Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing & More! Marketing leaders and managers often ask me how to lead a marketing team, especially new first-line managers. However, even very experienced marketing directors ask for advice when they have to respond to unfamiliar marketing disciplines.
That’s why in today’s episode, I talk about leading a marketing team and making that team efficient and motivated.
In this episode:
- What are the tangible and intangible elements of leadership?
- What makes leadership challenging and demanding?
- How to set clear goals and objectives, and how to use them to lead the marketing team?
- How creating a statement helps managers to lead effective marketing teams?
- What is the role of collaboration and what makes it efficient?
- How to clarify roles and responsibilities?
- How to define performance indicators on both individual and project levels?
- What should leaders do to motivate, encourage, and inspire their teams?
Quotes from the episode:
“Org structure, roles and responsibilities minimize confusion and avoid duplication, as well as stepping on each other’s feet.”
“Marketing is hard. Encourage your teams to learn from the mistakes, share the mistakes, and you will all grow together as a result. ”
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“How do I lead a marketing team?” I get this question a lot, especially from new first-line managers and very seasoned marketing directors leading marketing disciplines that they are unfamiliar with.
For example, some of them have websites under them, but they don’t know the intricacies of building and managing websites. Not to mention SEO; very few senior marketing executives have hands-on SEO experience in enterprises.
In addition, leadership skills or inspiring a team is so abstract and intangible. So, how do you lead?
Well, let’s talk from both tangible and intangible perspectives.
The tangible parts are:
- Have clear objectives and goals that you want to achieve as a team
- Clarify roles and responsibilities with documented collaboration processes
- Define performance indicators at an individual level or a project/campaign level
Have clear objectives and goals that you want to achieve as a team
I talked about the importance of a logline in my SOLO Episode 179: 3 B2B Marketing Takeaways from Reading Screenplay Writing Books. One thing that a screenplay writer needs to do is to create a logline, a statement to describe what a movie is all about.
I mentioned a great logline: A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife, and terrorists take over her office building.
When I mentioned the statement, you could probably immediately picture Die Hard.
When you lead a team, you should also create a statement that depicts the objectives and the goals that your team needs to achieve this year.
Make that statement broad enough to cover the whole team.
For example, drive demand generation by launching your company’s hero product flawlessly with integrated marketing campaigns covering the CFO’s customer journey from top to bottom.
Create clear objectives and goals that you can use to rally and guide your team.
It sounds easy, but it’s hard. It takes time to create a statement that encompasses everyone’s job scope and deliverables.
Clarify roles and responsibilities with close collaboration processes
Org structure and roles and responsibilities minimize confusion and avoid duplication, as well as stepping on each other’s feet.
The worst part is that the org chart is a living document. If you increase or decrease headcount or change of management, org charts will need to change.
With digital marketing, social media and emails may drive traffic to your websites, so should the copy for social media and emails come from the content team or social media and email marketing teams? The CTA of the blog posts may need to change since emails that we will send out is more bottom of the funnel. Who has the jurisdiction to tell a blog writer to change the CTA? The blogger or the email marketing manager?
That also depends on the collaboration. If the collaboration is close and tight, it may be no issue which is doing what. If they only talk once a month or there’s no communication at all, then how can you make changes to move quickly?
I, personally, feel that knowing who does what and how things are done is critical for a marketing leader to minimize confusion within the team.
Define performance indicators at an individual level or a project/campaign level
Now that everyone knows what the team will need to do for the year and their job scope, the next question is, how do you hold everyone accountable?
Do you hold them accountable based on projects and campaigns, or individual deliverables or team-oriented metrics? For example: rather than measuring the completion of 12 email campaigns, you measure the numbers of qualified leads based on email campaigns. Is that better or worse?
What about supporting sales? Should that be measured based on the number of sales inquiries solved or the number of content usage by sales?
You need to think all of this through and work with your team to determine that.
Now, let’s talk about the intangible part: motivating or inspiring the teams or increasing the team’s productivity.
I don’t have an absolute answer for you. What I can tell you is that the leadership skill level is situational. Sometimes, you are going to be a good cop. Sometimes, you will need to be stern and direct, delivering bad news as a bad cop.
What’s important is that you make an effort to listen. Understand your teams’ points of view. If you disagree with them, you need to articulate why. Sometimes, you have to take a side and make hard a call. That’s life.
I’ve discovered that sharing my journey and mistakes helps them understand that they aren’t alone when they feel that they made wrong decisions or that a campaign’s performance didn’t meet the goals.
Marketing is hard. Encourage your teams to learn from the mistakes, share the mistakes, and you will all grow together as a result.
Of course, when it’s time to celebrate, well, celebrate hard! Shower them with praise and rewards. Do what you can to make them feel awesome. Go with that work hard and play hard approach.
Ok, these are two cents on how to lead a marketing team. I hope you’ll find them helpful.
If you need help on leading your team better, please book a call with me on pamdidner.com. It’s complimentary. Or email me your question. I am more than happy to reply with thoughtful answers.