Who to Hire First? A Guide to Building Your Initial B2B Marketing Team

B2B marketing who to hire first

When you’re building your first marketing team, it’s not enough to understand the various roles that make up a typical best practices B2B marketing team, you also need to know which people to bring on first.

After all,  building out your marketing function, whether you’re hiring in-house or outsourcing or going the Fractional CMO + expert B2B marketing team, is a serious investment, and engaging the wrong marketing roles first can cost you valuable time and money. 

Which roles should you focus on first? When you’re building your first marketing team, chances are that you don’t have a marketing strategy or a strong marketing system and foundation in place. 

If you’re at this stage, our advice is to focus on more senior roles that can help you create your marketing strategy and support roles that can support your senior leader in building a solid initial foundation for your marketing and start executing.  

Here are the initial positions you should consider for your first B2B marketing team:

  • CMO/Marketing Leader: Bringing on a strategic marketing leader is a crucial first step to building a strong B2B marketing team. This person will shape your overall marketing strategy, make sure it aligns with your business goals, and oversee the marketing team. They bring expertise, vision, and leadership to drive marketing success. In smaller companies, this role may be called VP of Marketing or Director of Marketing, and this position can be an in-house hire, or outsourced to a Fractional CMO or similar. 
  • B2B Content Marketing Manager: Once you have senior marketing leadership in place along with a comprehensive marketing strategy, an ideal next role to consider is a B2B Content Marketing Manager. Content is a powerful tool in B2B marketing, and a Content Marketing Manager with a solid understanding of thought leadership is instrumental in creating and disseminating your ongoing content. Their expertise in storytelling and content distribution helps drive brand awareness, thought leadership, and customer engagement.
  • Digital Marketing Specialist: With a strong marketing leader in place, and a content marketing manager creating ongoing powerful thought leadership content to support your marketing strategy, the next ideal position to consider is a generalist Digital Marketing Specialist. This is a position that can help you leverage your content through a variety of digital channels. A Digital Marketing Specialist brings expertise in various online channels and tactics. They manage digital campaigns, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, social media, and distributing content marketing through a variety of channels. Their deep understanding of digital platforms and trends enables effective customer targeting, lead generation, and brand visibility in the digital landscape.
  • Demand Generation Manager: Another key role to consider once you have a senior marketing leader in place is a Demand Generation Manager. This position raises awareness and creates interest in your products or services. They design and execute campaigns that generate leads and contribute to revenue growth. By closely collaborating with the sales team, they ensure that your marketing efforts translate into tangible business outcomes, such as qualified leads and increased customer engagement. Their expertise in demand-generation strategies helps fuel your company’s growth. When you’re just building your marketing team, the Demand Generation Manager and Digital Marketing Specialist roles will often be combined or overlap.
  • Product Marketing Manager: A next role to consider is a Product Marketing Manager, especially if your company sells a number of unique or specialized products or services that each require attention to messaging and positioning. A Product Marketing Manager focuses on understanding your product or service from a branding and market perspective. They position your offering, analyze the competition, and create compelling messages and content that communicate the value of your product to your target audience. Their deep understanding of the market landscape ensures that your product resonates with customers and stands out in a competitive environment.

Creative Ways to Get Started in Building Your First Marketing Team:

While this list represents the typical positions to focus on when building your first marketing team, keep in mind that the specific expertise you need will vary depending on the nuances of your business. 

That’s why it’s important to make sure you begin with hiring the highest level of seniority that you can. You may think that you can hire a super smart up-and-comer who will “grow into the role”, but the challenge is that they just don’t have the experience at other B2B firms that you really need to set up your right strategy and structure from scratch. This is another reason why hiring a CMO or engaging with a Fractional CMO first is a great idea. This is the position that will help you create a comprehensive marketing strategy which will then inform you of the exact talent, skills and expertise you’ll need to execute that strategy. 

Once you have a senior marketing leader or Fractional CMO in place, you have various options to bring on the additional skill sets you need. While each of the five first marketing roles of Content Marketing Manager, Demand Generation Manager, Digital Marketing Specialist and Product Marketing Manager can be filled by five separate hires in a larger company, when you’re building your first marketing team, you can bring on these different skill sets in creative ways. For example:

  • You can outsource to a Fractional CMO who also has a fractional marketing team with these various skill sets ready to go, and can engage them when needed.
  • You can outsource to various marketing agencies who specialize in each of these areas
  • You can hire one person who brings a few of these skill sets to the table (for example, one person with experience in content marketing and digital marketing) and outsource the rest to freelancers or contractors 

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you bring on an experienced strategic marketing leader first – someone who has a deep background in B2B marketing and experience creating marketing strategies, building a marketing foundation and can help bring on and manage different marketing skill-sets to execute on the marketing strategy. 

Next Steps: The B2B CEO’s Ultimate Guide to Building an Expert Marketing Team in Today’s Complex Marketing World

To help you make important decisions around your marketing investment, we’ve created a comprehensive eBook: The B2B CEO’s Ultimate Guide to Building an Expert Marketing Team in Today’s Complex Marketing World

In this eBook, we walk you through the six most important questions B2B CEOs need to answer in order to build their first marketing team and choose the right marketing model for their stage of business:

  1. How Do You Know It’s Time to Invest in Marketing? 
  2. What are B2B Marketing Best Practices?
  3. How Has B2B Marketing Become More Complex?
  4. What Are the Top Challenges in Getting Started in Marketing?
  5. What Does a B2B Marketing Team Look Like?
  6. Should You Hire In-House or Outsource?

You can download the eBook RIGHT HERE

If you have any questions about this blog post or the eBook or would like to schedule a consultation with myself and Jen Kelly, NIM’s Founder and one of the Fractional CMOs to get more guidance around your next steps in marketing, you can  send her an email or book a consultation time.

Nicole Croizier is the lead FractionalCMO at New Initiatives Marketing Inc.  Take charge of your marketing success today with us as your Fractional CMO + Marketing Team.  Since 2009, we’ve been supporting mid-size b2b businesses worldwide through effective implementation and execution of marketing strategy. Not ready? Sign up and learn from our monthly newsletter. 

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