Hiring is a difficult and cumbersome process if driven blindly. In this chapter, we’ll walk through why it’s important to take egos out of the hiring process, walk through the steps for developing a fool-proof marketing role, and take a look at how behavioral science can create a more cohesive and productive marketing team.
Letting Go Of Ego
It’s easy to see how hypergrowth and rapid expansion might introduce growing pains in a marketing organization. Drift’s marketing team came up with a few playbooks for overcoming these hypergrowth growing pains. Here’s the two we feel make the biggest impact:
- We make marketing everyone’s job.
- We avoid tripping over our own egos.
While the second gets to the heart of this section, number one also plays into a similar sentiment: You cannot do it all, and your marketing team can’t either.
But…involving more people in marketing also means relinquishing a bit of control on how that message spreads – which brings us to our next point: Ego is a career killer.
So, how do you solve something like this? A few ways:
- You foster a culture of self-improvement and learning.
- You make people responsible for their own career growth.
- You remind employees, specifically managers, that delegation is necessary for scale.
Former Facebook Executive Molly Graham on What Managers Should Know About Scaling Teams
When Molly Graham started at Facebook in employment branding, the social platform only had about 80 million users. When she left, that number had grown to 1.5 billion. With over a decade of experience at companies like Facebook, Google, and Quip, Molly Graham has unparalleled insight into scaling teams during hypergrowth.
Here are her three tips:
- Your first reaction to everything is usually wrong. During hypergrowth, things can be unpredictable. Your role can start as one thing and quickly transform into something else. This can make people somewhat territorial over their positions and be quick to derail hiring decisions. Molly suggests giving yourself two weeks before making any big decision to remove the chance for emotional bias.
- Your only job is to learn as fast as you can. You must be willing to grow as fast as your company. Part of this is taking risks in areas you’re unfamiliar with or inexperienced in. This is the only way you’ll “get the opportunities no one should reasonably give to you…if you’re willing to take these enormous leaps…”
- You can learn anything as long as you’re willing to sound like a complete moron. Asking questions can make you seem vulnerable, but it’s also a big power move. Asking the types of clarifying questions that many others aren’t willing to ask is a quick way to become the in-house expert.
Check out the full interview with Molly Graham on the Seeking Wisdom podcast.
Hiring Best Practices
In most cases, your senior leadership will approach you with the desire to add a new team member. Though, if you’re part of a smaller organization, this might be an activity you’re still spearheading. Whatever the case, hiring and designing a job role is never an activity done in isolation.
While we can’t give pro tips for hiring every type of marketer under the sun, we’ll walk through what it takes to do this yourself.
Identifying Directly Responsible Individuals
How many times have we witnessed bad hires in our careers?
Like many issues facing the workplace, a bad hire is often the result of poor communication or ownership around a role. In fact, according to CareerBuilder, the average cost of a bad hire can equal around $15,000. That same study found that many employees have identified themselves as bad hires! Two out of three employees told CareerBuilder that they accepted a job and quit within six months after realizing it was a poor fit.
It’s a lose-lose situation: Not only are you costing your hypergrowth company valuable time and money when not approaching the hiring process carefully, but you’re also impacting the lives of candidates.
One of the first things you should do, or require your senior leadership to do, is to identify the hiring manager responsible for a new hire’s performance.
You should then task the hiring manager with bringing 2 to 3 more voices into the fold before determining the job requirements of the position. These people should include:
- Leadership or other managers who will interact with this hire on a regular basis
- If the position is similar to another position that currently exists in the company, have that person be involved as well
The hiring manager should then pose a number of questions to the team around the activities this person will perform, the type of behavioral style you’d expect from someone in this position, and the level of expertise this person requires.
Getting a number of stakeholder perspectives about the position can mitigate confusion when onboarding a person and set the right expectations, both internally and externally, for new employees.
