A lot of startups out there are seeking venture capital funding. In order to secure that funding, however, it’s necessary to have the right team in place. And a crucial part of having the right team in place is having marketing talent that can generate sales leads.
Now more than ever, venture capitalists (VCs) are looking at the marketing team before deciding to invest. For startups looking to secure venture capital, it’s important to understand what VCs look for in a Director of Marketing.
According to Greg Goldfarb of Summit Partners, the Director of Marketing role is ideal for companies with under $10 million in revenue that operate via a single marketing channel–such as online marketing. In these types of companies, VCs look for three specific traits in a startup’s marketing leader.
1. They’re Execution Oriented
Bob Gilbreath, Executive at seed investment firm CincyTech, says “you need an individual that is execution-oriented… someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and go figure out Google AdWords, Google Analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), etc.” In short, you need a one-man show who’s always out there doing rather than planning.
2. They Understand Sales
Beyond the focus on execution, Tom Kuhr, who worked as Director of Marketing at two VC-funded startups (Preventsys and Truviso), believes you should also seek a hire who “knows how to sell, knows how to set appointments and can connect your company with industry relations.” Basically, you want someone who understands how to fill the pipeline with marketing-qualified leads in a short timeframe because sales are what VCs expect.
3. They’re Numbers People
Speaking of marketing-qualified leads, VCs also want to know that a Director of Marketing is comfortable working with metrics. Phil Dur, Managing Director at Investor Growth Capital, says that he likes to see candidates that can demonstrate an appreciation for a return on invested capital. That means being able to talk about the impact marketing spend has on the conversion rate and the number of marketing-qualified leads. This is important because it shows they’re in tune with marketing’s contribution to top-line growth.
While these three points aren’t an exhaustive list of the qualities VCs look for in a Director of Marketing, they’re some of the most important attributes VCs take into consideration. And understanding this dynamic will help you bring the right marketing hire on board at your startup.