We all know the age-old expression, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Though I’ve never tried, I’m going to guess they're right about that.
Likewise, there are many different ways to build a high-performing, growth-focused marketing team. However, in my experience, I have found that there are five absolute must-have positions that the majority of best-in-class B2B companies employ.
Particularly if you’re at a small business or startup, it’s important to think about building your team with these five roles first. Let's go through what these roles are and where to find the right people to fill them.
5 Must-Have Roles on Your B2B Marketing Team
1) The Player-Coach
It all starts with a leader. No matter what the title -- Director of Online Marketing is one example -- you need someone with high intellectual capacity, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to lead others. While this person will spend a lot of their time managing or coaching others, they'll also need to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They'll need to be very hands-on with several tactics and do the proverbial “wearing of many hats.” Think all-around athlete with this position: Specific experience matters less than passion, energy, and brainpower.
Where to Find the Player-Coach
It’s important for this person to mesh well with your team, so don’t hesitate to ask marketing friends for referrals. Pay attention to LinkedIn connections while you’re vetting potential candidates, too, in case you have a mutual connection. Leadership skills and the ability to fit in with your company’s culture are key here.
2) The Search Nerd
Let’s face it: Google is still king -- and no matter what business you're in, SEO is going to be a big part of your marketing game plan. There are a few things more valuable than having someone who is not only willing and able, but also passionate about diving into the details of search algorithms, principles of bid management, and keeping up on all those Google updates. (What does this Panda have to do with my SEO rankings, anyway?) Search has become a serious discipline, and you need a serious player to manage your efforts here.
Where to Find the Search Nerd
This candidate should have experience managing SEO for another company or at an agency, so look for this type of experience in their resume. Also, since the SEO community is an active one, you can find potential candidates by engaging with people who are regularly participating in SEO LinkedIn group conversations.
3) The Writer
If Google is king, then Content is the queen, prince, and probably court jester of your marketing portfolio. No matter what type of content you're creating, the majority of it has one thing in common: It needs to be written! Having an exceptional writer on your staff is a must if you plan to have a website, publish a blog, participate in social media, offer long-form content, do PR, or advertise. (In other words, if you plan to do marketing.)
Once you have a strong writer in place, you can look to hiring freelancers to supplement and help you scale the quantity of content. Oftentimes, this writer can transition into an Editor-in-Chief type of role over time, managing your content operations.
Where to Find the Writer
This candidate should hail from the publishing/journalism world. They should have a lot of experience writing, managing an editorial calendar, and expressing creativity. MediaBistro and Ed2010 are great places to post job descriptions to find a promising candidate.
4) The Website Master
I don’t necessarily mean the traditional "webmaster" title, but rather, someone who is a master of website design and/or development. Whenever possible, I'm a believer in managing as much of your website as possible in-house, instead of outsourcing to an agency. It’s just too important as the primary face of your company to put in the hands of others.
If you can find someone that is a hybrid of a designer and a developer, then you've struck gold. Otherwise, figure out which side of the coin you value more and target the best talent you can you find in that area. Nearly all of your potential customers will visit your website -- most beginning their journey at that point. Your company’s website should be an absolute priority investment, so make sure an owner of it is one of your first hires.
Where to Find the Website Master
Designers and developers belong to very active communities since they’re continuously exchanging information with each other to hone their skills. Take advantage of this by tapping into these forums and looking to sites like CrunchBoard and Dribble to post your job description.
5) The Analytics & Operations Animal
Marketing Operations might be the more appropriate way to describe this function or title. In the modern world of B2B marketing, you'll struggle to survive without a data-driven, operations-focused team member -- someone to help manage and drive your technology solutions and provide analytics and reporting for the team.
This person, by their very nature, should help keep the whole department armed with data to drive decision-making, track progress, and set goals and forecasts. You’ll know this person when you meet them. It will be hard to pry them out of Excel and the latest business intelligence tools!
Where to Find the Analytics & Operations Animal
Experience with data is crucial here. Look for candidates with a background in finance and who have excellent Excel skills.
Bonus: The 6th Hire
After you find these five hires, search for the most creative person you can find and add them to your team. Marketing is both an art and a science, and you need to balance out the data and hard tactics with some right-brain creative DNA. In the past, I’ve hired improv comics and struggling filmmakers and turned them into amazing marketing contributors.
With these roles in place, you'll be well on your way to executing that brilliant growth strategy that you have cooked up. Remember, you are only as great as your people.
Want to learn more about working in Marketing? Check out How to Structure a Kick-Ass Marketing Team for Any Company.