How Nissan Improved Hiring Standards, Built An Amazing Sales Team, And Saved $90 Million in Revenue
To remain competitive in North America, Nissan hired Joan Jones to reevaluate the performance of the North American field sales teams. As part of this process, she created The Field Sales Academy and began using The Predictive Index for data insight into job performance for top and low performers.
But, Joan didn’t do this in isolation. Working with Nissan sales leaders, she created Job Targets for three sales positions: Dealer Operations Manager, Fixed Operations Manager, and Financial Services Manager. During this process, they:
- Determined the behavioral similarities between top performers and created behavioral benchmarks
- Used this data to craft job targets for each role
- Looked at the data of current employees in these positions and compared those to job targets
The stakeholders found that top sales performers were often selling 106% to 116% over quota, while low-performing employees were selling at just 70% to 80% against goals. She found that this 12% difference in top and low performers equated to $90 million in lost revenue.
Joan and Nissan’s key stakeholders generated additional revenue through improved talent optimization. With this data and stakeholder insight, Joan was able to identify which employees required more training and use the Job Target information to build a stronger hiring strategy moving forward for these positions.
You can learn more about how The Predictive Index helped Nissan optimize their sales talent here.
Designing A Marketing Role 101
As part of this book, we’ve included a link to a workbook to guide you and your senior managers in building out your talent framework. One specific template walks through a number of important questions to flesh out a new marketing hire. Answering these questions will help you define how a new position fits into your wider marketing team and strategy, tackles business problems, and more.
Download The Job Roles Template
The Predictive Index, Erica Seidel of The Connective Good, and Drift offer a downloadable workbook you can follow along with. It can be reused for any number of job roles you’re looking to create.
DOWNLOAD THE WORKBOOK
Let’s look at the questions from the template and dig into their purpose.
- How does this job align with your business and marketing strategies?
There’s a reason this is the first question in the job role template. Every job created on your marketing team needs to be linked to the larger marketing strategies you’re looking to execute on in the next 12 to 18 months.
- What business problem(s) will this role address?
Let’s say you want to develop more middle-of-funnel content for a particular persona you’re targeting. The content should be more product-focused. This would be a good pain point for a Product Marketing Manager role to solve.
- What are the three key responsibilities this role will address?
Answering this question will show that you have a plan of how this new role will solve the business problem mentioned above. If you’re unsure how to answer this question, you could be transparent and make it part of the interview process: “What are the three things you would do to tackle XYZ in the first six months?”
- What are the three top accomplishments this role should achieve in year 1?
You’ll probably notice that many of the questions are building upon each other. Having a measure of success, or at least an understanding of what’s achievable in the next year for someone in this position, is important – and the hiring manager is responsible for defining these accomplishments. However, if you’re hiring for a skill you’re unfamiliar with, it helps to talk to someone with a background similar to the role you’re hoping to hire.
- For each responsibility, what does good look like?
Here, you’re setting expectations for what ideal performance looks like for the key responsibilities listed in question three.
- What resources will this person manage?
Depending on the level of this particular role, someone could have ownership over a budget (e.g., Events Director), be a power user of a particular software (e.g., Marketing Ops), or manage other team members. This type of responsibility should be communicated well ahead of time to other team members to avoid redundancies and/or conflicts.
- What level of authority does this person have to make changes (e.g., hiring/firing, implementing new technologies, etc.)?
You never want to leave authority up to interpretation. Be very clear to the team and the new hire about the limits of the position.
- Level 1: Full authority – Inform manager
- Level 2: Medium authority – Partner with/consult manager
- Level 3: Low authority – Recommend to manager
- What are three exciting/unique/compelling things about this job?
The answer here will be part of your external-facing job description. It tells people about the tone and culture of your company. Getting this language right can be the difference between finding the best talent and best team fit for your position, so give this a good amount of attention.
- What are the three behaviors that will make a person successful in this role?
Behavior isn’t just how a person acts, but how a person works. What types of behaviors are you looking to add to your team? How should this person’s behavior complement your team?
