Brainrider’s B2B Marketer Spotlight is a series that shines a light on what’s top of mind for today’s marketing leaders. In this episode, we sat down with Jessica Garrett to hear her thoughts on what kind of talent CMOs should look for when building their teams today and more.
Tell us about your background and your career thus far.
I started my career in the digital space, working at Salesforce back before Salesforce was part of the marketing vocabulary. My work there really got me thinking about data before that was such a common place word. As I’ve moved through my career, I’ve always been focused on metrics and data, no matter what I was doing. It didn’t matter if it was branding, events or social media. And now we’re in this demand generation and revenue marketing space where everyone understands how important metrics and data are.
What meaningful KPIs are you using to measure success in your marketing?
I think when you look at metrics it’s very easy for marketers to want to measure everything, we want all kinds of stats. We’ve really got to take a step back and realign our focus on the top three to five metrics. If I can talk in revenue and pipeline numbers, that’s what matters. That’s what the CEO cares about, that’s what the board of directors care about. I need to be able to say here’s the pipeline that we’ve built in the last three months and here’s the pipeline that I’m forecasting in the next three months. And then here’s the revenue attributed to all of that. If we can do that, not only have we done our job, but we have a seat at the table.
In a recent interview that Tara Walmart Levy, VP of Agency and Brand Solutions at Google, had with Harvard Business Review, she said: “[In today’s marketing climate], you need people who are really capable of thinking strategically and being flexible. That agility is going to be really important because the consumer trends and the technical platforms all continue to change so rapidly that you want people who really can grow with and evolve expertise based on that.”
What are your thoughts on that?
When you’re thinking about your resourcing model and how you set up your team, it’s really important to consider how agile you need them to be. Nowadays, marketing leaders don’t have two years to sit and work on setting everything up, getting leads flowing a year from now, and really hitting your volume two years from now. We don’t have that kind of time. We have to do something in six months and by the way, during that six months, you’re going to get all kinds of other things thrown at you.
I think you really have to look for people internally, when you think about staffing headcount, that can flex and stretch beyond a narrow skillset. So if you have an employee working as a Marketing Automation Manager, examine what else they can do. Do they have the ability to maybe stretch into websites, running webinars, or maybe ABM work? Completing a wide variety of tasks requires them to have a capacity and eagerness to learn new things and stretch into those new areas.
And when you look at agency partners, you have to understand how agile you need to be. That’s going to change your resourcing model. If you need to be able to throw something at an agency tomorrow and either add or change the prioritization list, you probably want to work with an agency on a retainer basis, even if it’s a small retainer because you need them to be right next to you, you need them to understand your systems so that they can turn on a dime when you need them to. If you don’t need that much agility, then maybe you’re just looking at project-based resourcing. This allows you to give your agency partner a bucket of what needs to get done, so you can create an internal agile team. Regardless of your resourcing model, you need to consider how to build a team using internal and external resources that’s agile and flexible in order to accomplish what you need to with your marketing.
What sort of talent and thinking are needed right now when CMOs are looking to build their team?
One of the first things I do when I come into a new team is look at who I have on board, what skillsets I need in order to achieve the business results that the company is looking for, and where those gaps are.
When you’re thinking about how you build your team and what type of resources you want to bring in, you have to consider first what type of skills you’re looking for. Do you need people with specialized technical knowledge or do you want somebody who can construct a custom solution for you and bring in more strategic thinking? Do you need people with industry experience? Take Pardot as an example. For a piece of martech like that, I want somebody who’s used it tens and hundreds of times, so that they know where all the little potholes are and how to adjust accordingly. Sometimes, you just need lots of hands because you have to convert 500 landing pages onto a new platform.
When you think about the kind of work that you need to get done, that leads you to the resourcing model that you want to leverage. If you choose to go with an agency partner, you can consider where you want to leverage project-based work or retainer-based work. This goes back to who you have on your existing team. If I have a Digital Marketing Manager who’s really smart, but she’s just one person and she’s got to own a lot of things then I’ll bring in somebody, an agency perhaps, who’s really really good at execution. If I have a Digital Marketing Manager who has never worked in Pardot before, then I’m going to bring in an agency partner that she can lean on, a “phone-a-friend” option to ask them all of the little technical aspects that she may not know even though she really understands marketing strategy. On the flip side, if I have a Digital Marketing Manager who is a beast on the execution side but she hasn’t done strategy before, then I’m going to marry her up with an agency that can guide us through strategy and keep us focused on business results.
With this thinking, you can piece together a team full of really smart people internally and externally to execute against the larger projects and objectives in order to get the business results you want.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Coffee. Don’t plan a morning meeting and not have coffee there. I don’t care what kind of coffee it is, I will drink all the coffee. It can be dark roast, medium roast, light roast, it can have creamer or no creamer. I just need coffee.
How do you end your day?
My favorite way to end my day is to sit down and read my baby girl a book. Every night, we get into the rocking chair and I will read her Goodnight Moon or Velveteen Rabbit. It’s such a nice, positive way of ending the day which a lot of times has frustrations or back-to-back meetings for 12 hours. It really ends the day nicely.
What’s one piece of marketing advice you swear by?
I really feel like surrounding yourself with the smartest people you can find is how any modern head of marketing is going to solve the challenges your customer needs you to and your business needs you to. And most importantly, have a blast while you’re doing it.
Brainrider is a B2B marketing and creative agency. We help clients hit KPIs by providing B2B marketing execution services through an on-site & off-site resourcing model to fill capacity and capability gaps. We’re focused on helping you achieve your business objectives and identifying opportunities for continuous improvement so you’ll always stay ahead of the curve. Get in touch here.