An Agile Workforce Is The Future

May 20, 2020 Susan Marshall

Marketing leaders across industries and geographies are feeling the pressure to answer tough questions about the future of work, like: How do we attract and develop the new talent we need? How do we scale and accelerate the pace of change? How can we ensure that the people with us now don’t get left behind? And how do we make the right investment in our people to prepare them for the future? An agile, modern workforce depends on a people-first strategy that embraces tech. Leaders need to play a driving role in supporting the development of an agile workforce if they want to survive the digital transformation. The businesses of Silicon Valley and other tech hubs have become leading examples of why an agile mindset works, hitting home the importance of implementing methods that get things out the door for testing quickly (like rapid prototyping or the sprints we do here at Torchlite). Rapid innovation is key — there’s always time to hammer out the minor details after you can prove that a concept is valuable. BMO’s chief transformation officer, Lynn Roger, put it best: “Speed is the new business currency.” Adopting an agile talent strategy allows you to: Bridge the gap between current employees and the skills they’re missing An agile workforce looks “more like highly orchestrated networks and ecosystems with a multitude of approaches to mobilizing, orchestrating, and engaging talent, skills, leaders, and ideas,” according to Deloitte. This business model is especially attractive to companies with talent gaps. No one employee can know it all, which is why more and more businesses are turning to freelancers to supplement their teams. The role that a freelancer plays on a team varies based on the needs of your company. Some on-demand experts augment teams on a single project basis, while others enter into months- or even years-long working relationships. Freelance talent is also used to manage variable demand for companies like agencies whose workloads vary based on client needs. These experts also work in both extended, long-term projects as well as one-off project roles. According to Accenture, “up to 40% of companies experience talent shortages impacting the ability to adapt and innovate.” Understanding that your potential talent’s experience comes from a variety of locations — taking breaks to pursue further education, building a side hustle as a stay at home parent, interning, traveling — and not just traditional corporate jobs, is key to building a diverse and effective workforce. Drive collaborative innovation New perspectives are refreshing. When your team recruits help from the outside (via freelancers, consultants, or any number of other methods), you’re opening the doors to potentially game-changing ideas. When you’ve been neck-deep in a problem for a long time, you start to lose perspective. A fresh set of eyes can unveil solutions you’d never come up with yourself. These “outsiders” can also be pivotal to driving innovation. They force you to answer the question “why?” — and that’s never a bad thing. When they ask questions, they’re trying to get to the root of the problem so they can help develop new solutions to test. This experimentation is the key to actually getting things done instead of just discussing them. These on-demand workers allow you to test ideas on the fringes and fail fast. Focus on what you’re best at while building a happier workforce The benefits of working with freelancers can be obvious — like the fact that you’re checking tasks off of your marketing to-do list. Equipping your team with the right tools, including access to on-demand experts, allows them to focus on their goals and get more done. Freelancers act as a second line of defense for your internal team, allowing you to focus on what you do best while the experts knock out projects quickly and effectively. Some benefits, however, are less obvious. It’s true that on-demand experts allow you to focus on what you do best, but did you know that they also create a happier workforce? Freelancers are “often able to pursue a broader set of goals, whether those are about family, a creative pursuit, a side interest, or community involvement,” according to Deloitte research. Perhaps the concept is best understood as Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, professor at Yale School of Management and workforce researcher, shared with Deloitte: “They care about money, and they worry about money, but they’re not doing this just for money. In fact, money is a problem they have to solve so that they can do what’s really driving them.” Partner with others to provide value for customers And now, tech companies, agencies, educators and brands are all looking for ways to better access, manage and pay freelancers at scale. Our own customers are building and managing private marketplaces to manage talent and produce great results. From training programs to martech vendors, customers of all sizes and from many industries have leveraged the Torchlite platform to empower their own customers: One martech vendor found that a private marketplace provided access to the talent that their partners and customers needed. This increased their time to value, reduced customer attrition, and ultimately led to happier customers. Another marketing technology vendor took advantage of a private marketplace to create a new revenue stream. While freelancers involved in the private marketplace make money and provide value, companies are also able to monetize the ecosystem. One digital marketing academy CEO turned their custom marketplace into a tool for graduates of their program. The students want to put their certifications and skills to work immediately, and their marketplace allowed them to showcase expertise and find gigs. How do I start? Before you can set any changes in place, you must first expand the concept of the modern workforce. That means understanding that some of the most valuable contributors on your team can extend beyond a 9-to-5, office setting. Modern marketers recognize the ability to source talent in new ways is key to competitive agility, and that means incorporating tech and other tools into the talent-hunting process. Put your team on the path to success with a single source that allows you to access, engage, and manage expert on-demand talent. After all, success depends on having the right people at the right time.

