Introducing our Commercial Operations Director, Clare…
Since reading ‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing’, I set myself a goal to reach out to one successful person at MarketMakers every month. This month I spoke to our Commercial Operations Director, Clare…
I met with Clare for dinner, and we spoke about how the following week (w/c 18th Feb) would mark Clare’s 15th year at MarketMakers, wow! As with everyone I have spoken to so far, Clare didn’t fall into her position as Commercial Operations Director, she has worked hard to get where she is today.
So where did she start?
Clare actually started her working life part-time in a retail company whilst at college. By the time Clare was 18, she was working full-time as a key holder, managing its £35k weekly turnover. She had the determination to do well and always striving to get the best result, which she gained from her family sporting mentality and previous personal experience with sport.
A little later down the line, Clare became an Area Manager for the retail firm. She was working 90+ hour weeks and travelling around different stores to help boost their turnover. Having a taste of success and the benefits it can bring financially, it started to spur Clare onto bigger things. After working 90+ hour weeks, in 2003 Clare decided to go travelling with a friend – something she had wanted to do for a while. It was perfect timing as the company had been acquired by a larger firm and was offered voluntary redundancy.
Her time at Thomas Sanderson
The next year, Clare travelled around South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and America where she gained as much life experience as possible. When she returned from travelling, she knew she had a mortgage to pay, so went to a recruitment agency the very next day. It was at this point, she was interviewed at Thomas Sanderson for a telesales role. Given Clare’s experience in retail with customer service experience, the role was perfect for getting back into work and helping her earn more money.
Clare was on the phone, cold calling consumers to book appointments for conservatory blinds and awnings at Thomas Sanderson. Having taken a big pay cut from her previous role, Clare needed to ensure that she absolutely smashed her targets and overtime to make sure she made enough to make ends meet.
Clare quickly became a top performer and found that sales came naturally to her. Although she would still practice at every given opportunity including listening to others calls to constantly improve. Clare took to telemarketing so well, that she even delivered her friends weekly target because she enjoyed her company!
Shortly after, Clare was noticed by the call centre manager, Henry Braithwaite (a name that MarketMakers employees will recognise, as our company Founder). Clare got to know Henry very well and made clear to him that she wanted to earn more money. Henry and his friend Paul Thomas approached Clare one evening about an idea that they had. This was when MarketMakers was born.
Clare recalls Henry and Paul taking her to MarketMakers first office, the Technopole (North End) and asking her if she would join them to be their first employee. She became a player manager whilst Henry would be out consulting and Paul would be on the road selling. Clare laughs whilst remembering her first campaigns were selling hot tubs, paint for houses in Marbella and private number plates.
The more campaigns that Paul sold in, the more people MarketMakers needed, so Clare started to grow the team. Clare continued to “Act as if” and supported in the day-to-day running of MarketMakers. At this point, big players such as Tom James, Stuart Calver and Kirsty Dawe joined the business.
Clare’s career then went from strength to strength, being the first team manager, and then the first performance manager (which would now be known as Operations Manager). Clare was working closely with Luke Groves to manage the scheduling and planning, they used lots of A3 paper, rulers and tip-ex!
This is when Clare and Luke decided that MarketMakers needed an internal system, and implemented Infosys (our old CRM). This managed calling systems, recorders, and all processes, which Clare excelled in setting up alongside her newly formed team.
At the point MarketMakers moved to its second office, Clare’s career progressed further again. Clare had approximately 5 team managers, with 6/ 8 telemarketers within them. The business was going from strength to strength. MarketMakers had their own bespoke CRM system called Vortex which Clare supported in designing and implementing. This removed the need for paper reporting and tracking, setting up effective processes that we still utilise today.
MarketMakers: Present day
Fast forward to 1000 Lakeside, MarketMakers third office, Clare has been instrumental in:
- Creating the 8 tiers of progression for the team
- Supporting the business’ turnover growth
- Managing and implementing changes following the acquisition of MarketMakers
- Supporting the relationship with our owners, Centaur Media, HR support
- Taking the Team Manager count up to 22, 6 Operations Managers, 3 Recruitment staff, 4 IT staff, 4 L&D staff and 12 support team members all falling under her immediate line management.
Her management team have a minimum tenure of 8 years, showing the true value of the management team she’s built. Clare is the go-to for all things MarketMakers, and stays true to our company culture and values.
So what would Clare’s advice be?
“To be successful, stay true to yourself, be tenacious and curious at all times. Always stick to your principles and ethics as a person and the right outcome will be delivered”.