Companies are taking note of inbound marketing and revamping their strategy and talent pool to generate higher quality leads at about a 60% lower cost per lead than outbound marketing. Want to know how you can transform your marketing department to become an inbound lead generating machine helping your sales team KILL it and grow your business?
Here’s how: Talent.
All your inbound excitement won’t deliver results if you don’t have the right skills to adapt. After years of working with thousands of customers, we’ve got a pretty good picture of what a high performing inbound marketing team might look like across a variety of company sizes.
First, let’s define what we mean by different company sizes. You may not agree with all of them, but that’s fine; at least we have a common lexicon.
SMB (Small to Medium Sized Business) = Somewhere between 5-100 Employees
Midsized Business = Somewhere between 101-1,000 Employees
Enterprise = Upwards of 1,000 employees, but NOT including your massive Fortune 1000, big brand-type companies where it starts to get extremely big, siloed and global. (That could be a book!)
Now that we’ve agreed on sizes, let’s talk about who you need to hire to rock inbound at each level.
SMB: The Utility Player
Some small businesses are lucky if they have ONE dedicated marketer, and there are plenty where the owner is just dedicating 5-6 hours a week to marketing. We’re going to focus on those companies who are big enough to warrant a dedicated marketing resource. When hiring your solo marketer, you need to find a utility player who is first and foremost smart. Second, he/she cannot be a specialist; your perfect marketer probably won’t be a pure-play journalist or a graphic designer who wants to try something new.
You need to hire someone who has demonstrated success in a few different areas:
Content Creation: Did they blog, do some corporate communications, work at an agency creating content for a variety of companies? GREAT!
Analytics: Your marketer doesn’t need to be an Excel junkie, but they should have a working knowledge of the marketing funnel, know what questions to ask and be comfortable doing some basic tracking and ratios using tools like Google Analytics, Excel or even HubSpot.
Digital: Do they understand how the internet works and how businesses can leverage it? Do they use the web for personal reasons and have accounts on popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
Creative: Unless you strike it lucky, you probably won’t find someone who can crank out logos and artwork in a snap and do all the rest. But if you target someone who has taught themselves some basics in Illustrator or another graphics program, you’ll likely be able to get CTAs, sufficient enough imagery, and basic creative done without spending a ton of money on contractors.
Campaigns: Ideally, you’ll find someone who has run a few campaigns across multiple channels — they can be as simple as email + call campaigns, or be through full-fledged event type campaigns. Your utility player needs to understand the lifecycle of a campaign and how the different pieces play together for a bigger bang than a sole tactic.
Where can you find these utility players?
Sadly, there are very few college programs that crank out EXACTLY this profile. However, a lot of PR, marketing, and communications grads will go work for a marketing agency after college and find that they love the work, but would rather dive in deep to just one company rather than jumping from client program to client program. You should consider hiring someone with 3-5 years of agency experience across a variety of skills that is ready to dedicate their efforts to helping just one company grow and find satisfaction in seeing their longer term impact.
Midsize: The Melting Pot
You’ve graduated from the solo, utility marketer and need a team to develop a brand and generate leads for a bit larger company. This means you need to deliver more leads to your sales team and provide them with a lot more tools to help close deals. In this environment, you still want team members coming in with some of those ‘utility player’ characteristics, but ideally, each of them is also exceptionally strong at one of a few areas. You are creating a melting pot of talent that can’t be too siloed and could jump in and help each other out at a moments’ notice.
Team Leader: Drives the overall strategy for the organization and should be someone who has working knowledge of all the disciplines. They still create some content but spend the bulk of their time using analytics to make decisions and empowering their team to be successful. This person should be accustomed to rolling up their sleeves 30% of the time to help out with blog posts, content offers, or resolving tough execution challenges.
Blog & Social Media Lead: Inbound success is contingent on content to get you found, and your number one lever is blogging. Put someone in charge of the blog as both an editor and writer. That means they create but also source content from the rest of the team — and company in fact. This person OWNs the growth of traffic and leads from your blog and social media efforts. For this role, you want a utility player who loves to write, has good judgment about social messaging, and is pretty good at motivating others to contribute via lightweight program management.
