On Monday, August 19, 2013, OLC attended The World of Recruiting For Business Development and Sales Talent at AppNexus. The panelists were recruiters from tech companies based in New York City. Andrew Cerda of Foursquare, Katie Moriarty of Spotify, Dana Williams of Gilt Groupe, Josh Schwartz of AppNexus, Jenna Heasley of Thrillist, Alex Taub of Dwolla (as MC) and Eric Batscha of AppNexus (as Moderator) were present at the event.
Eric Batscha: What is the difference between sales and business development in your organizations?
Josh Schwartz: We built a totally customizable platform that brings together people in display ad space. There’s definitely some overlap, but business development is more about building partnerships with brands. It can be about building data partnerships. The sales team takes product to market and brings in the customers.
Jenna Heasley: We have three different business lines—everything started with Thrillist.com. We now have a travel vertical. There’s a lot of overlap definitely, but the key thing is long-term partnerships. At Thrillist, we don’t have bid development teams. We have partnerships instead.
Katie Moriarty: For us, it’s specifically ad sales. We hire people who have experience selling digital ads. From a BD standpoint, it’s more of a partnership point of view.
Dana Williams: We have several different verticals. We added in city deals. For us, the difference is that sales represents city deals. They put together packages for the site. The BD group is two fields: Media partnerships using Gilt as a marketing platform and the other aspect is pitching to brands.
Andrew Cerda: Our sales team takes data and markets it to advertisers and merchants directly. We have a team that works on payments and mobile space.
EB: Can you talk about what you look for for these roles?
AC: Our BD, being segmented to the backbone of apps, are incorporating brands to Foursquare. We look for people who have done this before. For us, we look for people that have experience in that niche. For sales, we look for numbers and performance.
JH: It’s the numbers that really matter. They should exceed your goal. It speaks volumes to what you will bring to the table. We look for people that have experience with digital marketing.
EB: What is a typical sales person?
DW: For me, it’s when you know you are being pitched. I look for people who can talk about their company naturally and explain it. I think someone on the other end should not be aware that they are being pitched.
KM: When I look for sales, I look for a consultative seller. It’s hard to gather a lot of information at the beginning, but it should be evident later on. Culturally, the sales team needs to fit with the Spotify mold.
EB: Is there a difference with sales and business development? BD should be consultative or not?
JS: The process is slightly different. For BD, you’re bringing in finance, legal and product. For sales, the end goal is to make a sale. In BD, you can’t have a quarterly quote that you have to meet.
EB: Can you talk about how recruiting has changed?
DW: It’s moved away from me reaching out to people. It’s changed to people reaching out to me. Candidates cold call me now.
EB: What are some things that people that want to get into BD should know?
DW: For me, I would think someone with sales experience—calling me and explaining to me why I need to hire them—the proactive element is there and you need some of hat. The way you approach the job candidacy is very important.
JH: It you just shoot your resume and it’s not sales-based, you need to explain yourself. What are your expectations? Why do want to join and what you’ll be bringing to the table.
JS: A lot of resumes we get are very similar to each other, so try to make yours stand out.
AC: Our executive team loves to hear about the first time you had a job. It should your work ethic and approach.
EB: When you look for Jr. or Sr executives, is there a difference?
KM: For us, it’s referrals. It’s a huge stream for us. It helps at the Jr. level, but Sr. levels are LinkedIn or through referrals.
EN: What’s the modern day-to-day for you?
DW: My day is spent very closely with business leaders planning for the future and looking at staff rules. I look at restructuring, staff pipelines. I tend to have discussions with hiring managers for comments on candidates.
KM: My day is catching up with email. Then meeting with hiring managers. It’s a lot of phone calls.
JS: One thing we like to do at AppNexus is give people responsibility. We spend a lot of time with hiring managers. Consulting them if you’re a right fit.
EB: What is the typical internet process like?
DW: It’s very much much about the numbers. For BD, it’ll be a question vs, low deals, open or closed, and walking me through the process and the partnerships that you’ve dealt well.