It’s stuffy inside the box!
By Chuck Sink Subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here
When scanning Linkedin and job posting sites for various marketing and business development positions, it becomes clear that corporate recruiters, HR departments and staffing firms are only interested in candidates who breathe the same stuffy air inside their industries’ confined space. Sometimes the exhaled carbon dioxide build-up inside the box gets toxic.
There is often a strict requirement that applicants have worked 3, 5, or 10 years for competitors with the hope that the new hire can poach a few clients or bring a book of business on a silver platter. Either that or he won’t need any specialized training to get up to speed. What stale, old-school, CYA thinking that is! It’s like a metropolitan hospital recruiting only nurses who have cared exclusively for city-dwelling patients.
Here’s news for those recruiters: Marketing is a profession. Sales is a profession. They are both independent professions that require understanding the principles of luring and serving customers whether the firm sells software, automobiles, marketing services, business machines, cosmetics, electronics, etc. I might agree that in some cases, not all, one should separate consumer products from B2B marketing and sales experience because there are distinctions between selling donuts and enterprise software.
However, some of the best marketing ideas may come from completely different industries than yours. Estée Lauder was an early pioneer of free trials – a free gift just for considering a purchase. This concept has since swept just about every industry with success. A Colorado culinary school, for example, uses this idea with a “Come and Observe Our School” FREE offer. Prospective students are welcomed to sit in on classes and actually learn for a day. That’s how they enroll a high percentage of their full-time students. These are two completely different audiences/business models using the same exact principle of marketing: let them have a taste.
I’ll admit being open to a “dream job” opportunity if one ever crosses my path. It actually happened to me once. I was working for an out-of-state company with a brutal 1.5 hour commute. My car phone (yes, “car phone”) rang and an accountant, of all people, recruited me for his client by making a great offer that included an equity position. I went on to enjoy 6 wonderful years of professional life with that company. Unfortunately the industry (offset printing) was at its plateau and soon began to decline so I followed the growth in the creative digital marketing world where I remain. Selling manufactured products and creative marketing services were two different worlds yet I excelled in both.
To demand only Kool-Aid drinking industry insiders for sales and marketing positions is a short sighted mistake too many recruiting executives make. Perhaps this is understandable given that strong innovation and creative skills generally aren’t listed as requirements for executive recruiting and human resource jobs. Here I need to be careful. Being this close to Thanksgiving may not be the best time to criticize turkeys. To the sales and marketing recruiters who give more weight to the person and his or her past performance numbers, hats off!
So if you need to hire a marketing or sales professional, really think about this. To be locked in the idea that “He’s great for them but would never make it in our industry” treats people like CNC machines stuck on one program. It’s pretty obvious, however, that a good business leader can point a smart, talented individual in the right direction and help him or her soar with eagles, without boundaries, in the open air.
Ah, fresh oxygen! Breathe it in and consider the human possibilities for your organization.