Hiring the right person to lead your demand generation effort is tough. To help founders and CEOs with little marketing experience, I have assembled a list of interview questions below as well as examples of good and bad answers.
Is Your Candidate a Demand Generation Expert?
1. Please describe your current marketing funnel and associated metrics – What you’re mainly looking for in this answer are key terms such as cost per click, cost per lead and click-through rates. The more in depth the candidate’s answer, the higher the likelihood that he or she understands metrics and their relationship.
GOOD ANSWER – “I oversee the campaign starting from impression levels, on to CTR and all the way through to the MQL/SQL.
RED FLAG – “I focus on generating as many leads as possible at the lowest CPL”
2. Please describe your campaign optimization process – Here, the candidate should address metrics in the customer funnel for which they have previously been accountable. Ask how they improved performance of a given campaign. Ensure that at least some of the provided metrics occur after the landing page call-to-action. Knowledge of customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value show that the candidate is accountable for lead quality.
GOOD ANSWER – “I start by optimizing toward the main metric of the business – whether that is CAC or LTV. I then work backwards to calculate the rest of the metrics such as CPA using existing conversion rates.”
RED FLAG – “I try to get as many leads as possible filling up the top of the funnel for sales to process.”
3. Which automation tools do you have experience with? – This depends solely on your situation. For example, if you have an automation tool in place, it’s important to hire someone who has previous experience with that specific tool so they can hit the ground running. If you don’t have a marketing automation tool, you will need to decide which tool is right for you. Consequently, you will need to hire someone with that specific experience. Remember, all the tools are different and there’s a learning curve with any new technology. To help get your automation tool selection started, check out our automation tool cheat sheet.
4. Please walk me through your current drip campaign logic – A “drip campaign” is an email marketing campaign which is used to build a relationship between your company and your customer. This process is called lead nurturing. The idea behind it is that by staying top of mind, your database prospects will come to you as soon as a need for your product or service arises again.
GOOD ANSWER – “First, I create welcome emails that outline our core business proposition. Next, I include our best performing assets such as testimonials, videos and case studies. It’s essential to get our value proposition out in the first 7 days of communication to
the potential customer. This ensures we can get to them before the competitors do. I also create separate workflow for any PR related news.”
RED FLAG – “I try to get as many conversions as possible filling up the top of the funnel for sales to process.”
5. Upon discovering a campaign that improved conversion rate by 3x, would you continue to a/b test knowing you will lose conversions? – Whether you agree with this yourself or not remember, you discovered this campaign by testing. What else is out there that will put this campaign to shame?
GOOD ANSWER – “Yes, absolutely. You will eventually find a better performing campaign through testing.”
RED FLAG – “No. I would not want to risk losing the conversions.”
6. Do you have experience working with a CRM tool? – A customer retention management tool such as Salesforce allows sales to keep track of customer communication. It also allows marketing and sales to work seamlessly together while tracking all the steps of customer communication. It is important that your candidate understands the connection between CRM and marketing automation tools. Preferably, he or she has hands-on experience working with both. For help selecting a CRM tool, click here to get our CRM cheat sheet.
7. Would you say you are more creative or analytical? – Marketing has transformed from an old-school brand building mechanism with no accountability for results into a science of measurable success metrics. This science requires deep analysis and conversion rate improvement testing. If your candidate is unable to comprehend and analyze metrics, you’ve got the wrong guy (or gal).
GOOD ANSWER – “I am fairly creative, however my analytical skills are far superior to my creative ones.”
RED FLAG – “I am far more creative. I love designing banners and logos. I leave analytics to the experts on my finance team.”
Use the answers above only as a guide for your interviewee. Obviously you’ll encounter variation in the answers. The main idea is to gauge the level of understanding your candidate has in demand generation.