If your business is a small-to-mid sized B2B company, it’s likely that your marketing department headcount ranges from non-existent up to a team of 10 people. More commonly, we see that services based B2B companies have 0-2 marketing resources at their disposal, and product/software companies with a more sizable group in the 2-5 headcount range. The mentality of services companies is that the cost justification on an additional resource is based on additional margin from services, whereas marketing for product/software companies is a vital piece of the upfront investment required to drive revenue multiples. In either case, there is an ideal profile that we believe is the “Ideal” person should you look to add to your SMB B2B Marketing team. Unfortunately, this person is very tough to find as an all-in-one package, so if you do find one, snap them up as quickly as you can.
- Content Development. The true x-factor in digital marketing. Your SMB B2B Marketing Manager has to have a great understanding of how to generate outstanding content in a variety of formats. Whether it’s a white paper or a tweet, this person should be locked up tight around abilities to generate and deliver compelling content to your audience.
- Campaign Design and Development. Once you have content, there has to be a way to market it. Effective campaign design plays a large factor in generating leads and website activity. A well-run campaign has so many moving parts across content and delivery so your marketing person must have the skills to run them with precision. Project management skills come in really handy on this piece.
- SEO. Everyone is an SEO guru; but can they comprehend a SEO B2B mentality? Buying pizzas, selling fashion and optimizing search for your buddies new magnet gadget is far different from marketing B2B services or products. Because nearly everything a marketer does these days touches SEO, it’s imperative that your marketing person have pretty deep SEO skills. Getting training on Google Analytics isn’t going to be enough!
- Technical. The value of technical skills are underestimated when considering the skills required to be a great SMB B2B marketing manager. Navigating a CMS, HTML, code, CSS, integrations, and forms can be quite tricky at times. It’s not always the case that a developer is available (or clearly understands) to help pull together a marketing campaign or design for a landing page. We believe that the ideal marketing person has the wherewithal to be pretty dangerous in and out of all these parts without managing a website crash (if you are considering a new website, follow this website redesign process to get it done correctly).
- Strategy. SMB B2B companies are usually not very top heavy, with most executives knee deep in the operational aspect of the business (maybe even your CEO is the top sales rep?). Strategic thinking and a keen eye on how strategy translates to goals is an integral part of any ideal marketing associate. It’s important to have a person on the marketing team that can lend a hand in strategy, while also being able to execute on the details of the role.
- Social Media. Social media is sometimes an overstated characteristic needed for an SMB B2B Marketing Manager. Additionally, managing social media means more than just posting and tweeting; contrary to popular opinion. In order to get the most out of social media, especially for B2B companies, you have to pay attention to what your buyers are doing (read our Facebook Changes: B2B Social Media Plan article to see that statistics) and how to really engage them on each platform. If your SMB B2B marketing manager is pushing Pinterest as a key play in your social media strategy, you might want to look for someone else that really understands the business.
- Lead Generation. Even though marketing goes hand in hand with ROI, all companies need to be realistic with the lead generation goals tied to the range of marketing activities (good read on this subject: Do All Marketing Activities Require an ROI?). Ideally, your SMB B2B marketing manager should have a sound view of the integration between sales and marketing, enabling them to see the clear translation in each phase of the sales cycle through lead conversion. The best marketers are capable of selling as well as marketing your products and services.
- Systems and Tools. With so many tools in the market, it’s important to be able to sift through all that’s available and decipher which are the best for collecting, distributing, managing, sorting and analyzing content, leads and data. Whether it’s CRM, marketing automation, social media, RSS tools, email marketing, SEO, content curation, design, website CMS or image modification, your person better have the ability to pick things up quickly! Each day, more and more marketing tools are at our fingertips.
Bottom line is that the ideal person has to have a grip on all of the moving parts in a role that requires such a wide variety of skill. Some areas of expertise are more important than others depending on the current capabilities of your team, but regardless of what’s already on board, these skill areas are critical if you want to do marketing the right way in the SMB B2B space.
If you are challenged with marketing and aren’t sure about how to tackle this dilemma, let us know and we can help frame the needs for your marketing department.