News/Hiring a VP of Sales ...Drumroll Please

Hiring a VP of Sales ...Drumroll Please

March 23, 2020

Exciting times here at Epiq. 10 year celebration down to Cancun, check. Moving into our new digs, check. Growing our team and quickly approaching a team size of 50...that blows my mind. I know lots of companies breeze on past this size, but it is a big deal to me, and that we’ve had slow and steady growth over the course of time while continuing to build our business. That aspect of team growth, in particular, is one that has taken a good bit of my attention over the last six months. In addition to growing our engineering team with three new team members thus far in 2020, and two more fresh-outs starting in May 2020, the other big focus area has been our customer-facing sales team. During the second half of 2019, we decided that it was time to make the plunge and bring on a full time VP of Sales...someone responsible for leading and supporting our sales team to continue knocking it out of the park each year.

So how exactly does a small company hire a VP of Sales? Well, it turns out that having a reasonably large network of connections in the industry is a tremendous help. Instead of having to post the VP of Sales role and cross our fingers for candidates, or working with a recruiter that wasn’t familiar with our business, we were able to leverage our professional network (and our team’s network) of connections to get an initial batch of candidates on our radar. We had a number of folks on our customer-facing team step forward with someone they had worked with previously, sticking their neck out to say, “hey, this person over here...this person is the right fit for Epiq”.

In addition to having the right candidate pool, we needed to make sure that we had clarity on the definition of this role and its responsibilities (other than simply saying “go lead the sales team”). Delivering successful results and leading a team to make it happen is a complex engagement. We came up with five core traits from an initial list of 36 that we viewed as critical for the individual to be successful in this role. In no particular order:

  • Responsibility - Takes psychological ownership of what they say they will do. Is committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
  • Maximizer - Focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. Seeks to transform something strong into something superb.
  • Strategic - Creates alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, quickly spots the relevant patterns and issues.
  • Focus - Takes a direction, follows through, and makes the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
  • Activator - Makes things happen by turning thoughts into action. Is often impatient.

From here, we narrowed down the resume pool to a group that we felt had a reasonable balance of technology sales leadership experience in relevant areas of interest. In December ‘19, we started a round of phone interviews that lasted until January, and aggregated all of this feedback together. At this point, I felt very good about the pool of people we had in front of us. A number of strong candidates emerged, and I was ecstatic that we weren’t going to be longing for someone that we just couldn’t find.

We down-selected to a group of three candidates to fly out to Epiq HQ in February for all day in-person interviews. We got to go deep with each candidate on their leadership experience, technical experience, industry experience, and of course how each candidate stacked up against the five characteristics we identified as key for this role. We wrapped up our interviews in mid-February, and we had a unanimous decision on how to move forward.

So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Chris Whalen as Epiq’s new VP of Sales! Chris brings 25+ years of experience as a sales leader across a number of technology industries including analytics platforms for wireline/wireless service providers and network traffic analysis solutions. He has been responsible for sales organizations in the commercial sector, where he worked at both large and small companies including Edge Intelligence, Packet Design, Nokia, and Cisco. He has also been responsible for leading federal sales teams, supporting customers including DISA, CENTCOM, SPAWAR, National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, and the Air Force.

Chris lives and works out of his house in Portsmouth, NH, and he can be reached via email at cwhalen@epiqsolutions.com.

Hiring a VP of Sales can be tricky, especially for a small company like Epiq. We are thrilled to have Chris on board, and we look forward to working with him to continue delivering value to both our SDR and RF sensing solutions customers.

Learn more about the team at Epiq >

Author

John Orlando
Chief Executive Officer