In this episode: Mark Bailey, Growth Lead at Rose Rocket, joins us to share his experiences and perspectives gained from his time on the recruiting side of sales. How has recruiting changed over the past 15 years? What are the skills that recruiters are looking for regardless of timing? How would Mark put his own advice into action today, if trying to land a job? Stay tuned!
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In this episode: Mark Bailey, Growth Lead at Rose Rocket, shares his experiences and perspectives gained from his time on the recruiting side of sales. How has recruiting changed over the past 15 years? And more!
Welcome to sellers journey, the podcast where we speak to great sales reps and leaders and share their real stories from start to sales success.
Joseph Fung: Hello, everybody. I’m Joseph Fung and today we’re chatting with Mark Bailey, Growth Leader at Rose Rocket. Mark, how are you doing?
Mark Bailey: I’m good. How are you?
Joseph Fung: Doing really well, thank you for joining us today.
Mark Bailey: Thanks for having me.
Joseph Fung: Now, Rose Rocket, not everybody’s going to be aware of the firm and what you do. So maybe you could help us out? What’s the 30-second pitch? What is Rose Rocket?
Mark Bailey: Sure. So we’re in transportation software, our elevator pitches as you’d have it is we provide small to medium-sized logistics companies with the ability to customize their TMS as if they were buying a million-dollar piece of software. And so we focus on a very specific area called transportation management software. Basically, if you move freight, you run your business on a piece of software like ours.
Joseph Fung: And would your customers be predominantly the US? European? Where were you focused?
Mark Bailey: North America predominantly the US. Obviously, some also in Canada’s, we’re Canadian. We don’t support international yet.
Joseph Fung: Awesome. This is exciting. So I’m very, I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation. I gotta be candid with you because you run a growth team. And so you’re onboarding and hiring SDR sales reps. But you also came from a recruiting background, and we spend all day talking to people who are in career transition. So I think your journey is going to be a really interesting one to share. To kick it off and to get things started. Maybe you could share a bit around where you grew up, where you went to school.
Mark Bailey: Sure. So I grew up in Throne Hill, went to school, University of Western, You know, I guess that’s pretty typical Toronto experience.
Joseph Fung: Totally, totally normal. Yeah. And when you finish school, you started off in recruiting right away, right?
Mark Bailey: Yeah, just fell into it. I had planned to go into finance. I had interviews, both at some of the Canadian banks and at a recruitment firm and my cousin who was in London was a headhunter and was doing really well and my aunt was always, you know, bragging about them. And so, just kind of, you know, some when I got an opportunity, I just kind of fell into it and, you know, one thing led to another and got into recruiting.
Joseph Fung: That’s so interesting how the family dynamics can influence the journey like that. Looking back at your journey so far, do you ever, you know, wish that you’d gone the other route, wish you’d gone to finance instead.
Mark Bailey: I don’t know if I wish I’d gone into finance. I wish I’d gone into Startups earlier and tech in general. But, you know, can’t change it. So, no sense dwelling on it.
Joseph Fung: So getting into Startups, we’re gonna get there. I’m excited about that. Let’s talk a little bit about recruiting because you have a wealth of experience on the recruiting side of things. And you spoke to me a little bit earlier about how that’s changed over time. Can you share a little bit about what that evolution was like?
Mark Bailey: Sure, so I don’t want to totally take myself but, I joined recruiting just you know, a little bit after the .com bubble had burst. And before the .com bubble, recruiting was an extremely lucrative industry because you know, LinkedIn didn’t exist, Monster and these other websites for if at anything, just starting, to get some market share. And so it was all done through salespeople. And so people were making you know, money hands over fist a really sales-driven industry.
The analogy people say is like you were a good recruiter if you got on an elevator. And when you got off, you had everyone on the elevator’s resume. So it was very sales focused. And then the .com bubble burst, no more recruitment. And all the recruiters went from being, you know, 300 k recruiters to, you know, 300 k salespeople in tech. And I got to see that transition. And so all the people who had been there for a long time, they grew up in that previous experience. And then there was also this new modern tech world and I kind of came in between so, I ended up learning the classical sales techniques, rather than the more technology-focused recruiting techniques that you might find today. And yeah.
Joseph Fung: So, that idea, as you said, those traditional sales techniques, I mean, one of the things that’s so true. And so many of the journeys that we’re hearing is that idea of identifying and leveraging transferable skills. You know, I’d love to hear what sticks out to you, as a recruiter, what are some of those skills that you picked up that you think to translate well into the sales role?
