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Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax and unwind. A time to stop thinking about work and re-energize your batteries.  Unfortunately, especially if you are in Marketing, leaving the office for even a short period of time can be stressful because it requires putting in extra hours to get ahead and/or train someone to fill your shoes to keep things running smoothly while you are away.

For marketing professionals, finding someone to fill in, even for a short time, is further complicated by a shortage of people, a high degree of variability in the work performed and the time sensitive nature of tasks. Add to this the unpredictable volume often associated with inbound leads and you the potential for trouble.

To ease some of this burden, organizations should strive to streamline and automate their marketing processes as much as possible to eliminate repetitive tasks such as data entry and lead follow-up. For example, inbound requests for information can be filtered, replied to or assigned to the appropriate sales person automatically. Similarly, outbound lead generation programs can be scheduled to drop while you are gone with responses for follow-up initially handled with automation rules or prioritized for immediate attention upon your return.

If implementing automated rules to handle lead generation activities isn’t an option, templates and cross training can offer significant relief. Prewritten response emails can dramatically simplify lead follow-up as well as improve the consistency of communication from your organization. Centralizing and sharing these across team members should then become standard practice to ensure everyone is speaking the same language and utilizing the most current information.

With a little planning and preparation, taking a vacation can once again be an enjoyable experience. Even better, once you do leave, you can forget about the office and rest assured that a pile of issues won’t be waiting for you upon your return to the office.