The growth of B2B digital commerce is forcing employers to look hard—and pay well—for managers and executives who know how to digitally engage customers.

It’s still a candidate’s market for qualified executives with the right skill set in B2B ecommerce, and the right candidate for any ecommerce job may, in fact, be juggling multiple offers.

I’ve seen companies where the top digital executive might be accountable for directing 40% to 50% of all sales.
JerryBernhart

Jerry Bernhart, principal, Bernhart Associates Executive Search

But manufacturers, distributors and any other organization looking for mid-level to upper-level talent to run a digital organization also aren’t looking for a one-trick pony, says Jerry Bernhart, principal at Bernhart Associates Executive Search.

“B2B companies don’t just want a director or a vice president to have responsibility for the profit and loss for an ecommerce operation,” he says. “They are looking for the right manager who can manage all the ways their company digitally touches customers across multiple channels.”

Finding expertise in retail ecommerce

Many companies are still looking to the business-to-consumer side of ecommerce to find the right executive to head up B2B digital commerce. For example, Rebecca Gummerson, senior director of ecommerce at Berlin Packaging Corp., worked for nine years at Sears Holdings Corp., including her last position as director of ecommerce, digital marketing and engagement. Steve Eastman, who oversees B2B ecommerce as part of his job as president, aftermarket, parts, garments and accessories at Polaris Industries, joined Polaris after eight years at Target Corp, including as president of Target.com.

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For the right candidate—and depending upon the size of the metropolitan area—the base for experienced B2B digital commerce and marketing directors and vice presidents can be substantial. For example, in the 20 largest U.S. cities, the average annual salaries for a vice president of B2B ecommerce and a vice president of digital marketing are $221,400 and $232,800, respectively, according to research conducted by Bernhart Associates.

For ecommerce and digital marketing directors in big cities, the average annual salaries are $162,700 and $164,000, respectively. Smaller markets—where demand for top B2B ecommerce talent is in great demand—annual salaries are also strong, the firm’s research found.

It pays to know the full sales funnel

For example, in the 20 largest U.S. cities, the annual salaries for a vice president of B2B ecommerce and a vice president of digital marketing are $169,500 and $149,600, respectively.

For ecommerce and digital marketing directors in smaller cities, the average annual salaries are $124,000 and $112,900, respectively.

Performance bonuses also are lucrative—if the hired B2B ecommerce executive is able to hit profit and revenue goals. “For vice presidents, I’ve seen performance bonus incentives that can be 25% to 40% of their annual base salary,” Bernhart says. “For directors, it can range from 20% to 30% and 10% to 20% for managers.”

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B2B companies want to hire ecommerce executives that are adept at all forms of marketing automation. “They really want them to know the full sales funnel,” he says.

Sweetening the deal

Qualified candidates also must be expected to run, in many cases, a big operation. “I’ve seen companies where the top digital executive might be accountable for directing 40% to 50% of all sales,” he says.

On average, the search for a successful B2B ecommerce executive is about a three-month process, Bernhart says. But even if a company finds the right manager and wants to make them an attractive offer, the employer may need to sweeten the deal, he says. “In this tight employment, everyone is scrambling to find talent,” Bernhart says. “I know many experienced candidates that, in the end, are juggling multiple offers.”

Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week, covering technology and business trends in the growing B2B ecommerce industry. Contact Mark Brohan, director of B2B ecommerce research, at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @markbrohan.

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