How to Hire a Marketing Automation Expert

Jun 30, 2014


So, do you need to hire an expert in Eloqua, Marketo or Silverpop? Do you-

a) Look for someone who is certified

b) Look for someone with working knowledge of the system

c) Find someone with no experience and train them

d) Any of the above, PLUS a great attitude and a desire for adventure

The answer could be any of the first three depending on your company’s needs. However, the most promising bet is to focus on answer D. Why?

Effective marketing automation implementations focus on improving your customers’ experience by drawing on both old and new technologies to create a new technical approach to communication. In other words, every implementation requires creative problem-solving.

Recruiters and managers get so caught up on the certification these days. While this is important, it does not mean the person can actually solve business problems with the system. I have met teams of people only to discover that some of those who are “certified” are skilled at executing tasks but don’t have the desire to figure out the real business issues and solve them with marketing automation technology.

In a recent post in the Harvard Business Review, physician Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle describes his successful approach to staffing: “We recruit for attitude and train for skill.” This approach has brought in staff who have created innovative approaches to the daunting challenges facing medical practices today. If the healthcare profession can do this, then certainly other industries can also.

If you need innovation, not just execution, the real questions you should be asking when looking for a candidate include:

  • Do they have a deep thirst for more knowledge?
  • Are they pioneers?
  • Do they want to discover how it can be done?
  • When faced with a challenge, do they go to what they know, or are they open to forging new trails?
  • Do they have a thirst for winning?
  • Is their attitude “can-do” or “we’ve never done it that way”?

In the past ten years in the marketing automation industry, the best way I have found to discover the answers to these questions is through asking experiential questions. Find out how they solved business problems in the past. Have the candidate explain in detail what they did to solve a particular business problem using technology. This kind of questioning quickly weeds out the problem-solvers from the ones who are merely “certified.”

Certifications are definitely important, don’t get me wrong. I hold several myself. However, certifications without real world experience or the hunger to know are not helpful either. It takes a combination.

You can give me a green person with the desire in their heart and a willingness to go the distance, and I can train them all day long to be better than many marketing automation professionals in the world. In the end, they will be certified, but they will also have the innovative characteristics of successful marketing technologists!

Remember, it takes both a positive attitude and moxie to succeed in marketing automation. Get those two in the right order and your new hire will be that champion you are seeking. Happy hunting.

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