Identifying Hidden Talent – Part One

Let’s face it; true Rock Star marketers are few and far between these days. We all know how it feels to find these gem-like employees, and there is a never-ending need for more of them. With only 7.5% of the B2B Enterprise Marketing workforce rated as highly skilled, this will continue to be a challenge for CMOs over the next year and beyond.1 That said, let’s look at a couple of common challenges and potential ways to discover your next breakout star; they might be closer than you think.


“At most companies, people spend 2% of their time recruiting and 75% managing their recruiting mistakes,” said Richard Fairbank, CEO at Capital One.2

Many organizations take an ineffective approach to recruiting. They try to quickly fill open head count by looking at candidates based on their success rates and certifications alone without giving any thought to a holistic hiring approach. This works temporarily, but soon enough avoidable challenges begin to surface. You’ve got someone who is ‘okay’ at his or her job, but it’s not the performance you desired and you’re left banging your head against the desk asking, “Where has all the marketing talent gone?”

Think about it this way: you’re reading through resumes and a particular marketer catches your interest, as their listed contributions played a significant role in a 25% increase quarter over quarter bookings target for 2014.  Consider for a moment that the success enjoyed by their former employer may have nothing to do with the candidate themselves, but unusually successful market conditions combined with a merger, or other additional factors that makes this person just lucky for being “in the right place at the right time.” So you hired them and now, they’re doing little more than warming the bench on your team. You’re spending more time hand-holding and managing your hiring mistake. What went wrong?

It isn’t so much that true talent is hidden, it’s that we’re not asking the right questions or taking the time to understand all of the other requirements that aren’t part of the job description. We all know two jobs: the one we were hired for and the one we actually do. Passion and a desire to learn may have far greater yield then the fully trained and developed professional who think they’ve seen it all. I believe this is what Steve Jobs meant in his 2005 Stanford commencement address when he said, “Stay hungry.” Are you hiring hungry people? Have you thought about what type of person, and what qualities would thrive in this particular job?

For example, there is an enormously large amount of data and research involved in developing Buyer Centric Demand Generation programs for our clients at ANNUITAS. It is important the people we hire for this job are not only proficient at this important task, but that they love it. They are naturally curious, critical thinkers that enjoy healthy debate, and correlate complex and diverse data sets thereby, creating a total picture of the Buyer. Then they package and present their findings to the team and love the living daylights out of doing it at the same time. That’s what we’re looking for in our Research Analyst Rock Stars, passion and raw potential.

Start taking a different approach to your hiring: assess how people learn and think – not just what they’ve done, don’t judge past performance by numbers alone, look deeper to figure out what stood in the way or contributed to the success. Do they have drive and passion for the task at hand? Or are they going to do the minimum to get by?



Author: Erin Kelley @MsErinKelley is Vice President, Professional Development and Enablement, ANNUITAS

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