We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Dru Shiner, a seasoned global tech sales leader with a remarkable 30-year career in renowned companies such as Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and most recently, as the chief sales officer at C2FO.
Dru shared valuable insights on the significance of finding the right talent in new markets and the strategies he employed to drive success. Join us as we delve into Dru's experiences and learnings that have shaped his impressive career.
Finding the right people: understanding culture and chemistry
When I joined the company, I was employee number 37, and only five people were in the sales team. My mission was clear—transforming the organisation into the largest capital marketplace or platform. To achieve this, I first needed to understand the existing team's culture and perspective and identify the missing pieces required to drive success. Building the right chemistry and culture within the team became my top priority during the initial two years in my role.
Hiring: balancing gut instinct and criteria
We had core traits we looked for in potential hires, with curiosity at the top of the list. We sought individuals eager to learn, understand, and embrace challenges. As our business expanded into new countries, it was crucial to maintain the existing culture while prioritising diversity of skills. As a startup with limited support and resources, we needed autonomous, self-starting individuals capable of thriving in the field. This trait proved challenging to identify during the hiring process.
The importance of partners
Working with Claire, Liz, and the Newfound team proved invaluable in our search for the right talent. Their understanding of our business, culture, and goals made them the ideal partners for our recruitment needs. Trusting their expertise and support allowed me to focus on other critical aspects of my role without investing excessive time in profiling and vetting candidates. Establishing a solid rapport with the recruitment team ensured they deeply understood our core value proposition—an essential aspect of the hiring process.
A rigorous hiring process and asking the right questions
Our hiring process involved extensive discussions about our requirements and extensive market research conducted by Claire. We aimed to identify individuals who possessed the necessary sales acumen, subject matter expertise, and industry knowledge. Interviewing candidates back-to-back allowed us to assess if we were on the right track and if the new hires aligned with our objectives. The Newfound team's adaptability and ability to adjust their strategy based on insights proved crucial in finding the right fit for our organisation.
Effective onboarding: building rapport and relationships
Initially, our onboarding process was ad-hoc but focused on bringing new hires into the fold within a few weeks. We prioritised face-to-face interactions, allowing them to meet the diverse parts of our organisation and establish rapport with colleagues at the head office. As our team scaled and grew, we transitioned to quarterly or semi-annual meetings to accommodate all new hires. Additionally, we organised annual corporate gatherings where team members worldwide could come together, fostering camaraderie, collaboration, and connectedness—a vital aspect when dealing with diverse cultures and strong personalities.
Hiring in new markets: embracing unique strategies
When expanding into the UK market, which served as our gateway to Europe, we aimed to assemble a top-notch team. Recognising our limited knowledge of new markets, we had to trust the expertise of our local teams. Initially, we sought to hire a sales leader who would build their own team. However, due to the rapid pace of expansion, we had to hire sales individuals and the sales leader simultaneously, which presented a unique challenge. We intentionally hired two individuals with contrasting backgrounds and personalities to foster a learning dynamic between them. We encouraged their growth and success by incentivising collaboration and providing equal compensation.
Advice for global expansion
In your next move towards global expansion, I advise adopting a "walk, crawl, run" approach. Rushing without understanding the nuances of new markets can lead to missed opportunities. Start by finding partners and referenceable customers and securing initial wins. Seek expert guidance and gather multiple inputs to inform your planning and preparation. Despite thorough preparation, mistakes may still occur. The key is to learn from them and adapt accordingly.
In conclusion, building successful global sales teams requires understanding existing culture, hiring the right individuals, partnering with experts, implementing a rigorous hiring process, effective onboarding, and embracing unique strategies for new markets. By following these strategies and remaining adaptable, your organisation can navigate global expansion's complexities and succeed in diverse markets.
If you're looking to build a global sales team please get in touch - we'll be happy to help you on your journey to new markets. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.