Content Offers Lead: How do you convert visitors into leads? You need solid offers. That means ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc. This person should be great at content and creative with/comfortable using basic email and webinar tools. This person should also be empowered to source content externally if needed.
Product & Customer Marketing Lead: Usually at this point, you have enough visitors and salespeople that you need to educate them a bit. A product marketer with great verbal and written communication skills can help you translate your paid offering into a message that someone might actually care about. This person should ALSO be blogging and helping create offers because they are closer to the customer than the rest of the team.
Budget for Creative & Tools: You’ve got a choice here. Hire more people or develop a budget to help you scale across the diverse needs you will have. Since you may not need so many specialists just yet, erring on the side of vendors at this stage is wise. But as you grow to a team of 10 marketers, maybe getting a graphic designer who is also a great writer or handy with HTML could be a good hire.
Where can you find these well-rounded talents?
It’s important to note that NONE of the roles above absolve folks from being content creators or let them crawl into an email or social media silo. In fact, at HubSpot, when we were a team of about 5-8 marketers, we routinely swapped job roles to ensure that no one was missing a key skill and the team didn’t stagnate.
That means the same utility player mentioned above could be the perfect fit for any of the roles on this team. The important part is to determine if your utility player has fallen in love with one of the major disciplines and might want to have a bit more ownership but still be able to swap and help out at a moment’s notice.
Enterprise: Specialists With Content Chops
You’ve been growing like crazy, and your company of 1,000+ has serious marketing demands ranging from analyst relations to events to SEM. Even though we cringe at the silos that can sometimes befall the specialist team, you are at a point where your efficiency will be greater with people who are truly expert at one core aspect of marketing and can also contribute to the content engine along the way. Although we aren’t yet a 1,000 person company, HubSpot’s rapid growth demands a marketing engine that is getting close to what we’d expect to see at a much larger company.
Without going into a full org chart, here are some of the types of roles and specialties that exist:
CMO/VP Marketing: Leader who is setting strategic direction and ensuring that marketing is aligned with corporate goals and in charge of talent hiring/development is this person’s primary role.
Directors: Inbound Lead Generation, Product Evangelism, and Brand & Buzz
Specialists: Blog (2 or more), Social Media (2 or more), Content Offers (2 or more), Email Marketing (1 or more), Lead Management (1 or more), Product Marketing & Analyst Relations (3 or more), PR/Buzz (2 or More), Graphic Artist (1 or more), Events (1 or more), Paid Marketing (1 or more), Customer Engagement (1 or more), Marketing Engineers – building stuff for marketing (1 or more)
What are these people doing, and where do you hire them?
Even though you see a lot of specialists here, each player has a combo of expertise in their area plus content creation or support for another area to ensure your team maintains agility. Even more notable is the omission of an analytics person — because each team should be analytically inclined and OWN the numbers for the element they specialize in with results rolling into the directors and CMO level.
Hiring in this environment can be tricky. You can find folks who have done tons of email marketing but have never had to come up with the actual content offer itself. Steer clear of one-trick ponies, and opt instead for someone with perhaps a little less depth of experience but great overall communications skills and marketing savvy.
Regardless of company size or type, hiring great talent is one of the most difficult growth challenges you’ll face. Resist the temptation to hire an okay person; there are stellar talents out there who are worth the wait. We find a lot of them through our personal networks and via social media as well as a very active intern program.
A Note on Interns: THEY ROCK
Whether you are an SMB or in a massive company, getting summer interns or co-ops during the semester is one of THE best ways to trial out talent and fit while also getting some work done. We’ve hired 6 amazingly talented people, all out of our intern pool of probably 20 folks over the last 3 years. Each intern has done some great things and a few really went above and beyond to show us they could learn fast and take on real ownership for projects. The only way you’ll really be able to evaluate an intern fairly is if you give them both a meaty project to own and a variety of smaller areas to contribute.
A summer might look like: intern writes 10 blog posts, 1 per week, supports 1 webinar, writes one ebook, and does an analytical study on your lead quality with recommendations that get presented to your sales and marketing departments. They need your leadership and guidance, but if they are truly awesome and can do all of this, you might have just found yourself your next utility player!