Mark Bailey: For sure, being able to identify buying interest or a market. You know, what do people want? What are people motivated by? How do you have a conversation with someone about buying anything regardless of what that is? But, probably the biggest one is, how do you overcome objections? How do you become, you know, let’s say professionally persuadable?
Joseph Fung: And when you think about that, as a recruiter, low PD objections that you bumped into, you know, is it simply things like I’m happy in my job or more sophisticated or elaborate once?
Mark Bailey: Yeah, it could be all that stuff. I mean, the key with any objection is to really know what the true objection is. Because sometimes people say, you know, they’re happy in their job. But the real objection is they don’t know you. Or, you know, why should we be talking at all? And so, every objection is different. But ultimately, you know, the goal is to deconstruct, you know, the argument as if it’s an equation, and then attack one of the smaller variables, which would if you, if you could break down that variable would invalidate the conclusion. But people defend the smaller variables emotionally a lot less than the final conclusion. And that was always very helpful throughout my career.
Joseph Fung: Could you give me an example? Is there something that comes to mind when you’re, you’re thinking about that idea of the variables and the smaller components?
Mark Bailey: You put me on the spot, but let’s say,
Joseph Fung: I know, it’s a bit of a hot seat. So sorry,
Mark Bailey: we’re trying to come up with a good analogy, but let’s say someone says to you, you know, price is the only thing that matters on software. And, you know, the real objection here is that you know, the software is commoditized, you know, one software is as good as the other. And so, you know, you would have to say, you know, are there features that, you know, you could use this feature as an example. And if he could use that feature, well, then I could say that not all software is identical, because some of these features would be different. So the type of conversation about whether these features would have specific value to you. And now I’m talking about features and value again, I’m not talking about, you know, winning on price.
Joseph Fung: I love that example. Thank you so much. So, I see how all this stuff would also be really applicable in not just a sales role, but also a leadership role. And you jumped into that startup environment and ran your own company as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Mark Bailey: Yep. I after about a decade in recruitment, I had I had a vision you know for how you know maybe the recruitment industry might change and started my own HR tech startup and just dove in headfirst had looking back on it very little idea what I was doing here I tried to learn on the go as best I could, came out of it, you know, stronger for kind of the forged in fire sort of analogy. And yeah, that’s how I got into the Startup Space.
Joseph Fung: So I’m super intrigued. You can imagine the path from recruiting into running a startup that is in that recruiting and a player brand space. What got you into Rose Rocket? You know, what was that inspiration and had to transition into that role?
Mark Bailey: Nothing too magical here. My old company that I started job hobble, got into the Ryerson DMZ and Rose Rocket was there at the same time, and we just had happened to share desk space. And when I close the door at Rose Rocket, the CEO said, you know, why don’t you come work with us over here? And I’m like, sounds good to me.
Joseph Fung: Love it nice and easy opportunity saying maybe you were riding the elevator together.
Mark Bailey: Yeah, exactly. Good joke.
Joseph Fung: So you’re, now you’re leading growth. And you mentioned how you are recruiting, hiring, onboarding training, sales reps. Can you share with me a little bit around what you’re looking for, as you’re drilling for those sales reps? What are some of the indicators?
Mark Bailey: Sure. So when it comes to the sales reps, the number one thing I try to look for is self-motivated. And so generally, you know, you put on a resume, you know, self-starter self-motivated. People don’t really know what that means. And so it just becomes like a throwaway, you know, a sentence like good communication skills you’re like, what exactly do I, how do I differentiate that? So, drilling down a little bit, I really search for people with a burning desire to achieve things in their life, not just about money, but they want to have a sense of accomplishment. And so I take care of, you know, the motivation piece or the management piece, you know, at the recruiting phase. And then I try to augment their skillset wherever they might be lacking if, because I don’t really hire much for previous experience. I actually, like when I work with external recruiters, I tell them I don’t care about their previous quota attainment, I don’t care what they did like we have roles for grand new grads and we have roles for people with a little bit of experience. I’m looking for the kind of, you know, raw passion, aptitude, the ability to think on your feet, and then ultimately, you know, the likability that’s just to some extent is required in sales, right? You’re still a personal dynamic between people.
Joseph Fung: So I’d love to unbox that a little bit. I love how you spoke about hiring people who, who don’t really fit that mold. We work with people, and we chat with people like that all the time. And, you know, one of the things that people often ask is, what can I do to demonstrate that I have those characteristics when my LinkedIn profile doesn’t have that kind of experience? So you mentioned you look for that sign of passion kind of growth, what would be some of the things that you look for that are indicators, you know that you should have that conversation?
