Finding a Marketing Team Leader for Your Business

A marketing leader is the personable, detail-oriented professional you want on your team. To be sure there are many skills that are unique to a marketing leader and their position on your team. However, this post takes a dive into both skills that are universally desired in leaders as well as those that are specific to a marketing team leader. It’s hard to find the right candidate for any position.

We dump countless hours into reviewing resumes, skimming through social channels, interviewing, and calling on referrals. All of it is done in the name of finding the perfect match. Yet, it’s hard to identify if a leadership candidate truly fits the mold.

A marketing leader is typically someone in a management position, but not necessarily a CMO. They inspire members of their team and lead by example. They can make a good team a great team as they promote the qualities of a leader in both the traditional sense but with the knowledge and finesse of a marketing maven. So, what qualifies a marketer to rise above the rest and fill leadership shoes?


1. Time-Oriented

A marketing team leader can be a great example to other team members, or they can set dangerous precedents. Marketers are historically known for being busy with one thing or another, and rightly so. There’s always a backlog on the to-do list and every department has a different agenda to get across in new marketing materials. However, no one likes work being late and for any business, your word is your bond. If an employee doesn’t get you, or your customer’s deliverables out on time, you’ve got a big problem.

The classic mantra of time is money will never die because it’s the truth. The simplest test of basic time-oriented behavior is whether or not they were actually on time for an interview.

If something came up the day of, did, they let you know as soon as possible and not a few minutes before they were supposed to meet with you? A time-oriented person understands there is a cost to being late. It disrupts schedules, makes a bad impression, and shows a lack of professionalism.


2. Self and Group Accountability

If you’re hiring someone for a leadership position, it’s important that this individual isn’t quick to praise themselves or blame others when goals are or aren’t met. A leader needs to be a team player who understands that they share the responsibility for both wins and losses. Results are indicative of how everyone as a collective performed.

People who hold themselves accountable will not be the ones to over promise, and under deliver. These are the workers who will set high, but reasonable expectations for themselves and do what’s in their power to motivate everyone to reach goals. They are encouraging, rational, and tenacious.

It can be difficult to know if a person is willing to share responsibility for goals attained through collaboration. It’s always good to ask a question about a time that they worked on a team and how the outcome was beneficial to all team members. Sometimes people take the credit because they don’t want it to seem like they did nothing on a team project, so taking the credit acts as a compensation method.


marketing plan template
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Buffer

3. Technical Aptitude – Active Learner

We’re beyond the days of simply being efficient within the Microsoft environment. It isn’t whether they can use the tools; it’s how well can they use them? Has this person taken classes or certifications to prove their abilities with social platforms and marketing software? Do they live and breathe the material they preach? Team leaders aren’t always in the weeds, although if they can’t walk the walk, then there’s an issue.

Marketing is a constantly evolving field with new strategies, technologies, and changing consumer tastes; it’s a challenge to keep up with the pace, but marketing leaders will take it upon themselves to always be learning about new advancements in their field.

Here is a small sample you should look out for on their resume:

  • Marketing automation certifications
  • Google Analytics / AdWords certifications
  • Social Certs: HootSuite or Video Marketing
  • Higher education certificate programs
  • AMA Certification
  • Agile Marketing Management
  • Google Digital Marketing Challenge

This isn’t some end all be all qualifier. Managing a book of certifications takes time and personal effort. It tells you they take pride in their career and activity put time towards progressing their knowledge. A certification is a plus on any resume, but you should ask about whether they’ve had hands-on experience with the systems, platforms, or processes that they’ve passed a certification test for.


4. People Person

There are people who love to interact with others and others who aren’t so socially inclined. What’s important to understand about this characteristic is not that an extravert is always a better person for the job, the essential factor is whether or not they have high-quality interactions with others. What are their mannerisms? Are they friendly and polite? Does their body language complement the way they’re acting or does it seem to conflict? The marketing department has a lot of eyes and ears point their way which means they need to be comfortable dealing with interaction.

You want someone who can speak to others naturally. Every person who works for an organization becomes the face of the business when they interact with others. Ben and Jerry’s is well-known for training the scoopers in their shops about how important they are to the company’s success.  


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5. Social Butterfly

In this case, we”re not talking about a person who can talk to people and doesn’t linger at the punch bowl at a party, this is about a person who has knowledge of social media. You might be thinking about how obvious this one is because practically all marketers know the importance of their online presence. However, every social platform is different, and your marketing leader should know the nuances of different platforms.

Not to mention a large portion of marketers say they know the importance of social, yet haven’t made their own personal results. Check it out, has anyone on your marketing team developed a social presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Quora? The answer is probably not.

Looking for an interview question that’s simple enough to keep your potential hire happy but specific enough to test their knowledge? Ask your interviewee which social platform is best for B2C and which is best for B2B. Of course, there are a lot of right answers to this question, but they need to at least have a general idea of how to mold the platforms to your unique position and be able to come up with an argument for why they made their decision. Don’t assume people understand social media even the younger generation typically specializes in only a few platforms.


6. Statistics and Data Savvy

Who wouldn’t want to work with a marketer who’s good with numbers? These are the people who will be a great asset in managing critical marketing KPIs and building a case to increase the budget based on ROI. The pragmatic marketer understands what can be done and can effectively measure what has already been done.

Real-world applications of these skills could be whether they’ve measured, reported on, or implemented changes to a campaign, web design, or project-based on data. Being able to talk about at least one instance in which data prompted them to take action is a great way to see if a person is data-savvy also, having a minor in statistics or some math is a great asset in this regard.


7. Previous Actionable Experience

Who doesn’t want someone with experience? What’s important in this case though is the context of the experience a person possesses. Does it transfer well to the position they are interviewing for? An interviewee could have been a leader in the B2C skincare space and lack any functional B2B value-added reseller knowledge. And sometimes that’s okay, the B2C and B2B markets are converging faster than you think. 

When assessing people, it’s important to ask about how their past experiences can be translated towards what your new position requires. Can they envision the differences and similarities? Are they able to pinpoint synergies?


8. Company Culture

Many companies, have worked hard to create a fun, engaging company culture to make people more excited to be a member of the team. SAS and Google are the people that really propelled the idea of a great company culture forward, and many smaller companies have taken note. Think about your company culture and what type of person would make a cohesive team member. If their attitude doesn’t mesh with yours, then they will never hit their stride.

If you want someone who will be engaged with the company and you can sense that the people you’ve interviewed aren’t sold on the culture and only the job they might not be the best person for the long term. The more someone is interested and eager to work in the company that has been developed the better off everyone is.


Wrapping It Up

Most likely the perfect candidate will not make their way into the interview room. You don’t have to expect all of these skills and competencies, just a majority of them, and a person willing to take the time to sit down and improve upon the skills they already have. A candidate who is clearly an active learner could walk in with little to no technical skills, but through time and effort, they could acquire any skills that you may desire. Take this list with a grain of salt and know that there are a lot of people willing to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to get a job done the right way.

Quick Tip

A marketing team leader is the type of person who takes charge. Here’s a fantastic video you should watch by Eric Worre that talks about a very simple technique anyone can use when meeting with a new employee. The genius is in its simplicity.

His tip is that all you have to do to get people to look at you as a leader is give them a quick assignment. This means a task with a clear deadline that they can do. This could be a marketing assessment, data analysis, or just reading an article. The importance isn’t you assigning it, it’s them taking the time to complete the assignment. For employees that are worried about change, this will give them something to channel their energy and let them know you have a plan. 

** This article was originally published in January 20215 but has republished for better understanding and clarity.


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