Even though some vendors have been around for almost 10 years, Marketing Automation is still relatively new. According to Forrester, only 2-5% of B2B firms have invested in full-featured Marketing Automation. But that percentage is rapidly growing. Increasingly, B2B companies realize that Marketing Automation software requires skilled operators. But – if you decide to hire a Marketing Automation manager – what should you look for, and where do you find them?
Note: if you’re looking for a Marketing Automation job, check out the positions below…
Inspiration: Web Analytics 5 Years Ago
New technology requires people with a new set of skills, nothing new about that. The situation with Marketing Automation reminds me most of Web Analytics. In the early days, Web Analytics was touted as the tool that has all the answers. But as Web Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik described, the 10/90 rule applied: for every dollar you spend on a tool, you need to spend 9 dollars on analysts to get the most out of the tool.
If you believe in the 10/90 perspective, it’s suddenly much more important to hire the right people. Avinash has great advice for that in his Signs You Are a Great Analyst blog post. But that’s for web analysts. Let’s try to get a similar list for Marketing Automation managers.
Marketing Automation Jobs
Marketing Automation is really just starting. There are relatively few specialists today. But I see more an more job descriptions for Marketing Automation Managers appear. These are some recent jobs:
- Blackboard, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations and Technology (PDF), Washington DC
- Bronto, Marketing Campaign Manager (PDF), Durham NC
- Genius.com, Product Marketing Genius (PDF), San Mateo CA
- Neolane, Online/Digital Marketing Specialist (PDF), Newton MA
- Sophos, Marketing Automation Manager (PDF), Burlington MA
- Tableau, Marketing Campaign Manager (PDF), Seattle WA
- TrialPay, Marketing Automation Manager (PDF), Mountain View CA
When I talk to the hiring managers, they often tell me it’s hard to find suitable candidates, because very few people have all required skills. So let’s first take a look at which skills are typically required, inspired by the job profiles above.
Marketing Automation Job Requirements
First of all, in most cases the person is responsible for lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring. These are common job requirements:
- Marketing Automation software
- Sales Force Automation software (primarily Salesforce.com)
- Database management (segmentation, reporting and maintenance)
- Email Marketing
- List acquisition and import
- Website management and basic HTML
- Organic and paid search campaigns
- Data analysis, reporting and business intelligence
- Optimization & A/B testing, Continuous improvement
- Analytical and metrics-focused, Excel skills
- Technically savvy, comfortable with software applications
- Understanding of business needs (incl. sales & marketing processes)
- Good communicator, and ability to communicate with a non-technical audience
That sounds pretty challenging to me!
Challenge 1: Analytical Skills Required
Of your high school or college friends, how many were into mathematics and statistics? It my class it was a minority. And that’s just the minority that we need as Marketing Automation managers: people who are good with numbers and heroes with pivot tables. And ideally they’re also good with software applications and can do a little bit of HTML coding.
Challenge 2: Marketing & Sales Skills Required
These analytical skills need to be applied to solve business problems. A thorough understanding of sales & marketing processes is required. This is especially important because sales & marketing collaboration is often a bottleneck when implementing Marketing Automation. The marketing automation manager should just as easily talk to a sales person as to a web developer.
Challenge 3: Experience With 10+ Systems Required
And last but not least: it would be great if the marketing automation manager has experience with the systems that are used in marketing. In addition to a marketing automation systems, these are usually CRM systems, content management systems, pay-per-click systems and reporting applications. And this is not just familiarity with the tools, but also experience with the most common tasks like data acquisition, import, cleanup, testing and reporting.
My Conclusion: Learn From Management Consulting
Today, there are simply not enough people with the right skills and experience. My suggestions is to look at how strategy consultants like McKinsey have solved this problem. Hire associates just out of college, pay them well, coach them, let them work really hard and they grow into experienced Marketing Automation managers within a couple of years. Problem solved?
What is your take? How do we find enough people to support the Marketing Automation revolution?