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4 Statistics That Make the Case for an On-Demand Workforce

Jun 12, 2019 Emily Brungard

We live in a world that’s moving at hyperspeed. Customers want more, and they want it faster. Demands on your team are growing at an impossible rate. Technology is enabling us to do more, but it will only take you so far without the people who know how to use it. With all of these demands, you may not have had the chance to consider integrating everything (customers, your internal team, and technology) to make your job easier. But we’ve found the key to keeping up with these demands comes down to talent: having the right people at the right time. If you need more convincing, consider these statistics: 68% of HR pros have trouble attracting top full-time talent Highly skilled freelance experts have the leverage to do work on their terms. More and more freelancers, especially the ones with highly sought after talents, are leaving the 9-to-5 world for more flexible work lives. This is only confirmed by the fact that, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than two-thirds of HR managers have experienced difficulties attracting the best talent to their open full-time roles. By 2026, Fortune 2000 companies will have no employees outside of the C-suite In the next decade, could you be saying goodbye to your traditional org chart? Accenture predicts that by 2026, the most successful companies won’t employ people outside of the executive team. As this liquid workforce evolves, companies will double down on the value of having the people with the exact expertise they need, at just the right time. That means instead of hiring a full-time technical expert for a project that requires heavy lifting at first but then tapers off, companies can bring in an expert to implement their new tech or tool and then continue contracting on an hourly or project basis. What does that mean? More money in your marketing budget to drive results. 30% of headcount spend is put toward on-demand workers Enterprise companies are dedicating a third of their headcount budgets to contingent workers, independent contractors, and freelancers. When a project comes up that the company’s internal team doesn’t have the skills to complete, on-demand experts enable them to navigate roadblocks and continue moving the needle. In other words, they help companies get around the situations that would have stopped them in their tracks before. Nearly half of businesses can’t find the on-demand talent they need According to SAP Fieldglass, 45% of businesses are experiencing a shortage of on-demand experts. In other words, they can’t find the people they need to get everything done, and it’s affecting productivity and results. Non-employee talent makes up 40% of the global workforce today, and they’re not just filling administrative or support roles — they’re the people making strategic decisions that move these companies forward. Searching for the right people to fill gaps on your marketing or professional services team? Tap into Torchlite’s network of experts today.

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7 Signs It’s Time to Hire On-Demand Digital Talent

Jan 09, 2019 Emily Brungard

It’s 11 a.m. and your office is buzzing with energy. You’ve got a product release around the corner, updates to roll out, and a team to take care of. You’re in heads-down mode trying to get everything done. Copious amounts of coffee have been consumed. Lunch? You don’t have time for that — there are deadlines to make. But what about your day-to-day work? While your team has been laser-focused on a few short-term projects, have others fallen by the wayside? In a perfect world, all of your marketing work would be perfectly balanced, but let’s be real — that just doesn’t happen. And what about that new tool you bought last month but haven’t had time to implement? If this sounds like you, it may be time to add a support system to your team in the way of on-demand, specialized talent. These are seven ways to know you need an extra layer of support: 1. Your team doesn’t have the expertise Sometimes you need a specialist to get a project done. Maybe your team has been using piecemeal technology to get projects done because it’s too difficult to switch over to a new platform. Maybe you’re implementing a new channel and you don’t know where to start. On-demand digital experts bring you the right expertise at the right time, so you can drive results. Freelancers tend to focus on one or two things they master and continue to obtain training for over the years, which allows you to reap the benefit of a true expert without the expense of hiring a full-time employee or paying for new or ongoing training. 2. Your team is always busy but it's not all getting done If your team is constantly working late nights or missing deadlines, chances are you need some extra help. We can all agree that the work needs to get done and budgets are limited, but make sure to consider how current workload affects employee morale. What are your turnaround times for deliverables? Outsourcing allows you to unlock multiple marketing channels with ease and avoid employee burnout. 3. Your team can do it, but it’s not the best use of their time or talent Let’s say you want to implement the Salesforce marketing platform, but you don’t have a Salesforce Marketing expert on your team. Instead of using your copywriter or designer’s time (who already have work and don't have the training) to set up and optimize the tool, you could hire a vetted technical expert to get the tool up and running in less time with more experience. You hired each person for their specific skill set. So why pull an employee off more important tasks if a freelancer can get it done on a project basis? 4. You’re losing out on opportunities If you’re losing opportunities to build brand awareness because you’re too busy to respond to outreach, it’s definitely time to outsource some work. Are you being invited to speak at conferences or participate on panels only to decline because your workload is too heavy? Is your competition catching up to you? Consider the cost of falling behind. 5. Your top objectives need more time and attention from your team Do you have an expensive initiative in the works or a quarterly goal that you’re struggling to meet? You don't have to drop the ball on other tasks to focus on the ones that need more of your time. It’s time to hire a freelancer if your team is being pulled to dedicate more time to a select few projects. Outsourcing tasks to on-demand experts is one solution that can help you check more off your to-do list without getting behind on your biggest priorities. 6. You want to increase output without increasing head count There's a place for reasonable increased demands on your team, but if they're feeling like they were hired with one set of expectations and you keep adding to their plate, you're going to have very unhappy employees who aren't able to dedicate their own expertise and attention to the projects they already have. If it's feeling like they're being asked to do the job of 2 employees, adding a short-term freelancer can ease that burden, keep your employees happy and productive (read retention and better bottom lines), and the additional work will be getting done by an expert. 7. You're experiencing a transition Maybe your company was acquired, a full-time employee is on parental leave, or your team has been assigned a new project and they're not entirely equipped to handle it. Regardless of the circumstances, freelance digital experts are trained to fill a temporary gap for you or someone on your team. Even during a period of change, the show must go on. On-demand digital experts can fill technical and creative skills gaps across a variety of channels. If your team is overwhelmed with work and you need an extra set of hands, browse our marketplace of on-demand digital experts today.

