By David Holland

April 18, 2021


As a small business owner, it can be difficult to decide whether or not you should hire a marketing person. You want to take advantage of the opportunity new customers provide, but you're also the one who needs to hold down all other aspects of your company. To help simplify this decision, we've put together 5 steps that will make finding and hiring the right marketing person for your company much easier!

Step One: Define what you want the marketing person to do

Separate the responsibilities of marketing and management. Marketing is about attracting new customers, while management is about running your company. This means that you don't need to worry if a candidate wants an ownership stake in your business - just make sure they're interested in being a marketer rather than an entrepreneur!

Ask yourself why you want a marketing person?

If your company is in the beginning stages, you're probably looking for a marketing person to help get your name out there and grow. If your company has been around for a while, then you might be looking to find someone who can scale up or take on more responsibilities as needed.

Would you like your new marketing person to be someone who can advise or improve what you have already done?

Or are you wanting an assistant who will execute your marketing strategy? If so, are they new to the field and can learn on the job or have experience in delivering these types of programmes?

Technology can be a challenge for many new hires, especially if the company has an existing CRM and marketing system. Do you need someone who already knows how to use the software you use? 

Red flags:

Recruiting a marketing person to do the jobs and run the technology that you don't like doing, would suggest you are looking for an assistant. Recruiting a skilled, experienced or ambitious marketing person and making them your assistant is like to result in disappointment for both parties.

Recruiting a junior candidate and expecting them to be better and more knowledgeable than you is also likely to foster is appointment.

Recruiting an experienced marketing person and not allowing them to use their analytical skills to come up with a better plan than yours, or their creativity to design campaigns, will be frustrating for both parties.

If you have been really honest with yourself you can start the recruitment process.

Step Two: Design a process that measures skills and experience required

Once you have a vision of the role and the sort of relationship you will have with your marketing person, it is time to list out the skills and experience you need in a candidate.

This will be different for every small business, but if this were my hiring criteria:

  • knowledge of marketing software such as HubSpot or Keap;
  • good interpersonal skills;
  • the ability to work independently on some tasks while being part of a team;
  • the ability to work with a small budget;
  • media buying skills.

Do you need your recruit to walk in the door with these skills are are you prepared to give them the time and resources to learn.

During the recruitment process, it is fairly straight forward to have the candidates undertaken quizzes to measure intelligence, problems solving and personality traits

You can so provide them with access to software to test their knowledge or their ability to learn your company systems.

Don't forget to design into your process the opportunity for you to explain your company, your vision and the opportunity you see in front of them. Successful employment required both parties to be happy working together. Skilled candidates have just as much leverage as employers. 

Step Three: Get enough lead flow

For many small businesses, the flow of applicants is small. This can result in a degree of panic and a temptation to accept the first candidate. This is a mistake because the wrong person can fatally damage your business.

This situation lends itself to creative thinking about how you market yourself and find candidates, including using social media like LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.

The alternative is to work with a recruitment consultant. A good recruitment consultant will know how to find the best candidates and can also help you with strategy, such as whether or not it makes sense to take on a candidate outside of your geographical area.

A recruitment consultant will be able to help you design a process that is stringent enough to filter out inappropriate applicants, but not so draconian that a good candidate will not apply. If they are unfamiliar with your type of business, they may be able to introduce you to someone in their network who has experience in that area.

An experienced recruiter will be able to suggest a realistic salary range. Make sure you have worked out your budgets and that your business is able to afford to pay the first few months of the salary plus the recruitment costs before you see results. 

Step Four: Hire someone with a plan and get them to deliver.

If you are hiring a junior, the plan is yours. Make sure you have a plan ready to go that you discuss with them at the interview stages. You will need to include learning objectives and milestones that you can expect the new team members to achieve. If they accept the job, you can expect them to deliver the milestones you set.

If you are hiring a senior, the plan should be theirs. Hold a detailed planning session with them where you ask them to interview you to gather the information they need to come up with a plan. Be open and honest and collaborative.

They can follow up by presenting their plan to you. Ask them to plot out the first 100 days. What would they do, what would be the deliverables and how would they measure success.

Make sure they know what your expectations of them will be and discuss with them their plans for delivering on those expectations.

Step Five: Invest in the best plan

These days, employees are required to have a contract on employment of the day they start. As well as all the employment law requirement you would normally include the probationary period, usually 3 months.

Now you have an agreed plan with deliverables and measurement of what will happen during that time. You can refer to the plan in the contract if you wish, or keep it as supporting documentation.

Hopefully, both you and your new team member has a good understanding of what the other expects from them. They are inspired by your vision and you are inspired by their energy for your business.

Set regular meetings where you can review progress against the plan and collaborate on adapting the plan to the live situation.

You can not guarantee successful hires, but with a structured recruitment process and a collaborative attitude you can set yourself up for success.

About the author

Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

You might also like

Is Your Business Scalable?

Use the Scalability Scorecard to Find Out