At the behest of Grant Grigorian and Kristen Malkovich, producers of the Architect’s Garden MOPS podcast, I am providing you with a “Team Size Calculator.” Despite all of the helpful blog posts on marketing operations team structure, there isn’t a clear way to calculate how many people you need.
Since we are all preparing our 2018 budgets, this is a good time to discuss team size.
How many people do I need to run marketing automation or operations?
Answer: It depends.
Marketing Automation may not equal Marketing Operations. This is a subtle distinction. I’ve seen that when people say “marketing automation” they often mean “who is the Marketo Admin?” The size of that team could be very small, while Marketing Operations or even Revenue Operations could be quite large. Those teams may encompass reporting, analytics, sales ops, data or devops, marketing systems, etc.
I’ve seen some firms do quite well with one or two people. And I’ve seen firms have 20 or 30 people. The difference? Often it is complexity, not the size of the firm.
Some situations I’ve encountered:
- Demand Gen runs the MAP: .5 or 1 FTE is the “admin” usually this team rarely gets past Stage 3 on the Martech Maturity Model™.
- Demand Gen dedicates 1-2 FTE for Admin and harder work. This team may get to Stage 4 on the Martech Maturity Model™.
- Central Production Service: 1-4 people, but this can vary widely.
- Global – Distributed: usually 1-3 Global Admins with 1 expert or admin per Region. The experts train marketers and the global team enforces rules and deals with global projects or rules.
- Global – Regional only: 1 global admin with 1 or more Regional experts.
- Large Scale Operation: may not be global, but activity and complexity requires FTE to own processes and help marketers. Perhaps 1 FTE per major system involved, with team leaders. This is where the various factors below inform the “rules of thumb.”
- Workload: can’t get it all done, so hire more people.
- Reporting & Analytics: 1 FTE once reporting becomes a burden.
How to Calculate Potential Team Size
Included here is my Team Calculator with lots of assumptions and possible tools. Please be sure to adjust assumptions and ratios for your situation.
Factors to Consider:
- Marketing Team Size
- Number of Marketing Programs per time period
- Company Employee Size
- Revenue and Revenue Ratios to spend on Marketing
- Size of Demand Gen Operation
- Data complexities
- SaaS Product and Integrations
- Preference for In House vs. Agencies
Rule of Thumb Methods
In the Calculator, I place these items and ask you to answer Yes or No. It’s a rough estimate that you can scale back depending on the various factors.
- Global Team: Distributed Admins vs. Global. – generally, you need at least one Admin or Expert per Region and Globally to enforce rules and train marketers.
- Central Production Team – use the calculators below, but at least 2 people.
- Sales Operations – if you have a Sales Ops team, you likely need at least one corresponding person to help manage the integration.
- Database Size – At one or two million records, you need at least one person for every doubling. It’s not the scale, it’s that if you have that many records, your operation is much larger and there is lots of activity.
- Level of Activity – this can include number of programs run per week, budget, data flow.
- Product Integrations – if you run a SaaS firm, then each major product you connect to your MAP will require someone to manage it. At least during the build out, more than one person is needed.
- Marketing Data Warehouse – large organizations build MDWs and there must be at least one database admin who runs the tool and its connections to other systems.
In small firms or early stage firms, or first time MAP users there will be one marketer who “owns” the MAP and learns how to use it. That person by default becomes the admin and the person to help. If you are building a central service, it’s helpful to understand the total workload, average hours, etc.
- Programs per Week
- Hours per Program (average)
- Total Hours Required per Week
- Divide by 40 hours/week
- # of FTE you need to consider
See the sheet for more!
Agency vs. In-House
Once you have the Production information ready, you can compare In House vs. Agency. As a consultant and user of agencies, there are many good reasons to hire one, and some very good reasons to build a pipeline of people in-house.
- In House Benefits
- Always will care more.
- Talent pipeline to avoid “key person” risk. (And build your empire).
- Long term cost is less.
- In House Negatives
- Harder to remove underperforming staff.
- Less flexible as work goes up or down.
- Talent may not have right skills.
- Agency Benefits
- Easy to scale up or down.
- Swap consultants if underperforming or clashes.
- Easy to find right skill for one time project.
- Agency Negatives
- Risky at first to build good working relationship.
- Paying for overhead in cash.
- Per hour cost will often be 2x or 3x in-house.
- May cost a lot more than building in-house talent.
Fortunately the calculator can show you this quickly. I’ve seen many firms have 1 FTE and leverage an agency for implementation services, hard projects, or just need extra staffing for awhile. Unfortunately, many marketers or less experienced in-house staff fail to develop a good working relationship or SOW to set expectations. I’ve obtained plenty of clients whose first words are, “I was using this consultant and it didn’t work out because of XYZ, so I’m looking for someone new.” And certainly agencies are also to blame for failed projects, however, I also see marketers just hire an agency and “delegate” the work to them. Never “delegate” work to an agency without setting up a solid framework and check in process.
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine how many people you need.