Mark Bailey: Okay, a good question. So I’m looking for anything that shows me that you have, you’ve been trying in, let’s say, like, quote, unquote, life. So let’s say you’re a student, maybe you started clubs, or maybe you started a small business. I don’t care if it was a bad business or whatever. Or, you know, maybe you were from and I mean, this literally, like from a different country. And you took the step of moving away from everyone you knew to come like start a sales tech career in Toronto, and you’ve then gone and like, found some success in a couple of different, you know, nonrelated industries, anything like that, that shows me that burning desire, it will come through on the resume, as opposed to just, you know, went to university, went to this job, and, you know, I can’t really see that sort of activity level. That’s how I filter for when I’m looking at resumes.
Joseph Fung: So, you’ve got this unique opportunity now, to have gone through this incredible journey now, you know, not just on the recruiting side, but as a founder, you know, leading a growth team at a really exciting company. If you are reflecting back and chatting with Mark Bailey who’s just graduating from Western, what’s some of the things advice that you might give that Mark?
Mark Bailey: So I give this advice to everybody. You know, haven’t been a recruiter for a long time, you do get a lot here.
Joseph Fung: That’s gonna keep yourself honest. I like that.
Mark Bailey: Yeah. I would always say do what you love. The thing I always would counsel people who are maybe starting up their careers, as I said, like, you know, the worst lawyer doesn’t make any money. You know, the best person at Comic Books does really well it the other day, it’s like, it’s really about the passion that’s gonna separate you, from your peers. And even you know, and going back to sales on this, this is why I look for passion is that like, sales is not the kind of job where you can just start your career and you’re immediately the best at it. It’s something you have to work at. And it’s much more of a craft like acting than it is maybe something like, you know, like engineering. And so the people, who have the passion and continuously work on their craft, get better. And that only happens if you love it. And if you don’t love it, you know, do something else that you love, because then that passion is going to let you know, perform your peers in that space too.
Joseph Fung: Anyway, I think about the Rose Rocket team, and I’ve seen some of the photos that you guys post on LinkedIn and the celebrations you had, not just from the work at home, but celebrating Valentine’s Day and people join the company, it’s clear that your whole team lives and breathes that passion. So you’re a good advocate for the culture that you have.
Mark Bailey: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Joseph Fung: I know I promised that I wouldn’t keep you too long. Can we go through a couple of rapid-fire questions, and then I can let you go?
Mark Bailey: Absolutely.
Joseph Fung: Cool, so I’m super intrigued to hear your answers given the experiences that you’ve had. I was gonna say just your favorite sales tool, but let’s open that up and your sales, recruiting any of those experiences. What’s your favorite tool?
Mark Bailey: Right now it’s Gong. If you know Gong that I owe, what a powerful tool for like a sales manager who only has so much time to transcribe all of your conversations with your team and be able to search them and create statistic reports. It saves me on it like it saves me 40 hours a week.
Joseph Fung: Oh, that’s, that’s remarkable. I’d love that to sitting you 40 hours a week and you spend the rest of the time on the beach.
Mark Bailey: I guess I got another 40 hours of work behind that first 40.
Joseph Fung: It’s a benefit of being an early team member.
Mark Bailey: Yeah.
Joseph Fung: Okay. Outside of work, movies. What’s your favorite movie?
Mark Bailey: I don’t really have a favorite. I love movies too much to have. Favorite. I mean, there’s got to be, you know, 40 or 50 movies that I watch over and over and over again.
Joseph Fung: Cool! Is there, so let’s just call your favorite then is there a one or two in that list that you’ve watched perhaps the most.
Mark Bailey: There’s a movie called Margin Call. If you don’t know that one, I definitely recommend it. It’s a…
Joseph Fung: I don’t know. I’m adding it to list.
Mark Bailey: You know, The Godfather One and Two, Casino. These are all different aspects of my personality, I guess, different movies.
Joseph Fung: Okay, last one, when you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
Mark Bailey: You know, the word that come to my, into my head here is healthy. That’s probably not the most common answer.
Joseph Fung: Not at all. Boom. Wow. It is a profound and powerful one.
Mark Bailey: Yeah. So that’s my honest answer.
Joseph Fung: I love it. Mark, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your insights. This has been a fantastic conversation.
Mark Bailey: Thanks so much for having me. This was a lot of fun.
Joseph Fung: My pleasure. I’m looking forward to our next conversation. We’ll chat again soon.
Mark Bailey: Okay. Take care.
Joseph Fung: Take care.