Hiring your First Field Marketer: B2B Marketing’s Secret Weapon

Should a field marketer hire be your next top priority? Find out when to pull the trigger and what to look for in the role.

A Quick History of Field Marketing and Its Evolution

As more B2B SaaS companies adopt account-based marketing strategies to assist in penetrating a highly segmented list of target accounts through an enterprise/outside sales model, a strong field marketer has become one of the most sought after functions. That said, pinning down exactly what the role of “field marketing” entails can be tricky. There have been many twists and turns in its evolution, and as a result it can mean very different things to different organizations.
What was once a function charged with basic event and sales support at the tactical level is now charged with the strategy and execution of integrated go-to-market campaigns — almost acting as a regional CMO. As such, a modern field marketer needs to possess a deep understanding of the company’s buyer personas and sales processes, and needs to be able to take a strategic position in translating campaigns to tactics that support their counterparts in sales.
Meta Karagianni of SiriusDecisions highlights the evolution of the field marketing function as a rapid shift from what was a solely activity focused role to one that will become “impact focused.”

When to Hire a Field Marketer (and What to Look For)

If your marketing strategy involves a human-touch-heavy enterprise sale, with a sales cycle of longer than nine months, greater than four opportunity influencers, or a six-figure ASP, you should consider a field marketing hire. If your demand generation strategy relies on sponsored events for more than 50% of your marketing sourced or marketing influenced leads, you should also consider a field marketing hire to take ownership of this, and as Jason Lemkin says, spearhead your own conference.
Considering the recent evolution of field marketing, what are the most important traits to screen for in your next field marketing hire?

The obvious:

  • Extremely proactive
  • Great project management skills
  • Strong leadership and strategic vision, but also a DOer

Not so obvious, but critical:

  • Proven ability to develop a productive relationship with Sales: Screen for this heavily with backdoor reference checks.
  • A demand generation focus: This person should excel at moving leads through the buyer’s journey, quickly. It’s not uncommon to see opportunities that were influenced by field marketing activities to have 2x the deal size of those closed without field marketing activity. In B2B, this role should always report to demand generation, and be goaled on an agreed upon opportunity influence or lead generation metric.

Already have a field marketing function? SiriusDecisions also has a helpful post on assessing the role.
Photo by: Kit

Head of Growth

Blake Harris is the Head of Growth at Formlabs, which develops professional 3D printers for designers, engineers, and other creators. He was previously a Growth Strategist at OpenView.
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