How to Structure Your B2B Marketing Department When Your Digital Budget Increases

Toy robot on bright pink backgroundWhen your digital budget increases, some questions may cross your mind: Who’s going to do all the work? What skills do we need to hire? Where will we find the right people?

Exactly.

This article is a follow-up to a post and infographic I created on How to Organize a B2B Marketing Department that showed how to create both Corporate Marketing and Field Marketing teams under a single Marketing Leader (with dotted line supervision for the latter by the Sales Leader).

If you decide to dedicate a Corporate Marketing team to oversee and manage the brand – while also sharing accountability with Sales for top line metrics toward growth and profitability – you need to consider aspects that relate to execution. None of the numbers will look good if a strategy isn’t properly created and executed.

General advice

B2Bs that are new to integrated digital marketing should think these questions through, and ensure the right people are sitting at the table to help answer them:

  1. Who is going to do all the work and what skills are needed?
  2. Where do the lines for Sales and Marketing align, cross or stay separated?
  3. Do we need to invest more in training and tools that align Marketing and Sales teams and activities?
  4. How do we build the requirements for the technology piece?
  5. Where do graphic design and other creative aspects fit in as a priority?
  6. How should we allocate staff?  Do we need a new team, or just a few consultants and contractors?

Specific advice

These scenarios below may come up once you decide to up your digital investment. Some tips on what to do or consider:

Scenario #1

We’ve decided to increase our budget 20% toward digital experiences and integration across different channels and the sales funnel. Basically this means we’ve decided to invest in inbound marketing, marketing automation, lead management systems, and content. How to best staff for this kind of workload?

Before you start throwing money at digital advances, make sure you have a strategy and plan and know what you’re talking about. The biggest mistake people often make, is to implement ideas from individuals instead of using a well-thought of plan by someone who knows how digital marketing works. Hire a consultant if you’re not sure what to do. There are many who specialize in helping B2Bs get this right.

From that plan, assess the reality of the workload (what it will really take for the plan to work). Then decide how to staff for said workload.

You will likely need someone who can oversee all the pieces and guide the workload. A strong Digital Marketing Director/Chef is key.

Other folks you may need:

  • Content Manager to own and drive the stories and content needed to support the plan. Some folks hire writers to fill this role, but I don’t recommend it. Hire someone who understands the role content should play, is an ambassador for your brand’s voice, and can project manage a heavy content development workload. You can always outsource the writing.
  • Digital Webmaster to oversee and coordinate all technological aspects including website development, SEO, Google Ads, etc. and the integration of separate tools and systems (such as CRM and marketing automation software).
  • General Marketing Project Manager to create specific campaigns and sales support activities (such as webinars and lead nurturing campaigns), and project manage them to completion. This person could also organize, consolidate, and monitor metrics and analytics for stakeholders.
  • Events Manager. Depending on how important events and conferences are in your marketing mix, you may need someone dedicated solely to events.

This is just one way to look at it and there is no one right or wrong. Plus, you will likely need some outsourced help to build the infrastructure. But this is why the strategy/plan must come first—you should decide the staffing model based on the confirmed plan and priorities, and assess where various skills crossover or where you’d want to outsource or hire someone.

Scenario #2

We’ve decided to up our game as it relates to social media. Now what? 

This depends on what you mean by “up your game”, as social media is often just a channel within the broader inbound and content marketing plan. Often times, the person responsible for the brand’s voice and content also takes on the social media.

Don’t think of social media in isolation—it should be part of a larger strategy and many times the workload can be shared among various team members or outsourced.

Scenario #3

We’ve decided to allocate 10% of the budget to creative design to ensure we stand out visually.

If your strategy is to generate more inbound leads and help your sales team stand out from the competition, invest in someone who can tell a story visually. B2B can be a challenging environment for the creative types, so choose top-notch designers who can also work with an integrated team in a potentially complicated business.

Bottom Line

Are you seeing a theme here? The answers come back to “It depends on what the strategy and roadmap looks like”. Decide that first, then analyze the best staffing model based on that work that needs to get done and the skills that are needed. There are many consultants that can help if this is not your area of expertise.

 

By : Lydia Vogtner

Lydia Vogtner is an independent B2B marketing and communications consultant specializing in brand, messaging and content strategy.

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