Skill-based assessment seems like the best approach for hiring marketers. Surprisingly, in our work with thousands of marketers over the past decade, we found a better predictor of team success: hiring for strengths.
Skills can be acquired, which means anyone can learn (almost) anything. Do you need someone with Marketo experience on your team? Great! Marketo hosts weekly training, and we also provide training on-demand. Want someone on your team who codes? Coding classes exist in spades.
Unlike these skills, you cannot teach natural talents.
Natural talents cannot be acquired. They are innate to people and generally stay for life. With the right investment–time spent building one’s knowledge base and sharpening their skills and talents–the talents will become strengths.
When marketers’ responsibilities honor their strengths, they bloom into more engaged, productive, happier, fulfilled, confident, and high-performing people. The more high-performing employees on your team, the more successful and results-driven the team will be as a whole.
Here are top strengths that every modern marketing team needs to have:
Strategic thinkers focus on the big picture, see the plan of action, and stretch the overall team’s thinking. For example, someone who thinks multiple steps ahead plays an important role as a visionary for the entire marketing team. They excel at keeping the team focused on how their marketing initiatives impact the organization as a whole.
Strategic thinkers find ways to get their team behind their vision and create excitement about their projects. Traditionally, CMOs, VPs of Marketing or Directors of Marketing own this responsibility. Modern marketing teams, however, shift this mentality. The work of day-to-day employees impacts the overall vision of the team and even the company. This means every team member must think critically about the impact of their actions.
Strategic thinkers are also creative, always generating new ideas. They ask, “What if we tried it this way?” or “Here’s an idea…” Individuals in these marketing team roles energize the group with fresh ideas and perspectives because they thrive on coming up with alternatives and creative solutions.
A great problem solver is a must for your marketing team. Whether analyzing data to make more intelligent decisions or pinpointing issues before they arise, analytical strengths uplevel the entire team.
Modern marketing requires constant analysis to make informed decisions. Whether you want to determine the right event for your budget, which social networks to invest time in or the ideal lead scoring strategy, someone must look at the data. This type of detailed analysis allows others on the marketing team to focus on their specific skills and do better work.
Problem solvers also have a high drive to learn. They don’t fear work they have not done before. They figure things out as they go, and will naturally teach the team what they learn.
Ability to Execute
People with a strength in executing plans and ideas know how to get things done! These employees implement strategy with ease and work tirelessly until a project is complete. Being naturally high achievers, they have tons of stamina, take great satisfaction in being productive, and say “yes” when something needs to get done. They will motivate the team to work hard and often set the pace. Additionally, as tactical, day-to-day players, they thrive on making and checking off their to-do list.
Focus and discipline are nearly universal characteristics in these team members. They will help keep the overall team hyper-focused on their goals. Prioritizing comes easy for them, which enables them to take a strategy down into actionable, bite-sized pieces. People high in discipline focus on timelines and deadlines. This strength builds a roadmap of action to make your strategy come to life.
Influencer and Relationship Building
Marketers with strong communication, storytelling, and speaking will help reinforce your brand and win clients over. These team members can interview a subject matter expert at your organization and turn it into a compelling story to draw in potential clients. Additionally, they can repurpose your content in 10 different ways, help write powerful emails that produce conversions, build relationships with clients, and be brand advocates.
Another key relationship-building strength is being a natural coach and developer. This person often serves as the cheerleader of the marketing team and serves as a mentor for new team members. They can lift up the spirits of the entire team, motivate them to reach new heights, and pinpoint each team member’s strengths as a source for that motivation.
How to Start Building a Marketing Team
First, decide which strengths the marketing team and company need. What are the non-negotiable strengths? Which strengths are nice-to-have? Note: These should also align with the overall company culture.
Next, assess your current team’s strengths. We recommend looking into a tool, such as the Clifton StrengthsFinder (now called CliftonStrengths) assessment, DiSC profile, or Kolbe A Index, to help identify each individual’s natural talents and personality.
Finally, identify gaps in your existing team. Determine if it makes sense to fill that gap with a direct hire, outsource through an agency, hire a contractor, or look internally for an existing employee who wants a new opportunity and has the right strengths to fulfill the role.
What do you think? Is your marketing team set up for success?