Using personas, campaigns, and pipelines to build a robust marketing team
Struggling to find the right people for your marketing team—those who have both the necessary skills to do the job now and the ability to adapt to future needs? You’re not alone.
It’s no secret that the marketing field is changing at a blistering pace due to advances in technology, and this means that there’s a high demand for marketers who are not only well-versed in the digital arena, but that continue to keep up with new technologies that apply to their work. Finding this ideal combination has proved to be challenging for hiring managers and recruiters.
This is exactly what Greenhouse sought to address in teaming up with Entelo to host the recent “How to Hire a Marketing Team” webinar. Greenhouse invited Melissa Matlins, VP of Marketing at Mindjet, a mind-mapping software company, to share her expertise on applying marketing principles to recruit and build out an adaptable and tech-savvy marketing team. She’s an experienced marketer who has recruited and built out marketing teams of various sizes at several organizations in the tech space.
In her presentation, Melissa outlines four key recruiting process strategies: getting prepped, planning your campaign, building your pipeline, and qualifying your leads. Do these strategies sound familiar? They should—they come straight out of the marketing playbook!
Keep reading to see how you can apply these 4 marketing strategies to your recruiting efforts and build an unbeatable marketing team:
1. Prepare yourself for the recruiting process
Before beginning the recruiting process, take the time to gain a solid understanding of the current status of your marketing team and the company at large.
To start, ask yourself the following questions, which will give you a good idea of where your team is sufficient—and where it is lacking:
- Which roles/positions currently make up the team?
- What are the areas of expertise of each of the team members?
- Which marketing channels are successful?
- Which tools and technologies are enabling the team’s success?
Melissa also stresses that it’s crucial to understand where your company is on the business roadmap, i.e. which stage of maturity it’s in: momentum, acceleration, or transformation. Each of these three stages requires a unique type of hire, so it’s important to assess where you are now (and where you’re projected to be in the near future) and make hiring decisions accordingly.
For example, if you’re still in the early stages of growth, you don’t want to hire an executive who’s not hands-on or unable to do the day-to-day work that the role, at that moment, requires. And the opposite is also true: if your business is accelerating quickly, but you’re too focused on hiring tactical roles, you won’t be setting yourself up for success in the next stage of your growth journey, which requires a much more strategic-thinking person. So, make sure to accurately identify your company’s current growth stage so that you know what type of hires best complement it. Review the chart below for more information.
2. Plan your campaign
There’s a lot more of a marketing component to recruiting than you may think. On that note, recruiting becomes a lot less intimidating when you think of it in marketing terms. Instead of selling a prospect on a product, you’re selling them on a job. And building a funnel of candidates looks a lot like building a marketing campaign. See where this is going?! Read on...
Crafting the persona of an ideal hire can be similar to how you, as a marketer, would construct a buyer persona. Similarly, Melissa suggests coming up with demographic criteria to help define the persona, considering things like the amount of time they have spent in their current role (can they commit to a job?), whether they were regularly promoted (do they have a history of excellence?), and whether they have a personal connection to anyone on your team (were they referred?).
Once you have defined the persona, the next step is to understand how what you’re offering to a potential hire matches up to what this person is seeking. You can even come up with a detailed marketing plan that outlines how you’ll engage with the target throughout the recruiting process and what type of language will appeal most to a person at that particular stage in their career.
One important thing to note here is that your (recruiting) campaigns should never really end. Be prepared for a constant state of flux as you build out your marketing team—your primary goal or metric may change, your company’s business journey may progress, or you may even lose employees for any number of reasons. Accept that change is inevitable, and make your campaigns flexible enough that you can pause, resume, or tweak them as necessary.
3. Build your pipeline
Marketing departments are notoriously in a constant state of flux. In fact, the average tenure of marketers tends to be relatively short, especially in large metropolitan areas like New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, where more and more start-ups are emerging and attracting top marketing talent. The door is a revolving one.
With that said, you will almost always be looking to fill a role (or several roles) on your team. So, you should expect to go through the recruitment process every 12 to 18 months or sooner. This means that in order to keep your team robust, and thus filled with the skilled and tech-savvy marketers you need to make your team unstoppable in our digitally-dominant times, you must take ongoing measures to secure a healthy pipeline of candidates.
And here’s where marketing comes into play again: Just as you have a pipeline for leads, you need a pipeline for talent. This will help set you up for success since it means you’ll have an incoming flow of applicants and you won’t have to start from scratch every time you need to make a new hire (which, as pointed out above, is fairly often!).
In building your pipeline, also make sure you’re optimizing it. Dust off your calculator and have a little fun with conversion math. Ask yourself (and calculate):
- How many people who submit résumés are invited to do phone interviews?
- How many phone interviews pass on to the in-person interview stage?
- How many in-person interviewees get offers?
Melissa suggests you work backwards to determine what your target numbers are for each stage of the pipeline. This way, you’ll know your goals and can keep yourself accountable and on track to establishing a solid pipeline.
4. Qualify your leads
Does your marketing team determine which leads should be passed along to sales? Of course it does! You can apply this same concept of “qualifying your leads” to the recruitment cycle as well. Think of interviews as the stage where you’re qualifying candidates.
Melissa recommends holding two interviews. During the first interview, you can introduce the company and role while getting to know the candidate’s working style and preferences. At the end of this session, it’s a good idea to ask the candidate to do a round-up of what they’ve heard so far. Have them summarize their understanding of the role and explain whether or not they think they’re a good fit. If you both agree on this point, you can hold a second interview that allows you to really dig deep into the candidate’s problem-solving skills.
Melissa prioritizes problem solving because it ties in with one of the qualities she looks for in all candidates: an optimization mindset, meaning that the person displays a particular curiosity for business problems and seeks out ways to make things better.
Some hiring managers like to give homework to candidates after they pass the first interview, but Melissa prefers to hold a second interview instead. During these conversations, she shares real-life problems with candidates. What is the candidate’s general approach to problem solving? How would they handle specific problems that this team is facing? Getting the answers to these questions is the final stage of qualifying a candidate.
But the process doesn’t end there. Melissa cautions losing momentum just as you’re about to “close the deal.” Throughout the recruitment process, you’ve been selling the candidate on the role and on your organization, and you need to keep that conversation going. So, be sure to stay in regular communication by keeping candidates informed on the status of their application and answering any of their questions promptly. You don’t want to lose a promising candidate because you got a little too lax at the end of the campaign.
As a marketer, you already have many of the tools and techniques that will help you build out your team. Now it’s time to put them into practice.