B2B Marketing Interview Questions for 2020

Today’s challenge.

Requirements for being a high performing B2B marketing director or VP have grown dramatically in the past five years.

These jobs used to be 80% creative and 20% technical. Today they’re 80% technical and 20% creative.

Plenty of B2B marketers today are lacking the technical skills needed to find a qualified audience and deliver sales qualified leads. It’s hard work.

Why am I doing this?

Because it’s your job to discover:

  • Can this candidate do the job?
  • Will they do the job?
  • Will they fit in?

Why is it a challenge?

B2B marketers must understand that today’s B2B purchaser gets 70% of what they want to know about your product from the web. They rarely take a phone call before this.

Most everything used to find and engage qualified prospects is now digital. Sales and marketing automation, SEO, PPC, social…it’s all digital. Hundreds of variables must be addressed using multiple software platforms.

And measurement is virtually all digital now. With CEOs and CFOs demanding to see a return on the B2B sales and marketing investment, marketers must be numbers driven.

Part 1: Can they do the job?

The telephone screen

There’s no point in going further if your candidate doesn’t have the skills and capabilities your company needs.

Use telephone screens to address ‘can they do the job?’, which focuses on a candidate’s B2B  technical and technology skills.

Remember to take careful notes and refer back to them when making decisions about next steps.

Q: Tell me how you became interested in marketing and how you got started.

A: This is a general question that helps the candidate get comfortable and discover if their background is what you need. I look for candidates who pursued a degree in business, economics, marketing or similar. An undergrad degree in liberal arts coupled with an MBA may be strong. I prefer candidates with experience in B2B marketing in a relevant market space. Past jobs might have been in sales, product management, and product marketing.

Q: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges today?

A: Look for answers that touch on sales/marketing automation, metrics, internet/social marketing, qualified lead generation, budgets, talent, resources and sales/marketing cooperation. Sales and marketing automation is a “must” response. Ask the candidate to elaborate on responses. “Why is that important?” It’s important because proper and consistent use of automation helps deliver a leaner, faster and more cost effective marketing department…very important to your CEO and CFO.

Q: How would you create a marketing plan you know our CEO would read?

A: Look for answers that include the following:

  • I include a short executive summary showing where we are today compared to where we want to go. It includes budget, timing, resources, use of sales/marketing automation and measures of success.
  • I ask the CEO and other colleagues what’s important  and what to avoid.
  • I emphasize what our competitors are doing.
  • I emphasize helping the sales team.
  • I tie marketing spend to revenue and valuation.

Q: How would you prioritize marketing tactics for our company?

A: Look for answers that demonstrate the candidate’s current knowledge of what’s working and what’s not.

  • Great website
  • Email is still #1 
  • Relevant, interesting content
  • SEO and PPC
  • Event marketing
  • Affiliates and partnerships

Be sure to ask the candidate to elaborate on his/her answers and ask for specific examples of their work, and the results.


Q: How have you measured marketing success in the past?

A: Look for answers that include sales’ highest priorities:

  • Increases in number of sales qualified leads
  • Marketing originated pipeline
  • Decreases in average sales cycle
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Marketing percentage of customer acquisition cost
  • Organic search rankings
  • Search advertising ROI

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About Mike Harris

Mike is the founder of Harris CMO Partners, a Nashville based firm offering interim and fractional CMO services to B2B companies.

He enjoys writing about what's working in B2B sales and marketing.

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