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Recruitment is broken. And here’s how we’re planning on fixing it.

I joined the Salient Group back in September, we are a small company focusing on recruitment for fast growth companies using SaaS technology. Back then,  the below was the extent of my knowledge in the recruitment sector when I said yes to the gig.

I knew there was a potential to really disrupt things in Australia and I could sense we were about to kick off an interesting journey. As we work in SaaS – both with high growth organisations and in-demand talent –  it made sense for us to start in that area. It was clear there were a few problems to fix.

I’d never worked in the recruitment industry before, but I had used a recruiter.

My experience of recruiters hadn’t been particularly bad, I guess I’ve always just felt a bit powerless.

The first time was after uni, when to be honest it felt like a bit of an endless slog to get seen. I’d always felt ok about the whole interview process – but just getting one in the first place felt tough.

My second was here in Sydney, having arrived from the UK I was clueless to brands here– I knew my experience, I just wanted to find the best fit for my skills and find somewhere to make a positive impact. I couldn’t find a single place for information that could help me do that.

The big fat problems.

1. The power is in the wrong hands.

There are a lot of hoops to jump through to find out if you’re the right fit for a company. You have to wait until you’re actively looking, hope the timing is right and then generally go through a recruiter to craft your CV and see if you can get an interview.

Alternately, you get called and called and messaged and called by recruiters and you’re completely put off by the whole experience because 90% of the time, you’re actually pretty happy where you are.

How we plan on solving it: We’re giving back control.  We’ve set out to keep watch on all the hottest SaaS brands hitting Australia and tell the stories of who they are and what they’re all about. You can follow those stories passively and never get contacted by a recruiter. If you ever decide there’s a brand out there for you and you’re a skills match, you can apply directly for an interview. When and only when it suits you.

2. No-One trusts ‘scumbag*’ recruiters

*To all my recruiter friends out there, not my words…

But seriously, recruiters get a bad rep. And I get it, they have roles to fill and targets to hit so can only focus on a certain pool of candidates. The recruiters I’ve met go out of their way to offer a great candidate experience, but unfortunately not everyone has a positive experience with recruiters and it’s left a bit of a mark.

How we plan on solving it: Opening up lines of communications at a peer to peer level.  We’ve built a marketplace where talent speaks to other talent – not recruiters or HR but people doing their job, sharing valuable insights. Think Trip Advisor for brands – that’s where we’re at. Over the coming months we’re reaching out to top talent across Australia to share these insights with you.  If you never look for a job through the site, that’s fine by us – our focus is adding value to your career.

3. Employers aren’t telling their stories right.

Sharing your employer brand has become a big topic of discussion. Only this week did I see stats from APAC execs where almost all (95%) of respondents believed that a strong employer brand was crucial to the company’s success. The problem is, stories aren’t always getting out there in the right way.

How we plan on solving it: We’re not looking at ‘what message we can put out’ – we’re instead helping our employers on the marketplace tell their story and give talent a clear and valuable insight into their company. We don’t go out making recruitment videos about how fantastic everything is, instead we’re taking our team of journalists into their offices and uncovering the real stories of the people that work there.

We’ll then follow those employers throughout their growth and catch up with talent at all levels to break down the barriers of communication along the way.

So no more waffling, come see for yourself as we’ve just launched our registration –Kudzus.com.au.

The full marketplace will be rolling out shortly, and we’ll be sharing the highs and lows with you!


Hubspot ignite the marketing flame in Australia

Hubspot, is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

When they released their 2014 year in review, it was clear they had some pretty impressive growth stats:

  • Hubspot Blog – 19.5 million visits
  • 153% Growth in monthly sales blog visits
  • 54% Growth in Marketing Blog subscribers
  • Twitter – 453,463 followers
  • Pinterest – 24,469 followers
  • 13,500 customers
  • 2,200 agency partners worldwide
  • 90+ Countries with Hubspot customers
  • $115.9M Revenue in 2014 – an annual increase of 49%

The Revenue.

Just 4 years ago in 2011, Hubspot’s total revenue hit a bit of a spike, from $28.6 million to nearly doubling in 2012. This was only the beginning as the company hit their stride, the revenue followed:

  • 2011: $28.6 million
  • 2013: 77.6 million
  • 2015 : $115.9 million

The Customers.

