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Data-Backed Tips for Successful Hybrid Team Leadership in 2022

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Data-Backed Tips for Successful Hybrid Team Leadership in 2022

According to Microsoft’s 2022 Annual Work Trend Index Report, 53% of employees are considering transitioning to a hybrid work setup in the next year and hybrid work is up seven points from 2021.

So, what does it take to lead a hybrid team? We’ve got a few tips.

1. Set rules of engagement.

When everyone’s in the office, many rules and behaviors go unsaid. After all, everyone is in the same space, so it’s easier to pick up on cues. However, when everyone is scattered, it changes how you approach them.

Microsoft’s report found that following the pandemic, few companies (only 28%) have met with their teams to define their new normal since switching to a hybrid or remote model.

This can lead to confusion, unmet expectations, and high attrition rates. Setting a structure around communication and collaboration allows the team to work more efficiently as it promotes cohesion among all members, despite the physical distance.

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2. Leverage asynchronous communication.

Speaking of distance, it can be nearly impossible to get everyone on a call at the same time depending on where your team is.

For instance, say you have some team members in California, others in New York, and some overseas in Kenya. Those are three time zones, meaning three different work schedules.

One way to keep your team connected is to leverage asynchronous tools.

For instance, you can utilize bots within your messaging system, whether it’s Slack, Teams, or another platform, to invite your team to share updates, check-ins, etc.

geekbot asynchronous communication tool

With Geekbot, the software can be programmed to ask your team specific questions, then share their answers.

So, if your team is unable to sync up for daily meetings, you can still get progress updates from everyone in a channel of your choosing.

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3. Have a robust onboarding process.

Having a strong onboarding process is more important than ever.

Data from the Microsoft report shows that employees onboarded during the last two years are at greater risk for attrition, are less likely to feel included within their teams, and tend to have weaker relationships with their direct teams.

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Since the pandemic, new hires are relying more on their managers for onboarding – and that’s a good thing for the company.

The study found that new hires whose managers played an active role in their onboarding process were 3.5 times more likely to be satisfied with their experience.

Here are some tips to optimize your onboarding process:

  • Prepare training materials and create an onboarding guide.
  • Launch an internal mentorship program to guide new hires within the first few months.
  • Have a welcome chat to introduce the new hire to the team.
  • Send your new hire a survey about their onboarding experience to assess gaps in the process.

4. Trust your team.

Trust is the number one component of a successful hybrid or remote team. Without it, neither party is able to successfully respond to their responsibilities.

In the office, you can always keep an eye on your team. Walking by their desk to check in on a project, peeking to see if they’re actively working. When your team is hybrid, you lose that level of visibility.

As such, you’re forced to trust your team. How do you build trust? Well, it’s a two-way street and it starts with you.

Firstly, be transparent. This encompasses everything from sharing feedback on performance to sharing resources to sharing team and company-wide updates.

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Secondly, create a space where your team feels psychologically safe – safe to share ideas, be themselves, learn, and challenge the status quo.

Lastly, find out what matters to each person on your team. What do they value? What are their goals? How do they like to be celebrated? How do they learn best?

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Trust also extends to their work. Even though 80% of employees say they are just as productive since going hybrid or remote, most leaders (54%) fear productivity has or will negatively impact their teams, according to the Microsoft report.

Avoid the temptation to micromanage your team. Instead, set the parameters for their tasks, check in with their progress, provide resources when needed, and offer feedback. This will empower your team to do their best work knowing that they have the full support and trust of their manager.

5. Prioritize team culture.

According to the 2022 Microsoft report, the top aspect of work employees views as important – other than money – is a positive culture.

Even though your team is hybrid, you still have to work hard to build its culture. If anything, it’s even more important since you don’t have the physical environment to rely on.

When you have a hybrid team, you have to be intentional about everything – particularly connecting on a non-work level.

43% of leaders surveyed in the Microsoft report say relationship-building is the number one challenge in remote and hybrid work.

After all, you can’t just invite your team to a happy hour at a local restaurant or have an impromptu group lunch.

What you want to avoid is an imbalance where some members feel disconnected from the team because of their distance, which is pretty common. In fact, 44% of hybrid employees surveyed said they do not feel included in meetings.

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Here are a few ways to make sure your team feels connected:

  • Host virtual events, such as escape rooms, magic shows, and cooking classes, that your team can enjoy as a group.
  • Have regular “watercooler” meetings that allow your team to gather and talk about anything non-work related.
  • Create non-work-related messaging channels based on your team’s interests, like cooking, TV shows, home renovation projects, pets, etc.
  • Plan annual or quarterly meetups with your team, if your budget allows.
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This is your opportunity to shape it into one that fosters inclusion, collaboration, and trust.

6. Invest in your team’s equipment.

When your team works in an office, there are certain things you don’t need to account for, such as Wi-Fi, computer, headset, desk, etc.

However, if you have some people from your team working from home, they will need to have access to the same equipment to succeed in their role.

There are also nice-to-have items that aren’t needed to complete the job but can make your team happier and more productive. Think headphones and ergonomic equipment.

Instead of seeing it as an additional expense, consider it an investment into your team that will pay off tenfold.

There you have it – whether your team is newly hybrid or has always been, there’s always room for improvement. With these tips, your team will work as seamlessly as you would in person.

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MARKETING

B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.

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Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.


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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”


About The Author

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Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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