Business owners and consultants at startup recruitment companies often assume that they will be able to manage their own marketing for the first few years, before fully investing in hiring in-house marketing employees. However, the question often arises about whether to hire in-house marketing staff, or outsource your marketing to a specialist digital agency. So, when is the right time to hire marketing talent?
Decide where you want to be
Knowing who to hire, and when to hire, can be a difficult decision. You may hear business advice from one friend who is telling you to hire one recent grad, fresh out of university who will be able to spin all your marketing plates. On the other hand, you can hear advice from a former colleague who will tell you to hire an entire team of marketers with previous experience. The question is: where do you want to be in five years from now?
Business projection and ROI predictions can be tough for small or relatively new recruitment businesses, as you don’t have much history or data to back up your aims. If this is the case, simply make a target, and that way you can figure out how to get there with the help of marketing employees. Without knowing where you are going to be, you’ll struggle to know where to start.
For example, if you are currently a business of five to ten recruiters, with an annual turnover of £1,000,000, you could aim to employ 20 recruiters in 5 years’ time, with an annual turnover of £3,000,000. Of course, this kind of five year business plan will have a lot of complex strategy segments, with marketing being just one of them. But knowing what you’re aiming for also means you will know where to start with your marketing plans.
Understand the scope of work
Aiming for a 200% revenue increase in the space of five years might sound a bit far-fetched to small business owners, but understanding the scope of the work will help you determine who you need to hire, and when. First of all, ensure you hire someone with a good understanding of marketing from a business strategy and data point of view – ideally at Marketing Manager level, with previous experience of building a marketing team. This will kickstart your in-house marketing function by employing someone with a full understanding of how marketing can bring in revenue, as well as helping to employ the right people at the right time.
As part of your interview process, you may want to ask your first marketing hire what their plan would be for a marketing team within your business. Would they hire someone who specialises in email marketing, and someone who is an expert in writing content? Or would they prefer to start off with a PPC specialist, followed by a social media assistant? No matter what they suggest, knowing their reasons why they would hire certain people specifically for your company may also give you scope on how you should progress.
It may seem like a good idea to only hire marketers who can do it all (and truthfully, most marketers have done a bit of everything in their time) but the key to hiring your first few marketing employees is ensuring that they each specialise in something. To know which specialists to hire first, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want my marketing team to achieve? [e.g. more unique website visitors, more social media followers, more leads]
- What is the most practical way to achieve this? [e.g. improved website content, paid social media campaigns, marketing automation]
- What is my proposed marketing budget for the next 12 months? [e.g. £20,000, £50,000, £100,000]
- What are my top 3 priority hires? [e.g. Marketing Manager, Social Media Executive, Email Marketing Assistant]
Having answers to the above questions is a starting block – nothing needs to be set in stone, and plans may change along the way. For example, your budget may increase, or you may decide you need an extra content specialist, or a videographer to help your social media specialist.
Whatever you do – don’t wait until it’s too late. Ideally, when your recruitment company reaches around five full-time recruitment employees, it’s time to start looking at investing in a marketing resource. Website management, social media management, email marketing and content production are all their own full-time jobs, therefore leaving it to your recruiters (or yourself, as a business owner) will only work for so long before you’re left behind in comparison to your competitors.