One of the unique things about Hubspot is its customers –  they have a solution that is pretty much open for all, helping the customer base grow from 5,783 customers 3 years ago to 13,607 at the end of 2014.

International growth.

In 2013, Hubspot opened their first international office at the home of Dublin, Ireland. Known as the ‘DubSpot’ team, the plan was to drive global expansion. The launch of Spanish and Portugese language blogs, a new German offering – marketinggrader.com/de and finally a new home – Sydney.

To grow presence across international markets, the company is now investing in local sales, marketing and professional service capabilities.

When discussing plans for Australia, Managing Director for Hubspot, Jeetu Mahtani said, “this style of inbound marketing has been growing in popularity in the region, with an increasing number of visitors from Australia and New Zealand amongst the 1.5m monthly visitors to its sites.”

Mahtani, who opened the company’s second office in Dublin just over two years ago, came to Sydney late last year to hire the first Hubspot employees in Australia. The aim:  “Generate traffic, and leads and buzz to their brand as opposed to trying to interrupt their way into a consumer’s mind so it’s definitely got some good momentum.”

Mahtani said they will be seeking to partner with marketing agencies in Sydney, claiming the ability for the platform to track customers and customise sites for returning visitors can add value to the content marketing, social media and digital publishing services they provide. He added: “A marketing agency might build you a new website but six months later you might go back and say ‘you built me a new website, where are my leads?’ “What we want to do is disrupt that space so marketing agencies don’t just build websites for the sake of it. They will think about the revenue part and teach their clients how you build lead generation websites using content and engagement and social, as opposed to just building a pretty website.”

Want to know more about how the Hubspot software works? Check out this video. 


14 Things you didn’t know about Cloudera

It’s fair that we can’t really start this without a little introduction to Cloudera. They were really bumped up our radar this year after topping $100 million in revenue in 2015.

Founded in 2008, Cloudera was the first, and is currently, the leading provider and supporter of Apache Hadoop for the enterprise. Cloudera also offers software for business critical data challenges including storage, access, management, analysis, security, and search.

  • Cloudera added 264 new software subscription customers in FY 2015 (which ended in January 2015) for a total customer count of 535.
  • Cloudera has over 1,400 partners, around 800 are systems integrators/professional services firms.
  • The company plans to shift is messaging away from the underlying technology and towards business use cases/outcomes. It is focusing its go-to-market efforts on two specific vertical industries – financial services and telecommunications – and on large enterprises with $1 billion-plus in annual revenue.
  • Once of the co-founders Mike Olsen is a pretty interesting fella. In a recent interview he revealed his dad has one of the very first Apple Computers “When I was growing up, my stepdad bought an Apple II computer. Serial number 125 – built by the Steves in a garage. That’s how I learned to computer program around 1976- ­77.”
  • Mike was also a Mexican chef who dropped out of Berkley – He was doing a PhD when he realised he didn’t like research half as much as he liked his team so left to join Illustra. (The Mexican Chef part came during some travels on a first break from Berkley).
  • It all started with Hadoop – Facebooks, Jeff Hammerbacher, Yahoo’s Amr Awadallah, and Google’s Christoph Bisciglia from Google all joined Mike in their excitement around Hadoop – and Cloudera was formed.
  • Hadoop is a technology invented by Google in the early 2000s. It was initially created to help sell more advertisements but quickly became transportable to other industries as a data management solution.
  • Hadoop refers to an open source file distribution system and job scheduler that distributes data analysis jobs over infinitely large numbers of small servers to process data-intensive queries at high speed. Hadoop is available free under the Apache open source license, but has also found its way into the enterprise via paid, supported distributions.
  • Cloudera announced it was launching in Australia in 2013, choosing Australia as the centre of Cloudera’s APAC efforts because the “language is easy, and the business culture, legal and financial infrastructure is the right fit”.
  • The market for big data technology is growing rapidly. In 2014, Cloudera closed a $US900 million funding round, $US740 million of it from Intel which now has an 18 per cent stake. The money was assigned to help Cloudera build its share in a highly contested and rapidly expanding market.
  • The company’s regional operations are run by Sydney-based Chris Poulos, vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan who said he already had a number of people in sales, engineering and support in Australia. He has a positive take on the Australian market: “Australia seems to be the leader in adoption of the big data, especially by large corporations. They have already done their skunkworks projects and are now moving to the next level.
  • In 2014 Cloudera, now the leader in enterprise analytic data management powered by Apache Hadoop, named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Cloudera was ranked 36th on the list with over 4,439% growth over the past five years.
  • Cloudera expanded its partner program, Cloudera Connect, by 78% during last year, announcing partnerships with Accenture, Capgemini, Dell, EMC Isilon, Informatica, Intel, Microsoft, MongoDB, NEC, Red Hat, SAP, Teradata, and others to accelerate the deployment of Hadoop. The Cloudera partner ecosystem, the largest in the industry, expanded beyond 1,450 companies.
  • They look for unique traits in their talent. Two key principles stood out – 1) Does this person fit with the rest of the team. No matter how skilled you are, if it’s not a team fit they’re not interested. 2)  Has this person done surprising things? Olsen told the story on his blog of an interview for a sales candidate – “I interviewed a candidate who’d had a long and successful run as a salesman for large enterprise software companies. That’s our profile. We see a lot of those candidates. This person, though, stood out from the crowd easily. After several years of success and great paychecks in sales, he’d quit his job for a couple years, studied and mastered Transcendental Meditation and trekked to Pakistan to climb K2. He succeeded in summiting the mountain and continues to practice TM today. With those experiences, and somewhat short of money, he went back to work selling software – We hired him.

