Ask an MSP Expert

Q: As we continue to grow as a business, we’d like to focus on building our marketing department. What are some qualities we should look for when hiring a marketing candidate?

Congrats! Adding a new face or two to your team means you’re growing your MSP and need the staff to keep up with demand. At an IT services business, a marketing department can be a vital part of building your brand, creating content to reach potential prospects, and driving lead generation programs to help your sales team find qualified opportunities.

To help you find the right candidate to join your marketing team, we spoke to Lindsay Faria, the director of partner marketing at Barracuda MSP. With more than 10 years of management experience under her belt, Lindsay shared her insight on how to identify a marketing candidate worth hiring.

4 qualities you should look for in a candidate

Experience and skills are important, but if you make the right investment in an employee, most skills can be taught. However, there are a few things you can’t teach—and this is what can separate a good candidate from a great one. Here are a few qualities to look for when you’re adding a new member to your marketing team:

Someone who is open to feedback, coaching, and guidance. If you end up hiring someone who isn’t open to learning new ideas, concepts, or ways of looking at things, you’ll run into problems down the road. Find someone who not only can listen to and accept constructive criticism, but is also self-aware enough to realize that even the best of us still have learning to do.

Someone who’s creative and has fresh ideas. This will not only push you and your team to try new things, but it will also allow your team to think outside the box. When it comes to launching campaigns and getting your customers’ attention—especially if you have competitors nearby—a catchy campaign or fresh approach can help your team reach new heights. For example, your new team member might have had past success running campaigns a different way than you currently do, know about an event your business can attend, or recommend a new platform to try.

The ideal candidate is someone who can come up with new ideas but still be disciplined in how they use them. It’s not enough to come up with countless new ideas but lack the know-how to execute on them or be able to determine if they are successful or not. When you’re interviewing, look for someone who can think about things from a creative perspective, as well as an analytical one. Are they willing to test new ideas? How will they measure the outcomes? Are they open to changing the process of how they complete tasks based on the needs of the business? Being open to new approaches is vital for someone in a marketing role because it helps your team do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. 

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Someone who is customer-oriented. Whether or not this individual is customer-facing or not, they should be customer-oriented. This means they should carry out marketing activities with the customer and what matters to them in mind. For example, if most of your business focuses on the healthcare industry, one thing you might want to do is educate them on how to secure their medical devices. With the Internet of Things becoming a larger threat vector, this could be a good opportunity for your marketing department to share educational tips and advice. However, if you’re supporting CPAs, chances are they won’t have many IoT devices to secure so they might not be interested in that topic. Knowing your audience is important, and a good candidate should be able to put themselves in your customers’ shoes.

It’s important to also recognize that ‘customers’ aren’t just the people who pay you. Being customer-oriented means also treating their internal customers/co-workers well, too. For example, a marketer has several internal customers at their organization, regardless of the size. At a small company it might be just the President/Owner, or at a larger company they could have a team of sales representatives that rely on marketing to deliver new leads for them, for example. Hire someone who takes accountability for themselves and who takes care of the customer, who ever that is in a given moment.

Someone who can adapt easily. Unless you have a large team, this person is going to have to wear a lot of hats and pitch in often on a wide variety of projects. Look for someone who is works well with others and enjoys learning new things.

Finding the best fit for your environment

Hiring a new employee isn’t always easy. It requires a lot of time, money, and effort. To find the right fit for your organization, take the time to go through the process at length — dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Recruiting, extending offers, and onboarding a new employee is a large investment for your business, and all too often, businesses find themselves hiring quickly out of desperation. Avoid this at all costs because the right candidate is worth the wait.

To find someone who will fit in with other team members, have them meet a variety of individuals in the organization during the interview process, and ask them questions that will help you get to know their personality. For example, what do they like to do in their spare time? What is their favorite movie? Questions like this can help your team bridge the gap and get to know them as an individual, instead of just another interviewee. After all, you want to make sure that your new addition can integrate into your existing team and foster a collaborative environment.

When it comes to looking for a qualified candidate, you might not find someone who fits every item on your wish list. Take the time to decide which skills matter the most to you. For example, if having experience with your CRM tool is a must, you’re really limiting the number of candidates. Instead, look for someone who has demonstrated the ability to adapt and learn multiple systems in the past. These types of traits will suit your organization better in the long run.

Making the right addition to your team takes time. Be patient. You might not find the right candidate for your marketing team right away, but by following Lindsay’s advice you can find the best fit for your business.

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Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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