate, it may be time for a forward looking skills gap analysis of your current marketing team to help prepare you for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Here we’ll take you through a quick fire gap analysis you can perform in your lunch hour, helping you remain agile and prepare for the year ahead.

Remind yourself where you’re going [10 minutes]

Ok it’s obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to re-evaluate what the most critical outputs of your team are supposed to be this year, especially because they might have changed since the pandemic. Keep this to your 2 or 3 most critical objectives this year, and 2 or 3 of the objectives you think will be most critical to your organisation in 5 years time. Keep it short, clear and measurable.

Put these skills in order of priority [5 minutes]

Take a look at your current and future objectives and consider roughly the order of priority for the following groups of skills, in order of their importance to allowing you to meet your goals.

  • Data and analytics
  • Strategy
  • Content
  • Digital
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Commercial Awareness

Assess the skills and talent you currently have available [15 minutes]

Using the following core competencies as a benchmark, rate the strength of your current team from 1-5 in each area.

  • Data and analytics
  • Strategy
  • Content
  • Digital
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Commercial Awareness

Now reconcile the two lists to work out highest priority lowest resource availability. You then have a starting point for how to prioritise resource for each area, where budgets can be most effectively deployed etc.

Training and Role Development [10 minutes]

Consider where you can upskill your current team via training or role development. Are there aspects of the role that are less relevant to your long term goals? Could they be removed to make time for additional training to upskill? For example, with face to face events being cancelled left right and centre, would it make sense to invest in training for your events team in planning, hosting and running successful, lead generating virtual events?

New hires [5 minutes]

If there’s a high priority skill gap that’s going to be required to deliver both short and long term goals you probably need to consider a full time hire. Identify potential full time roles and assign a rough budget against them for consideration in the wider plan. It’s probable that now isn’t the right time to hire for most marketing teams, but you have time to prepare a solid recruitment plan for when things begin to settle down again.

Flexible hires [10 minutes]

If there’s a high priority skill gap for short term goals, it’s probably worth looking at either a short term contract, freelance, or consider temporarily in-sourcing a blend of talent from a marketing agency. Although a relatively new concept, we’ve found it works really well with clients who need dedicated support for a fixed period of time from a range of skills. With a temporary team on the ground in your offices, it creates a focused, dynamic and cost effective task team who quickly become entrenched in your culture and objectives. If you’re interested in exploring this option have a look at the Ledger Bennett Funded Heads offering.

Action plan with timelines [5 minutes]

Take the last 5 minutes to develop a short, sharp action plan in order of priority. Whether it’s developing a business case for a new hire, mapping out a 3-6 month talent plan that suits the situation we currently find ourselves in, or confirming the exact steps you’re going to take to meet your marketing goals. Get it down on paper, and schedule time in your diary now for each action.

You’ve just fully immersed yourself in the requirements of the business, the corresponding requirements of the marketing structure, identified an action plan and mapped out timelines against it. 60 minutes well spent to optimize your marketing team structure in response to the pandemic and the new normal you’re now faced with. Hopefully giving you the opportunity to build the agility and resilience of your team to prepare for the challenges ahead.

For more support, check out our resources page where we’ve created webinar content in response to client queries since the onset of COVID-19.