General Manager USA
First hire outside of the UK
The hiring challenge!
This pioneering high-growth UK digital services provider with 300 employees, with solutions delivered on a platform comprising SaaS, data and people-based services, wanted to expand its horizons beyond the UK.
Initially, their ideas were to sell their solutions to countries where English is widely spoken, with Ireland, the Middle East and South Africa on their radar, together with the Netherlands and Nordics, for whom they felt their solution had good pragmatism and cultural synergies.
Who, what, where, when and how?
They had some ideas as to what they wanted to do, at its most basic, to generate large revenues outside of the UK…
Possibly build a business bigger than the existing one.
However, they were not entirely sure of their product/market fit.
Having previously headhunted a CRO for the company, who proceeded to drive 5 x revenue growth over a three-year period, they instructed us to undertake the search. And were keen to tap into our broader perspective.
Their instruction was to find a Head of International Partnerships with appropriate SaaS solution-type industry experience and in the target geographies: Netherlands, Nordics, Ireland, South Africa and the Middle East.
They wanted someone with managerial/director-level gravitas, strategic thinking smarts and, importantly a rainmaker. Someone who’d win business and exceed expectations.
Robert Tearle Consulting undertook initial research to determine the ideal source backgrounds of the individuals.
- Firstly, defining the types of target source companies, determining application/solution areas and types of companies – not just SaaS vendors but also aligned service providers.
- Secondly, define the companies operating in these application/market areas and profile them as appropriate.
- This list we shared with the client to get inputs, verify the logic of our approach and that we had synergy.
- The next stage…
- Identify all relevant “A” player talents and reach out to them.
- The total addressable market was narrowed down and further shortlisted, resulting in us developing a shortlist.
A change of focus!
- At this point, the client determined that they’d set their sights much bigger and wanted to have someone UK based who would primarily be focused on entry into the US Market.
- We re-steered the search… and then!
- They decided they wanted someone based in the USA… and that it would be a more senior hire, a General Manager, who’d be a rainmaker and who had serious growth potential to be able to hire/build out the US market.
Whilst the source backgrounds in the USA had some similarities with the UK. There were also major differences.
Therefore, we revisited the research, determining types of source companies, identifying specific source companies and then once again…
Identifying all the specific relevant “A” player talents and reaching out to them.
This generated a prospective high-quality talent pool, from which we were able to qualify people in and out, on the basis of interest level and ability.
Presenting to the client 7 “A” player-type candidates giving choice and perspective/comparison.
It’s not unusual for candidates to be on varying salaries; this was no exception.
- Three candidates attended the second and third interviews.
- The client was delighted to have a choice of three “A” players.
- An offer was made and accepted by their first choice.
“Congratulations. Excellent. He’s exceeded our expectations.”
He’s particularly engaged in the marketplace and has already struck up partnerships. Deals are in flow. The pipeline is considerably larger than we’d hoped for.
Ahead of the plan, he’s made multiple hires across functions building out a team.
We’ve passed a break-even point and are moving towards revenues exceeding costs.
As you said, Robert, he has both the rainmaking and leadership qualities that, as you said yourself, you identified in the first 15 minutes of interviewing him.