Assessing The Skills & Behaviors Of New Talent
As part of Drift’s hiring process, interviewees take The Predictive Index (PI) Behavioral Assessment™. This assessment not only lets management know if a candidate is a good team fit, but if they have the behavioral aptitude to tackle the challenges of their position.
The assessment measures four workplace behavioral factors:
- Dominance: Drive to influence people or events. Individuals on the lower end of this scale tend to be driven by collaboration, team harmony, and agreeability. Those on the higher-end are more comfortable with conflict and tend to be more assertive, independent, and direct.
- Extraversion: Drive for social interaction. Those on the lower-end of the scale tend to be more reflective, analytical, reserved, and prefer to think things through, while those with a higher extraversion drive are generally more talkative, persuasive, enthusiastic, and prefer to work with and through others.
- Patience: Drive for stability and consistency. Individuals on the lower-end of this scale have a natural tendency to be fast-paced, intense, and variety-seeking, while those on the higher-end are more methodical, calm, and consistency-seeking.
- Formality: Drive to conform to rules and structure. Those on the lower-end of the scale have a tendency toward informality and spontaneity, and are comfortable with ambiguity. Those on the higher-end tend to be more process- and precision-oriented, and are disciplined when it comes to following rules and expectations.
After completing the assessment, each individual is given a “Reference Profile” based on the interaction between each of the drives. Within The Predictive Index schema, there are 17 Reference Profiles. This breeds greater self-awareness among teammates and better guidance for managers during and post-hiring. PI’s suite of tools incorporates behavioral profiles and various scientifically-based reports to empower leaders, managers, and individual contributors to communicate more efficiently and drive business results.
The Predictive Index also gives a breakdown of how assessment-takers rank based on the four workforce behaviors mentioned above. Below, we see an example of a workforce behavior breakdown for a Promoter profile. The Promoter is generally an informal, highly social, and collaborative person.
Key: Dominance (A), Extraversion (B), Patience (C), Formality (D)
Looking at Drift’s own data, it’s easy to imagine why people with these profiles would excel in their positions. But, your marketing department probably looks different than this – and that’s okay. An exercise like this isn’t meant to show what a “perfect marketing department” looks like. Mapping out behaviors and skill data like this is helpful for a number of reasons:
- First, it can help explain how to interact with different teammates.
- It can reveal what types of behavioral drivers aren’t present on your team that marketing could benefit from. For example, the current Drift marketing team consists of 14 of the 17 PI Reference Profiles. Remember, you aren’t looking for carbon copies of your current team, you’re looking for the “right fit.” The right fit most often won’t be a perfect copy of someone else on your team.
- It can provide insight into manager/employee relationships.
As a final example of how behavioral science can be used to build a team, let’s look at the PI Reference Profiles of Drift’s marketing leadership.
Captains are often defined as self-starters and innovators. CMOs need to captain the direction of their team and do so with little to no direction.
Our content and creative leaders are both Mavericks. Their jobs require the type of creativity and visionary nature associated with the Maverick. They are the type of people who aren’t afraid of trying new things that haven’t been done before.
The one outlier? Our VP of Demand Generation: The Venturer. To anyone in the business of demand generation, this makes a ton of sense. Demand generation needs an analytical and decisive leader. Demand gen without someone like this at its head can’t prove the ROI and numbers behind what they do. (Coincidentally, PI’s head of demand generation is also a Venturer.)
So, does this mean that other profiles aren’t best suited for leadership positions? Absolutely not. Every single one of the PI Reference Profiles can provide their own unique spin on leadership. According to The Predictive Index, what makes a truly great manager or leader is a single trait: self-awareness.
Now that you understand how to assess the types of behavior and skills of your new hires, let’s put all the pieces together.
Developing A Foolproof Hiring Strategy
As you get better at designing roles, building out marketing functions, and optimizing your talent, take note of what you’ve learned along the way.
