• Jo Wassell

Why your B2B marketing team have to start breaking the rules to succeed.

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

The importance of experimental and agile talent for marketing in technology businesses is referenced often.  The pace of change, strapped resources and investor pressure for high speed growth in competitive tech environments means there’s no room for sitting on your laurels.

Traditionally, B2B marketers have often operated in slower moving professional services organisations; with activity having longer lines of decision making and regulatory restrictions and compliance often, by law, needing to be involved in marketing activity sign off.  This means that in order for B2B marketing in tech businesses to succeed, you need to rethink who you hire and how you hire them. Simply looking for talent with a demonstrable history of B2B marketing experience isn’t enough. For them to succeed in a fast paced tech environment you need to find and nurture people with a different type of mindset.

I was recently listening to the Recruiting Future podcast from Matt Alder.  He was interviewing Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino.  Francesca is author of the best selling book ‘Rebel Talent’

Francesca’s work focuses on psychology that drives people’s decision making at work and the book is about rule breaking as constructive not destructive. She says rebel individuals can be very constructive and create positive change because they challenge the status quo and lead innovative performance in organisations.  She cites that this behaviour is now more important than ever due to the uncertain and increasing complex world we now operate in. Navigating this challenge requires rebellious individuals that can adapt to change, and there are few sectors where this is more pertinent than in technology.

Francesca cites 5 key attributes that are key to rebel individuals:  

  • Talent for novelty - drawn to the uncomfortable and unfamiliar

  • Talent for curiosity - always asking questions and exploring

  • Talent for perspective - look at issues and problems from many angles

  • Talent for diversity - takes advantages differences amongst the people they work with to get the best output

  • Talent for authenticity - they stand out, they don’t worry about expressing their viewpoint based on what others might think

In this case, Francesca is talking about rebel hiring across the whole organisation, but it’s a particularly pertinent topic when it comes to marketeers who need to be constantly experimenting and adapting to change.

A long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from 4,300 worker sample, 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities which strongly influenced their decision to stay in role.

Aside from these traits being important for innovation and the rapid success of your marketing activity, these traits need to be nurtured by a culture and attitude that allows room for error.  This means individuals can innovate, experiment and take ownership of all of their activity, not just the aspects that work. This allows individuals to constantly learn and develop and in turn leads to a more responsible and engaged workforce who feel they have ownership over their role which has a positive effect on employee retention.

For more information about how to identify and hire Rebels, check out the podcast here.

If you need support with B2B marketing talent acquisition just drop me a line and we’ll set up a chat.