Check out Mike’s full profile here.

Follow stories from the latest tech brands here. 


How to know if you’re the right fit for a fast growth company.

There’s a lot of buzz, myth and speculation around what it’s like to work in a fast growth or start-up company.

I came across a lot of material around culture, but not so much about career experience. So I had a dig around to get some real insight on working for a company that’s growing pretty fast.

The experience.

Without a doubt you’ll learn heaps – A common theme from everyone that’s worked in a start-up, whether they’ve enjoyed it or not, they’ve learnt loads. By loads I’m talking more in two months than the previous five years.

A start-up forces you to adopt new skills and responsibilities to make up for the big challenges that come with building a really successful business.

The pay-off – experience in all areas of the business and much more responsibility – you can find yourself in a powerful position when it comes time to move on.

No longer a small cog in a large machine – everything you do has impact, but this means it’s time to say goodbye to having a safety blanket. Want to contribute to success or even failure? Small companies will help you focus and push yourself – helping you to become a real problem solver and thinking of creative ways to get there.

The pay-off: you’ll often get to see results first-hand and share in the rewards and glory.

Surrounded by bright sparks – Perhaps one of the most often overlooked rewards is the team that you’ve joined. How many people work with passionate and enthusiastic team players every single day? This can spark inspiration on every level, leading to truly innovative ideas that helps the business stand out against competitors in the greater industry.

The pay-off: The opportunity to work alongside an entrepreneur is a big one — they identify a problem and find a new efficient way to solve it – you’d be part of that.

It’s not forever – If you’re looking for a comfy job with routine and regularity then you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s important to think about the day to day nature of the above and think about whether it’s for you. Joining a company that’s growing quickly gives you the opportunity to start learning what it takes to be your own boss.

Joining a start-up gives you the opportunity to start learning what it takes to be your own boss.

The pay-off: Working in a start-up is the ideal place to educate yourself on how to set goals, execute strategies, take your product to market and implement strong business operations.

Knowing if you have the right skills.

So you’re still weighing up if these organisations are right for you? I spoke to some of our top talent in Australia and they shared these traits needed to thrive:

Inquisition – Explore your options to find the exact best match for you. Fast growth organisations are not all the same and often have different models and very different products – take your time to find the perfect match as you’ll need to be passionate about the job you’re about to take on.

Judgment: Chances are you’re going to be figuring out a lot for yourself so you need to like making decisions that sometimes shooting in the dark. You show up for work and can sense what needs to be done without being told, and you do it.

Communication: Email, phone, face to face, pressure, sometimes chaos – You maintain calm poise and find a way forward. You aren’t alarmed by people throwing things in your direction – you can motivate yourself and teach others to join you.

