As marketers, it seems we are always asking our CMO, CFO, or CEO for additional budget to hire more resources for the marketing team.
Marketers have a lot going on—from lead generation to revenue acceleration, thought leadership content creation, process optimization, and more! There are never enough marketers on our team to get it all done.
Plus, as the martech industry continues to boom, the skillsets needed to excel in a modern B2B marketing organization are constantly changing.
Hiring is hard. And hiring for the marketing team is even harder. The landscape changes so quickly that not even education institutions can keep up: You would be hard-pressed to get someone straight out of school who knows marketing automation software and marketing operations.
I have done a lot of hiring for different marketing roles in growth-stage companies over the past several years, and I have learned a lot about what "soft" and other skills I need to look for in my team.
To help in your hiring efforts, here is a breakdown of the top 5 attributes that a modern marketing leader needs to look for to craft a high-functioning marketing team.
1. Hire marketing specialists who can be generalists
A few years back, hiring a marketer was all about hiring "the specialist"—someone who focused on one role and could do that role really well. Examples might be content marketing, social media, SEO management, and more. Though I still hire for these functional areas of expertise, I look for marketers who are both specialists and generalists.
What do I mean? Because the B2B sales cycle is so complex, you need marketers who can move fluidly from one functional area to another—as needed. This ability to step in when needed helps streamline overall execution and consistency across all projects. For instance, you might have a full-time content marketer, but other members of your team can easily jump in to create content, as needed.
Every person on my team knows other team members' function fairly well—which enables them to execute on an end-to-end campaign seamlessly and without as much friction. I also personally live by this rule and can do anything from writing a blog post to rolling up my sleeves to build out a lead nurturing stream in our marketing automation platform.
2. Hire data-driven marketers who are good with numbers
As marketing continues to evolve, I am consistently surprised by how often I stare at numbers and data. When I took marketing courses during school, I never imagined myself building out revenue forecast models or making decisions driven by data and analytics. Turns out, I like that stuff quite a bit—hence why I work at an analytics platform, BrightFunnel.
All the people on your team should be intellectually curious enough to consistently use data to drive their decisions. Your program managers should always be analyzing data sets on program performance to determine their next move. And everyone on your team should look at lead, MQL, opp, pipeline, and revenue numbers.
Not every marketer is predisposed to number-crunching, but you need to find the folks who are coachable and intellectually curious enough to become analytical with some training and focus.
3. Hire marketers who can sell
I love hiring marketers who know how to sell—particularly for demand generation, events, or product marketing roles.
Your marketing team should know your product better than almost anyone in the organization. Your marketing team should understand who your personas are, what makes them tick, and how to move each buyer through the sales funnel with relevant thought leadership. And marketers in specific roles should be able to jump into a sales call, customer call, or do a demo at the tradeshow booth at a moment's notice.
We send our marketing team through sales training so they learn both basic sales methodology and how to sell at BrightFunnel specifically. Not every piece of that training is 100% actionable for them, but it is important that they understand the process and how to talk to a prospect if the situation calls for it.
The other reason I like my marketing team to understand sales is so they can grasp the sales process on a deeper level. If they are more integrated with what goes on during the sales cycle with an open opportunity, that marketer can better target late-stage prospects with the right messaging and positioning. And that, of course, also helps with Sales and Marketing alignment.
4. Hire marketing technologists
Everyone on your marketing team should either know the key technology platforms you use internally or should be trained on them. It is rare these days that a piece of marketing technology is siloed to just once function, and I don't believe that Marketing Operations should be the only people on the team that knows how to operate a particular technology platform. Hire marketers who love technology and who have the intellectual curiosity to learn the tools.
In my past couple of roles leading marketing functions, I have ensured that everyone on my team knows how to use both our marketing automation platform and our CRM. My demand generation, events, content, and social programs managers make their own program templates in our marketing automation platform, and they are also able to go into our CRM for campaign management or simple reporting. And, of course, they all also know how to use BrightFunnel to assess the success of their initiatives.
5. Hire marketers who are biased toward action
As a marketer, especially in a growth-stage company, you need to make quick decisions. Because there are so many initiatives going on that are time-sensitive, your marketing team needs to be action-oriented. From emails, to social media, to relevant content, and more, your marketing team needs to be able to respond to important industry trends, changes in your product, or other company announcements.
The ability to strike that delicate balance between perfection and timing is critical. Is there a new industry trend that everyone is talking about? You better have a team that can quickly deliver an email, blog post, or social post that can get relevant content out the door!
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Hiring can be hard. Hiring a marketing role can be even harder. Although this is in no way an exhaustive list of key attributes for your open marketing roles, it is a step in the right direction!
Interested in learning more about how to make your marketing team more data-driven with BrightFunnel? Download our latest e-book, The Marketing Leader's Playbook for Creating a Culture of Measurement.