Do Not Compromise on Hiring

Managers know the bedrock of a great team is hiring driven people who have the appropriate background, subject matter expertise and cultural fit.  Many managers also realize that finding the perfect team member is often a long process that can be fruitless for months.  I remember starting a role a few years ago where there was a VP of Marketing requisition open for the prior 12 months and the CEO had already interviewed everybody in the city for the role.  Whether the requisition was not specific enough or there was actually nobody on the entire eastern seaboard to fit the role is a discussion for a different day.

With the challenges of hiring, it is no wonder that managers sometimes take a gamble on a hire.    Sometimes they even settle when their gut says the candidate doesn’t fit. They quickly regret the hire and more often than not, realize their gut was right. This may be a self-fulfilling prophecy or they may have been clairvoyant, but either way, it won’t work out.

To avoid this, I now clearly outline the needs in advance of any interviews and then trust my gut for the final decision.

The Elusive Unicorn: The VP of Marketing at a Startup

From the archive:

Where do executive talent recruiters hang out in their time off? I envision a club where they get together and commiserate about searches commissioned by uninformed executives. Stories of searches that lead to a trip down a deserted road lined only with the remains of great candidates who were “missing just one thing”. And in this club, the topic that produces the greatest anger, unity and humor is recruitment of a startup’s VP of Marketing.

The stories likely start with the candidate specification meeting where the job description of the perfect candidate is narrowly defined as:

  • A strong product marketer
  • Mathematical approach to marketing and obsession with metrics
  • Ability to manage the entire funnel
  • Has been an individual contributor in email marketing. And SEO. And graphic design.
  • Category or market relevant experience. Should have worked at a financial institution, retailer or packaged goods company.

…you get the picture. You’re looking for Steve Jobs to join your lightly funded startup. To paraphrase the movie Chasing Amy:

If you put this candidate, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and my grandmother at the starting line of a foot race… who wins?

Read full article on Linked In Here.

A Higher Purpose for Business Organizations

From the archive:

Common corporate nomenclature often assigns the Business team with the shortened “B-Team” or “B-Side”. The label might serve as a convenient abbreviation simplifying meeting/calendar subject lines, but more interestingly, “B-Team” can be indicative of the way a product-oriented founder views the business. For many leaders, business actually is an afterthought to the A-Team – Product/Engineering. Moreover, the Sales organization is seen as a coin operated function with the single purpose of driving revenue regardless of product-market fit or market demand.

A properly hired and trained sales organization should do much more than sell features dreamt up by the Product org. The Sales team is on the front line of untapped markets while Operations (Client Services) is normally the first to learn the needs of existing business. Taken together, insights from both teams can be invaluable in shaping product development and prioritizing feature launches based on market requirements.

There are countless tactics that can empower the B-Side to help your Product team build the best products for the market, but we will focus on a handful here.

Read full article on Linked In Here.