As a business owner, you probably have the interview process down for hiring certain positions. What you may not be good at is hiring someone to market your business. Don’t feel alone. One of the top requests I get when I’m doing marketing consulting is to provide hiring tips for adding a marketer to someone’s staff.
Over the course of my career, I have been responsible for building marketing and sales teams and marketing programs in multiple locations. When I first started hiring marketing coordinators, I looked for someone with a background in traditional marketing. I soon learned that while having those skills is an added benefit, the most successful marketers I have hired have had a strong background in sales. There is a big difference between sales and marketing, but most small business owners want both skills in one person.
Understand the Marketing Role
Before you decide to hire someone for marketing, you should set goals for what you expect the added salary expense will add to your business. If you want to grow your referral base, hire someone with a background in this area. If you want to grow the number of companies utilizing your services, hiring someone with outside sales experience is a plus. If you are looking for someone to manage your social media marketing, obviously you will want to look for someone with a background in internet marketing.
In reality, you probably want someone with experience in all three areas. Finding that person is rare. The good news is, if you hire someone with the right personality, all of the skills can be taught. If, however, you hire someone with all the skills and no personality, you will be setting the new marketer up for failure.
Inside vs. Outside Sales
You also need to decide if your marketer will be doing strictly marketing, or if they will be involved with outside sales type events and activities. During interviews, if you are hiring someone for an outside the office position, make it clear how much of their time will involve dealing with people one-on-one. The biggest mistake I have made in the past is hiring people with inside sales or marketing experience for positions where outside sales or marketing experience is more important. Most people with inside sales or marketing experience may be great at talking on the phone or coming up with marketing concepts. The biggest problem with them however is it becomes hard to get them to leave the comforts of their office setting to actually market your business outside the office walls.
Your internal staff can help you with inside sales and marketing tactics. If you are going to spend money on a marketing salary, find someone who wants to spend time outside marketing the concept of your business. And make sure the person you hire has experience selling and marketing companies in the same stage as your business. If you are a start-up business, you need a marketer with experience marketing start-up concepts. If you have been open for 10 or more years, you need a marketer with experience marketing and building a company.
Once you have determined the marketer has the personality you need, make sure they also have the skills. To start with, your marketing coordinator needs great written and communication skills. Your marketing coordinator should be able to write press releases on a bi-monthly basis, pitch stories to area radio and television stations, and be able to answer media inquiries as needed. Additionally, they need to be able to coordinate newsletters you send to your patients. During the interview process, ask your marketing coordinator to write a press release on a certain topic.
Your marketing coordinator should also be organized. They will be responsible for coordinating your monthly, quarterly, or yearly contracts for advertising in the newspaper, on television and radio, and on the internet. They will also have to coordinate ordering supplies for events and in-house marketing. In order to be successful, your marketing coordinator must be a multi-tasker who is not afraid to put in long hours when needed.
Smart and Gut
I ran across an article on hiring for marketing recently that said to remember two words when hiring a marketer: Smart and Gut. Simply put, look for “smart” when interviewing and trust your “gut”. Smart people will quickly pick up knowledge about what your business does. They will adapt to your company culture and instinctively know how to transition their skill set into your company.
And no matter what position you hire for, you should always trust your gut. If the marketing candidate sitting across the table from you rubs you the wrong way, they will probably rub your potential clients the wrong way too.