What to do when you take over a marketing team

David Orme joined IDEX Biometrics, a manufacturer of fingerprint sensor products and technology, as VP sales and marketing in July

David Orme, VP sales and marketing, IDEX Biometrics

Although not a marketer by career, David has significant marketing experience through his work in corporate acquisitions – not least in his previous role as CEO of the Dutch software developer Bell Identification, which was acquired by Rambus in 2016. He shares his advice on how to find the right leadership style and manage any potential concerns among staff when joining an organisation, as well as how to best to get sales and marketing working together effectively.

How do you know which leadership style is appropriate in an organisation you’ve just joined?

David: It’s important to do your homework to get a feel for the management style. Once you have your feet under the desk, it’s useful to take some time to understand the tempo and rhythm of the business. I like to do a lot of listening! I always appreciate hearing from executives about their targets, key milestones and main objectives.

What’s the best way to manage people in your team when still getting to know them?

I think it’s all about being generous and taking the time to hear them out. I like to have some guaranteed time with my team, so I plan at least two sessions with each person every week.

As my role focuses on sales and marketing, I like to have good metrics from CRM reporting to review with the team. The team react differently to the metrics and there’s always pressure to win, but not at any cost.

What’s the secret to great alignment between sales and marketing?

As you’ve seen, I like metrics, so having an agreed plan and managing the sales funnel from lead through to order means marketing and sales alignment is measured.

Ensuring marketing and sales are both working to the same objective is key. At IDEX Biometrics, the two functions are very closely aligned, we know what’s needed and work together (we speak continuously!).

How do you address the fear of change that accompanies the arrival of a new leader in a company?

It really depends on the circumstances into which you find yourself placed. Previously, I’ve joined teams where there is conflict, poor communication, poor results and little organisational structure. For me, it’s about getting the facts as soon as possible and being decisive regarding the necessary transformations.

It is more effective to make a single change than continually tinkering. In organisations, spread over multiple geographies, I like to find a local leader who I can really get behind. I’m a big fan of each locality having a single leader, as often there isn’t time to consult everyone on changes.

How can marketing leaders boost their emotional intelligence?

It’s all about understanding how to tailor yourself to bring the best out of everyone. At IDEX Biometrics we have tried to achieve this by encouraging our staff to buy into the four key values we hold at the heart of our business: being ingenious, collaborative, passionate and honest. These are all very human values and play to an emotionally intelligent way of working.

We aim for everyone to approach things in clever, original and inventive ways. IDEX is disrupting the market and we believe that to succeed we must think differently and creatively. For a tech company, we’re pretty good at embracing our emotions.

What’s the best way to unite a team around a shared purpose?

Simple. Build a plan, agree the metrics, create a clear timetable and communicate, communicate, communicate. Celebrate success together when it happens and react to things that need improvement quickly.

I’m a big supporter of getting on a call or getting together in person, rather than operating over email, which is sometimes difficult to organise for multiple geographies. I believe that if the timing is right then it’s worth the inconvenience of the odd late night or very early morning, to give people the chance to say something. I’m also a fan of getting people together quarterly, which is a useful way to spend valuable time together.