B2B marketers – could your next job be in ‘talent management’?

Demand gen and MA skills could be the gateway to the emerging and exciting area of talent management, says Joel Harrison

Now I know what you’re thinking… isn’t talent management a bit like recruitment (and, therefore, the really dodgy end of sales)?

So, why on earth would I want to work there?

Well no, it’s not really the same as recruitment, in the traditional sense. While recruitment is generally defined as a reactive, tactical and (let’s face it) often a totally frenetic or frantic struggle to find someone to fill a key role in your organisation, by contrast, talent management is designed to ‘anticipate, plan for and meet your human capital needs’ (says Wikipedia) and, consequently, is doing a similar thing but in a very different way. It encompasses both traditional recruitment sales and employee branding.

“Ok, great, so what’s that got to do with B2B marketing?”

Well, that’s the interesting bit: because as anyone who has attempted recently to recruit someone with even a modicum of specific skills or meaningful expertise recently will tell you, it’s bloody difficult.

The pool of candidates for a growing number of roles is extremely limited (think marketing data scientists) and consequently candidates are becoming increasingly savvy, sophisticated and hard to reach.

Does that remind you of anyone? Yes, that’s right: the average B2B buyer.

That’s the conclusion reached by demand generation and marketing automation consultant Scot McRae of McRae&Co.. He was struck by the stark similarities between the existing processes, techniques and behaviour inherent in demand generation and the emerging field or profession of talent management (which, like many such things, has come from the US).

He was also struck by the opportunity, and consequently spent two years building a bespoke talent management platform, using the lessons learned from eight years running demand generation programmes on the usual suspect list of platforms (including Pardot, Marketo, ActOn). T

The resulting solution, called CandidateID, is part of a growing number of solutions for this Talent Management field, but is the only one to have emerged directly from a demand generation background.

A dearth of talent

McRae believes that talent management is an emerging field (in the UK at least) with massive potential. “Some 71% of jobs advertised by FTSE 100 companies were for the same 21 roles.

There’s a massive dearth of talent for certain roles, and it’s only getting worse. At the same time, companies increasingly have diversity targets to hit, which they struggle to through traditional recruitment channels. They need creative solutions.” McRae obviously believes he has the solution.

But he makes the very valid point that, just as when Eloqua arrived on the scene back in the mid noughties, there was no-one with anything like the skills and competencies to make these platforms work, the same is true of his platform (and some others that are broadly comparable).

McRae’s company will obviously train people to use their platform, but he says B2B marketers with demand generation expertise are ideally placed to transfer their skills to this field (if they’re so inclined).

“If they are interested in people, and can see the opportunities with betting into an exciting new field, this could be a great move,” he says.