VP of Marketing: Do You Have the Right Team for 2014?

March 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM

In a recent post, we asked a question: are you, Mr. CMO or VP of Marketing, keeping pace with the market? Now we’ll determine if your team is keeping pace.

marketing evolution lead gen

Do I have the right team? Is my team evolving at a pace greater than or equal to that of my competitors? How do I know? These are the questions we hear most often in marketing organizations.

Let’s assume for today’s conversation you have the performance conditions for a level 5 marketing organization. Maturity is measured or benchmarked on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being world class. Our focus today is on measuring the competencies of your marketing team.



It would be great if I could say one size fits all for marketing organizational structure and sizing. Unfortunately, looking across 19 verticals, we see some consistency within the verticals. When comparing across verticals, we always see some unique competency requirements. In all cases, marketing structure and sizing should be aligned with your business objectives first and foremost.

5 Steps to determining whether you have the right team:

  1. Perform a bottoms up and top down analysis of your marketing structural requirements
  2. Compare that to a peer group or benchmark
  3. Develop the new or adjusted marketing structure
  4. Perform a competency assessment by position for each role
  5. Place those that qualify for each position into those roles

When the assessment is complete, you will have some empty spots and some individuals sitting on the bench. Next step, determine if the bench has the ability to obtain the skills required. If they don’t, you need to go outside the company and bring in new talent.

I understand, I’m suggesting you spend a significant amount of time and energy. It’s easier to spend time on performance conditions, like marketing automation. Evaluating your entire team can be loaded with risk. Here are a few excuses we hear for not doing anything, along with our point of view:

  • "My team has been in place for years, they’ve done a good job"  Our response: Why not a great job?  How do you know?
  • "Our customers aren’t that sophisticated."  Our response: says who, you or them?
  • "My team would resist the pace of change."  Our response: we think you underestimate the thirst for knowledge & capability acquisition of marketer type resources
  • "Why would I bring up competencies, it makes me look like I’m not keeping pace"  Our response: if you don’t, they will put someone in your place who will
  • "This doesn’t apply to us."  Our response: look around and be honest with yourself

As you continue to determine whether it’s time to evaluate the team, keep the following statistic in mind:

customer purchase timelineLook at the decision timeline above.  Is your market further to the left or the right? I think we can agree, either way, it’s moving from left to right at an accelerated pace.

Marketing owns the buying process when the rep is not present. Is your team prepared to influence the buyer when the rep is not present? Start by identifying the competency requirements for each of your team members.

The attached tool provides a sample of 15 of a possible 80 competencies. I’ve selected some marketing skills. Other areas to consider would be: marketing knowledge, intellectual, personal, interpersonal, or motivational. After completing your list, select those competencies appropriate for each marketing position. When you’ve completed the competencies selection; design and develop your assessment methodology.

If the above is too much, contact me and we can walk through our Topgrading approach.

If you ask yourself, is my team good enough? You may also be asking yourself:

  • What should my team look like?
  • Do I have the same old structure?
  • Is my team evolving at a pace at or faster than the market?
  • Has the market passed me by?
  • Am I a dinosaur in the marketing world?
  • Is anyone else having this problem?
  • How do I educate myself on this?
  • What have my peers done in a similar situation?

Today is the day you look yourself in the mirror and start answering these questions. The response we normally get is “I don’t know."

What we recommend clients start with is a Marketing Productivity Benchmark (MPB). Others may refer to this as a Lead Generation Assessment (including a Marketing Content Audit). The MPB is essentially an environmental scan across the entire marketing organization. The output is a gap analysis against a select peer group. Along with the gap analysis, the marketing maturity level is determined and a road map to world class produced.

If you have a handle on your marketing gaps, download the competency example and start creating your assessment approach. If you’re not clear on the marketing gaps or you simply want to confirm you’re doing all the right things, contact us. Either I or one of my colleagues will walk you through the MPB framework over a 30 minute Go-To-Meeting.

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Topics: Talent Management, CMO Resources, Chief Marketing Officer, CMO

Posted by John Staples

John Staples
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