Why SMBs are upping their sales & marketing hires

Small businesses are leveraging a growth economy by going big on their sales & marketing hires.
18 March 2019

How many sales & marketing bods are you hiring this year? Source: Shutterstock

Hiring is a difficult task for any business; not only must you consider filling the vacant role with an individual holding the right skills and experience, but you must also be confident that they’ll fit the culture of the company and their future colleagues.

Changing work attitudes between generations, meanwhile, is making things even harder.

In the US, unemployment rates are at a near 20-year low of just 3.9 percent and, with the country’s economy in strong shape, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are looking to boost their staff headcounts.

According to a report by Clutch, more than half of small businesses are planning to add employees this year, while 57 percent say it’s unlikely they’ll fire or lay any team members off.

The findings came as a result of a survey on 529 small business owners and managers in the US and found that sales and marketing roles were likely to account for nearly four in 10 hires (39 percent) this year.

The rationale behind that isn’t hard to comprehend; sales and marketing roles are those that will likely generate return most quickly through the acquisition and maintaining of new customers, contributing actively to the growth of the organization.

As noted by SmallBizTrends, the finding demonstrates the importance of sales and marketing as business and commerce become increasingly digital.

Companies today must stand out when it comes to their websites, social media and e-commerce capabilities in order to keep pace with the competition. That competition doesn’t have to be local either— it could now be a business on the other side of the world.

The increase in demand for sales & marketing roles is also symptomatic of a growth market, said Brian Weed, CEO of Avenica, commenting on the report: “Over the last few years, it’s been a pretty strong growth market, and those are the types of positions that support growth – either salespeople who are going to create the initial demand or customer service [people] who are going to work with the new demand that comes in.”

Meanwhile, owner of boutique recruitment firm Lucas Select Inc., Tricia Lucas, observed a rising demand for Digital Strategists and Marketing Automation experts, in particular.

“People who understand how to execute marketing campaigns with the right strategy […] those are the people who are doing really well in the job market right now,” Lucas explained, as companies look to fill positions that help meet new customer demands.

Behind sales and marketing positions, more than one-third (36 percent) said they would be hiring customer service employees, demonstrating the growing importance of maintaining customer loyalty.

Investment in resources for customer support is increasingly important in the age of social media and online reviews, as customers now expect their issues to be resolved in real-time.

IT hires were a priority among just shy of a third (32 percent) of small businesses, meanwhile, while production (30 percent) and cross-functional workers followed (28 percent).

There are limits to small business confidence in their staff expenditure, however. Entry-level experience levels will account for 56 percent of hires— with smaller companies especially restricted by budget— followed by mid-level (52 percent) hires.

As a result, companies are faced with the added recruitment challenge of finding candidates that can adapt and grow with the organization.

“You want to find the right skill set, but you also need to find that person who’s capable of wearing multiple hats,” said Lucas. “Then, that person, when they are wearing those multiple hats, may evolve to take a bit of a different path as that organization starts to grow.”

Just 14 percent and 23 percent of small businesses were prepared to hire executive and senior-level roles respectively.