Dave Gerhardt was the first marketing hire at Drift. He began as a Senior Marketing Manager and eventually became the VP of Marketing. Within three years, Dave turned his marketing team of one into 20+ hires.
A lot of Dave’s marketing process was “developed by doing” – meaning he learned on his feet and adjusted to challenges as they came. But there are a lot of ways to build a process that makes sense for your hiring strategy.
Pluralsight’s CMO Gives 3 Best Practices for Building a Talented Team
No matter your background or area of expertise, what makes a great senior executive is their ability to build talented teams from the ground up. That’s according to the CMO of Pluralsight, Heather Zynczak, who has held numerous leadership positions in marketing throughout her career.
Based on her experience, Heather shared three best practices to help other marketing leaders when building their own teams:
- Hire people with the expertise you don’t have.
- Hire people smarter than you.
- Hire a successor.
You can discover more hard-hitting strategies from Heather and other marketing executives in The Modern Marketer’s Playbook.
We asked Erica Seidel of The Connective Good, a boutique executive search shop, to weigh in here. Erica lives, breathes, and sleeps marketing hiring. Working with The Predictive Index, she created a hiring strategy maturity model. Here, she shows how a better hiring process can have a large impact on (10x vs. 1x) long-term success.
Source: The Connective Good, Erica Seidel
As a leader of an organization, hiring is a major responsibility. To help, here are Erica’s best practices to elevate your hiring strategy:
- Philosophy: Just as three marketers in a company of 50 will amplify their effect by turning the remaining 47 employees into marketers themselves, the same is true when it comes to recruiting. To land 10x hires, hiring has to be everyone’s job – not just HR’s. 10x hiring organizations hold everyone accountable for hiring outcomes. They look at not just the speed or cost of hiring, but the quality of the hiring metrics.
- Define: Harvard Business Review reported that CMOs don’t burn out due to a lack of effort or ability, but rather a lack of clear role design. This is true not just for CMOs, but for any role on the marketing team. Instead of jumping right into posting a job, define it first. Defining what “good” looks like by interviewing people currently in the role will enable you to learn first and recruit second. Then, be familiar with – and clear about – the tradeoffs you’re willing to make (if any). For instance, a marketer might be great analytically, but needs to partner with someone to translate math into the written word. While 1x hiring organizations will sit back and say, “I’ll know it when I see it”, 10x hiring companies define the “it” first so that they don’t waste anyone’s time.
- Promote: Typical job specifications in 1x hiring organizations focus only on what the company needs: “The selected candidate will have 10 years of experience in XYZ.” 10x hiring companies think about hiring from the outside-in and really market their roles. They think about what makes a job cool. After all, a job is a product that a talented person will “buy” and then continue to pay for with their time and effort. If it’s a product, it should be marketed as such
- Scout: 1x hiring organizations “source” talent. But 10x hiring is about scouting the talent. It’s about identifying people who are a good fit and approaching them specifically, rather than waiting for them to come to you. 1x companies post and pray, while 10x organizations scout and sell.
- Evaluate: 1x organizations will put candidates through a couple of interviews and look for a cultural fit. 10x companies and hiring leaders take a different approach. They don’t think of the “interview sequence”; they craft a candidate experience. They realize that the candidate experience is just as important as the customer experience. They use behavioral assessments and talent optimization tools to continually improve their hiring process.
- Sell: 1x hiring is all about getting the candidate to sell you. 10x hiring takes into account that the best candidates have options and may need to be sold to. Note that selling happens throughout the hiring lifecycle, not just at the end.
- Audit: In 1x hiring, companies follow the same routine and don’t revisit, optimize, or improve the hiring process based on learnings. In 10x hiring, companies test and learn from the hiring process and use this information to improve hiring moving forward.
Now that you have your marketing and hiring strategy planned out for the next 12 to 18 months, it’s important to consider how you can keep that talent.