Curiosity: You like to give things a go and test outcomes outside of your (and often your teams) comfort zone. You seek out the opportunity to learn. You avoid boredom and routine. You’re willing to keep trying and failing.

Courage: You’re going to stand up for what you believe is right – if you think the company is going in a direction that conflicts with it’s shared values, you’re going to voice your concerns and communicate your argument. On the other side of the coin – you’ll also be able to push forward when you don’t always agree with a day-to- day decision.

Passion: You’ll be signed up to publications and build networks of the industry you’re working in. You’ll be out and about at events when you can and reading the latest trends reports because you want to – not because you need to. It’s this passion that will help you identify problems in your own day to day operations and inspire to create industry leading solutions.

Do you work in a fast growth or start up company? I’d be keen to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Keep yourself in the know over the coming month as we’ll be following the hottest brands launching in Australia and sharing exclusive career insights with you. Sound like your cup of tea?

Yes please. 

Phone on lap

We’re in the middle of a big sales shake up

There’s been a bit of buzz around ‘Inside Sales’. It’s a role that’s potentially supersized the growth of many a SaaS organisation over recent years.

It’s also been a bit of a game changer for careers. The notion is a fairly simple one.

Sales—especially B2B sales—is currently undergoing a transformation. As customers become more spread out and remote, sales models are having to act. We’re seeing a big increase in companies invest in a new sales models that involves high touch transactions. It’s been defined as ‘Inside Sales’ and it’s pretty popular with B2C and B2C companies selling high ticket services.

The nature of services offered by SaaS companies is often a fairly complex sell – it requires a relationship beyond traditional transaction.

Engagement, trust, genuine interest in what a company is trying to achieve is the new norm when making a sale.

Customers now have a cycle, and it’s not just a linear path – multiple touch points at multiple stages has put a strong emphases on Sales and Marketing working as one smooth transaction.

The inside sales model is often more cost-effective as a result of advances in sales technology as there’s capability to interact with a higher volume of leads.

Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics recently explained: “Enterprise sales are changing. People are busier than ever: they don’t want to take time out of their day to meet with a sales rep in their office. Fact is, they’d rather be at home with their family than getting wined and dined by someone they don’t know.

The upshot is that they’re willing to cut large checks without ever having a face-to-face meeting with anyone from your company. I’m paying hundreds of thousands of dollars on Salesforce.com and I’ve never met a sales rep in person.

Let’s face it, the CIO is no longer the only person who matters when making technology buy decisions. Demand tends to be driven from the bottom up by people who need, or already use, your product.

So focus on inside sales. We use a hybrid model that’s 90/10 inside/direct. We do million-dollar deals over the phone and use an in-person meeting to close. It cuts costs and our sales reps are twice as productive when they’re in the office.

We hire people who can have high-level conversations with executives and not embarrass us, but who are hungry and scrappy enough to get on the phone and figure out how to navigate the customer’s organization.”

It’s a big shift for sales teams, practically eliminating the need for a cold call. The conversations themselves are also well informed thanks to smart CRM and marketing automation tools. Hard, cold calling is being replaced with engaging, valuable conversation.

A few things you should know about inside sales:

How it took off – Helming a cash-strapped startup, CEO Marc Benioff pioneered several inside sales techniques out of necessity. Perhaps the most prominent example was the company’s offer of free online trials that required no prior contact with a sales rep.

Common job functions:
Sales prospecting
Inbound Sales
Lead Qualification
CRM data logging.

The bigger picture -The alignment between sales and marketing ensures that marketing focuses on the best performing leads in the funnel. Sales reps can interject with a call and close a deal without even leaving the office.

The key to success: Trust. There’s no use in having a world of information if it’s not used in communication. It’s down to the sales team to earn the trust of a prospect and gain an in-depth understanding of their overall business goals.

The right fit: It’s a pretty unique balance of skills for the role covering a large set. Reps combine phone, email and digital or social skills with the more persuasive and target driven skills of a sales rep. It’s a great opportunity to craft skills along the entire sales process from prospecting to researching to presenting to negotiating.

