Hey Jo,

I’m trying to find the right person to lead our MOPs team—and I don’t know where to start. It feels like there’s a lack of MOPs leaders in the market, and I don’t want to hire someone just for the sake of it. What should I do?

Hiring Hilary


Hi Hilary, great question. Unfortunately, this is a challenge that MOPs hiring managers are facing across the board. The thing is, our sector was originally built to meet the needs of the marketing automation platforms that have emerged over the last few years. As marketing teams adopted these technologies and reshaped how they did things, they gave certain individuals the opportunity to take ownership and become specialists in them. This means there are only a handful of people who have long-term experience with the tools and data analysis requirements that sit at the heart of MOPs.

In addition, because we’re still in the early days of MOPs, we’re only just starting to see educational programs and degrees focused on building the skills required for this area of marketing. In short, when it comes to building a strong and experienced MOPs talent pool, we’re still playing catch up. It’s not all doom and gloom, though! There are still ways for you to find the right MOPs leader for your team—you’ll just need a little creative thinking and patience.

First off, really think about what impact you want this person to have. As a function, MOPs encompasses multiple projects and capabilities, and they may not all be right for your business. When I have intake calls for a MOPs leadership hire, I ask the team what projects they’re doing in the next 90 days (e.g. rolling out Marketo instances), and pull the key skill sets from that. The bonus? You won’t have a laundry list of requirements on the job description that might put people off from applying.

Now that you know what the team needs, craft a clear picture of the candidate you’re looking for. A MOPs leader needs to have the right balance of technical and business acumen. They need to be able to understand the technical details while also using big-picture thinking to make decisions and guide their team. Part of this balance also requires managing expectations with executive stakeholders so that MOPs team members feel they have the space to do their jobs. Most of all, they need to be constant learners that aren’t afraid to break the status quo.

The MOPs space is always changing—it looks totally different today than it did six months ago—and leaders need to be able to adapt quickly while also being brave enough to lead some of those changes themselves.

If you ever feel that you have to compromise on a hire, my advice would be to compromise on platform experience, not project experience—technologies can be learned, after all. Also, remember the 80% rule. If you’ve found someone that doesn’t quite meet all the requirements, but has strong leadership potential and learning abilities, take a chance. They might be just the right person to lead your team to their next big success.

Now, this one is important. Before you go to market with this role, make sure what you’re offering is appealing. In this market, candidates have the power to choose, and they’re largely looking for companies where they’ll have flexibility, growth opportunities, and a voice at the table. Knowing that, you have to strive to be a company that people want to work at.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.


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