Recycle Away is a leading national eCommerce B2B retailer and distributor providing custom recycling and sustainability solutions to a bevy of premium clients across industries—from Fortune 500 companies, major universities, top sports franchises, and luxury hotels and resorts to government agencies and nonprofits. With annual gross revenue of $15-20 million and consistent year-over-year growth for over a decade, this boutique powerhouse was seeking a head of sales to drive its next phase of growth.
After tapping out his network, interviewing a handful of candidates, and nearly moving forward with a “bad hire,” the founder, President, and CEO, Michael Alexander needed to shift his approach. During an offsite leadership meeting, he and the CFO, Steven Kozak, agreed they would engage an expert recruiter to fill this senior leadership role. Following discussions with several headhunters, Michael discovered DANA Associates while searching online for Boston sales recruiters.
Recycle Away is headquartered in a rural industrial area in Vermont and employs a diverse, close-knit team. Setting a high bar for inbound marketing excellence, the company has a robust engine that fuels its massive pipeline, leading Michael to focus on hiring a tech-savvy, enterprise, SaaS CRO from the Boston area to generate net-new business, upsell key accounts and bring new ideas to develop a stronger outbound capability. This was a high-stakes hire for Recycle Away given the aggressive near-term business objectives, cross-functional leadership needs, and the company’s size and culture.
Michael needed a headhunter who could deeply understand the complexities of their business and unique culture and crystallize the demands and qualifications of the role to make a successful hire.
A hallmark of DANA’s approach is immersion. We began with a series of conversations with Michael to define our partnership goals and set expectations. To kick off our discovery process, the team met with Michael in our Cambridge office and visited Recycle Away’s company headquarters to dive into the business model and operations and conduct a thorough needs analysis.
Denise Grant, President of DANA Associates met with the Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success Directors to understand in greater depth the company’s strategic imperatives for business growth, cultural dynamics, and the skills of each functional area, obtaining business-critical insight for defining the senior sales role.
Michael explains, “We were still evolving what type of hire would be the right hire. It was important that I more fully understood what I wanted. Denise recognized that and was flexible in her thinking and approach. She worked diligently to help me narrow down the type of candidate I was seeking. We discussed sales leadership and the critical qualities and skills I needed for the business to grow, and she helped guide my thinking so I could make the ultimate decision. Denise remained open, continued to advise us, and was always there to give us a reality check which was of huge value.”
In just a few weeks and with the goal of presenting 3 candidates, DANA Associates identified, evaluated, and presented 4, dynamic, agile, and experienced sales leaders of various company and industry backgrounds. As a group, they shared similar values, qualities, and attributes.
“At the start, I didn’t notice how the cultural fit was so vital. I was more focused on skills. Denise’s vision and pivot to recruiting Vermont candidates were crucial to our success. They were more culturally aligned with the local environment and our organization; they understood us, and our vibe, and made it easy for us to envision the candidate as part of our team. This is genius!” Michael exclaimed.
Michael and the team met with the curated group of candidates, giving Recycle Away more than one strong contender to whom they could make an offer. DANA conducted further due diligence, including comprehensive reference checks, and an offer was made. We advised on the compensation package and the employment agreement.
Things turned and turned for the better. While we were initially engaged to identify a CRO, the resulting outcome was a successful placement of a new CEO—in just under 6 weeks. Working through the process with DANA Associates enabled Michael to robustly assess the strategic and cross-functional leadership requirements needed for the role. He concluded that hiring a new CEO was critical to achieving Recycle Away’s corporate and business goals, while also freeing him to expand his scope of professional, and personal, endeavors.
Michael explains, “Overall, the process was an incredibly quick one to get us to this place. We received a huge education that made us agile and knowledgeable about the hiring process. We more fully understood what questions to ask, narrowed the qualifications for whom we were seeking, engaged in better negotiations, and developed a compensation package and employment agreement with Denise’s continuous guidance. She took concrete steps every day to move forward, and we were in constant communication. I was transparent about the business, and Denise coached me on how to see the signposts, so I could see my way clearly to making a decision.
I can’t stress enough; we were supported in every way throughout the process, giving us a high degree of confidence to handle the twists and turns of the search. As a business owner, it is a very visceral process, especially when searching for a CEO. It’s essential to have a trusted advisor to lean on and make hiring stressless. When you partner with DANA Associates you are getting people who are deeply invested in your success. Denise was fully dedicated to finding us the outstanding CEO we hired, and instrumental to a successful search outcome. For the first time, in a long time, I was able to sleep at night.”
Recycle Away can be found at RecycleAway.com.