Recently, we joined forces with Jay Baer and his team at Convince & Convert to find out what makes great B2B marketing teams so, well, great.
Jay tapped into his network of industry leaders to ask them their top tips for creating, and developing, superstar B2B marketing teams, and found that many of the top-performing teams had several traits in common (7, in fact).
One of the main ingredients of a great marketing team, we found, was that they prioritized hiring for corporate culture. Corporate culture isn’t just for corporations; rather, it’s the sum of your organization’s values, beliefs, attitudes, and work environment.
Hiring for corporate culture basically means that you hire people based on how well you think they’ll mesh with your company’s approach, so that they’ll have a better chance of not only fitting in, but helping you to grow in all the right directions. Many of the leaders interviewed singled this out as one of the most impactful things you can do to create a marketing team that fully aligns with your team’s, and company’s, goals.
When asked how he hires the right employees for his organization, Peter Bell, Senior Director of Marketing (EMEA) at Marketo, said he looks for three things: skills, experience, and cultural fit. Can you guess which one he values most? (Spoiler alert: it’s cultural fit.)
It makes sense. As Peter says, “Cultural fit is possibly the most important because I can train for the rest of it. There are some roles where I am prepared to train. There are some roles where I’m not.”
While he certainly didn’t discount the importance of skills and expertise, Peter wasn’t shy about his philosophy of giving new hires the time and attention they may require to learn new, vital competencies.
We love this philosophy, because it’s so true. It’s especially relevant in marketing, where new technologies and tools are constantly emerging, and skill sets that might not have even existed five months ago can suddenly be in demand.
Instead of looking for new hires that come pre-trained in these newly-significant areas, look for motivated, dependable, adaptable people who fit in with your company’s core values, and who are willing and able to learn the rest. As the old adage says, you can lead a horse to training programmes and development plans, but first, it needs to be a horse (that’s what they say, right?).
So how do you hire for cultural fit? Looking for people who map to your company culture can often feel like a subjective exercise, but it’s more than just trusting your gut (though that’s important, too). First, you need to outline what your corporate culture is, so you know what you’re looking for; then, you need to build it into your hiring and reviewing processes.
For example, here at at Teamwork.com, we have a set of six core values that guide us as an organization. Throughout the interview process, we assess each candidate according to these defining principles and how they match-up with our core values, by using a list of questions that correlate with one or more of the Teamwork.com core values. Then, once a candidate is hired, we continue to measure them against the six core values to see how they’re acclimating with the team at large.
While core values vary from organization to organization, there were a couple of other traits that got singled out for special mention, too. Kyle Lacy, Vice President of Marketing at Lessonly, prioritized empathy (“I don’t have empathy, so I need people to balance me out,” he jokes), while Nancy Laviolette looks to hire folks with a sense of humor for her team at Superior Glove.
Nancy also finds that she has more success when she has a team of people who are all different: “It brings better diversity, and it completes a more wholesome team.” Having different personalities, backgrounds, and skill sets not only enriches the team but expands your abilities to serve your customer base. This kind of diversity prepares your team for the myriad of activities B2B marketing teams oversee.
David Cain, CMO of PlanGrid, knows exactly the kind of talent he’s pursuing: “For me, they’ve got to be super hungry. I want people who really want to play on a winning team and want to do what it takes to make sure the team continues winning. I’m all about collaboration, all about having each other’s back.”
Ultimately, David and the rest of the participants interviewed made it clear that their ultimate goal is to find (and keep) team players who believe in their company mission. “I’m just a big believer that the power of the team is much more important and valuable than the power of any individual,” David said. (We agree!)
Hiring and developing an amazing team is an essential component of great B2B marketing, but it’s just one of the 7 secret ingredients that Jay found. Looking for more insights, from top marketing leaders at Marketo, Insight, and Yext, among others? Check out our ebook for six more delicious marketing-nuggets.