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Everything was going great…

Then she turned in her notice. A valuable team member decided she wanted to pursue acting and no longer work for me. 

She had been with my company for over a year and was very involved in so many critical processes.

This was a HUGE blow. I didn’t know what to do, so I slept on it. Let me tell you, there is SO MUCH power in sleeping on something and not making immediate decisions.

I decided to restructure my WHOLE team. Instead of just filling the position and carrying on, I wanted to find a better solution. 

Now thanks to this restructure, my whole team is stronger for our clients. There is more feedback, more collaboration, more ideas, and more time to go deeper and get more involved for our clients.

It was a serious blow when the valuable team member left, but it also created this opportunity, because I NEVER would have thought about restructuring beforehand.

Life deals bad hands to everyone and every business at some point. When you have a situation that is hard, it’s an opportunity for you as a LEADER, and for your team, to step up and be better. 

This is not just an episode about my team restructuring, this is about a critical life lesson.

Tune in to find out ways you can adapt for when those hard times come!

What were your most impactful takeaways from today’s episode? DM me with the word PODCAST over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) so we can chat about it!

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I am very excited to share this episode with you guys and give you guys a little behind-the-scenes of the last, six to eight weeks at Hirsh marketing. There’s a lot to learn from other business owners and CEOs who share their thought process and behind the scenes of things that change on their team, or in their company, and decisions they make. I know I get a lot of value out of that, whether it’s on somebody else’s podcast or in a conversation with another entrepreneur that I know. That’s what I’m doing today and I’m ready to share it now, cause we’re through the transition and I want to walk you through why I did it, how it came about, and my lessons from it. I think it will be helpful to a lot of you in different ways and hit whatever you’re needing right now. 

First of all, the marketing industry, as you know, and as I have been talking about, has changed a lot in the last year. That means when an industry changes at the rapid pace that it’s changing, like this one, as related to digital marketing and Facebook ads in the new era we’re in, that means that anybody in that industry who delivers to customers around that problem needs to adapt. Whether it’s their offer, whether it’s what they’re offering, how they’re offering it, how they’re structuring it. That is why we restructured the team. We just went through a massive restructure and I’ve actually never done that. It’s really interesting because the chain of events was so interesting where we had a team member who gave notice, who was a key team member, and that’s always a bummer when that happens. 

They wanted to act, they wanted to actually go and do something totally different in their career. Absolutely love them, but it was a hit to us. Whenever a team member leaves, it is always a hit. They’d been here for over a year. You put a lot of effort into training them and getting them up to speed. They are just incredible at what they do. That always sucks, but it’s happened to me, you know, countless times. That is the reality of growing a team. Especially I feel like in today’s day and age, because millennials don’t stay in their jobs forever. Like that’s one thing I’ve learned is that actually this era, this generation of people working at my company and in other companies, they have no problem moving to different companies or different completely different industries if they want to, it’s not like it used to be. 

I’m talking even myself, I mean, I’m 26, I’m in this generation. I get it. I haven’t actually ever had a real job, but I get it. It’s because of remote work. because of all the opportunities out there, it’s really easy to go do something new and in a different challenge or a different industry. If you’re growing a team, you should expect that this is going to happen. The average people really stay in companies is one to two years now. This person had been here for over a year. This is what set off the chain of events. Whenever somebody gives notice, or there’s a big shift like that in my company, that feels like a blow. The first day we got the news, it was like, “oh man, this sucks.” I wanted to cry.

It was one of those days…”why is this happening?” But then I always ask myself what else is possible? Instead of just saying, “ okay, we have to replace this exact person in this exact role and do exactly what we’ve been doing for the last year.” That might be the answer. But also the answer might be, “I need to change things around a little bit. Maybe there is something I can do better with this role. Maybe there’s something I can do better with a team. Maybe there’s a better person for the role.” Whenever you have something that feels like that blow in your business where you’re like, “man, that sucks. Why did that happen?” Whether that’s a team leaving or a campaign didn’t work or a marketing strategy didn’t work or you didn’t hit your sales goal or whatever it is, I believe there’s always opportunity and a message in that. 

We sat with it for a couple of days, which is also side note, something that I’ve gotten way better at doing. There’s so much power in sleeping on something. I swear to God, I used to be “we have to make the decision today, we have to have the new person that we want to put in the role and what we’re going to do, and we have to do this right now.” That is my personality, but there’s also so much power in saying, “we’re not going to make any decision today or even tomorrow. We’re just going to sit on this for a couple of days and see what comes to us.” That’s what we did. 

I went to acupuncture and when you just get those thoughts that just ‘pop’ in your head and you’re like,”oh”, and then they go out.  Well, I had this thought during acupuncture. Afterwards, I was messaging with the director of operations in my team who’s amazing and has been here for two and a half years. Love her. She’s not going anywhere. Let me hope. I was messaging with her and it just came to me, this, this restructure idea. It was simple. It just clicked, “this is what we have to do.” That was chain of events. Somebody gave her notice. It was a big blow to me and to the company. We sat on it for a few days and then this idea came into my head. I messaged it to my director of operations. She was like, “yeah, I’m kind of feeling the same thing.”

