Many business-to-business (B2B) companies are recruiting for a marketing manager right now. For many smaller B2B companies, it's the first time they've hired for the role. And while they want to find the 'perfect' marketing manager, the reality is that they aren't quite sure what they should be looking for. A great marketing manager will help a B2B company raise awareness and generate leads. A not-so-good marketing manager will undertake lots of activities, spend lots of time and money, and not accomplish much. How can you know if you've found the former and avoided the latter?
To help, we've put together a list of qualities that we think comprises a ‘perfect’ marketing manager for a small or mid-sized B2B company. Here’s the trick: rarely will you find all these qualities neatly packaged up in one person. (If you do - hire them now!) This list will help you identify if your potential marketing manager is on the right track (ie they have the majority of the skills they need to be successful).
The perfect marketing manager for a small or mid-sized B2B company is someone who:
Thinks strategically and can align the marketing plan with the company's business goals.
A great B2B marketing manager can come up with a strategic marketing plan – no matter what industry you are in or verticals you are targeting. He or she will be able to do the necessary research about your business and know what you do, in order to create the right marketing plan. Your marketing manager will also consider your business goals and how the plan will help you achieve them.
Has the tactical skills to execute an integrated marketing plan
A great marketing manager doesn't just know how to plan, but also knows how to execute the plan. He or she will have the experience and knowledge to get the plan off the ground and carry it out. Suffice to say, a good marketing manager should be ready to get into the trenches with their team and make any plan work. They don't have to be able to do all the nitty-gritty (coding and graphic design, for example), but they should have a roster of freelancers they can call on to get those things done.
Wants to work in a small or mid-sized B2B company and won't get bored once the initial challenge wears off
This might sound obvious, but your marketing manager has to want to work for your company. Working as the head of marketing for a small or mid-sized B2B company brings a number of challenges, which will be seen as positives by the right person. But there are many who might not see them as positives - and this can cause them to jump ship quickly. Make sure your hire won't be leaving you before they've been able to achieve progress.
Can work with a limited budget
A limited budget is just one of the things a good b2B marketing manager will know about when working with small and mid-sized businesses. He or she will be able to find creative ways to work with fewer resources and less time. This prevents projects from going over budget, and keeps expectations in check.
Truly understands how sales works in B2B and can effectively support the sales team
It's absolutely vital in B2B that the marketing team understand the nature of the sales process. Consumer marketing tactics don't work well in B2B because the sales process is so different between B2B and B2C. The best marketing managers are often those who started their careers in sales, or who have at least spent some time in sales. Make sure your marketing manager 'gets' how sales happen for your company and can provide support to the sales team (with the right materials or tools to progress opportunities through the sales pipeline).
Has both creative and analytical skills to do the work and measure their results
A good manager will be able to strategize, implement, and of course, analyze the results of all marketing activities performed. A plan may sound good on paper, but the real test of a strategy’s effectiveness is what it delivers. Did its ROI justify all the work and resources expended? Every marketing plan needs to have accountability and a good manager will measure the results of his or her work.
Has reasonable salary expectations
Salary expectations vary by region and city, but a marketing manager should know that small businesses won’t have as much money as big corporations. Many SMBs can offer reasonable salaries, plus benefits, and even incentives and raises, but they can’t expect large salaries off the bat. If your manager has a salary expectation that's more than 20% higher than the budget you've allocated, you might have a problem.
Doesn't need much coaching or hand-holding
In general, executives of small and mid-sized B2B companies are very busy. They don't have a lot of time to hand-hold and guide those around them. So the ideal marketing manager is someone who is a self-starter and doesn't need a lot of support and guidance - they can jump in and get things done.
Finding your perfect marketing manager
Finding a perfect marketing manager for a small or mid-sized B2B company is a tough challenge, and it's probably not the right goal to set. Rather than perfect, find the 'just right' marketer for your company. That marketer will come close on the attributes that are most important in your business, which will make it easier to compromise on the less important attributes.
And consider that you don't always need a full time marketing manager. More B2B companies are shifting to outsourced marketing to fulfill their marketing objectives. Could it be the right fit for your company? Download Top Ten Reasons B2B Companies Outsource Their Marketing below to learn more.
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