How an Ideal Marketing Team Should Be Structured (in the B2B Market)

or why do we need to drop “Demand Generation” from marketing job titles…

early college years

Let’s talk about what an ideal marketing team should look like. I have seen a couple of very successful marketing teams and a few utter failures. Certainly, many factors contribute to the success of a marketing team. Among them are simple but consistent processes, effective reporting, great matching skills between team members and, of course, adequate leadership with clear goals and an executable strategy to reach these goals.

I would like to share my experience on how to structure an enterprise marketing team and what skills to look for to make your marketing department world class.

For the purpose of this exercise, I will focus on the enterprise/B2B companies only.

Demand generation manager is one of the hottest job titles among enterprise marketing teams. Many entrepreneurs perceive a demand generation manager to be some sort of magician. He or she will join your organization and miraculously make loads of high-quality leads unleash on your sales team.

Almost every demand generation job has different requirements, including anything from prolific writer to web developer, from Salesforce ninja to data analyst, from event organizer to funnel optimization expert, and so on.

Do you really expect to hire an expert in all of these areas?

Do you really think that “demand generation” is a goal or function of just one person?

How many times have you come across a company that wants to hire a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a proficient web developer? If you are going to try to hire a Demand Generation manager that is good at both, you are going to end up with someone who isn’t adequately good at any. As Marc Andereessen stated in his famous essay (I highly recommend reading all of it here):

“When hiring and when firing executives, you must therefore focus on strength rather than lack of weakness.”

I believe that this approach applies not only to hiring the executives, but hiring in general. It is crucial for you to identify which skill you need your demand generation manager (or anyone else for that matter) to have.

Tim Duranleau did a good job at defining demand generation and how it is different from lead generation in a 2013 post:

“Demand generation covers all marketing activities that create awareness about your product, company and industry. It includes a mix of inbound and outbound marketing.”

So, when you are looking to hire a demand generation manager, do you expect him/her to cover pretty much every activity in marketing? Marketing is demand generation. I would even go as far as calling a Customer Success team partially responsible for demand generation.

Marketing is Demand Generation.

Everyone in your marketing department should be responsible for Demand Generation. However, I’m not saying that everyone should own a lead number. As we all know, if everyone owns something, no one is owning anything. The team should be set up in a way that allows the marketing leader to assign and track different demand generation goals and metrics to particular team members.

An ideal enterprise marketing team for larger company might look like this:

Marketing Leader

  • Content Manager
  • Web Manager
  • Paid Acquisition Manager
  • Marketing Ops Manager (Automation & Analytics)
  • Marketing Lifecycle Manager
  • Social Media & PR Manager
  • Event & Campaign Manager

Let’s look at each team member.

Marketing Leader

Job Titles: Marketing Manager, Marketing Director, Head of Marketing, VP of Marketing, CMO

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Develops marketing vision and strategy
  • Manages marketing team/functions, timelines, and brand
  • Responsible for setting team goals and metrics
  • Reports on inbound leads, pipeline/opportunities, conversion funnel

Metrics:

  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) — quality and quantity
  • Pipeline and Opportunities — predictability
  • Marketing ROI (cost per lead etc.)
  • Lead-to-Opportunity conversion rate
  • Marketing contribution to revenue

Description:

As a marketing leader, he/she should be responsible for the marketing vision and strategy. The vision should describe which target markets the company should focus on, who the buying personas are in these markets, what values (benefits) the company provides to buyers, what should be communicated at different levels of the demand funnel, what channels should be used to reach the target audience, and so on.

Recommended Reading: You have probably heard of classics such as “Predictable Revenue” by Aaron Ross, but “The Sales Acceleration Formula” by Mark Roberge who took Hubspot from almost no revenue to $100M is also a must-read for every sales and marketing manager. What I really like about this book is that it can be used as a manual regardless of your current company’s growth stage. It is very applicable: theory and implementation in one place.

Content Manager

Job Title: Copywriter, Content Manager or Content Marketing Manager, Head of Content

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Creates messaging framework, persona value map, content roadmap, and content schedule
  • Responsible for SEO, owns keyword map
  • Manages development of the marketing assets

Metrics:

  • Traffic from Search Engines
  • Leads from marketing assets (whitepapers, e-books, industry reports)
  • Newsletter subscribers

Description:

A Content Manager or Content Marketing Manager is responsible for creating the content on a consistent basis. S/he manages the content calendar and content roadmap. A Content Manager should have great understanding of the buying cycle and the buyer’s persona, what values trigger buying decisions, and what topics are hot in the industry. S/he needs to educate targeted customers on topics that can improve their daily performance and make their life easier.

Companies that do a great job at this are Kissmetrics, Hubspot and Close.io.

Web Manager

Job Title: Web Manager, Head of Web

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Manages the website design, development and updates

Metrics:

  • Number of pages indexed by search engine
  • Bounce Rate, Site Uptime, Page Load time
  • Website Errors
  • Conversions and Conversion Rate

Description:

Marketing teams are only successful when they constantly test and optimize campaigns and the website for conversion. A Web Manager plays a crucial role in the marketing team. S/he should have enough technical skills to manage the website, design landing pages, integration with CRM and marketing automation.

Paid Acquisition Manager

Job Title: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager, Paid Acquisition Manager, Head of Paid Acquisition

Goals & Responsibilities (better and more leads cheaper):

  • Drives testing and optimization of paid channel funnels
  • Oversees cost per lead and ROI analysis

Metrics:

  • Cost per Lead
  • Cost per Opportunity

Description:

A monthly budget for paid acquisitions of $35-$55K warrants a dedicated Paid Acquisition manager whose responsibility will be to manage, optimize test new paid channels, keyword and messages. A primary goal for the Paid Acquisition Manager is to control and reduce cost per conversion and cost per acquisition/lead.

