TTTT:s will be the future superheroes with the mission to kill silos in sales and marketing
…digital marketing, analytics, IT, e-commerce, CRO, UX, UI, brand identities, advertising, TikTok – they have all been around for a while now.” Nothing is really new anymore. If a new social platform pops up, the basics of building an audience, creating content, or buying reach are the same. In other words, nowadays there should be a lot of people that have done great things within several of these verticals. Right?
These people have at least deep knowledge in one field and have dipped their curious toes in one or several of the other fields. These people are often labeled as T-shaped profiles (let us just call them T:s). A single specialized person would on the other hand be labeled as an I-shaped profile. We of course need the I:s, as many verticals get more complex over time. In my opinion data science and the integration of different systems are examples where I-people are required in order to reach an effective and scalable solution.
”Creativity is born when two disciplines collide and I strongly believe the Artsy Engineer could be the key!”
But there is always a but… I would argue that the true superheroes are the T:s, especially if you would like to move fast in a data-driven world. Do not misunderstand me here, we need both, but if you are looking into scaling and growing your business, without just adding headcount you should look into where your T:s are. And the future will probably require double, triple, or more likely quadruple T:s – people that can “scan” a company’s capabilities, fill knowledge gaps and inject creativity in a room full of different capabilities are worth a million.
Imagine having an Artsy Engineer 🎨🦉in your organization that can connect the Dev. Team with the Designers and create magic and kill silos. Creativity is born when two disciplines collide and I strongly believe the Artsy Engineer could be the key! Or any other combo of expertise. Let us salute the TTTT:s for a while.
”An organization full of I:s will build large silos and no one will have the helicopter perspective.”
Before we do that and go into why T:s are good and where and how you can find them I would like to reflect on T:s and I:s within my current field conversion rate optimization (CRO) and growth. My team at Conversionista usually takes on roles such as Head of E-commerce, Online Sales Manager, Product Owner, CRO Manager, Growth Manager, Head of Growth, or Head of CRO. OMG, in these inflationary times in the economy, it is nothing compared to the evolution of titles ☺️.
The roles that we take are the spider-in-the-web kind of roles and in order to be successful you need to ally with several disciplines and also get them to talk to each other. You need to analyze the gaps and areas of improvement fast and then run together. Without the general knowledge and the know-how to be visionary within each field, this would take too much time. The trick is to get everybody aligned and make them autonomous so they can run at the same pace as you. An organization full of I:s will build large silos and no one will have the helicopter perspective.
You probably already know that cross-functional teams are the modern way to go. But you maybe still experience that you also have experts in separate departments – i.e. SEO under IT, UX and UI in the design team, analytics and traffic acquisition under marketing? Do you feel that these competencies should work in the same team, unified under one leader?
My guess is “Yes you feel it”. Looking at it from a goal-setting perspective, these competencies actually have the same goal, to improve user experience. But, do they have the same evaluation criteria for their efforts? Probably not.
Why are T:s a good thing?
- They come from an expertise area and therefore understand the craftsmanship and nerdiness necessary for success within a field, which means they respect the knowledge and hard work of I-profiles.
- They can communicate across boundaries as their rhetorics and vocabulary can satisfy several competencies within your organization. And they are constantly challenging and pushing the I:s in the right direction. They are the ultimate silo killer.
- They can set overall evaluation criteria (OKR:s and alike) aligning the organization to run in the same direction.
- They understand the bigger picture and can decide what work to prioritize.
- They can motivate and challenge the I:s to dig deeper in their expertise (something that I:profiles need as their motivation often gets drained if they only perform basic tasks).
- They can fill knowledge gaps fast and your organization does not need to fill a seat with another resource immediately.
Where should you start looking for T:s?
- If I were the Head of Marketing or Sales I would start mapping all competencies and drivers of each individual. I would start looking amongst the SEO or the paid media specialists.
- SEO-skilled persons usually have know-how in tech and development, content, analytics, and UX. Do you have a proactive and a bit of a visionary SEO person? This could be your perfect fit.
- Or how about your paid media specialists? As the buying platforms evolve it becomes much easier to actually let i.e. Facebook and Google decide what to do with your marketing money. In other words, Facebook and Google’s algorithm is much smarter than your own team! This means that you should be able to free time from these resources so that they can take on other areas such as analytics or maybe branding…
- If you have a hard time finding one within your organization, maybe you need to hire someone? Look for people that have had maybe 3-4 years within different fields and try to dig into their personality – can they be visionary, are they a bit bold, can they listen and not only talk, are they creative, curious, and communicative? All these personality traits make a perfect TTTT.
- Last, but not least. Contact me or any of my colleagues if you need help or guidance. 😉 Could we help out in mapping your organization, driving change and collaboration or assisting in a recruitment process?
Hope you maybe think of people in your team a bit differently after reading this and start your hunt in finding and utilizing the skills of T:s – The Spider Ninjas, the Branding Techies, the UX Advertisers, the Analytics Photographers, or the Artsy Engineers! If they speak, drop everything and start to listen.
By the way, I think that Spider Ninjas are a good way to describe a T-person.
The Spider – a cross-functional genius that can get collaboration cross different teams and competencies going.
The Ninja – a person that comes from a specialist area that respects and appreciates the craftsmanship within one or several fields.
Good luck in finding or evolving into a TTTT!
Growth Manger , Conversionista Malmö
Images are created with Dall-E.