Transitioning from a bricks-and-mortar sales business to an ecommerce-based business can be a daunting undertaking for CPG companies. Today’s consumers expect to buy directly from companies online and receive the same high-level of customer service that they receive from major online retailers like Amazon. An ecommerce manager must be an expert at both driving sales traffic through digital marketing campaigns and exceeding customer service expectations– in addition to having a firm grasp on product fulfillment and shipping logistics. Finding a hire who can cover all those bases is no easy task!
Recently, I spoke with Bob Picunko, the Chief Executive Officer at Brand@Play, LLC a marketing consulting company specializing in consumer products about the challenges of recruiting specialized sales and marketing talent for new ecommerce positions.
“Consumers’ experience with Amazon and other online retailers have changed the game for company internal ecommerce teams,” says Bob. “An ecommerce manager is now a combination of multiple disciplines. Traditionally, you would have digital marketing, website content management, and online sales as three different areas. Now, the line has blurred between sales and marketing, requiring a unique hybrid candidate.”
Recruiting Your First eCommerce Hire: How to Find a Hybrid Candidate
Your first ecommerce hire will set the tone for your company’s ecommerce efforts, not only managing day-to-day tasks but also establishing company-wide best practices. Strong sales skills are just one piece of the puzzle. When I recruit ecommerce hires, I also keep the following skill sets and experience in mind:
- Digital marketing.
Your ecommerce hire will need to build digital marketing campaigns that bring traffic to your website (e.g., search engine optimization/SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, PPC ads), optimize the website to drive conversions (e.g., A/B testing, targeted landing pages, shopping cart/checkout optimization), and manage the nuts and bolts of the transaction, including payment gateways.
- Customer relations.
Your website is your company’s face to the world, making your ecommerce manager a key hire in terms of managing and maintaining your company’s relationship with consumers. Every other department is a step or two removed from the actual customer, but on your ecommerce site they are dealing directly with your business. In an age where a single tweet from a dissatisfied customer can create a firestorm of bad publicity, exceptional customer service skills are an absolute must.
- Fulfillment and shipping logistics.
Working knowledge of supply chain logistics, including fulfillment, shipping and tracking basics, is essential background knowledge for running a successful ecommerce department. Details like product packaging and shipment speed will leave a lasting impression on your customer and could make or break your ecommerce business. While your first hire doesn’t have to be an expert on logistics, a basic understanding is vital to preventing costly errors.
A ‘hybrid’ sales candidate is an essential first hire for any company starting a new ecommerce department. This hire will help you bridge the gap between where your business currently stands in the market and where you want to grow as a company, effectively setting the tone for the entire department. While you can focus on more specialized talent with future hires, having someone who understands both sales and digital marketing will be key to a successful ecommerce transition.
For assistance finding qualified candidates, contact me at SJochens@lucasgroup.com.