designer for hire,remote designer,remote management tips,work from home,remote employee management

Who to hire first: a branding, marketing or sales manager?

branding marketing sales cartoon
Branding, marketing and sales are three peas in a pod.

What is the difference between branding, marketing, and sales?

In The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib, there is a simple story about a circus elephant. Allan used this for us to visualise the difference and the efforts involved in branding, marketing and sales. I also numbered each step to be more concise.

  1. If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,” that’s advertising.
  2. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.
  3. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.
  4. If you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
  5. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions, and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.
  6. If you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.

Finally, for every step, there is branding that unifies everything from the visual elements to the messaging based on the circus owner’s authenticity and reason for starting the business.

branding marketing sales venn diagram

Now for your own company, if you intend to take a similar strategy, you need to hire the following for each step:

  1. Graphic Designer
  2. Social Media Manager
  3. Content Writer
  4. PR Specialist
  5. Sales Executive
  6. Digital Marketing Specialist

What’s the best hiring strategy for small and medium companies?

Let’s face it: your company might not be big enough to hire a huge branding or marketing team. That’s why the founder (you) usually wears many hats, especially for strategic roles like public relations and sales.

Although you can do everything, it doesn’t mean you should. Multi-tasking can get daunting over time especially when your company is gaining traction. If you don’t hire soon enough, I’m afraid you might burn out.

I recommend hiring for the roles that require specific skills that are not in your area of expertise and are time-consuming to execute. Graphic design is on the top of the list. 

The cost-effective option for it is to subscribe to an on-demand design service.

There are people who can write content and manage social media as well – hiring them would be like hitting 2 birds with one stone. 

A fair warning though, a person with a lot to juggle runs the risk of dropping the ball especially since these two roles have tons of time-sensitive deliverables.

For every step mentioned above, there are also companies or digital agencies that can handle everything from design to social media management. But because they can do everything for you, many of them are expensive.

Build a strong management team

Now that we have identified all the tedious and outsource-able tasks, you now need to hire managers to be your stunt doubles in leading the team towards company goals.

Since you chose to outsource those tasks, having a strong C-level team will enable you to focus on the more important things.

According to TargetJobs UK, here are the lists of skills you have to look for when hiring managers:

Key skills for brand managers

  • Analytical skills and attention to detail
  • An understanding of trends and an ability to respond to customers’ wishes
  • Creativity and an ability to produce innovative and original ideas
  • Team working skills
  • The ability to manage and allocate budgets
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with and an understanding of market research
  • Time and project management skills, including the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time
  • An ability to think strategically and come up with campaigns

Key skills for marketing executives

  • Good teamwork skills
  • Communication skills and networking ability
  • Adaptability
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Good organisation and planning skills
  • Creativity and writing skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Numerical skills
  • IT skills

Key skills for sales executives

  • Self-motivated and driven by targets
  • Resilience
  • Strong communication skills – including both verbal and written
  • The ability to influence and negotiate with others
  • Commercial awareness
  • IT skills
  • Numerical skills
design team
Your new hire must fit your company culture.

Hire slow, fire fast

Branding, marketing, and sales departments must always work harmoniously. If you’re going to hire a manager to handle all three, you need someone who has an excellent track record in reaching targets and who can fit in your company culture.

If the one you hired wasn’t a good fit, fire them fast. If you can’t find the perfect hire, it’s okay to wait.

As the founder, take this role in the meantime and continue providing feedback to the companies that you tapped for outsourced services. This way, once you hand it over to the manager, your preferences are established already.