How To Build a Rockstar B2B Marketing Team
Modern marketers are awash in new technologies, distribution channels and strategies. It’s easier than ever to lose sight and chase the newest fad, forgetting that the marketing goals of creating marketplace awareness and generating demand should be your main focus.
We believe the best thing marketing leaders can do to ensure that they’re taking advantage of the newest tools at their disposal, while remaining focused on making an impact, is to establish the right marketing team. The “right” team is a function of your company’s size, but it’s also a function of today’s market, technology trends and the current maturity of the B2B marketing discipline.
To help you take stock of the team you have now and outline the team you hope to build in 2016, we’ve created a 3-tier approach to thinking about the mix of skills and experiences every modern marketing team should have. Depending on the size of your organization, each of the below competencies could be a portion of someone’s job or may require a team in and of itself. The size and depth of your team is a question you’ll have to answer internally, but having these skills represented will guarantee you don’t have any gaps in your marketing operation.
- The Messengers and Industry Experts
The first section represents the very basics of B2B marketing that every team needs. If you’re missing any of these specialties on your team, it will affect your ability to create awareness and generate demand sooner rather than later.
- Product Marketing – having someone on your team, no matter whether you’re a company of 20 people or 2,000, who is committed to understanding your customer, your competitors and your unique value proposition is nonnegotiable. This is the person who grasps where you fit in the industry, can train everyone in the company on how to talk about the value you provide to your customers and devises the high-level messaging and story that creates traction for your marketing campaigns and sales conversations.
- Content Marketing – the writer, editor, critical thinker and creative who executes on the product marketing strategy and creates the stories and collateral that bring your product marketing message to life. This person/team is the engine that generates a steady stream of content to introduce your company to prospects and keep you top-of-mind.
- Event Marketing – this team personifies your content marketing efforts. They’re the go-to manager for your tradeshows, road shows and client dinners. These events still represent some of the best opportunities to reach new prospects and build relationships with key decision makers. Having someone in charge of the strategy and vision of how these dollars are invested and how your story is told at events is crucial.
- Press Relations / Analyst Relations – who knows every journalist, analyst and blogger writing or researching your space? Your PR/AR lead of course! This is the connector who is linked to every mover, shaker and influencer in your industry. They know what thought leaders are talking and writing about and hopefully they know how to anticipate what they’ll be talking about next month. Their job is to make sure your company is a part of the right story.
- The Demand-Generation Team
Demand generation has come a long way in the past five years. Marketing automation technology has evolved and improved dramatically as have inbound marketing tactics. The improvements in conversion and attribution have been so dramatic that fully 70 percent of marketing teams are now measured on revenue generated from campaigns.
- Marketing Operations – a lot of managers make the mistake of looking for a purely technical player for this role. In reality what you need is a flexible mind who understands the craft of marketing and the analytical challenge of managing nurture streams. A person who can queue up emails and segment and clean your database, but also understand enough of marketing to know how to use email campaigns to influence prospects and drive them down the marketing funnel.
- Demand Generation – the campaign artist who can energize your owned databases with exciting programs and keep a steady drumbeat of communication that builds trust with your audience. They know how to leverage your editorial calendar and major events to drive people back to your brand.
- Lead Generation – the consummate dealmaker who can get you the best contracts and test 20 media vendors in one quarter while driving the highest ROI.
- The Next-Generation Marketing Team
What got us here, won’t get us there. In 2016, B2B marketing will be dominated by teams who’ve figured out data-driven, customer-centric marketing. Here are the two positions every team should think about hiring for:
- Data Marketer – What should our webinar be about? What should the subject line say? Who should we invite to our VIP dinner? This person keeps your whole team awash in data. They are tracking information from every campaign and tactic, and creating stories that yield actionable insights and influence every part of your execution and strategic planning. This is the person who’ll tell you which part of your marketing investment is generating ROI and what you need to cut.
- Customer Lifecycle Marketer – the marketer who takes a holistic view of your customers, from when they’re prospects to when they become evangelists or churn out. This individual creates great marketing stories that guide customers through the stages of consideration, purchase, onboarding, rebooking and evangelism.
- The X-Factor
- Thought Leader – sometimes it’s your CEO and sometimes it’s an industry maven. This is the person with vision and a magnetic stage presence. They see where the industry is going 20 years into the future and when they speak, the people you need to influence listen. It’s hard to hire and impossible to train for this position, but if you have someone who fits the bill, make sure you’re getting them on stage and in front of people.
For us, predictive intelligence is the culmination of years of effort to make data-driven, customer-centric marketing a reality for the B2B enterprise. Check out our CEO, Amanda Kahlow and SiriusDecisions Analyst, Kerry Cunningham talk about: Finding In-Market Buyers With Predictive Intelligence.