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What hard skills are must haves to be a Demand Generation leader? What are nice to haves?

4 Answers
Pamela King
Pamela King
YouTube Product Growth Marketing - YouTube TVJuly 27

In order to be a Demand Generation leader, you want to be both left and right-brained. Often people think Demand Gen is all about analytics and architecting user journeys that deliver leads. But these journeys are targeting consumers, and consumers engage best with compelling content (e.g. - videos, images, etc.). This is where the right brain comes in to deliver creativity.

When I think of the list of Hard skills (aka Must Haves) vs. Soft Skills (Nice to Have's), this is where I land:

Hard Skills (Must Have's):

  •  Analytical mindset/Data manipulator: This role calls for interpreting data and connecting the dots. How can one look at a Marketing funnel and identify gaps or ways to optimize the flow to produce more leads? Where are leads dropping off and why?  
  •  Tech Stack Guru: Mastering the Tech Stack used within an org is critical so 
  •  Curiosity: A true leader will want to explore what they do and develop hypotheses for tests to pilot. E.g. - if they introduce a new content asset, will that increase engagement? Is there a different audience to try targeting? What are other competitor brands doing in the space that can provide learnings? 
  •  Problem-solving: With Marketing, there are constantly challenges that arise (e.g. - leads dropping off, etc.). A great leader is constantly figuring out ways to fix and build upon these challenges presented. 
  •  Customer-first mindset: Having a strong understanding of the target audience and their painpoints and key motivational drivers is critical to ensure the Demand Gen program is successful. 
  •  Cross-Functional Communicator: This role sits at the center of Product Marketing, Sales, Content Strategy teams and more. Having a thorough understanding of those teams' work and how to leverage it would be important for a Demand Gen leader. Also communicating out the Demand Gen strategy to those teams will be important in relationship-building and ensuring all teams are aware of what's happening. 

Soft Skills (Nice to Have's):

  •  Creativity: B2B can often be a bit stale, so it's nice to inject new ways to execute (e.g. - new channels, new content types, etc.). 
  •  Org Design & Communication: Make sure your team understands their remit, goals and any new company developments that affect their roles. 
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Sruthi Kumar
Sruthi Kumar
Notion Account-Based MarketingAugust 9

1) BE CLOSE TO THE NUMBERS. I cannot stress this enough. I was once told that this was my weakest spot–being metric driven. I quickly tried to rectify this and what I realized is that numbers could be my best friend. Once I got closer to the numbers, I was able to reframe them to tell the story I wanted to tell. (This is the hard skill I leaned into when I wanted to transition from field marketing to demand gen).

2) Be comfortable with writing. Sometimes on your teams, you won't always be the one producing content, but I do believe demand gen should be strong writers. This is the team that knows how to get people to sign up for a webinar and download a piece of content. If you are not close to your solution/product, team up with your PMM team and refer to messaging briefs to be able to write the content that are going to convert people into leads! 

Some of the strongest demand gen people I know all have different strengths, so nothing is a nice to have. It's just what makes them special. I know folks who are really strong writers, very creative, and very savvy with marketing tech. Lean into your strength and it will BECOME the hard skill the CMO/VP of Marketing interviewing you NEEDs on their team.

1811 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadJanuary 25

What hard skills are must haves for a demand generation leader?

  •  Curiosity. While a soft skill, a curious, growth mindset is critical for a demand generation leader. This is how you can stay humble, but also continue to allow for growth in yourself and your team.
  •  Data analysis / data-informed. Don’t just be data-driven, but rather be data-informed. Put your curiosity to work and think deeply about what the data is showing, coming to your own insights, and visualizing the data.
  •  Storytelling. Being a demand generation leader means you need to tell meaningful stories with the data and give it life. You can’t just throw data points out there without having a why to them or desired outcomes.
  •  Informed by customers’ actions. As concerns around cookies and privacy continue to grow, it’s important to know how to use the zero party and first party data your customers provide to make smarter business decisions.
  •  Forward thinking. The demand generation space is evolving - fast. You have to be forward thinking and educating yourself and your team. You have to level up in areas such as knowing how to apply algorithms to your data, understanding what is trendy and not going to stick versus has potential, and other repeatable, scalable marketing motions.
  •  People management. Emotional intelligence is critical as well. You have to understand how to lead, inspire, and empathize with your team while creating a safe space for communication.

What are nice to haves for a demand generation leader?

  • Tactical knowledge about areas where you don’t gravitate to that can be filled in via a different team member. Remember, you can’t accelerate at every single facet of demand generation. You can however, have just enough knowledge to know the north star direction.
461 Views
Mindy Servello
Mindy Servello
Calendly Head of Demand GenerationMay 9

There are many must-have hard skills for those growing within their demand generation career.

  1. Data Analysis: Demand Generation relies heavily on data-driven decision-making. You should be proficient in analyzing marketing data like conversion rates, channel-specific north stars and more in order to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for optimization.

  2. Digital Marketing: A strong understanding of various digital marketing channels and programs within them is essential. This includes knowledge of paid social, display, paid video, paid search and more. Understand what the business impact is for each ex: don't set expectations that paid video will be revenue generating and make sure you understand/communicate the value and impact that a key awareness channel like this drives.

  3. TechStack: Familiarity with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics is important for tracking customer interactions, managing customer data, and aligning marketing and sales efforts. An understanding of marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot is crucial for automating repetitive tasks, managing leads effectively, and nurturing prospects through the sales funnel. It's also vital for understanding your lead scoring, routing etc. I think this is the area that sets demand generation mangers that grow in Corporate America apart from those that don't.

  4. Content Marketing: Content plays a significant role in Demand Generation. You should have skills in content creation, distribution, and promotion, as well as an understanding of content strategy and how it fits into the overall demand generation framework.

  5. A/B Testing and Experimentation: Being able to design and execute A/B tests and other experiments to optimize marketing campaigns and conversion funnels is crucial for continuous improvement and maximizing ROI.

  6. Budget Management: As a leader, you'll be responsible for managing marketing budgets and it will continue to grow as you do in your career. Strong financial acumen, being able to justify every dollar allocated and tell the business impact it will make is vital.

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