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What skills does a B2B marketing communications professional need today?

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B2B Marketing Skills

In my never-ending quest to stay up on the latest in B2B marketing for leads and sales, I subscribe to RSS feeds from lots of marketing blogs.

One of those feeds recently caught my attention. In Dianna Huff’s MarCom Writer Blog, she talks about what should be included a B2B marketing communications professionals’ job description.

I agree with Dianna about today’s marcom professional needing to be able to do much more than write copy and manage multiple projects. I also agree with her suggestions about what else today’s marcom professionals “need to bring to the table.” I especially like the one about knowledge of the sales lead process.

I humbly suggest a few more skills to add to the list:

A good head for numbers.

This is essential in today’s marketing world where senior management requires, no demands, an ROI on marketing investments.

The ability to give a convincing presentation.

This includes presenting one-to-one, in front of a crowd, over the phone, via the web and in email. This essential skill will prove invaluable when trying to persuade your CEO, the CFO and your boss to give you a bigger budget, more staff or maybe even a promotion and a raise.

A up-to-date understanding of marketing technology.

This includes understanding both marketing media and marketing tools. With half of marketing budgets being spent online, and the efficiency and better results you can gain from using software to manage your campaigns, if you want to be successful as a marketing communication professional, you can’t afford to say “I’m not technical.”

What would you add to the list?

Please share your thoughts about the skills, knowledge and experience that are necessary for success in B2B marketing communications today.

Do you have different or additional suggestions for marketing managers, directors or VPs?

How about sharing some suggestions for how your fellow B2B marketers can best acquire these skills?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Comments

Mac,

Thanks for adding to my list. The skills you listed should indeed be part of a marcom professional’s skill set.

I’d also add, “understanding a product manager’s job.” (I’ve started reading a book coming out in Sept: The Product Managers Desk Reference by Steven Haines. It’s been enlightening.)

 

I would add a few more things that an effective Marketing Communications Manager needs. First is an understanding of the target audience whether that be potential customers, analysts or current clients. It is easy to get caught up in producing communications that everyone loves internally but the key to success is making sure the communications resonate with the intended audience.

The other is posessing confidence and diplomacy. Confidence to keep the organization on the right communications strategy and diplomacy to effectively steer direction back on course if there are too many “experts” in the company weighing in on the communications approach.

 

Chris, those are great additions.

Your suggestions triggered another from me: An effective marcom manager must understand the company’s products and services as they relate to solving customers’ problems or meeting their requirements. -Mac

 

I would add one more competence: Ability to conduct a thorough diagnosis in order to avoid making the mistake of developing solutions based on symptoms.

Tom

 

A good head for numbers is always important. I would add “understand the company’s products” too.

 

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Mac,

I like your top three. I think the true test of marketing effectiveness is the ability to generate qualified leads for sales. This goes to your first skill (head for numbers) and also ensures that marketers have skin in the game.

 

[…] my never-ending quest to stay up on the latest in B2B marketing for leads and sales, I subscribe to RSS feeds from lots of marketing […]

 

It’s even more important these days for marketers to be able to translate marketing talk into C-level execs’ language. Sometimes we all get bogged down in acronyms, technical details and the whiz bang effects without talking about what it will do or achieve in business terms.

 

Julie,

You are so right! When marketers use the same language as the folks in the C-suite, they get respect, bigger budgets and sometimes even a promotion and a raise.

 

All, I would echo some of the comments here. I attended a recent Frost and Sullivan Marketing event and I was surprised at some of the comments about their (Marketers’) value add. While their was lots of talk about the brand, content creation and training, no one mentioned their contribution to revenue. To me, we are all in Sales.

 

Parker, I guess many B2B marketers don’t realize that their job is primarily to help the company sell something.

Experience with a company or its products and services is what builds a winning brand, not advertising.

Content is useless unless it helps sell the prospect on moving from awareness to inquiry to consideration to purchase.

Training, while often necessary is only effective if it helps accomplish the desired result. And the result should be marketing that drives sales.

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern:

Those same B2B marketers who don’t think marketing’s primary job should be to help drive sales, and are not willing to be accountable for their contribution to that corporate goal, are often the ones who are looking for a new job after losing their last one.

the marketers who understand that marketing’s role is primarily to help the company sell something, and are willing to track and measure the impact of their marketing on sales, are most often gainfully employed, happy in their jobs, respected by senior management and well compensated for their work.

 

The ability to see things from the sales department’s point of view.

 

Aside from excellent communication skills (and by this I mean he or she can speak the language of the target audience effectively), he or she has to possess creativity, determination and versatility.

 

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