In the tech sector everyone moves a mile a minute, laser focused on helping customers survive and thrive throughout cloud migrations and digital transformations. Frankly, most of us, on both sides of that equation are heads-down, multitasking. If transformation alone was all that sales and marketing executives had to worry about, that wouldn’t be quite so challenging but, as you know full well, it’s not. Alongside the staggering volume of new apps, tools, portals, platforms, and tactics vying to make our jobs easier, there are programs to develop and launch, assets to create, processes to maintain, platforms to become experts on, deals to close, meetings to attend, planes to catch and... well, you get it!
Long story short - assembling the right team is key. But let’s be honest, finding time to recruit, hire, onboard, and retain talent is a huge challenge for businesses today.
The first step is admitting you need more people
Working with technology vendors everyday, we often hear executives say they need someone to build and manage their programs. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those are vastly different roles. A person who can build a program must be very strategic. They must have field experience, and ideally past program experience. They need to understand that tiers and specializations aren’t as relevant as they used to be, especially with “Everything-as-a-Service” and the cloud. A program manager, on the other hand needs to be more tactical, organized, and detail-oriented in order to successfully manage the day-in-day-out of the program, compile, analyze and deliver reports, and adjust plans accordingly, not to mention strong interpersonal skills, working and communicating with account reps and Partners alike.
A talent shortage demands a talent strategy
Similar to personifying your audience for marketing, if you’re serious about securing the right resources you need a solid talent strategy. Defining the role versus cobbling together a couple of old job descriptions (you know who you are) is crucial. You want to avoid plugging round holes with square pegs or worse yet, combining dissimilar roles into one to save time and money, because you know as well as we do, this short-term solution to a long-term need rarely works. So, before writing and publishing the job requisition ask yourself and your team questions like: :
- What purpose will this role serve?
- Who will they be working closely with?
- What specific skills are needed for success? Rank these from most to least important
- What level of decision-making will this person be responsible for?
- How stressful is the position and how must this person handle stress? (Read: If you’re looking for calm and methodical, someone with knee-jerk reactions is not a good fit.)
Think about other employees who have been successful in this or a similar role, what are their common personality traits and best attributes? Heads-down tactical or strategic communicator?
Trust us, we get it. You needed to fill this role yesterday, but making hasty hiring decisions can be a huge expense - in time, money and resources. In addition to developing the role-persona, and creating a succinct and specific job description, identify who will interview candidates before you solicit applicants. And define the interview process, i.e. first, second, third, on the phone, video conference, or in person. Create a short list of appropriate questions that get to the heart of what you need. Think about the best and worst attributes of what you desire and tailor your questions to ensure interviews are efficient and on point. Let’s face it -- your interviewers may not be great at asking questions so, send them in prepared.
Don’t just listen, observe
Your questions are the cornerstone of interviews and you definitely need to know how they communicate their successes when assessing how they’ll work with your team. But there’s even more to be gleaned with some planned observation. Take them around to meet people and analyze their interactions. Are they enthusiastic, kind, inquisitive? Do you see the persona you created for this role coming off the page in their actions?
Use a third-party to fill gaps
If it’s taking too long to find the right candidate, or you have one open job requisition but need a dual role such as program development AND management, then engaging with a consultant offers a viable short term strategy that serves your longer term goals:
- Hire third-party experts who can hit the ground running to deliver insights, build programs and provide immediate execution resources to launch the program
- Begin the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process for a program manager
The same goes for demand and lead generation. It’s often simpler to hire a third-party with a fully vetted team to build communications plans and comes complete with in-house content developers, writers, videographers, graphic designers, and other creative roles for projects. They will be able to understand your business model and quickly and seamlessly bridge your gaps. Operating as an extension of your team, your in-house talent (well-versed in product marketing, strategy, communications, planning, and your solutions) can get some relief while still collaborating to connect the dots between consultants, your brand, voice, and goals to drive better outcomes.
Wondering if hiring a consultant is the best answer for your situation? Contact us, we’re happy to answer any questions and help you explore options.