Five essential skills for B2B marketing leaders

In our work with marketing leaders, we’ve identified five core competencies that must be mastered to implement an effective revenue generation process and successfully compete in today’s dynamic B2B market. These competencies are driven by the digital disruption that has moved purchasing power from the seller to the buyer and the accelerating pace of new interactive technologies.

We believe the following skills are essential:

  1. Utilizing content marketing: Buyers no longer respond to your product and service messages. That’s because over 90% of the market is not ready to buy at any one time. But most prospects do respond to content that solves problems and sparks ideas. Knowing how to manage an effective content marketing program will be a key competency in coming years. Content is the fuel that generates brand interest and converts Web visitors into sales leads. It also establishes your organization as a thought leader in its market.
  2. Understanding the power of social media: Social media is a critical promotional channel in the B2B revenue generation process. It is a highly effective vehicle to distribute your content for lead acquisition, and support your thought leadership position. Marketing leaders also must know how to leverage social media networks and groups to build their brands and manage their companies’ reputations.
  3. Applying analytics: Most CMOs are under considerable pressure to justify their marketing ROI. Today’s integrated analytics systems can reveal the effectiveness and velocity of the entire marketing/sales pipeline, as well as the efficiency of the marketing operation. Marketing leaders must understand how to identify, apply, and analyze the metrics that measure customer conversion, retention, and revenue generation.
  4. Managing the marketing/sales pipeline: While sales teams have always been responsible for “in-period” revenue, marketing leaders are becoming accountable for “out-of-period” revenue. That means CMOs must focus on business outcomes instead of marketing transactions, and manage the demand creation elements of the sales/marketing pipeline. This work includes not only acquiring new leads, but converting them to marketing-qualified and sales-acceptable status. It also means developing and implementing a lead nurturing and scoring program that accelerates conversion and alerts sales when prospects are ready to close.
  5. Developing human/technology resources: Achieving greater efficiency has been cited as an important goal by most marketing leaders. Fulfilling this objective will require managers to attract people with the skills to implement new revenue generation processes. In addition, CMOs must understand the new and emerging Internet-based tools and technologies that will form the backbone of tomorrow’s marketing programs. The successful integration of human talent with digital technology will be critical to building a high-performance, efficient marketing organization.

When it comes to executive development, focusing on these core competencies will help prepare a marketing leader to achieve their organization’s growth objectives.