Future leaders: Inside sales leaders of the future need to be people-focused. They need to understand the required skills and competencies. Common paths from inside sales lead to senior inside sales role dealing with larger value deals or field sales BDM.


Content marketing and recruitment – The recipe to success?

It’s been an interesting few months.

Five months ago I made a total industry shift. It’s been one I’ve been pretty keen to get stuck into – recruitment.

With no current marketing team, it was time to come up with a plan of action.

If I’m honest, when I set out I wasn’t sure where the industry was at when it came to content marketing in the recruitment sector. A few things became clear from the get-go.

A couple of guiding principles have been front of mind whilst considering how we should be using content:

  • The power has shifted.Gone are the days of top talent trying to get a recruiters’ attention. According to Ere.net, 83% of recruiters report that the power has shifted away from where it has been for years: the employer. In a candidate-driven marketplace, traditional recruiting approaches simply stop working.
  • Employer branding can help with recruiting efforts.56% of 4,125 global talent leaders in 31 countries surveyed for LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends said they believe cultivating their employer brand is a top priority.
  • Content has a huge role to play.In order to stand out as an employer, companies will need to start posting more work culture related posts and leveraging their employees to share them. 58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their companies if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see interesting posts that gives them a better sense of what the company is about. The recruitment industry has a huge opportunity to take advantage, tell a story and get involved.
  • It never stops. Forbes recently reported that 86% of employees are already looking for work outside their current occupations and nearly one third of employers expert workers to job hop – there’s a continuous job search and content marketing needs to take a similar tack.

We’re quite lucky here at Salient in the profile of clients we get to work for – they’re pretty hot and they grow really fast. Naturally, they have awesome stories – but every brand does – you just have to know where to look for them.

Traditional recruitment marketing is still very short sighted – filling roles for now, which just doesn’t cut it for these guys who need to plan ahead and build pipelines of talent for next week, next month, next quarter. No more riff-raffing around scrambling to fill an ad.

These are the core areas I’m going to be focusing on over the coming months because I reckon they may just make or break content marketing in recruitment.

1. Know your pipelines

I wish I had time to write stories about all the brands we work with, touching on all the areas of the business –but I don’t.

Be focused with content efforts. Pick a couple of your key industries – in our case that’s SaaS and Digital. From there look at the job roles that are in high demand and short supply and tailor your campaigns by segmenting them in a similar way. It makes it one thousand times easier to work with Sales if you’re both working on the same funnels. It also gives you a better chance of conversion.

2. Find the right stories

Recruitment content doesn’t have to be around ‘how to build your career’. There’s a huge amount of content topics to be covered. Personally I’m really interested in telling and hearing the stories of the people that work inside a company. What were the expectations when you started? How do you feel about it 6 months on? What opportunities have you been given? What’s the stationery like!? (Ok maybe I’ll save the latter for my friends).

3. Give talent some breathing space

Top talent get calls and messages from recruiters on a daily basis. Many have become cynical about recruiters as a result. Be smart with your marketing, instead of asking if you can call back in 6 months to check in, why not ask them if they’re interested in signing up to your content and keeping up to date with the movers and shakers in their industry through some weekly stories from inside those brands? Use your smarts to pick up on any changes in behaviour, then sure it’s pretty reasonable to give have a recruiter call. They’ll be much more likely to communicate with you if you can be bang on point with the time you call. Make a guided decision.

4. Use the technology and make the experience easy

Whether you use a technology product or you have a savvy product use your technology then show it back to clients. Track all your analytics then feed them back to clients – they’ll be much more keen to do more content with you when they see it’s working.

Curated content would also fit in here. There are some pretty awesome products around, from Feedly to NewsCred (free to $3000+) – you can easily keep an eye on the content your clients are publishing themselves and re-purpose them with your own brand content to provide a nice balance of stories.

5. Play the long game

Starting a new career path is not the same as buying a television – there’s often anything from 1 month to 3 years between thinking about another job and actually leaving for one. But if you’ve been nurtured for months, reading stories and really buying into the values of a brand – chances are you’re more likely to go there.

I’m looking forward to checking back in a few months to see how the results are working in practice. If you’re working in recruitment, I’d love to hear about your plans..