What skills does a B2B Marketing Manager need?

Do a bit of research, and you’ll discover this question is harder to answer than first thought. Everyone has an opinion – and it seems many of these are different. Cutting these skills down to just five really important traits? Even harder.

A lot of the confusion stems from inability to differentiate between “Marketer” and “Marketing Manager”. They’re different roles and need different skills. Want to know what skills a great (digital) Marketer needs? We’ve outlined that here. This blog (and video) will focus specifically on the skills needed by a Marketing Manager.

So, what are they?

1. Skill development

2. Selection/ deselection of talent with those same skills

3. Buyer’s perspective

4. Understanding of the selling process

5. Planning and measurement

So, why these skills? And what exactly do they look like? Let us explain.

Google had some great answers. They’re all wrong.

We started where anyone would when looking to answer this – Google. After googling “skills of a Marketing Manager” we found some excellent sites – four in fact. They shared some skills that would seem sensible to look for in a marketing manager. Take a look at them – then we’ll explain why all four of them got it wrong.

University of Florida says:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Project Management
  • Analytical Skills
  • Holistic Approach
  • Technical Skills

SAS (referencing a blog from Sybase) says:

  • Sales
  • Social Media
  • Journalism/Storytelling
  • Data/Analytics
  • Collaboration AND communication
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Leadership

The UK National Careers Service says:

  • Leadership and motivational
  • Creativity to come up with marketing campaigns
  • Excellent communication
  • Budgeting

Monster.co.uk says:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Analytical knowledge
  • Creativity, writing ability and expression
  • Influencing and negotiation skills
  • Team playing
  • Computer skills
  • Ambition to succeed

Of course, these are all great skills to have. In fact, the more of these traits your marketing team has, the better they’ll perform. But are they the absolute key skills to look for or develop in a Marketing Manager? We’d have to say no.

The 5 key skills of a Marketing Manager, explained

We’ve mentioned what the key skills of a B2B Marketing Manager are. Now let us explain them.

1. Skill development

It’s not just about the skills that they need to be successful in their role. It’s about their ability to develop those skills in others. Yes, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, etc. are all important in marketing and in business – but can an individual with those skills help someone else gain them? That makes a good manager.

2. Selection and deselection of those skills

Identifying skills, prioritising important ones, and picking them out of a line up. A great Marketing Manager should be able to interview talent to ensure they have the skills they need to do a job – or identify existing team members that may be lacking certain skills.

3. A buyer’s perspective

In marketing, everything you needs to be shaped around the buyer. For a Marketing Manager to successfully guide team members and shape campaigns, they must be able to put themselves in the buyers shoes and see from their perspective.

4. Understanding of the selling process

They don’t need to be able to sell, but they need to understand the process. We’re in B2B – alignment with sales is key.

5. Planning and measurement

This is what bookends any marketing project or campaign, and are arguably the two most important parts. One dictates how the project will go, the other dictates how the next project will go – by measuring and reporting on performance and learning. If you ever want your marketing performance to improve, your Marketing Manager will need to be able to do both.

Some final thoughts

A Marketing Manager needs to lead the building of the sales and marketing plans. They need to do it with input from both their marketing team and the sales team and keep the buyer in mind the whole way through. They need to recruit and manage a team to execute that plan – one that has the right mix of skills. And they need to measure it all. So they can do it all again, even better.

That’s why we’ve picked these skills – not because communication or creativity or technical skills aren’t important. But because without the plan – the ability to guide it, build it, execute it, improve it – then a Marketing Manager isn’t a good Marketing Manager.

Of course, not everyone has a Marketing Manager. Some business just have one or two Marketers, trying to do it all. In that case, you might be missing some of these skills. And you might not be hitting the mark with your Sales and Marketing plans. If that’s the case, we can help.