[First post in cofounderslab! Hi everyone! I'm very impressed with the calibre of discussions.]
I'm getting ready to solicit for hiring a Sales & Marketing Lead for my little low-tech hardware startup. I don't have any formal business training or background, and I'm worried my ad text has red flags or novice mistakes that may deter quality candidates.
Could you give it a quick read and let me know how it could be improved?
Specifically, I'm worried I'm asking for too many different skills. And I have no idea if my pay and commission offer will seem attractive or not.
Draft Job posting for comment: Sales & Marketing Lead for Feedback Frames
I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.
Thanks in advance!
The description sounds like a head of sales and CMO rolled into one. In my experience, a good CMO (someone who understands design, media, costumer acquisition, content, SEO / ASO) is not necessarily a sales guys. And good sales leaders are not necessarily interested in generating leads, they want to close, especially when their salary depends on it.
As far as pay, I'm not sure what the market rates are in Canada, but I can tell you that in New York, (IMO) the salary you are offering will not attract, experienced or particularly strong candidates.
You have done a good job describing a full time role, not a part time role. Additionally, you have underestimated the compensation for a person with the skills you have listed. $20 CDN/~$15 USD for 20 hours a week is what you get working at Starbucks. The 10% commission at $19 CDN ~$1.5 USD - does not give a seasoned and effective salesperson enough of an incentive, requiring sales of over 13,000 (8x what you have sold to date) to increase income by $20 K USD.
You might post it to job sites that attract interns. If you are firm on the compensation, you may find this is your only source. Ultimately, you and your co-founders need to be the sales people until you can make it effective for other sales people. With this line " ... From market research and strategy, to cold calls, web content development and optimization, customer follow-up, public relations, social media engagement, sales rep training and management, and or whatever other tactics you think will work, this is the perfect position for a clever entrepreneur-type who’s ready to roll up their sleeves to strategize, execute and manage." is appears you do not know what it takes to sell effectively and efficiently yet so should do more research.
A marketing plan is not a sales plan. Sales people want to get the product/market fit immediately, work that has already been on in a marketing plan.
Hope that helps.
As rightly pointed out by @Tal, you are asking way too much for too less. Also, the fact that its a part time role wouldn't do to much justice.
I think you should consider outsourcing as major part of your specs can be easily taken care by a mid level marketing consulting firm.
If you are interested, I can help you to connect with few.
I completely understand wanting to fill these talent gaps, but you won't find any person who truthfully has the experience you have requested. And certainly not at the rate you're offering. Marketing people don't make commission. Salespeople who earn commission will want a dramatically higher percentage for the amount of risk you're asking them to take, not having an established and proven sales process or well-established client base.
You've asked for at least seven discrete sets of talents that it would be rare to find someone with experience in any two.
Although I don't know your business, I do recognize symptoms of the stage your business is in. You need sales to fund your continued operations, but you don't yet have an established sales program that is feeding you. It's a tough spot that a lot of business owners face as they grow. And while you might be inclined to react to the pain of needing revenue by hiring a salesperson, this is often one of the biggest mistakes companies at your stage make. If you hire a salesperson now, you're going to burn through several and waste a lot of time and kill your opportunity with leads because you haven't developed and refined your process, or made decisions about your marketing, or really your product, that will affect your success.
Unfortunately the marketing step should have ideally occurred before you finished your product that you are saying is ready to sell. So in your job description asking for marketing (what you call sales) strategy (in more words), this is a big red flag to an experienced salesperson that they will not have the support needed to be successful in selling. The reason marketing starts before product development is because it will often define your product to become something people will actually buy. It rarely works to build a product first and then figure out how to sell it.
Let's focus on the sales elements for a minute. Compensating a sales person is a matter of shared risk. If you pay your salespeople based on performance, then you must take responsibility for enabling sales. The person selling is not the person deciding how to sell. This combo doesn't work when it's not you (the owner) selling. The less support and preparation you have in place proving your sales process works, the more you will have to compensate your salesperson for the effort required to win a sale. At this stage, and in my opinion, you'd have to pay a salesperson, even with a base salary of $35-40K, around 50% commission to make it worth the risk. You'd probably find someone to take that gamble, because the base is just enough to survive on (food and rent), with the rest being luck. But without an established sales process, it is going to be luck, which is why you have to compensate them so highly for the risk.
If you had years of sales under your belt, a steady stream of inbound interest, and the salesperson was mostly maintaining existing relationships and shepherding people ready to purchase, then 10% might make sense. That's not what you've asked for.
Here are the tasks you've listed that are completely separate jobs with almost no overlap:
1) Content creation
2) e-commerce and web development
3) marketing and marketing research
4) Outbound sales
5) customer service
6) marketing analytics and research
7) sales management and training
I'm going to ignore the tactical stuff and public relations which are likely not even appropriate for your business.
To find someone whose history includes the experience you've asked for, you'd need to find someone with 15-20 years of work history to have progressed through the different departments and responsibility areas. They won't have done all those things at the same time unless they're another entrepreneur, and certainly not well. Spending 2-3 years in each area, they might have accumulated some skill in each of the areas you're requesting. With 15-20 years experience, you're now looking at a six-figure salary and probably a bonus structure tied to company performance. But you're also not likely going to convince someone with that much experience to try and handle all the things on your list. They're going to expect at least three people to support them right away, and five or six within a year.
So you might ask yourself, how do small companies make this leap? Many never manage to make it, and this is the point at which a lot of companies die painfully, thinking that all they need is more sales and everything will be okay. When I coach companies in situations like this, we usually pull back and really dig into the marketing elements related to product development until we are 100% confident that the product and systems around delivery are iron-clad, demand is high, and that we're solving a real problem for prospective customers. The next step is to build the marketing collateral, selling tools, and test the sales process. This step has a feedback loop in which these elements are refined through well-planned testing. Once the process has been refined as much as possible, it's time to hire an outside salesperson that isn't one of the founders. Up until that point, it's the owners of the business who complete all sales efforts. The steps after that continue to use the sales/marketing feedback loop to refine both the sales process and the product delivery to make sure it stays tuned to your market.
I empathize with your situation and wish you luck. I hope you do take a step back and get your marketing strategy and product aligned before you try and build a sales organization. It will likely be the difference of having a 2% close rate and a 10%+ close rate if you take the right steps before jumping into sales. That means your sales effort could easily be 5x or greater in effectiveness if you don't jump the gun. That's the kind of efficiency you can't buy by hiring more salespeople. And it will be a lot less stressful in the long run, even if your anxiety to sell is at a peak now.
Thank you all so much! This feedback is incredibly useful. Back to the drawing board.
Welcome, Jason. Pleasure to have you here. :o)
I think you've already received some wonderful feedback here. Since you've gone back to the drawing board, let me ask you this... have you developed your business plan, and do you have an integrated marketing plan? The marketing plan is strategic and separate from the business plan.
Let me know. I'm happy to help you guide you on both. In the meantime, have a great day!