While there are many advantages to hiring tech marketers for a startup, it would be foolish to send someone down that route when they don’t need one.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of what to consider before hiring a tech marketer.
Read through each point and ask yourself the summary questions at the end of each section.
1. Do You Need a Tech Marketer in the First Place?
When you first start a tech business funds can be tight, and you need to make sure each department or part of the company gets the right amount of investment.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve come from a sales or marketing background or a technical one, you’ll have been the one trying to create a buzz about your tech business at some point.
You might still be doing it now.
The key is learning when to pass over the reigns, as you’ll have to do with every part of your business if you want to become an overseer.
You need to consider where your skillset is best placed, or where it’s needed the most.
“Entrepreneurs often pursue their dreams because they’re good at something. Unless their startup is a marketing agency, marketing probably isn’t that thing they’re good at. Small business owners and leaders should be spending their time doing the thing that results in the highest ROI for their business.”
Kayla Leverton, Marketing Strategist/Consultant
While you may have the necessary skills to do it, it probably isn’t the best use of your time — if you can afford it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t bring in a tech marketer.
No business is too small or too new for marketing.
If you still want or need to take control of your marketing, qualify yourself by answering these questions:
- Can you plan marketing strategies which include clear goals, action plans and analysis?
- Do you know enough about different marketing tactics and which one suits your business? e.g. content marketing, account based marketing, PPC, social media.
- Do you know how a marketing funnel works and how to target people at different stages?
- Are you able to keep up with best practices?
- Do I have enough knowledge of marketing automation and which system is best for my business?
If you feel comfortable doing all of these tasks and have the time to do so, you can keep marketing yourself for now.
However, if you don’t have the skills or time to do it all, you should consider hiring a marketer.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What are other tech companies like us doing?
- Should we follow in their step or differentiate?
- Can I market the business myself for now?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a tech marketer or agency?
2. What Are My Marketing Goals & Budget
Your marketing goals and budget are part of your marketing plan.
If you don’t have one, you should either hire a marketer that does know how to make one or build it yourself.
If you have experience building business plans you’ll have covered some aspects of your marketing plan in there, such as market analysis.
Firstly, relate your marketing goals to your business goals. If your goal is to hit a certain revenue target, how many leads do you need to hit that number?
What type of strategy do you need to generate those leads?
For example, if you’re a B2B tech company that needs 50 leads to hit a specific revenue target, you could decide to release 4 blogs per month to increase inbound traffic by 50%, which increases lead generation by 25%.
Secondly, once you’ve worked out your goals and how to achieve them, you need to determine whether you have enough budget to execute your strategy.
Entrepreneur recommends that startups that are one to five years old dedicate between 12 to 20 percent of projected revenue to marketing
The reason? Awareness. If nobody knows about your company how are you going to sell anything?
You’ll need to consider what goes on people, what goes on tools and what goes on marketing the business.
This should all be in your marketing plan, so make sure you’ve got that point of reference.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do we have a marketing plan?
- Am I skilled enough to write one?
- Do we need one before we hire a marketer or after?
- Can an agency or a marketer help us with our marketing plan?
3. Should You Outsource Your Marketing or Build An In-House Team?
If you’ve made the decision you do need to hire a marketer, the next step is deciding whether you hire a marketer, an agency or a freelancer.
The biggest consideration here is budget, what can you afford to bring in?
Bringing in an experienced marketing professional will be more expensive than going with an agency, and an agency will give you access to more than one experienced marketer.
Advantages & Disadvantages of In-House Employees
Advantage: you’ve got someone who’ll dedicate 100% of their time to your business, whereas agency workers are always working on different projects.
Disadvantage: if you only have one in-house employee, it can be difficult for them to execute the full marketing mix.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Outsourcing Work
Advantage: freelancers and agencies often have specialist designers, writers, SEO marketers and others. You can choose what is most important and ensure you’re getting value for money.
Disadvantage: agencies up-sell work, so it can get expensive if you want add ons, and you also need to find the right agency.
If you want to take on full-time marketing staff in the future, you can hire a freelancer or an agency to see you through a growth period.
Whatever your choice, you should ensure you get the best quality employees, freelancers or agency workers. Always look for experience in the B2B technology industry, because their knowledge and success will translate more easily.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- What’s our budget?
- What would we prefer to do?
- What’s the more realistic option?
- What’s more important, direction and strategy or a particular skill set?
- Do we have room to expand if we hit out targets?
4. Does this Tech Marketer Understand My Vision?
Going into marketing blindfolded causes accidents...
So you need a tech marketer that can communicate your vision to your employees and your customers.
Marketers come with different skill sets, whether they’re generalists or specialists, in-house or freelance.
One thing all great B2B marketers possess is the ability to deliver a convincing and persuasive vision.
Don’t compromise on that one.
A lot of the onus is on you here though, agencies and employees are hired and when they arrive at the company, what they were told in an interview doesn’t match the reality.
Be open about where you are and what you want to achieve, it makes it easier for both parties to determine whether they fit.
Clear and constant communication should happen before and after hiring.
To find out whether your company and a marketer or marketing fit, ask plenty of questions.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Do we have a company vision that translates into a marketing vision?
- Do we communicate this vision well?
- What should we look for when trying to find a ‘visionary’?
- What validation tasks can we set to ensure we know someone communicates well?
5. What More Do I Need to Know?
This is what we call the recruitment process. You need to figure out what you want from a marketer, and how you go about getting it.
This is your opportunity to qualify and disqualify people. The key here is to be as specific and honest as possible.
If you generalise and sugarcoat you’ll end up with loads of people who aren’t good enough.
For example, mentioning you work in the B2B tech sector and require someone who has experience in that sector is small, but crucial detail.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Have we got a truthful, specific job description?
- What makes a good CV and a bad CV?
- What qualities and skills must this person have?
- What interview techniques are we going to use?
Start Asking the Important Questions
Now you know what to consider before you decide whether to hire a tech marketer, the next step is to start asking the probing questions we’ve suggested.
Naturally, you’ll think of more. But that’s great, it’s better to go in prepared!