Hiring the Right Sales & Marketing Leader for a Technology Startup

The Challenge

A fast-paced, early-stage organization (The Client) focused on innovative products to enable the new creative economy by leveraging exponential technologies—including blockchain, crypto, and artificial intelligence. This Toronto start-up was looking to market its products in North America and globally. Revenue generation was their initial focus, with a view to sustained growth, and profitability within the next couple of years.

The Client was in immediate need of their first Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to spearhead their growth initiative. The market for such a position in this emerging technology sector is highly competitive, making it very difficult to attract someone with the right skillset. The ideal hire needed to be knowledgeable in blockchain and the crypto economy, as well as have a track record for launching a similar product. And because of the early-stage nature of the venture, the new CRO had to have a high tolerance for risk, both in terms of the business and career success.

Diane Homer

Diane is a Principal in the Executive Search & Interim Management practice at B. Riley Farber. She specializes in providing end-to-end recruitment solutions within the sales, marketing, and digital discipline on an interim or permanent basis across all industry sectors and has a national scope.

The cultural fit was also crucial, given the established, close-knit nature of the existing team. The candidate had to be passionate, innovative, and creative, with a “get-things-done” attitude. Practically, the organization needed someone who could work closely with the CEO, while taking ownership and responsibility to grow the team around them as the business prospered.

The Solution

Given the urgent need, the CRO position would have to be a fast hire. We quickly defined the role as including business development, strategic planning, fostering partnerships, and product marketing. Functionally, the candidate would need to be accountable for performance metrics, including sales growth and profitability, while driving execution through internal teams, industry groups and other ecosystem partners.

We guided the client through a thorough search, even though this was an urgent hire, since the necessary characteristics of our hire were so extensive. We then presented an exceptional shortlist to our client with experienced individuals across the crypto and blockchain space with experience within different verticals.

The Outcome

An outstanding individual, who checked every box, was selected to join the team. They brought fantastic credentials of having launched similar product offerings to global markets, had built a variety of businesses from the ground up, and had strong leadership capabilities.

This was an exciting and very impactful hire for The Client. Within a short space of time, the incumbent took the reigns from the CEO and was leading the charge on revenue for the organization. They had a successful launch of the product into the market and have since hired a number of new members to join the team. As The Client has remarked:

“All is going very well with [our new CRO]. I am very pleased with how he has been leading the team and tackling the challenges. I am also enjoying working with them.”

“All good! They are settling in very nicely and bringing value already.”

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