Large scale European hiring

Our client

WebEx is the leading Web Conferencing/Unified Communications platform vendor and was one of the first truly successful SaaS companies, alongside Salesforce.com. The company was acquired for $3.2 billion by Cisco Systems and had grown to $380m revenues at the point of being acquired. We first became involved with WebEx as they launched in Europe in 2002 and spent three years working with them as they scaled their international business massively.

Background

Symbiosis Search started working with WebEx in 2002 - very shortly after EMEA start-up and when the business was just a handful of people. At the time, the European business was mainly focused on selling into the SMB market.

We were engaged by the SVP Global Sales, GM EMEA and HR Director to build out WebEx’s Enterprise-class Sales team from zero in Europe (the existing team was 100% SMB-focussed). In addition, we were tasked with cross-functional Management-level hiring and executing any high-impact hires which were proving difficult to complete via traditional internal referral, advertising and third party recruitment agency channels.

As a part of this process, we were retained on a long-term contract and managed multiple candidate channels – proactively Searching ourselves in the main for high-value leadership hires but also managing other 3rd party recruitment agencies where required – particularly for less complex and lower-level hires. The rationale was to target and attract the best possible talent in the quickest possible timeframe, and with the minimum spent in terms of cost per hire from a recruitment fee and management time/effort perspective.

During this fast-growth period for WebEx (2002-2005), we directly managed the Executive Searches for the following roles in Europe (35+ hires over a three year period):

Management

  • VP Sales EMEA (based Netherlands)
  • Senior Director Finance EMEA (based UK)
  • VP Marketing EMEA (based UK)
  • HR Director EMEA (based Netherlands)
  • Enterprise Sales Director (based UK)
  • Managing Director DACH (based Germany)

Services

  • 4 x Client Services Managers EMEA (based Netherlands)
  • Product Training Manager EMEA (based Netherlands)

Enterprise Sales

  • 3 x Enterprise Sales Nordics
  • 5 x Enterprise Sales UK
  • 3 x Enterprise Sales Germany
  • 3 x Enterprise Sales France

Alliances

  • Partner Sales Director EMEA (based UK)
  • Business Development Director EMEA (based UK)

The hires we made were critical for the success of the European business for a number of reasons: we hired most of the leadership team; we enabled the successful transition of WebEx from an SMB-focused business to breaking into the Enterprise market; we hired their first people on the ground in France and Germany; and we hired the individuals who would create truly game-changing alliances with key resellers and partners across Europe. For 2-3 years, we were their key talent partner, retained to execute vital senior Searches and manage the recruiting process for their important hires.

By the time WebEx was acquired by Cisco in 2007, the European team was exponentially larger than it was when we first started working with them. The business had grown from single digit millions in Europe to $35m+. This was enabled by the team and foundations we helped to recruit.