Let’s be straight—if you remember the schoolyard days of your childhood and captaining a dodgeball team, you knew who you wanted to choose to assemble the most kick-butt team of all of time.
The reality, however, is that you were maybe able to get one phenomenal team member, a few good ones that had certain skills like awesome catching/blocking skills or who had a cannon for an arm, and a kid that was so fast that she could dodge anything. The rest were… last to consider.
The same experience can be said of building out your marketing team, where the Captain is your VP of Marketing or CMO: Someone that has the skills, experience and leadership to be able to assemble, inspire and drive the team forward. Then there’s everyone else that comprises your marketing team, each having a unique, sometimes overlapping or complementary set of skills—or, dare I say, superpowers?
Hire for attitude first, aptitude second
Before I even touch upon who should be on your team, above all else, you should be hiring for attitude and mindset before aptitude as the foundation of your dream team.
Why? Because while you can’t hire an All-Star Dream Team from the beginning, you can hire folks who demonstrate that they have a growth mindset, a bit of a track record, and are continually looking for opportunities to expand themselves and their skills to ultimately benefit them in the long run. You can bet that these people will be high in demand as they mature.
Instead of hiring for specialization in *insert highly sought after skill here*, your other option is to hire for breadth. These are your diamonds in the rough that you can polish and mold into your All-Star marketer.
What do I mean by breadth and why is it important?
There’s a movement in the online marketing community around hiring “Full Stack” marketers, popularized by Marcello Calbucci with his seminal piece on Full Stack Marketers that bring a lot more to the table than just someone with skills in only, say, SEO or demand generation. They operate across the entire marketing funnel (“stack”), all the way to working closely with the sales and product teams.
By hiring or developing your own full stack marketers, they work more cohesively as a team and amongst other teams as well. They can ultimately do more with less resources by virtue of not being a “one trick pony”.
With that out of the way, and before we start talking about who you want on your team, this blog post assumes that you have:
- The budget for a team of at least 3-5 people and then some to experiment with paid campaigns
- A product that solves a pain point at a price point that customers are willing and able to pay for
- Crafted and committed to a go-to-market strategy
The Dream Team
Now that we have the foundation and basic assumptions out of the way, let’s move along to the individuals, and the specialized skillsets they possess, that make up your B2B Marketing Dream team.
Full Stack Marketers
These are folks that have a dizzying array of experience and skills under their tool belt.
Typically, they have held key roles in other marketing teams and moved the meter for their previous roles in some aspect. They’ve spearheaded, owned or executed campaigns that drove phenomenal results, and continually get better over time because of their growth mindset.
They probably started by mastering one discipline, such as SEO, paid search or email marketing and then branched off to tackle other related online marketing disciplines. Usually they’re quite confident wading through swathes of data with an analytics foundation to benchmark themselves against the results they’re getting. They’re agile and able to adjust their strategy on the fly. Every B2B team should have an ace up their sleeve that is the Full Stack Marketer. Give these folks a year or two, guaranteed they will develop into fantastic CMO or VP of Marketing candidates.
Having great design is not a nice to have; it’s an absolute must to be able to differentiate your marketing efforts from others. Designers will be a part of the foundation of their marketing team.
While they might not be versed in the marketing jargon, terms or how everything fits from the beginning, with a growth mindset they’ll adapt and quickly learn how to help ideate and brainstorm approaches to content (such as infographics or other marketing collateral) that will make it simply dazzle. If you find one, hold onto them and never let them go.
Treat them well because investing in a great designer will pay off in spades when you realize the number of shares, inbound links and leads a great designer will help your team garner.
Probably one of the main defining characteristics of this designer is that he or she will be working with all team members in one way or another, to solicit feedback and get input on designs, so the ability to be an all-around team player who can take and give feedback constructively is key.
Demand Generation Manager
Every B2B team should have one, especially when they’re looking to scale and fill the sales pipeline. This person can be considered the nervous system of the marketing team.
The Demand Gen Manager has a strong marketing automation background and is well-versed in at least one of the major vendors, CRM, how inbound marketing fits into demand generation, along with running traditional demand generation programs through trade shows and ads.
He or she will be driving forth all your marketing automation efforts and will be working closely with your sales team, so being a team player and establishing rapport with the sales team is a must. They know the ins and outs of your marketing funnel, lead generation best practices, CRM and execution at a high level.
Marketing Operations Manager
The Marketing Operations Manager is the backbone of your marketing team and the one that makes sure everything runs smoothly—from your marketing automation workflows and programs, to cleaning up your marketing automation database and CRM.
Once other members of the team find repeatable marketing tactics, the marketing ops person will execute them with speed and precision.
This person will be your go-to gal or guy who knows paid acquisition channels and emerging channels like the back of their hand. They’re able to stay on top of new channels that have yet to be explored in addition to more mature channels like Google AdWords.
They can retarget and acquire customers profitably, all the while thinking about how to do more with less as they’re well-versed in Conversion Rate Optimization to get more out of ad spend. This is the person who you want on your team when you don’t want to leave any money on the table once you’ve determined that your customer lifetime value outstrips the cost of acquiring customers.
A Content Editor is your first hire in terms of a person dedicated to crafting compelling content, be it long form or easily digestible blog posts.
The managing editor for your content team should be well-versed or at least familiar with the industry your company is in and have a background in writing, whether in a professional capacity such as journalism or copywriting, or a track record of crafting compelling content that results in conversions.
This person will be the voice and first point of contact for the community you intend on building, growing and continually cultivating your community.
Of course they need to have top notch people skills both online and offline. That likability will directly transfer to your company’s brand so you need to make sure this person is representative of your company’s values and an ambassador for your brand and culture. Not only that, they need to bring other skills to the table as well in terms of creativity in executing campaigns and creating engagement across all of your online channels.
On top of the above, here are a few roles that are very nice to have but not always completely necessary.
Full Stack Developer
If you’re looking to build out free tools as content or lead generators, then you’ll need a developer with an interest in marketing and growth to bring those ideas to life as a minimum viable product in web or mobile app format. Ideally they’re interested in marketing and possess a mindset of experimentation and getting wide distribution and sharing through their technical skills.
Nurturing leads and fostering relationships, while obviously helpful in driving and closing business, face-to-face interactions can make all the difference in kickstarting conversations that have gone cold in the past and demonstrating the value of your product or services in person as opposed to online.
If you have the resources and are thinking about hosting a conference, having an events manager is a must. They’re personable and wickedly organized to be able to execute events turning logistical nightmares into itineraries that read like a breeze.
Juggling multiple balls in the air doesn’t even make him or her bat an eyelash.
Marketing Team... Assemble!
So there you have it, our take on who you need to build your B2B Marketing Dream Team.
While you can’t pick or attract all the best people right away, hiring for the right mindset and attitude is a must. From there, it’s about developing people who have the fundamentals and allowing them to reach their All-Star marketing potential to make the difference between a mediocre team and a B2B Marketing Dream Team.
Who would you include on your B2B Marketing Dream Team?