With the shift to inbound or pull marketing well underway, there is also a shift in the marketing skillsets required to get the job done.
B2B marketing managers are struggling to manage their team's skills transition. At the same time marketing agencies (a traditional source of specific skills) are also undergoing massive change towards hybrid digital-centric agencies. The old days of $5k per month PR retainers are rapidly disappearing in favour of agencies who can provide services across the spectrum. (Marketing services is no less immune to disintermediation than other sectors.)
So what is the laundry list of skills B2B Marketing managers have to source in the newly enabled inbound marketing world?
As your website now sits at the heart of your lead generation efforts, unsurprisingly web orientated skills feature high on the list.
With the shift in B2B buyer's behaviour to online education, research and decision making (and the resultant consumption of multiple tidbits of content,) skills in content creation feature high on the list. Being able to write well is a core skill, perhaps an aptitude, and one that is harder to teach per se than "marketing." Many inbound marketing agencies like g2m Solutions, are hiring content generators in greater numbers than marketing specialists to manage the demand for these skills.
So here are the 6 main skill groupings to which B2B Marketing managers need to have access:
- Understanding your buyer's problems and building buyer personas
- Understanding your funnel "maths" how many visitors, leads, sales ready leads (SRLs) and customers are required to meet your business goals
- Campaign planning, agency and project management
- Content planning/strategy development over the duration of the marketing and sales funnel (often 12+ months)
- Website copywriting
- Landing page copywriting
- Lead capture form generation
- Call-to-action generation and writing
- Blog writing
- High value content writing (white papers ebooks etc)
- Development of highly engaging content such as infographics and video that cut through the online noise
- SEO keyword research
- SEO link analysis
- SEO page analysis
- Guest blogging research, negotiation and maintenance
- Social media strategy development, building, participation and monitoring
- PR/Social PR planning, integration with social media and execution
- Designing and building lead nurturing (workflow) campaigns that pull leads down the sales funnel to become sales ready
- Email writing
- Lead database management
- Technical competence with marketing automation platforms
- Lead scoring, design and implementation
- CRM integration
- Visitor, lead and SRL, Customer, analysis and measurement
- ROI measurement, analysis and reporting
- Keyword and ranking analytics
- On and off page optimisation analysis and reporting
- Blog analytics
- Reach analytics
- Social media participation analytics
- Email open rate analysis
- Call-To-Action testing
- Landing page testing
- Competitor tracking and comparative analytics
...and much, much more!
It's a daunting list and very few companies are able to (or ought to) do everything. Outsourcing is an accepted practice in marketing for good reason. A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation quickly establishes its much more affordable to find a partner to help you.
Equally its much more sustainable. Staff turnover is a constant challenge for B2B marketing managers and resources to support lead generation fluctuate throughout any given year.
However, finding agencies that employ people with these hybrid skills are rare and hard to find. Hybrid, digital centric agencies are starting to emerge in Australia and have been seeing rampant growth in North America and more recently Europe.
We would like to encourage you to take our simple, excel based B2B marketing health check to see how your organisation stacks up in the brave new world of inbound marketing.