Accountancy Marketing: Recruiting Marketing People
By Patrick McLoughlin
Recruiting your first marketing team member is a proud moment for most partners. It’s an achievement and a statement of intent that you’re taking your growth seriously. Yet for many firms it leads to disappointment as despite all the hard work, there’s no visible upturn in new business.
The hopes of breaking through to the next level drop away as marketing becomes just another overhead. So here are some tips to guide you through the recruitment and management process.
What the Job Involves
Firstly, don’t advertise for a marketing exec or manager. If their purpose is to help you win new business make that clear in the job title, recruit ‘New Business Development’ people instead. It will have a positive impact on the applicants skills and experience. They will have a better understanding of what you are looking for.
New business development is not an expense. It doesn’t come with a budget to spend. Whatever you decide to invest, do it with a clear Return On Investment (R.O.I.) in mind. This applies to your business development people too. They can’t justify their existence through activity. They need to demonstrate the new business revenue they have helped you win.
Before you consider the salary, decide on the return in fees, you need your investment to generate.
To guide you on this important decision it’s important to heave researched your client base. You need to know the average value of a client over they’re lifetime of working with you. If you know how long on average a client stays with you base the R.O.I. on their forecast lifespan, not just the first year’s fees.
Important Questions to Ask
Ask applicants about the work they are most proud of. You want to hear answers focused on winning new business not their creative powers or tales of “increasing brand awareness.” If an applicant pulls a form out of their briefcase, as happened to me when interviewing for a client, they’re probably not right for you.
The process of attracting quality new clients has been transformed in recent years. But not all marketing people have kept up with the pace. Ask questions to gauge their up to date knowledge. Ask them about the books and white papers they read. Which ones would they recommend? What are the biggest changes affecting business development over the next couple of years?
No Responsibility without Authority
If your successful recruit doesn’t have the power to make and execute plans don’t blame them for poor outcomes. The most successful marketing people I’ve known have had a place at the top table and the ear of the partners.
Remember you are employing them for their expertise. They are there to achieve your goals not carry out your decisions.
I’ve seen excellent business development people jump ship because they didn’t feel like a key member of the team. They were kept in the dark and denied the opportunity to to fulfil their employer’s growth potential. Recruit well and your people will thrive if you let them into your hopes and plans for the future.