Business to Business – Marketing Recruitment Review

(View Marketing Recruitment Review and Salary Survey 2016 as a downloadable PDF here)

Head of B2B Marketing Recruitment at Brand Recruitment

Dominic Phipps - Marketing Recruiter based in Cambridge

Dominic heads up our team of four enthusiastic and successful Business to Business recruitment consultants at Brand. Being an experienced and exceptional marketing recruiter, Dominic was nominated for ‘Recruitment Consultant of the Year’ in both 2014 and 2015 at the prestigious Marketing and Digital Recruitment Awards. Dominic is also an active and passionate member of the B2B marketing community both in Cambridgeshire and further afield.

Overall, the past year has been a great one with regards to B2B marketing and communications recruitment. Within the B2B team at Brand we’ve experienced a record number of technology and software companies contacting us with new and exciting requirements, which has been fantastic.

We’ve seen a massive increase in the amount of mid-level roles which shows real growth in the sector. Typically the range of companies getting in touch regarding new marketing, PR and communications roles has shifted a little with many more SMEs requiring new hires, and this trend highlights increasing faith in marketing and its importance to ROI.

The current candidate-led market means it’s also much more important for B2B employers to think about how they are coming across during the recruitment process as this will probably be

the first taste a candidate will have of their organisation. The process is key to the company’s external brand and how it is perceived. Some of our clients do lead the way with this in mind, with swift and decisive processes but most importantly, very candidate-centric experiences. Typically, in B2B recruitment  we’re not trying to sell a ‘sexy’ brand or a universally known and loved household name so there needs to be a draw somewhere. Therefore it is even more important that a company comes across well to a candidate during the initial recruitment process, as this will turn in the company’s favour when this candidate who has interviewed at a number of companies is in the fortunate position of choosing between employers.

In our B2B marketing recruitment team we take on average ten to fifteen role briefs from employers each week, and you’ll be surprised at how many hiring managers ask for candidates who can transfer technical subject matter into marketable pieces to ‘the common customer’ or that person who doesn’t know a huge amount about the product. This is typical, and it certainly doesn’t faze us when recruiting, however there does tend to be occasions when the requirements are too high to be realistic. For example, we’ve been asked on a number of occasions to look for candidates who have both a marketing degree and an engineering degree which is like asking for two completely different things – creativity and ideas coupled with logic and a black and white approach?!

In our experience, we’ve found that the companies that have the soaring profits or share prices are the companies who are looking outside of their typical technology industry marketing box for their executive, and even on occasion manager-level positions. Being more flexible with regards to this kind of experience, particularly at marketing executive-level is something that I personally try to get hiring authorities more on board with as it has been my experience over the past year or so that these mid-level candidates with all the right B2B experience are becoming much harder to come by, and can often be the roles that are perhaps the hardest to fill.

Naturally, I am realistic and know that someone who has say worked within FMCG marketing is going to possess a completely different experience in terms of the route to market, but what I’m trying to convey is that now that the market is making a stronger shift towards the direction of the candidate, it will probably mean that our B2B marketing recruitment techniques may also have to make a shift to get more with the times.

Over recent months we have seen, in general, B2B marketing roles becoming less ‘techy’ as B2B companies try to build upon their brands more. As a result, roles are becoming much more marketing focused as opposed to needing a candidate to have a strong technical or product-led background. This shift in the market has meant we have also seen more opportunities open up for marketers without a technical background, yet who are wanting to make the move into B2B marketing. In the last year the companies that have been much more successful have been the ones who have really embraced the marketing function and have put more emphasis on their brand and external communications.

Within B2B, we’re are also seeing a lot more digital and e-commerce positions than there were a couple of years ago. This is probably the result of the increase in B2B companies driving forward with more measurable campaign methods, and in some cases, trading in e-commerce. Digital and e-commerce has allowed many B2B organisations to cut out the more traditional routes to market like using channel partners and distributors. Companies using e-commerce sites to trade offer their client base the ability to order products on more of a needs basis, allowing them to become more reactive to demand.

B2B marketing teams are also increasingly recruiting for content marketing positions, which again links back to B2B companies starting to build brands more, and attempting to deliver products and company descriptions in a more engaging way.

For the rest of 2016 I would expect to see B2B companies continuing to be focusing more on brand development. The companies that will do really well in the next twelve months will be the ones who engage with the audience in a more interactive way, be it through social media or content driven methods.

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