How to Solve the 6 Most Common Marketing Challenges as a New Team Leader
Becoming a team or departmental leader is a rite of passage for many marketers. It’s a step that requires you to balance the needs of your team with the demands of your organization.
In this blog post, we explore six of the most common challenges new marketing leaders face and how to overcome them.
1. Establishing Credibility as a New Team Leader
Transitioning into your new leadership role means both your team and company are observing how well you’re doing. You want to be perceived as knowledgeable, professional, and capable of managing expectations–all of which are hallmarks of what makes a great marketing leader.
You can demonstrate these attributes with the following actions:
- Get to know your new team members. As a new leader, you need to build relationships with every team member and learn their passions, strengths, and areas of growth. Establishing this familiarity early on will strengthen your team overall, help you mentor your direct reports, and strategize how to work effectively as a group.
- Make the most of your team’s skill sets. This depends to some degree on whether your marketing team specializes in one skill or runs the gamut of marketing needs. As the new leader, maximizing your team’s strengths is critical to success. The more people are doing what they’re good at, the more reliable your results become. This also helps you support an individual’s professional growth and career trajectory.
- Prioritize the needs of your organization over your own. Managers have to make sacrifices at times. This means working on cross-departmental projects and taking on assignments that aren’t in your job description. You accept these responsibilities to demonstrate that you’re a reliable team player who leads by example, which your team will notice, too.
- Understand the bigger picture. To be effective as a team leader, you need to understand how your department fits into the company’s overall goals. Marketers are responsible for generating awareness, driving leads, and optimizing for conversions. It’s up to you to successfully communicate to your team how these objectives are carried out on a regular basis.
2. Prioritizing the Latest Digital Marketing Strategies
Stepping into a new marketing role sometimes means you’re educating others on the latest digital marketing strategies. Whether that’s communicating the importance of following the current best practices to leadership or honing your team’s skills, you might face the challenge of needing to dust off your team’s digital marketing skills.
Set aside time with each team member and ask them to share about previous successful campaigns they worked on. This allows you to see how your team’s mind works, and you can leverage that knowledge for the digital equivalents of their previous campaigns.
It’s also vital to identify the KPIs most important to leadership and use them to inform the marketing mix you use as a new marketing leader.
3. Working With an Underperforming Marketing Team
There are many obstacles to overcome in marketing, but one of the toughest is an underperforming team. Generating results and keeping morale high is difficult when people don’t know why they’re coming to work or don’t have confidence in their skills.
Even if the entire marketing team you lead knows each other, they are all new to you. As such, it’s a smart idea to give them extra time to master essential skills and prove themselves before evaluating their performance. Here are some tips on how to make the most of it:
- Set clear expectations from day one. Even if the individual before you was not effectively managing a marketing team, that’s no excuse for you. Document standard operating procedures (SOPs) and productivity benchmarks for your team so they know what to do each day, and how.
- Be transparent. Leadership is about inspiring your team to do better but being approachable while doing so. Share the conversion goals you want to see the team achieve, and not just the goals but why they’re important. The more you can share about what you see, the easier it is for them to adopt your vision.
- Check in regularly. It’s hard to be a good leader when you aren’t keeping a pulse on your team. Set up check-ins for each team member at least twice monthly, and give them the freedom to share what’s on their mind. It’s an invaluable opportunity to catch something (or several things) you may have missed.
4. Dealing With Pressure to Deliver Results Right Away
If your organization is growing impatient with underperforming marketing campaigns, you may feel pressure to deliver results quickly, even if your team isn’t ready to take on these responsibilities. There are a few actions you can take to mitigate the pressure while keeping upper management pleased with your efforts.
First, ask your organization’s upper management for patience as you work with your team to incorporate new strategies. No one masters any skill overnight, so your leaders should be understanding of the fact that you need time to guide them.
Second, you can use interim tactics to boost your organization’s lead generation. For example, you can use paid search or paid social ads to drive more traffic to your website while your team members hone SEO and email marketing. If you already have paid media skill sets, set up one or two campaigns while your team is drafting long-form blog posts.
Third, consider outsourcing specific tasks. If your team doesn’t have the skills or bandwidth to design gated content like ebooks and white papers, hire a freelancer. This way your team is 100% focused on what they do best!
5. Coaching Your Team to Prioritize Inbound Lead Generation
Does the company you now work for prioritize inbound lead generation? If not, you need to educate your team members on how crucial it is. Inbound lead generation is any combination of marketing tasks or systems that drives relevant leads to your business.
One popular inbound lead gen method is SEO content creation. If your team is already skilled in this area, double check that they’re recording their progress. SEO is the long game and it’s essential to see which posts are ranking and which aren’t, so you can guide your team accordingly.
If your team isn’t yet generating high quality content and optimizing it for search engines, it’s smart to make this a company priority. Market research shows 72% of companies are able to boost client engagement as a result of content marketing like blogs, video, and custom social media posts.
6. Working With Limited Resources
Learning how to overcome marketing challenges includes the possibility of working with limited resources, like a small team. With only a few team members, high-priority tasks take center stage.
You can easily overwhelm a small team by giving them too many tasks to complete at once. This is why you must prioritize tasks based on the historic or anticipated ROI they’ll generate.
Where possible, delegate some of your team members’ tasks to non-marketing team members. This frees up your team to complete the work that only they can do every week. You can also use task management software to streamline assignments and see when a specific task hasn’t been completed by its given deadline.
Whether you’re dealing with limited resources or limited expertise within your in-house team, working with an agency partner might be your best solution.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
Embracing the challenges of digital marketing as a new team leader is daunting. Get a lay of the land during your first week so you know which initiatives need the most attention.
As you grow into your new role, stay on top of the latest trends and technologies to help your organization succeed. Marketing is a constantly shifting field and you won’t stay on top for long if you’re only using strategies from 10 years ago.
PS: We help marketing leaders like you succeed in new roles. Find out how.