Jackie Hermes is the Founder and CEO of Accelity, a Wisconsin-based agency that helps B2B SaaS startups get revenue and grow faster. She also hosts The Art of Entrepreneurship podcast and is a mentor to other professionals in the space.
Jackie was running a marketing department and implementing marketing automation at a large company. She saw an opportunity to work with startups that didn’t have access to the same resources large conglomerates did. So she started freelancing, and it turned into a business.
What did the process look like? What skills did she hire for? Find out what Jackie learned along the way in this episode of Content Callout!
Outline of This Episode
- [1:00] Learn more about Jackie Hermes + Accelity
- [6:31] Traditional education versus a hunger to learn
- [8:34] Jackie’s tips for engaging on LinkedIn
- [17:51] Tips for creating and building out a course
- [26:41] The symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales
- [32:58] Setting guardrails instead of strict processes
- [38:02] What should the first hire be?
- [41:49] Jackie’s top tips for marketers
- [45:26] How to connect with Jackie Hermes
The skill sets to look for in hires
Jackie admits that she operates on gut feelings—but jokes her gut isn’t as accurate as she believes it is. She made her first hire after meeting her for coffee but feels she didn’t clearly communicate what the job would entail and what she expected. She wishes she had developed a hiring process sooner. It would have saved her a lot of time.
She strives to hire a mix of people that have worked at agencies as well as entry-level beginners. It’s nice to incorporate perspectives—they are small and agile enough to make changes and implement new ideas. But identifying potential is challenging. How do you identify potential in people? Do you focus on soft skills? How will they react in certain situations? Listen to hear the whole conversation.
What should the first hire be?
Jackie’s first hire is now her head of operations. She’s process-driven and set up a lot of the structure of the agency. But when you’re figuring out your first hire, you should look at your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses. Many founders are creatives and technical people who think they should hire a salesperson first. That’s a mistake. You can’t be the person handling all of the delivery. As an owner/operator, you need to elevate yourself into the C-suite.
The role of the process person is to reel in the founder and get them to focus on creating a process first and building a team that can handle the inflow of work. You also need to find someone willing to be direct with you. Find someone that will tell you “no.” One of Jackie’s core values is boldness. She’ll ask for someone to share examples of being bold in a given situation. Can they speak up to someone in power? It can be done with tact—but many people don’t do it at all.
Traditional education versus a hunger to learn
Jackie doesn’t focus on education when she looks at resumes. Most of her team do have degrees, and some didn’t finish college. Jackie had an employee that had worked for her parent’s company since 13, and she didn’t see a need to go to school. If they do have a degree, many are self-taught in their field. Her creative director has a journalism degree—not exactly art school 101. It’s all about a desire and drive to learn. Social media marketing is constantly evolving. Every platform and algorithm change requires learning over and over again—not something you can learn in college.
Setting guardrails instead of strict processes
Jackie is not a big process person. She is a creative gut-feeling type of person. So when she hired her leadership team, she hired people to help her get processes in place. At one point, they productized their services (and it was highly process-driven). But then they backed out of having processes for everything because it felt overly robotic. It’s about putting guardrails in place while still allowing some leeway for creativity and processes that work for each individual. So if someone sends Jackie an 8-page process, she nixes it and asks someone to simplify and consolidate while keeping the right milestones in place.