Marketing Automation & Analytics Manager (Marketing Ops Manager)

Job Title: Marketing Automation Manager, Marketing Analytics Manager, Marketing Operations Manager, and so on

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Manages CRM and Marketing Automation integration
  • Oversees marketing tools (Email marketing, drip campaigns, data enhancement solutions)
  • Responsible for report, analytics and data integration for the entire marketing team

Metrics:

  • Measure overall marketing ops effectiveness

Description:

The Marketing Ops Manager oversees all marketing tools integrations and syncs. S/he needs to have enough technical expertise to be comfortable implementing marketing automation solution, CRM, website optimization tools, data enrichment solutions, managing analytics and reporting across multiple tools, supporting every function of marketing. To some extent, this role is a technical bridge between marketing and sales.

Marketing Lifecycle Manager

Job Title: Marketing Manager, Marketing Optimization Manager

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Develops lead nurturing, lifecycle communication and segmentation campaigns
  • Leads website conversion, testing, and optimization initiatives
  • Manages buying cycle and communication strategy for each stage
  • Customer Evangelism (if there is no dedicated Customer Success team/person in the organization)

Metrics:

  • website conversion rate
  • lead to opportunity conversion rate

Description:

The Marketing Lifecycle Manager oversees lead nurturing programs, is responsible for prospects segmentation and communication touch at each state of the buying cycle. S/he also leads the Conversion Optimization team by setting up 2–4 tests per month to improve the website conversion rate.

Social Media & PR Manager

Job Title: Social Media Manager, Head of Social, Social Media / PR Manager, Social Media & Communications Manager

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Grow social media audience and referral traffic from social media channels
  • Monitoring and engaging social media, including managing product reviews on websites like G2Crowd / GetApp, etc.
  • Responsible for monitoring hot topics, resources and blogs that your target audience reads
  • Monitors targeted accounts (your sales team should have a list of targeted accounts that they are going after — monitor their social media channels and look for triggers). For example, if your company mobile app succeeds with actionable analytics based on operational and user behavior metrics, you can monitor social media for negative app reviews or mobile app complains.

Metrics:

  • Social Media audience growth (# of followers, likes)
  • Referral traffic from Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Angel.co, Quora, G2Crowd etc)
  • Engagement (retweets, shares, liked, comments, reviews… etc.)

Description:

The Social Media & PR Manager should be responsible for all communication on social media, as well as for building relationships with industry evangelists, bloggers, journalists and other industry expert. The Social Media manager should not only build processes to spread the message across multiple channels, but also to build a consistent system that will allow the marketing team to listen to the market, customers, and prospects, as well as enable sales to monitor triggers that might lead to easier entry into the account.

Event & Campaign Manager

Job Title: Event Manager, Campaign Manager

Goals & Responsibilities:

  • Manages all aspects of event organization (venue selection, catering, sponsorships, partnerships, event marketing campaigns, etc.)
  • Oversees event budgets and spending
  • Plans Event promotion

Metrics:

  • Event Attendance
  • Leads generated from events
  • Social Media and PR coverage

Description:

The Event & Campaign Manager organizes and supports marketing events such as conferences, meet-ups, workshops and industry gatherings. S/he is responsible for managing all aspects from planning and promotion to event execution and event ROI analysis.

Create a Conversion Optimization Team

Effective enterprise marketing teams have some version of a conversion optimization team which consists of a web developer (front-end/backend), a designer/UI and a marketing manager (lifecycle marketing manager). This team plans, implements and tracks weekly tests that are directed to increase conversion rates.

Conversion Optimization Team =
Web Manager (Front-end + back-end) + Designer + Marketing Manager

BONUS :

  • A Designer / UI is an essential member of Conversion Optimization Team who is responsible for the website design and UI flow and supports the Content Manager with infographics, etc.
  • A Customer Success Manager creates case studies and owns customer success stories.

What if you are a startup and you don’t have a budget for a world class marketing team?

Make sure you prioritize which marketing skills and what channels are most important at the current stage of your company and hire people according to their primary strength rather than a combination of sub par skills.

Medium size company (fast growing startup):

  1. Marketing Leader
  2. Content Manager
  3. Web Manager (Design)
  4. Marketing Lifecycle Manager (Analytics)
  5. Communication Manager (Social / Events / PR)

Agency/Contractors:

  • Marketing Ops/Automation
  • Paid Acquisition Management
  • Designer

Startup:

  1. Marketing Leader (Analytics / Lifecycle Manager )
  2. Web Manager (Dev / Design / Ops)
  3. Content Manager (Social / Events / Content / PR)

Agency/Contractors:

  • Marketing Ops/Automation
  • Paid Acquisition Management
  • Designer

We have not covered the Product Marketing aspect but in my opinion product marketing should be under the product management umbrella. For a product marketer, it is important to be aligned with the content marketer and the lifecycle marketing manager. Product messaging and product announcements should be integrated in a content calendar and a roadmap. At the same time, a lifecycle marketer will map product messages with the specific buying stages.

In case you’re wondering, I did not just change the Demand Generation manager title to a Marketing Lifecycle manager. Traditionally, Demand Generation manager owns the lead number, and I believe that everyone on the marketing team should own a part of it. The Marketing Lifecycle manager focuses on a lead nurturing, segmentation, and communication strategy during different buying stages.

The world class marketing team should consist of people with strengths that are critical to your company’s success. Just as in Ocean’s Eleven each member has a superpower and one mastermind with an action plan, your marketing team should have defined leaders across most important marketing disciplines.

Please feel free to send your thoughts about how you would improve the above outlined approach!