3 Key Steps for Starting Virtual Teams Successfully from Hubspot’s Matthew Barby

3 Key Steps for Starting Virtual Teams Successfully from Hubspot’s Matthew Barby

We had the pleasure of having Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth & SEO at Hubspot, on the Virtual Success Podcast where he talked at length about how he leverages virtual teams to drive large content & growth strategies. He also delved into how he manages to avoid the common virtual team challenges that can create chaos instead of flow.


We asked him what his 3 key steps would be for anybody starting virtual teams for the first time.  



Start off small

Get one thing done really well as opposed to trying to solve all of your problems immediately.


If you had a problem before you started working with a virtual assistant, that problem is going to hang around if you try and overload someone with things to do. Just get them focus on one thing at a time.

Focus on one thing at a time. Click To Tweet


Start small! 


 Starting Virtual Teams First, prove your simpler processes work well when delegated and then work your way up from there. Slowly and surely build out more rigid processes for working with people and actually getting some results.


You can start using virtual teams to scale up your processes. Scale your virtual teams to help out with your own individual projects first and then grow out your lists of projects once you have a core, kind of an engine working in the middle of it all.


If you start small like this and build up, you will really ‘get’ how to start building a virtual team and, more importantly, how to make successful virtual teams.


Strong selection criteria

Make sure that you are sourcing and selecting people that are a right fit for you personally as much as the task you are delegating.

  • Do they understand your expectations from a communication point of view?
  • Do they understand why you expect certain things of them?
  • Are they going to be passionate about what the’re doing for you?


Starting Virtual TeamsIf someone is doing something for you and they’re not at least a little bit passionate about it then they are not going to be motivated to go above and beyond for you.


At the start when you’re building out, it can sometimes be a bit of a painful process but it’s well worth spending that time to get the right people in. Spending the time training your team and working with them closely so you can spot potential holes in your processes is key. If you do this then not only are they going to do a better job for you but you’re actually going to build longer lasting relationships with these people because you’re not just engaging with them on a transactional level. They will be coming to you with ideas in no time.


You need to devote at least a month of solid, intensive time with your virtual team to build out a solid understanding of expectations. Until they get to the point where they fell proficient in delivering what you want to do but may still need some check-ins and guidance here and there.


And remember! Cheaper isn’t always best!

Cheaper isn't always best! Click To Tweet


Really focusing on this step makes managing virtual teams much easier and less stressful in the long run. Finding the right types of people and working with multiple people could also really help out.



For more of Matthew’s tips and insights on how to approach the task of building specialist virtual teams within your business and how to leverage these teams to their greatest potential, listen to this episode of the Virtual Success Show Podcast.
Also Available on The Virtual Hub YouTube Channel. Subscribe Now!

“Treat people like people”

A lot of people have a bad perception around the effectiveness of virtual teams because they don’t really understand their value. Nine times out of ten it’s actually you that’s the problem and not the VA!


Starting Virtual TeamsYou often find that one person will excel to success with the same VA that someone else discarded and labeled as useless.


The root cause of why most virtual teams go wrong is because people don’t feel heard, appreciated or respected.


You wouldn’t bring someone in for a performance review on their second day of work. That would probably result in a lawsuit, never mind you actually having to get rid of that member of staff.


So, when you’re managing virtual teams, be realistic.


These people are starting a task from fresh. They’re working with you when they’ve never worked with you before.


This is a new employee and a part of your business. Treat them with respect, actually keep them motivated, and be realistic. It is likely you yourself were not able to solve the problem in a day so why should you expect your virtual team to be able to solve it in a day?


The problem is that people try to work with virtual teams in a way that they would a digital agency or consultant. They expect to just have something over and it will get done for them. But really they are bringing a new employee into their business, even if it is a contracted VA.

Most virtual teams go wrong because people don't feel heard, appreciated or respected. Click To Tweet


If you hired someone, on the first day of them coming into your business you wouldn’t be saying to them, “Right, where are we at? What targets have you hit? How are you going to do this by the next week that we’ve already started working. I’ve started paying you so I want to see results.”


The thing that you need to be thinking about here is to always treat people as employees. Managing remote teams is exactly the same as managing employees in your business. People don’t just get told something once and then that’s ingrained into their memory and then all of a sudden they’re superstars at whatever you just told them. You need to train people. These are human beings. If someone’s motivated and they actually want to listen to what you say and they’ll come back to you, they’ll learn, they’ll ask questions.

Always treat people as employees. Click To Tweet


These are the best tips on leading virtual teams I can give from my experience so you actually get all of the advantages of virtual teams and less of the stress.


There is a success strategy for virtual teams that is the same for any business in any industry.


Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just follow the same strategy that those who have achieved success before you have followed.


starting virtual teams

Matthew Barby

Global Head of Growth & SEO at Hubspot
Award winning digital marketing consultant, global speaker, startup advisor, and lecturer. You can find Matthew on LinkedinTwitter, and Facebook.


If you want to hear what Matthew thinks the biggest challenge to managing a virtual project team is then why not listen to the full Virtual Success Podcast episode where he shares more effective team management tips and some cool ideas if you are looking for a virtual business to start.


You can also listen here:

How Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot, Is Leveraging Specialist Virtual Teams To Drive Business Growth And Ultimately, Business Success

by The Virtual Success Show

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