Resourcing your B2B marketing function: the WHO and the HOW

This blog is part of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ series – an insight into some of the content being presented at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference 2016 where Mogrify will be presenting.

We are all feeling it. The competitive landscape is changing faster than ever.  Evolving buyer behaviour, new technology, new business models – we all need to keep up and move with the times or risk being left behind.

The B2B marketing function is one of the key parts of the business that has had to adapt. No longer the role of one person or team, ‘marketing’ now needs to effectively engage other key parts of the business and create valuable marketing content based on the company’s unique experience and knowledge.

If you’re not ‘doing any marketing’ or are still focused on a product/service or generic company message, you may be seeing the impact in your revenue figures or sales pipeline. You may have the superior product and team but if you are not getting your story out there and maintaining conversations with your prospects, you can bet that your competition is – and that they will keep getting better at it!

But how do you best structure an effective marketing team? What skillsets do you need? As an increasing number of specialist skills are required to be successful at marketing (content, data, technology, social media etc), we are seeing the emergence of the specialist marketer. So which specialist areas should you hire first? Do you hire people or do you use an external marketing company? We discuss the WHO and the HOW. The key thing to remember here, however, is that there is no “one size fits all approach”. The right mix and flavour is different for every business.

The WHO:  Four key players to consider adding to your B2B marketing function

Whether you don’t have a marketing function, need to grow your current team or feel you are not getting the most of your existing resources – getting the right mix is not easy.

Marketing in today’s evolving landscape is a complex task. Here are the types of roles we have highlighted that you might need in your B2B marketing function -  whether it is in-sourced, outsourced, or a bit of both:

 1. A strategically minded, process-driven Marketing Director/Marketing Leader

Like any other business function, marketing needs clear systems and processes. A great Marketing Director will appreciate the value of systems and processes and know how to put them in place. Among a Marketing Director’s key strengths is the ability to think strategically and practically at the same time. How does your Marketing Director envisage the role of marketing in your business in six months’ time or in in a year’s time? Have them explain their strategy for making this happen.

 2. An IT-savvy content writer

Content is king, and your company needs to produce plenty of it – quickly. But writing good content is a highly specialised task. Are any of your existing IT people good writers? More importantly, are they quick and can they be taught by marketing to write to specific target buyers? If you do have access to good writers, can they take complex and sometimes dry subject matter and communicate it in a simple, targeted and compelling way that makes you stand out?

 3. A process-driven Social Media Manager

Paying particular attention to this channel in B2B marketing is a wise move. Not just from a content distribution and promotion channel, but increasingly from a lead generation perspective. Having someone on the team who is focused on growing the profile of your organisation via social channels is important, and the same goes for using these same channels to have ongoing conversations with prospects to develop them into leads. You need someone who "gets" social media, especially LinkedIn, and also someone who you can trust to have business conversations to provide the sales team with qualified leads.

 4. A detail-oriented Database Administrator

Underlying all effective marketing is a solid Customer Relations Management (CRM). Being head of an IT company that quite possibly sells CRM software platforms among your products, you’ll understand this better than anyone. Traditional marketers don’t tend to be database-savvy or necessarily have the specific type of attention to detail required for the highly specialised task of administering a database. Similarly, database experts don’t necessarily have any marketing aptitude. You need someone who combines attention to detail with marketing smarts.

The HOW: Resource or outsource?

Take a look at your existing internal staff. Draw up a list of people who could perform the above-listed functions well. You might be able to split some of the roles between various staff.

Maybe you need to recruit. Finding one person who could perform all those roles would be pretty well impossible. Employing four people is difficult on most marketing budgets – and an outstanding Marketing Director certainly isn’t going to come cheap.

An alternative to restructuring or recruiting is to look at outsourcing options – or a mix of both. Working with a specialist partner can help you establish the right marketing structure and strategy in a shorter space of time. It can also be the difference between a resource spend of hundreds of thousands of dollars vs. one of tens of thousands of dollars.

What about you?

What resources do you have available today? What gaps do you need to fill in order to implement a successful modern marketing strategy?

If you’ve run through your internal recruitment options, and think you’d like to consider an outsourced – or a mixed - model as a solution to your marketing needs - come along to our APC session "To hire or not to hire. The face of the modern marketing team" Thursday 8th at 11.30am where we explore the options and look at some real-life examples.

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"Vision without execution is just hallucination."

- Henry Ford