A career in B2B Sales and Marketing

Brainstorming sessions are more hands on than ever.

The B2B software market is booming worldwide. Businesses are making ever-more sophisticated use of advanced software, applying new technology to everything from eCommerce to Education, transportation to communication.

It’s created 100,000’s of jobs in B2B software sales and marketing, as companies look to expand their customer base. Jobs come in all shapes and sizes, requiring everyone from salespeople to creative marketers. And with prospective buyers spending more time than ever online, digital skills are in particularly hot demand.

In fact, whilst the disciplines of ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ are quite distinct, more and more tech businesses are choosing to combine sales and marketing departments. Together, the two functions can then look to optimise the key B2B channels – content, events, email – and succeed as a team rather than as separate entities.

The Opportunity

It takes all sorts to succeed. A wide variety of skillsets should be accommodated within any sales and marketing department. In this course we’ll learn about roles and responsibilities of the most common profiles, as well as the overall sales and marketing org and its structure.

Syllabus – What you will learn from this course

Module 1: Roles and responsibilities. Today’s scenario.

1.1 B2B Sales / Business Development

What You’ll Do

You’re the prospectors, the explorers of the company. You’ll research, investigate, question and pry your way towards an opportunity where your B2B Software could be sold in. Imagine yourself in meetings pitching to clients, flying to conferences where you’ll create new relationships, and returning home to close the deal.

Key Skillset

  • Determination, confidence and patience (sales can be a long journey)
  • Business acumen – an appreciation of the B2B purchasing process
  • Technical understanding, particularly of your own software product

1.2 B2B Account Management

What You’ll Do

Picking up new or existing accounts, you’ll make sure clients have everything they need to succeed. (In fact, this role is sometimes now called ‘Customer Success Management’ for exactly this reason!) You’ll keep in touch and help them tailor the software to their needs. And if, along the way, you can pitch in additional product features – and increase their monthly bill – so much the better.

Key Skillset

  • Impeccable knowledge of how to use your software platform
  • Ability to build great relationships, and get that all-important ‘trust’
  • Organization – crucial for keeping your whole flock happy

1.3 Marketing ‘Lead Generation’

What You’ll Do

Modern B2B sales is like an iceberg – the bit you see (ie. when a new prospect calls in) is only a small part of the big picture. The bit you don’t see is all the time your target client has spent researching B2B software like yours, perhaps online, at conferences or by speaking to colleagues. As a B2B marketer, your job is to reel them in at this crucial stage!

Key Skillset

  • Classic marketing skills, from audience research to channel management
  • B2B copywriting for digital channels
  • Analytical approach, to optimise output for best results

1.4 Digital Content Creation

What You’ll Do

Big software providers have a whole ecosystem of content surrounding them. How-to guides, feature tutorials, white papers, sales campaigns, video webinars… At every stage of the client lifecycle (from ‘prospect’, to ‘VIP client’), content can be a highly effective way to engage and sell. B2B content has become one of many company’s top investments.

Key Skillset

  • Clear, audience-focussed copywriting
  • Digital marketing knowledge, especially for lead-generating B2B content
  • Experience creating mixed media content, such as video

1.5 CRM & Analytics

What You’ll Do

Companies who’ve embraced the “science of B2B sales” perform significantly above their peers – in fact, a report by management consultants McKinsey puts scientifically-minded sales performance at 2.3x better than more ‘traditional sales’ peers. Working in B2B CRM or Analytics, you’ll ensure the process of securing new clients becomes a well-oiled machine.

Key Skillset

  • Analytical, detail-oriented approach
  • Ability to present statistical findings clearly
  • People skills (you’ll need to work closely with internal teams)

Module 2: How to get started

2.1 The Skillset

Got what it takes? The skills required for success are hotly debated, and recruiters are always looking for that all-important ‘X-factor’. In reality, there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to apply for a job and see.

2.3 Applying For Roles

Apply for jobs that appeal for you, and make sure to put your best foot forward. There are marketing jobs and sales jobs there for the taking, but be prepared to but the effort in to find the right one.

2.4 Interviewing

Congratulations – you’ve made it this far! There’s a thousand ways to nail an interview, but when interviewing for a B2B sales or marketing position, you’ll need to be aware of some particular quirks…

2.5 The Career Path

There’s no single career path for a B2B marketing or sales professional, but there are certainly some time-honored career paths, including some fast-tracks to the top.

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