When the first Industrial Revolution hit its stride in the 1800s, a convergence of forces changed the way businesses operated.
Before the creation of large-scale industry, people would mine raw materials, and craftsmen would shape those materials into products. But with the advent of the catalyst for revolutionary change—the steam engine—society was able to accelerate both the mining of those materials and the manufacturing and distribution processes, which in turn accelerated the need for raw materials. But enough of the history lesson, let's get down to business.
Marketing automation is having a similar impact on how we mine our data, create our programs, deliver our content, and continually refine, streamline, and automate. Those who use it have an advantage—if they can use it properly. And proper use requires having expertise.
As a hiring manager, what skills do you need on your team, and how do you continue to develop them?
1. Data Hygienist
Your data hygienist's job is to make sure that every name and list you acquire is cleaned, augmented, and imported with consistent standards—regularly scrubbing bad data out of your current systems to provide a cleaner view for Sales. This person should also manage your list purchases to ensure you are spending appropriately.
For staffing, you have a couple of choices:
- Full- or part-time employee. A great way to bring more junior members or interns up to speed on your marketing operations.
- Outsource. If you can't get the budget for a headcount or if you have an open position yet to be filled, outsourcing is a great option. You'll get some professional advice, someone to manage your project, and quick execution. Just be sure to plan for ongoing engagement. Do not let your data get stale.
TIP: Have an employee development plan in place, especially if you're hiring recent grads. They may find the work tedious over time. Consider offering CRM training or marketing automation training.
2. CRM Administrator
In B2B marketing, it's becoming more common for a CRM admin to report to Marketing as well. Sales and Marketing should be maintaining a common, "master" database. The CRM administrator's is an internal function. Any custom programming and integrations needs, however, are relatively easy to outsource.
TIP: If you don't yet have end-to-end reporting, ask your current admin to help you determine what marketing efforts are contributing to revenue. Pay attention to the questions she asks. You'll discover whether she has that "marketing mindset," because it starts with having the business acumen to ask the right questions. If she doesn't, you may need a new hire.
In general, you have three basic needs here: design, code, and analytics. Remember, analytics acumen requires not only being able to offer statistics but also being able to interpret the data, then recommending and implementing a plan of action. For instance, if traffic on your support site is up 20%, is that good or bad, and what should your next step be?
TIP: If you can find a good webmaster to fulfill two-out-of-three basic needs, hire her and outsource the third.
4. Content Manager
You may have great copywriters, but they need to understand more of the big picture, from mapping content to the buying cycle to playing a role in customer retention. Your communications also need to flow well in marketing automation and must share a common voice.
TIP: Get content managers up to speed with the latest research and techniques. Include them in brainstorming sessions with your marketing automation expert so they can understand how a program flows. Involve them in the analysis and testing so they can see what's creative isn't always what works.
5. Marketing Automation Specialist
This position requires one of the most sought-after skillsets. You need a technologist who thinks like a marketer. She needs some Web, CRM, data, email, and content skills—in addition to expertise with your specific system. These candidates are rare.
Do a quick search on LinkedIn for "Marketing." You'll get 6,133,149 results. Search for "Marketing Automation." You'll get 5,739. Search for specific products: Eloqua (2,104), Aprimo (1,430), Silverpop (1,266), and Marketo (655). Those results should tell you that you will have to compete for these candidates by offering the right work environment and plenty of flexibility and compensation.
TIP: Don't wait to find the talent before getting started with marketing automation. Outsource while you seek the talent. It will cost a little more, but you'll draw from a greater pool of expertise and accelerate your ramp-up time. Your outsourced talent can subsequently help train your new hires.
* * *
As marketing technologies continue to accelerate the pace of change, talent requirements become even more critical. The key to better understanding how to acquire, interpret, and act on digital clues depends on your ability to attract, retain, and retool the skills of your team.