Here’s what’s important. I actually let her take that. I didn’t take it. I let her take that and go talk to the team, go talk to the leadership team below her. Go talk to even the team member who was leaving, who had great insight and it morphed into the actual restructure. The original idea I had, it’s not as a leader, your job is to be, “here’s what we’re doing. It’s going to be X, Y, Z, and you’re going to do this and this and this.” There are no changes and no room for collaboration. You can have a vision or an idea, and then you should be bringing that to your team and letting that idea morph with a lot of people’s perspective and collaboration. The ultimate result of this restructure was a result of like six or seven people’s collaboration on a leadership level. 

You can’t always take everybody’s opinions into consideration. You can’t always accommodate everyone’s opinions, but it’s really important. I’ve also learned this in leadership: you take an idea you have, and you allow the space for other people to contribute to that idea and change it because you never will know a hundred percent what’s best. You’re not on the front lines. You’re not working with clients and customers. Most likely you have a different perspective than somebody else on your team does. It’s so valuable to make it a collaborative effort. I want to make sure I make that clear. 

Here’s what we changed in our team. It used to be like this, you signed on as a client and two are to work with our “done for you”packages. You sign on as a client and you would go to an internal strategist and they would onboard you. They do your strategy call, they do your client presentation, we’d set up your funnel, “here’s your projections. Here’s your 90 day plan and do a real deep dive in your strategy.” Once you are ready, you’ve got your strategy in place. If you had to do funnel work or we had to support you with that, we would do that. Then you’d be passed to your ads team. From there you had a senior strategist and an ads manager and the senior strategist was responsible for high level funnel strategy. The ads manager was responsible for ads. They of course, collaborated together. The senior strategists manage the ads manager. That was my structure two months ago, and it had been that way since the beginning. I got myself out of doing client strategy calls about two and a half years ago by hiring that internal strategist.

Here is the new structure. We dissolved the internal strategist position and we now made it so that we have three senior strategists and those senior strategists now are fully responsible for client strategy from the beginning. You sign on as a client and the senior strategist does the strategy call and they are from there on out, the driver for your federal strategy for your projections, for pulling in support with your messaging, if you need. I’m going to talk about that restructure in a second. Instead of having that internal strategist who was in charge of doing the client strategy call, now you go straight to your ads team and you have your senior strategist. Once you’re ready, we assign you to the ads manager. Then you’ve got that team. We also added in so that the senior strategists do the initial client strategy call and a monthly client strategy call with our clients. 

Now here’s the why behind this. First of all, I had to come up with a solution to that internal strategist who gave their notice. Instead of just saying, “oh, I’m just going to replace that exact position and not make any changes.” I really questioned, “is this an opportunity to change something in the business?” And for me, it totally clicked. I was like, “why do we have the steps when there’s a disconnect?” You might be hearing this and you’re like, “well, yeah, that’s obvious”, but I’m telling you when you’re in the thick of your business every day, you don’t always see these things. We could have got another year like this, if this team member didn’t give their notice. We actually were forced to question these things because it was working fine. It wasn’t like it was causing major issues. 

We could do it better. Instead of having this disconnect where you go from this person to the next person, and then your ads team, you now come in and you have your senior strategist. The other benefit to that is that the senior strategist owns the strategy from day one, because sometimes you get where there’s all different opinions or perspectives on strategy. So there could be a disconnect if one person sets your strategy and then they pass it over. Then another person’s like, “oh, I wouldn’t have done that on the projections.” Then there’s that potential issue, which we always worked out. Sometimes that did come up where there was a disagreement on projections and what was possible versus what was not possible, because that’s really important is that your projections are realistic when you start your ads, which is what we’re setting up in that strategy process. 

The why behind this is that number one, I had to find a solution for the internal strategist to shift and the team member who was leaving. Number two, in the last year in marketing the need for deep level strategy in a company and marketing strategy that we need to bring to our clients because ads is just not enough because if you don’t have that deep level strategy, if you don’t have the eyes on your messaging and your strategy and the feedback and the guidance and the direction, your ads are not going to work. I knew that our clients needed even deeper strategy support than what we were providing before, so I wanted to improve that. We used to have two ads teams. We now have three and less ads managers underneath each senior strategist so that they can go much deeper. 

They can do those monthly strategy calls. They can really drive that strategy. Where it used to be like four or five ads managers under a senior strategist, it’s now two or three ads managers under a senior strategist. We created these micro teams and then we also were able to structure the team so that they’re specialized. We’ve got a live launch micro team. We’ve got team members who specialize in more of the slow funnels and a couple of e-commerce clients. We’ve got a webinar funnel, micro team. What that does is that makes that whole team stronger for all of our clients, because they’re all collaborating on the same type of funnel and a similar strategy, which helps our clients. We made the shift and it restructured a lot. 

