By Paula Norris, Regional Sales Director, Captify
A year into my tenure at Captify, the regional business had gone from strength to strength. It was Captify’s first foray into a remote office and I was extremely privileged to be the guinea pig for future expansion. It was time for me to recruit a righthand partner to help me divide and conquer. As a team of two covering a vast geographical landscape it was important that this employee shared the same values, dedication and had the same relationships I did. Both working remotely from different locations, coupled with being out on the road for a large proportion of the week I didn’t have time or headspace to hand hold. I have been in the industry for 17 years which leads to a hefty book of contacts. Something we pride ourselves on in the North is the close-knit community. You only have to take a look at the buzz of the atmosphere at an MPA, Northern Digital Doo or NABS event to appreciate that the industry up here works like an extended family.
What did I look for in my right-hand woman? – someone who was able to bring skills that complimented mine, someone who I could still learn from despite being the boss, and someone who would deliver the same passion and energy around the product as I did. We had to be alike but different or there was no value in the partnership. I was lucky enough to find Samantha organically through my connections on LinkedIn and I am extremely proud to say that 4 years later she is still with me.
Why do we work? Fundamentally because we are alike but different. We both have the same core values at heart when it comes to client service, but as people we are very contrasting. Samantha brings the creative flair and I bring the technology experience and systems to help keep the business ticking and planning for the future.
After two years as a duo, business was going from strength to strength and it was time to employ our very own client strategy team member. Nobody wants to be a third wheel in a relationship; therefore, it was important to find someone that plugged the missing gaps. We recruited Naomi who was relocating from London. In this I saw an opportunity for her to bring her knowledge of working and growing big accounts in the London hemisphere to the regions. We had the relationships pretty stitched up between the two of us, so it didn’t matter that she didn’t have a black book of contacts. Attention to detail and efficiency are certainly two areas in which Naomi shines and which greatly compliment Samantha’s creative, storytelling and artistic flair.
Our latest recruit to the team was Joe who was taken on as sales support. Thankfully someone who again was referred through our contacts, as we had some interesting interviews with post grad candidates. Possibly one of our hardest and most challenging recruits as it’s nigh on impossible to filter through a collection of CVs with no previous experience of the industry. Joe is the youngest member of the team but he certainly keeps us all in check. Constantly drawing us back to dedicate time to being proactive which can be last on the list of your to-dos with lots of incoming business to juggle. He has his hands full with three headstrong ambitious women, but he certainly knows how to get the best from us.
How do we continue to operate in a post covid world? When the pandemic hit and panic swept the nation, there was an underlying concern from management as to how a business would possibly operate with all its team members working in silo. This was the last concern on our agenda – we were season pros. It was actually refreshing for the whole business to experience being at the end of a Google hangout and trying to keep on top of product updates, internal systems, processes and just generally remaining visible. As a regional arm of a global business it’s easy to be the distant relative at a party who no one can quite remember the name of. Everyone was now in our boat, so in many ways the pandemic has been a positive thing for us.
How do I continue to get the best out of my team? They have to want to turn up and show up every day for me, not for the pay cheque or the perks of the business. I have to inspire them on a weekly basis – it’s down to me to ingest the onslaught of information in this ever-changing landscape and translate it into a manner in which they can easily relay to their clients. I maintain an open dialogue of feedback. If I can’t have an open conversation with them on ways to improve without feelings and emotions coming into it then we aren’t going to succeed. I have to be the voice of the whole team to the senior management team and they have to trust in me that I will fight their corner. For me they are my extended family but I have to know when to don the mother hat, when to don the evil step mum hat, when to be the crazy uncle and when to be the successful sibling that you tire of hearing about.
As management during our recruitment process, we often get caught up in finding people who fit the mould. I’m not suggesting that personality fit should be overlooked completely, however throughout the pandemic we have certainly drawn on our team character nuances more than ever. Each bringing our unique value to the day to day. It’s made me realise what an effective team structure we have and we definitely wouldn’t have thrived had we all had the same approach to life.