Overcoming internal misalignment to onboard a marketing tech superstar
A US based leader in marketing technology was looking to improve their business by replacing their unsuccessful Country Manager with an ambitious and internationally minded external hire.
Despite doing business for several years, the client was still rather unknown in the market. In addition, they were looking for a candidate from outside the industry, somebody from one of the ad tech giants who would probably see no reason to join an underdog that had just raised a series B.
However, the client’s weak brand wasn’t our most difficult challenge. While working on the search we recognized a huge misalignment between the local CEO and the global CEO, who would ultimately make the hiring decision. While the local business head who thought he would be staying CEO was painting the position as a smaller leadership role, the global hiring manager tried to attract candidates with the promise of taking over the local CEO’s place. Of course, this significant gap in messaging caused mistrust and frustration ensuring that many well qualified candidates dropped out of the process midway.
We put together a team of 3 – 1 lead consultant and 2 researchers – who started the search by mapping the market and compiling a target map of 30 companies in the ad tech space. We then continued to identify potential candidates. At that point it became clear that the client did not have the budget to afford the top executive they had initially in mind. So, we adjusted the search criteria to a seniority level that was within the client’s budget.
This new search produced a handful of qualified candidates the client was happy to meet. Unfortunately, due to the misalignment between the stakeholders, most of the candidates decided not to proceed – a problem we had to address urgently. When the global CEO came for a visit, we took the chance to explain the problem to him presenting some of the feedback we had received from candidates. He understood and agreed to improve the process.
Once this hurdle was cleared, we went on to introduce another batch of candidates of whom one stood out especially. The candidate had been working for a major ecommerce retailer and had all the experience and skills the client desired – the ideal profile with just one flaw: the candidate didn’t see the need to change saying he was happy with where he was. We wanted to find out if that was true and sat together with him asking about his future goals and ambitious. It turned out that the candidate was fascinated by digital technology, a field he would be able to explore with our client but not with his current employer. In addition, he was interested in going overseas – again an opportunity our client was able to provide. Last but not least, our client offered him a significantly better compensation package which finally convinced him that this was the right role at the right time.
After 4 months of searching for qualified candidates and tweaking the internal hiring process, we were able to close the client’s preferred superstar.
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