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Unlocking Salesforce: A Q&A with Marketing Cloud Expert Sean H.

Dec 12, 2018 Emily Brungard

Research from Salesforce suggests that customers now expect a more connected and personalized experience delivered to them in real time. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes — like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions — are key to winning their business. Marketers are expected to take data and transform it into an experience for customers. With tools like Marketing Cloud, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re not dedicated to learning the latest features of the platform, you’re only beginning to scratch the surface. That’s where Salesforce experts come in. One of the top benefits of working with an on-demand Salesforce specialist is that they’re true experts who obtain certifications, read the latest product release notes for fun, and are dedicated to unlocking the platform’s value. We sat down with Sean H., one of Torchlite’s on-demand Marketing Cloud experts, to talk about getting the most from Salesforce, and how experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common problem you see when working with Marketing Cloud customers? Underutilization. The marketing cloud is a powerful platform, but that can also make it seem overwhelming. Many clients don’t use newer features designed to make their lives easier and campaigns more impactful because there’s a learning curve associated, and they don’t have the bandwidth or the in-house knowledge to invest to really make the most of the platform. What do you predict will be a bigger problem in 2019 for Marketing Cloud customers? “Personalization” became a marketing buzzword a few years ago, and, at that time, many people didn’t understand how the idea of personalization applied to their businesses. Fast forward to now, though, and the best businesses are figuring out how to segment, target, and develop personalized content that is really driving results. For SFMC customers that haven’t taken the time over the past few years to dig into the platform and figure out how to put it to work to personalize the marketing experience, they may find themselves losing market share to competitors that are staying in front of the curve. They may find that the “batch and blast” strategy that served them well for many years just isn’t resonating any longer because Competitor B’s personalized multichannel campaign met their customer’s expectations that much better. What is your best tip for using Salesforce? How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. With a powerful platform, sophisticated data management, and a number of different ways to effectively execute each campaign you’ve envisioned, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Marketing Cloud. By breaking it down – Who do I want to reach with this? How do I want to reach them? When and how often should we talk to them? – you’ll find the right features and tools for the job, whether it’s a simple Guided Send or a cross-channel journey. What is your proudest Salesforce project? It seems quaint now, but when Journey Builder was still new several years ago, it was a really big deal to successfully build and begin firing those more personalized marketing experiences to customers. It’s not that we couldn’t execute similar campaigns at the time with available tools within SFMC, but the interface and experience was such a departure, really just the beginning of things to come, that you couldn’t help but be a little proud to be one of the pioneers. Why are cross-channel integrations so important for Salesforce customers? Cross-channel integrations are one of the biggest advantages of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud compared to some of the other platforms out there. In today’s information-overloaded, short-attention-span world, repetition is just as important as serving content appropriate to the channel. If you truly want your message to reach and resonate with customers, you have to be willing to take your message to where they are, whether they’re on email, social media, SMS or all of the above. Why is having an on-demand Marketing Cloud expert necessary? Because the SFMC platform is so powerful, and constantly evolving to boot, having an on-demand SFMC expert can be like having an on-call problem solver – you know that you want to reach high-value customers who bought Widget X the last time 12 months ago, for example, but you just don’t how to get there easily without a lot of trial and error. SFMC experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, “This is the best route to get there.” In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly. Have more questions about hiring an on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert? Tweet us, or request the help of a Salesforce expert today.

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