table showing demand gen marketing skills by company maturity

Must-Have Demand Gen Marketing Skills

It’s essential that demand gen marketers’ personalities and skills are harmonious with their team’s maturity.  Here are the demand gen marketing skills we prioritize for start-ups, mid-size companies, and enterprises.

>> Related:  Marketing Team Roles and Responsibilities <<

Hiring for a small Marketing team (1-4 people)

On a small team, the game is all about building key channels like email, a database, perhaps social content, a small website, etc.  But we’re not looking for perfection – this marketer needs to personally stand up each minimally-viable channel and move onto the next.

Contrary to popular practice, this is the wrong time to hire someone entry level.  They’ll waste time figuring out marketing concepts and tools.  And they can’t synthesize breadcrumbs of data.  Instead, hire an experienced “do something bitch” who will relentlessly DIY each project, fail fast, and iterate.

Hiring a Small Marketing Team (1-4 people)
  • A scrappy and impatient “driver”
  • Ready to DIY and figure things out
  • Comfortable failing/learning
  • Interested in iteration, not perfection
  • Stands up key, minimally-viable channels: email, database, social, content, website
  • A generalist familiar with many Marketing channels
  • Metrics-aware
  • Produces lightweight content
  • Manages freelancers
  • Collaborates directly with Sales
  • Single point of failure
  • “Master of none” where no channels are optimized and tactics are spread thin
  • Rarely a holistic plan, formal campaigns, or reporting
  • Clumsy Sales partnership
  • Bad entry-level fit (see risks above).  Better to find an experience generalist with a scrappy POV.
  • Hire an underling to help with the grind
  • Or more focused channel portfolio as the function grows


Hiring for a mid-size Marketing team (5-20 people)

On a mid-size team, marketers start to specialize by geo, tool, product, industry, etc.  They should “know their business”, understand deeper marketing concepts like messaging or product capabilities, but still have an experimental attitude.

There’s a real risk at this maturity level of skewing too “enterprise”.  This is still a small Marketing function.  Everyone has to be hands-on and scrappy because budgets are snug and the growth forecast is staggering.

Unfortunately, at this size, you can count on a tense relationship with Sales.  Sales expects qualified leads and opps, but Marketing doesn’t yet have a clear formula for generating the pipe.  Demand gen marketers will be under a lot of pressure when they communicate findings and pitch new campaigns and processes to leadership.

Hiring a Mid-Size Marketing Team (5-20 people)
  • Critical thinker, curious, and experimental
  • Collaborative and can lead a small project team
  • Strategic but still scrappy
  • Metrics-obsessed
  • Sources MQLs and Opps
  • Nurtures leads
  • Conceives and manages email, blog, third-party, PPC, etc. campaigns 
  • Measures campaigns and forecasts/tracks MQLs/Opps
  • Manages vendors, freelancers, and internal teams
  • Has a POV about what does/doesn’t work in their channel(s)
  • Understands messaging/product capabilities
  • Partners with Sales
  • Creates reports in Salesforce
  • Siloed in their channel, industry, or geo
  • Expensive/enterprise tastes when they are still a small team
  • Relationship with Sales is contentious – Sales has expectations that Marketing may not deliver
  • Tool-, channel-, or role-specific fluency
  • Knows how to reliably create attribution data
  • Divide Marketing function into teams with Directors leading each


Yes, it’s hard to find this unicorn marketer who creates Salesforce reports, is fluent in a tool or channel, and reliably delivers. When in doubt, I hire someone who is methodical, thinks critically, and collaborates.  I can train them on the rest of the demand gen marketing skills.

Hiring for an enterprise Marketing team (20+ people)

An enterprise team is deeply specialized and, unfortunately, regularly stymied.  Marketers in these teams are fluent in MBA concepts, expensive tools, and sophisticated campaigns.  They can take big swings with bountiful budgets.  But they’re also facing headwinds:  siloed work, managing complex change and its tantrums, entrenched martech, and burdensome compliance.

Hiring an Enterprise Marketing Team (20+ people)
  • Thoughtful, poised, professional
  • Curious about new trends/tech and modernizing their approach
  • A constant communicator, both up- and downstream
  • Models and reliably executes a data-driven plan
  • Navigates Marketing’s technical debt
  • Enables Sales
  • Upholds compliance and brand standards
  • Tackles extremely complex projects
  • Data-driven
  • Understands MBA concepts and terms
  • Fluent in martech, ops, and reporting
  • Sensitive to global campaign demands
  • Manages large agency relationships
  • Cautious about experimentation and change
  • Out of touch with Sales or campaign execution realities
  • Stubborn people/committee clashes
  • Can “hide” within large team or projects
  • Was previously “hands on” with tools
  • Has delivered and measured programs at scale
Growth Plan
  • Hard to advance up
  • Portfolio or projects expand


At the enterprise level, I hire demand gen marketers with emotional maturity and endurance.  But I also look for folks who were previously hands-on in tools.  There is a real risk in enterprises that marketers look competent in the board meeting, but are completely unmoored from the realities of getting messages into market.


What is a unicorn marketer?

Marketing unicorns are the extremely rare breed of marketers who are pretty much good at everything. They’re full stack, digital natives with the perfect blend creative genius, technical know-how, and marketing fundamentals.  They’re… hard to find 😜

What is the difference between mid market and enterprise?

Mid-market businesses are generally medium-sized enterprises with moderate revenue and a more regional focus, while enterprises are large-scale organizations with substantial revenue, a broad customer base, and a global or national presence. | Marketing and Revenue Ops

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