A couple other things that we did is included in our ‘done for you’  general service that we would do. We have a full-time tech VA who will do landing page edits. We’ll help you if we see a tagging issue or we’re like, “Hey, we should move this text up here, shift this button or whatever it is, because we think the ad will then do better.” That’s now included when that used to be like an extra add on. We had the team do it, but it wasn’t included in the package. So we included that in our package. Then the last thing that we did was we promoted one of our copywriters to a creative director role, and their job is to manage all of the process around our creative, but to up-level the ideas and the creativity that’s coming from our creative team to translate to ads. The why behind this is that the importance of having insanely effective and strategic messaging and creative is now 10 times more important than it used to be. 

Instead of our ads managers, having to collaborate with clients, and yes, we’ve always had our creative team, but it was more copy. They definitely came up with ideas, but I wanted to up-level those quality of ideas. We now have a creative director who manages our whole creative team, our copywriters and our in-house designer, and comes up with ideas. She’s actually on that strategy call with the senior strategist and the last 30 minutes of that call is all about your messaging and the positioning of your offer, your understanding of your ideal customer, how to pull out the deeper level angles of that and translate that over to your marketing. A lot of our clients even moving forward into their ads need support with audits of their sales page, of the positioning of their webinar, of all those types of messaging components that you need, even once you start ads. 

She is now supporting that. So it was a big restructure for us because we removed a position. We didn’t refill that position. We added another micro team. We had to shuffle an ads manager and got promoted to that senior strategist. So we had to move a couple of accounts around and it has been an insanely positive experience for all of our clients. I’m just so impressed with everybody in terms of the collaboration, the communication internally and externally to clients, the organization behind it, we looked at everything from every angle. “Where’s the potential problems, where’s the gaps? What do we need to make sure we are aware of?” When we made the shift and it’s still in place, all of the senior strategists and my director of operations meet on a weekly meeting. 

They are just like, “how can we get better? Where are the gaps? Let’s find the problems.” That’s so important when you’re changing anything in your team or your structure or your business, because there will be gaps and there will be problems. The goal is you have to find those before they actually impact your customers. We didn’t have a single client, issue or struggle, because when you make shifts, that’s obviously a by-product. Sometimes you do have to shift a client account around, right? We took into consideration everything, the shifts we over communicated to clients. I wouldn’t have a single client issue with this restructure, and now we’re all better for it.

I just got off a huddle where they’re shouting at each other out. The senior strategists are saying,”I used to not have as much time to go this deep on a client strategy, and now I can spend an hour or two hours auditing this and bringing it to the call. If I would have gone that deep, it would have spread me thinner in the past. Whereas now I feel like I have the time and space to go that deep.” 

The why behind all of this was that number one, as the industry changes, you need to adapt your offer. That could mean restructuring the way you do things. That is the reality of business, and you need to stay on top of that and be open to the feedback that you’re either receiving from your team or your customers or your clients, and taking that into consideration as you make decisions. Number two, when something happens in your company and it’s a big blow, I’ve had those days, the day that I got this team member’s resignation notice that felt like that day. It was so frustrating. Then this turned into one of the best things for us. Not that she’s leaving, but that it pushed us to make this restructure because it wouldn’t have, if she didn’t do that. I believe everything happens for a reason, and that was the reason. Number three, analyzing the industry, if you are running your own marketing or you are hiring a marketing team, or you’re building your marketing team, you need to understand that increased strategy and increased messaging support and going way deeper than you used to have to on those things is absolutely critical for your success. 

If I’m sitting here as the owner of a marketing company who serves as other people’s marketing teams, and I’m telling you, we had to Uplevel our delivery to offer way more strategy, support to offer way more messaging support in order for the ads to be successful, you have to mirror that in your business. However, that looks for you. Going deeper on all of that is absolutely critical for your success. 

That’s my story, restructuring my whole team. I think that there are a lot of lessons in this in terms of leadership, in terms of adapting to your market and taking hard situations and turning them into a positive one. These are my most proud moments in my company because they’re pivotal moments. It was a big deal, what we did, and also it calls out all of the collaboration and teamwork. 

That’s usually sitting there waiting to shine. Whenever you have a situation that’s hard, or you have to make a lot of changes, it’s an opportunity for you as a leader for your team as a whole to step up and be even better. My team’s absolutely stronger from all of this and way better. Our delivery is better. Our offer is better. Our clients are happier. Our retention is even better and their results are even better. That is one of the cool things about having a business too, is you’re always going to be improving it. You’re always going to be looking at it. You should be at least, especially in your delivery and asking, “how can I do this better? Where are the holes, where’s the gaps and how do I fill them?” I’m sure in a year from now, I will have more insight and more shifts and the industry is going to change. 

You have to be willing to do that and not get stuck. I hope this was a little bit helpful for you guys. Of course, I do want to invite you if you want to even explore getting this marketing support, having this marketing partner, that’s where we shifted. That was part of it too, is our whole team. I got everybody on the same page of my vision of like, “we’re not just an ads company or a media buyer or an agency. Our goal is to be our clients and our customers’ marketing partners.” That means we have to go deep on strategy on messaging, on offer, positioning on every component from a to Z of their marketing. Getting my whole team on that same page to also support the shift and with our overall Uplevel and services. I hope that was helpful for you guys today, and you can go to help my strategy.com. If you want to explore one of the ways that we can become your marketing partner in your business. I’ll talk to you guys next time.

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