I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes for a great B2B marketer.  As we grow the Heinz Marketing team, as well as help our clients evaluate new talent, I’m looking for a mix of experience, hard skills and values.  Here are seven areas I’ve found really matter.

1. Revenue responsibility
Marketing needs to act like a profit center, with a direct orientation towards sales pipeline and revenue contribution.  This means more than just alignment with sales goals.  It means making daily decisions, sometimes hard decisions, about where to focus and what to execute based on revenue impact.  This is easier said than done, but is critical (and is at the top of the list for a reason).

2. Focus
I think of this as a combination of planning and triage.  No successful marketer that I know works without a plan, but best-laid plans rarely survive first contact with the battlefield.  It’s how great marketers react to those changes, those new environmental conditions, those initiatives that succeed or fail, that separates the successful from mediocre professionals.  You spend most of your time in triage, but it’s impossible to stay focused without a plan.

3. Persona driven
I ask two questions at the beginning of any new project, engagement or initiative.  One, how are we measuring success.  Two, who the heck are we selling to and why do they care.  You can spend months and tens of thousands of dollars building detailed personas.  Or, you can listen to your customers.  Your customer-facing employees.  Understand not what they’re buying but why.  What problem are they solving, what need are they fulfilling, what story are they telling themselves that you align with.

4. Personal accountability & productivity
This goes well beyond being busy and productive.  Yes, a disciplined approach to email, time and task list is important.  But this also means being accountable for how that time affects your output.  How effectively you’re staying focused on what matters.  No excuses, just problem solving and execution.

5. Technology balance
Don’t let the tail wag the dog.  There’s plenty of sexy technology out there, but make sure you have a strategy first.

6. An agile mentality
Great marketers have a higher tolerance for chaos.   They accept that change is not only inevitable, but frequent and necessary.  They also have a high degree of humility, which often manifests itself in a strong sense of humor and even self-deprecation.

7. Empathy
For each other, for the sales organization, for other departments, for your customers.  Sometimes it’s just asking the other side what’s important to them, what they need, or how they’re feeling.  Empathy is a powerful thing, a powerful negotiation tool, and an amazing emotional trigger that unlocks so much more potential and output from those around you.

Curious your thoughts on what I’m missing here…