B2B Marketers: 6 Skills to Bolster Your Career

Build skills from the comfort of your couch.

Let’s face it; we’ve never had to deal with circumstances like this before. COVID-19 has spread its tentacles across the globe in an alarming way, cutting us off from our friends, families, and colleagues with surprising speed. Like other companies, the Demandbase marketing team has gone from weekly in-person meetings in Journey, our main conference room, to entirely virtual Zoom-fests. Granted, we’ve done our level best to keep the energy up and maintain our sense of humor, but it’s still a world away from the usual level of casual chat and informal catch-ups that accompany in-person meetings. (Now’s a great time to build your marketing skills, but we’ll get into that in a bit.)

As marketers sheltered in place by the current ordinances, not only are we separated from each other, but we’re also isolated from our target audiences of customers and prospects. No more mingling over cocktails at industry conferences or chatting with peers at hosted dinners. We’re experiencing a sudden vacuum of in-person interaction, which everyone is struggling to fill with virtual bonhomie. But we shouldn’t harbor unrealistic expectations because, despite our valiant digital efforts, it’s never going to be quite the same as our previous casual connectedness.

Is there a bright side to shelter-in-place?

I’d argue that there are some compelling ways to compensate for our current limited and lonesome situation. For all the color and vibrancy of in-person events, digital marketing channels now hold the key to success for B2B marketers. It’s worth remembering that we can still reach people at key accounts (arguably at greater scale). This is true despite all the headwinds and social distancing that inhibit us. For example, in his excellent blog post, Russell Martin shows how B2B identification of target accounts who are working from home can still be highly effective. He outlines the positives of navigating the work-from-home restrictions as a B2B marketer and finding ways to thrive in the midst of current limitations.

Shift to digital marketing

For one thing, your customers and prospects simply have more time on their hands—time that they are largely spending on digital channels. Key decision-makers at your target accounts aren’t attending in-person conferences, booking lunch meetings, or planning business travel. While my calendar was a solid block of red for the first fortnight of quarantine, now it has started to level out and I can see some daylight in my schedule. In many ways, you’re now marketing to a captive audience that’s hungry for content and insight and with few physical distractions to pull them away from your outreach.

Build skills for your future

One positive I see emerging from the shelter-in-place restrictions is the opportunity to build skills now that will benefit your future marketing career. When we finally come out of social hibernation (and I’m not even going to hazard a guess on timing), wouldn’t it be nice to have cultivated a fresh set of marketing skills? Now is the right time to pursue your learning goals and gain core skills that will enhance your career and marketing knowledge for years to come.

In that spirit, Demandbase is offering our online ABM Certification courses at no cost through July 31, 2020. As hard as things are right now, these learning opportunities are 100 percent upside!

Ready. Set. Learn. For free!

Don’t be stranded in solitary isolation. Take this opportunity to build your marketing skills. Make this time count towards your overall career goals. But where should a B2B marketer look to build skills to thrive in the new world order? I’ve compiled a list of six top-notch (and totally free) learning resources for any B2B marketer looking to kick-start their marketing credentials and core competencies.

  1. Account-Based Marketing

    At Demandbase, we’ve made both our Foundations and Advanced ABM certifications available to everyone free of charge through July 31. For every person who completes ABM Certification, we’re donating $1 to United Way.

  2. Content marketing

    Coursera is offering a free marketing course titled Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content with Professor Jonah Berger at The University of Pennsylvania. I’m currently working through this course and I highly recommend it.

  3. Social advertising

    With Facebook and Instagram eating the paid social advertising world, you won’t regret investing time in becoming a Facebook Blueprint certified professional. Learn the ropes for running successful paid social advertising campaigns on these channels.

  4. SEO skills

    Check out this free online training offer from MOZ Academy. It includes a dozen on-demand courses to “level up your SEO skill set” using the exceptionally cool promo code “wegotthis.” Nice work, Moz team.

  5. Strategic thinking

    LinkedIn Learning is offering a course on Strategic Thinking, with a free 1-month trial. Learn to embrace a strategic thinking mindset, both for yourself and your marketing team, that becomes a habitual part of your everyday work routine.

  6. Web analytics

    Want to glean insights on your site’s traffic patterns and key conversion events? Check out Google Analytics Academy for a useful collection of free online courses that focus on data collection and web analytics.

I hope you find the learning resources above helpful, and let’s all return to the new normal of work a little smarter and primed for B2B marketing success.

Thought Leader, B2B Marketing & Sales Strategy

I'm a B2B specialist with over 20 years of experience leading enterprise Marketing teams. I love figuring out how to scale enterprise Marketing, from brand building to pipeline development and global customer acquisition. As Vice President of Growth Marketing at Demandbase, I was responsible for Demand Generation, Field Marketing, and Customer Marketing. Prior to that, I was a Marketing leader at two ad tech companies, Marin Software and Smaato. And I co-founded an e-learning startup that specialized in software developer training, with a rules-based code judging engine.