Effective Onboarding for New Marketing Hires

By Leigh Shevchik

In an earlier post, we talked about effective sales onboarding. Now we’re going to flip the coin and discuss effective marketing onboarding.

Some of the same principles in the first post will hold, of course — context remains as important as content and onboarding should always be part of a longer, more-involved process — but there are key differentiators on the marketing side.

Be clear on roles

The major difference between sales and marketing usually lies in accountability or metrics that people are judged on. With sales, it’s very cut-and-dried (numbers, targets, goals, etc.). But in marketing, it may or may not be equally clear-cut. This is dependent on the metrics marketing is tracking and how well-defined the team’s KPIs are. The more loosely tracked, the more likelihood that roles will be overlapped or poorly-contextualized depending on how headcount is allocated.

It’s important to have clarity on who does what. And even more importantly, to make sure that there aren’t silos within the marketing silo. Consider the structure of your entire marketing organization. For example, is there one team that does everything or do separate teams handle email marketing, web content, social media, etc.? If so, do they work under one manager, in one department? Or many managers, throughout a larger marketing organization?

When onboarding new hires, it’s crucial that they learn who to go to for what and, if necessary, how they can make inroads with other groups. Without good process and communication in place, it can be very difficult to work within sub-division or silos within a broader silo. People need to be talking to each other.

Clarity on roles has been shown to be important to the bottom line, too. Look at this research presented in Harvard Business Review:

“Role design” — essentially, the relevance of a job or how it fits into the bigger picture of an organization — accounts for a much higher swing in employee motivation (87 points) than even compensation (48 points) does. Think about that. Being in a role that’s well-defined and makes sense is often more important than an employee’s salary.

Get clear on metrics

This is one of the next great challenges for many marketing departments. Being more proactive with analytics, data and metrics. This is crucial in the onboarding stages for a new marketing employee as well. After onboarding, a new hire should be able to answer:

  • What does success look like in my role?
  • How do I know when a project or series of projects has been successful?
  • What metrics will be used for my evaluation? Is it just conversions/sales data or something else?
  • What does failure look like?
  • Who controls the definition and conversation around the metrics?

At its most utopian level, marketing should be a science of how to reach, connect with, and influence people around ideas and purchase decisions. Unfortunately, it’s often not. But to make a new hire “sticky” — to help them understand their role on the team and how it’s evaluated — you need to assign legitimate success (and less-than-success) metrics to the work they’ll be doing.

Integration with sales

At an ideal level, marketing will function as a support system for sales — its content and concepts should all, at some level, help drive sales. If your organization is already set up this way, excellent. If not, go back to our first post above.

How should marketing and sales work together? Within the first two weeks, a new marketer should understand the following:

  • How often do marketing and sales meet?
  • Who is the point person for what type of content sales needs?
  • Where are the shared/collaborative areas for content and timelines?
  • How aligned have they been in the past, and what steps are being taken going forward?
  • Who are the sales point people for various projects this new hire might be involved with?
  • How do they like to work? (** This question should involve bringing sales directly into a marketer’s onboarding ** )

Without clarity on how marketing’s work impacts the bottom line, the new marketer’s deliverables are essentially occurring in a vacuum. So it’s important to make some effort to define it.

Brand guidelines

Although some marketing teams go a bit overboard with this, brand guidelines — form, function, voice, colors, etc. — are crucial to most marketers. Any documents detailing your brand requirements, such as style guides, slide templates, helpful tips or FAQ sheets, should be shared as soon as possible.

Going beyond onboarding

Even after your new hire is on the job for a while, the concepts presented in your onboarding program will need to be reinforced. Store your onboarding information — along with more in-depth sales training, commonly used files, templates and content — in a central, easy to access location.


Leigh is Showpad’s Senior Content Marketing Manager. She’s worked as a content manager, program manager, writer and editor for a number of high-growth tech startups including Sumo Logic, AppDynamics and New Relic, as well as Fortune 100s like Wells Fargo and Sun Microsystems.


Originally published at blog.showpad.com. If you would like to see more content like this subscribe to the Showpad blog here.

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