It’s hiring season. One key role that’s on the radar for a lot of business-to-business (B2B) companies is a marketing manager, which isn’t the easiest position to fill.
Finding a great marketer for small B2B organizations is challenging for several reasons. Most companies can’t swing a six figure salary, but they need someone with six-figure know-how. Plus, most companies that size don’t have a track record for working with marketers, so they’re not sure what to look for. Finding the perfect combination of skill and affordable salary is tricky. Hiring someone in-house isn’t the only way to go – there’s marketing outsourcing and working with freelancers you find via LinkedIn as alternatives. But if you know that hiring your own dedicated in-house marketer is the best way for your company to go, here are 4 questions that will help you find the perfect candidate.
Question #1: How will you develop a B2B marketing strategy for our company?
You want your marketing manager to have some kind of structured framework that shows they understand strategy. If this question elicits a “deer in the headlights” look, or the candidate jumps right into a discussion of tactics, that’s a yellow flag. Strategic marketers focus on understanding your target market, your positioning in reference to competitors, and meeting your business objectives. Their answer should convey this.
Question #2: What tactics would you use for our marketing?
The right answer is: ‘it depends on the strategy’ (especially the target market). In general, however, you want to see that your candidate understands who you are as a business, and the kinds of tactics that would effectively connect the company with your target customers. For example, if your audience is a traditional, non-tech-savvy group, suggesting social media and webinars is the wrong tack. Conversely, if you deal with young, connected decision makers, talking about direct mail isn’t likely a good sign. It’s all about understanding context.
Question #3: How have you measured success in previous marketing roles?
You’re looking for a solid combination of theoretical and practical here. Yes, you want your marketing manager to be able to talk knowledgeably about scorecards, KPIs and ROI. But that’s the easy part. When I interview marketers, I want to hear them talk honestly about the challenges of measuring marketing success. Measuring is tough, and the majority of B2Bs don’t have the systems in place to do it effectively. So that means a good B2B marketer has to be innovative with tracking and reporting, and prove they understand the challenges and have taken the initiative to bridge those gaps.'
Question #4: What results did you achieve in previous roles?
Good B2B marketing delivers leads and revenue, so the right answer here is all about quantifiable results. It’s not about making brochures and organizing events; a good candidate will talk about numbers and about the pipeline/revenue growth the business achieved.
Recruiting is a tough process – no matter what the role. But the deeper you dig in the interview and the more smart questions you ask, the better the results will be, especially when it comes to finding a marketer who can grow your company’s brand and revenues. Keep these four questions at the ready to help you. But don’t forget about your other options, since hiring a full-time marketer doesn’t work well for many small B2B companies. Here’s a list to help you evaluate if an alternative to in-house marketing is best for your business.