Tag Archives: marketing interview

The Job Search (What I Didn’t Know that I Didn’t Know)

The Job Search

They say to tell your stories in blogs without mentioning yourself in them, make them about the audience.  Well this my story, for you to judge and decide if any of this relates to you.  I’m going to tell you what I did, how I prepared, what I studied, then what happened.  The search, the training, the interviews, putting myself in front of dozens of companies to get to the “real scoop” of what they were looking for and asking about.  Then the time consuming process I worked through to go get the education I should have had before applying to even a single job.  Now, you can learn from my mistakes and hopefully shave two months off your next marketing job search.   

After my marketing consulting gig for a small Japanese software company finished recently, I started looking for a full-time position in which I could work as part of a team again for a high-tech company.   I love managing a team of like-minded marketers more than anything.  I mean, contract work from my home office is great -when it is great.  At times though I found myself putting in 16 hour days, falling out of touch with industry best practices, I stopped attending or being able to afford all the affiliations to great marketing organizations like the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and Gartner that I had become accustomed to.  Working for myself kind of sucked because my boss was a slave driver. Plus, with the healthcare scene what it is today, I decided to go to work again as part of a marketing team again.   I started applying for jobs online.

 

I initially did the following that everyone does:

  • Brushed off my resume, looked up resume best practices for 2017, and updated everything.   
  • Applied for no fewer than 30 positions per day spending extra time to make sure each application, list of skills, and cover letter had been optimized according to the position I was applying for.   
  • Made sure examples of my work are available on my website MadScinceConsulting.com, included my portfolio, and included links.
  • Called former bosses and referrals to make sure they are still happy to receive calls.
  • Updated my LinkedIn page and upgraded my LinkedIn account to LinkedIn pro.
  • Added my information to more than two dozen job boards like: LinkedIn Pro, Marketing Ladders, Virtual Vocations, Indeed, Glass Doors, Dice, Beyond, and many more.
  • Posted my resume and information on to more than 50 company career sections for consideration at all the places I wanted to work.
  • Submitted all my information to the local recruiters.
  • Notified my network of professional friends know I was available. If I find a position at their company, I would send them my information and the job to forward to their HR for me.  

 

As a result

I have had twenty-five phone interviews and seven face-to-face interviews.  Every one of the interviews went very well until they started asking me about my experience with new marketing technology, concepts, and applications.  I had heard or read about them all, but I would not lie and say I was an expert in marketing analytics, agile / scrum, inbound marketing, or digital marketing or social media marketing management experience. 

So, here was an opportunity.  On my resume I have listed several marketing titles so I was interviewing for a nice sampling of open marketing positions.  My last interview was with the President of a local high-tech product reseller.  He told me he had to cut off the applications for the one position at 250 resumes.  He selected the nine best to talk with.  I made that cut.  He said he would pick the three best out of the nine to come in and interview in person.  That’s some serious competition.  I was easily making it to the top 3% of the list for call backs for an interview, but had not made the final cut yet.

I kept hearing requests for tools I had never used, or asked about terms that no longer mean what they used to.  They say not to list things on your resume that will date you if you are in the younger or older spectrum of applicants.  I am here to tell you that this extends into the tools you are familiar with and certificates you keep current.

 

Put up or shut up

When I didn’t get any of those positions, I decided to do something about it.  I needed to not only become a subject matter expert in many new concepts and best practices, but I also needed to become proficient at using the tools that support these methodologies. 

So, here I am, an innovative, award winning corporate marketer.  I have made a lot companies a whole lot of money.  I’m talking hundreds of millions here.  Won a full ride scholarship for an MBA in Global Management with a concentration in International Marketing.  I won Phoenix Marketer of the year in 2012.  Also, through my company Mad Science Consulting I have implemented sales and marketing processes and best practices successfully for SMBs, mid-sized, and large enterprise customers internationally and domestically.  I have always stayed on top of the marketing industry and monitored the changes happening in sales and marketing practices, but obviously I had not been paying close enough attention.  I thought there would be social media marketers and traditional marketers and that companies might want both.  Aink!  Wrong answer.  I was unaware how quickly and how extensive the changes were.  New marketing methodologies are being practiced wholeheartedly by most companies now.  Even traditional marketing roles like Product and Channel marketing now require healthy understanding of inbound, digital, social media and analytics.  I have also come across requirements for agile marketing and SCRUM experience for product marketing positions. 

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll share some of the amazing things I’ve found as well as ways to get yourself up to date and stay relevant in this fast-moving market.

Marketing Term of the Week: BANT

“Tell me what you know about BANT qualified leads.”  It’s pretty much guaranteed that you will face this question while interviewing for marketing positions.  If you don’t have a clear answer, you will be immediately ruled out.  The good news is that BANT is a clear, easy-to-understand concept that you can put into immediate use right now.

So what is BANT?

BANT is a formula developed by IBM for the most essential pieces of information you need to know in order to present a great sales opportunity to your sales team.

B = Budget (are they out getting educated, just looking, or is there a budgeted project underway?)

A = Authority (are you talking to the right person? if interested who else will we need to involve?)

N = Need (does your product solve their pain, address KPIs, and provide adequate ROI?)

T = Timeframe for purchase.  The answer to this will help you figure out where they are in the buyer’s journey and how quickly sales should reach out. 

A BANT Qualified Lead is a lead where you know this key information.  Are they looking for what you are selling? Are you talking to the right person?  Can they afford it? Do they know the date they plan to pull the trigger?  Knowing this information, your salespeople can speak more intelligently about the sales stuff in the relationship while they begin to simultaneously work to remove obstacles to the BANT criteria. There isn’t a sales rep on the planet that will not gratefully accept your leads if you can provide this information.  If you bring your salespeople leads that look like this, they will all become your new best friends and will stop ignoring the leads you bring them.

With the advent of inbound marketing (social media marketing, growth hacking and marketing platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo) the earlier stages of what used to be “push marketing” has been very effectively replaced with inbound marketing tactics (a.k.a. pull marketing).  

Knowing that your prospects go out looking online in the early and middle stages of looking for answers, the prevailing mindset is that as a potential seller you had better be where your prospects are looking. True.  

Later after your prospect has decided on a solution direction, then you  should talk about your product.  At this stage a more traditional sales cycle works and BANT is a great way to gauge how sales ready the lead is.  When they buyer is finally in the Decision Stage, BANT criteria works exactly as it is supposed to.  The earlier you are able to discover BANT criteria the better for your sales reps.   I have heard it said by seasoned sales professionals that when they closed a deal without knowing BANT, it was luck.  Think about it, if you are afraid to ask who the check signer is, if there is a budget and timeframe for purchase, and you still close the deal…they wanted your product despite your sales reps, not because of them.