This post is the first in an ongoing series, “What Keeps a CMO up at Night?” In this series I’ll cover challenges that the modern Chief Marketing Officer faces in the dynamic environment that is today’s business world. In my first blog post for Xactly, I reflected on my initial two weeks at the company. It’s hard to believe that was just three shorts months ago, as so much has happened. Xactly celebrated its IPO anniversary, we won the Top Place to Work Award, and we have another successful user event under our belts. After being hired at Xactly, it was my responsibility to build a thriving, collaborative marketing department—and in short order! We wasted no time hiring top talent, and putting in place the processes and systems that will help us become the well- oiled marketing machine every CMO hopes for. Of course, creating that marketing machine is a job that’s never completely done, it’s the responsibility of everyone on the team to bring their best work and energy to the table. In my experience, the following tactics can help any company boost their marketing efforts and build an enviable team. Build the Right Toolset I’m a big proponent of tools that bring teams together, regardless if they are across the office or across the globe from one another. We work closely with our EMEA team on all of our Marketing efforts, and since we’re not in the same time zone it’s critical to have solutions available for us to stay in contact and efficiently share our work. I’ve found that Slack is extremely effective for sharing content and quick communication across the team. Asana has changed the way we plan our campaigns and keep our projects, to-do’s, and action items aligned. DivvyHQ has helped bring our editorial calendar to life, and get away from spreadsheets that hindered our ability to strategically plan content initiatives. Hire People With Fresh Perspectives To ensure your Marketing Machine keeps running smoothly, it’s important to hire people that think differently than you, have varying perspectives, and compliment your skill set. In my first 90 days, my team quickly brought on some key folks to help bolster our content marketing machine. In addition, Xactly has a thriving intern program and this year it has brought us Justin Rajah from Cal Poly who has quickly become a part of the team, and a valued player to boot. He’s managed to pull this off by bringing his outgoing personality, desire to jump in and help, and willingness to learn new things to the table from day one. Schedule Small Team Outings While large off-sites, which I delve into later in this article, are important for the team to bond as a whole smaller team outings are a great opportunity to build relationships with your team members, and show them how much you appreciate all the hard work they’re doing. I enjoy taking smaller groups out to lunch, as it allows more introverted members of the team to feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their insights about the team. You may be surprised by the multitude of great ideas that come forward in smaller groups! Host Lunch n’ Learns One of your greatest resources is the other members of your team, and the incredibly intelligent people across your entire company. One thing that many people forget is that we are all experts or specialists in something. Lunch n’ learns are a way for individuals to share their expertise, and up the game of everyone on the team. Plan Team Off-sites Last week I took my team to Savory Kitchen in San Jose for a Marketing off-site. Savory Kitchen hosts groups to learn about food preparation, cooking skills, and wine pairings in a warm and friendly environment. Being out of the office, and adding in a competitive element with a cook-off brought out a new side of my colleagues that’s not always apparent in our everyday working environment. Bonding over our food challenge in a relaxed environment was great for building morale and camaraderie. Look out for the next post in this series, and feel free to tweet me @mnijmeh or follow up on @Xactly, and let us know what’s keeping our fellow modern marketers up at night!