As the holiday shopping season comes to an end, were the gifts we purchased for family and friends truly the brands we know and love? Sunglasses, jeans, sneakers, headphones, jewelry and more. Products that looked like our beloved brands but may not be the case. As the global market for counterfeit products grows – to the sum of half a trillion dollars – one company is waging a successful battle to protect corporate brands from the unscrupulous business of fake goods. For Simon Baggs, online infringement attorney and CEO of Incopro, legal action is effective to an extent, but not enough. He believes the solution lies in technology.
In 2012, Simon teamed up with technology expert Bret Boivin and founded Incopro. Starting from small beginnings, Simon and Bret have built a successful global operation with a laser focus on providing innovative technology and supporting services to stop brand infringement taking place online. Today, the venture capital-backed company has offices in London, Wales, the U.S. and China with a client base that includes a who’s who of enterprise customers with well-known brands across multiple verticals — sports, fashion, luxury, automotive, consumer products, pharma and more.
Through its comprehensive technology solution, Incopro automates the entire process of identifying commercial scale operators that are working in the counterfeit world and removing these products from sale across major social and retail platforms. The company protects these iconic brands against infringement across all digital platforms, in any language, tracking down and stopping perpetrators anywhere on the internet.
U.S. sales effort key to global plan
Shortly after Incopro’s inception, Simon and his team moved forward with plans to build a strong sales effort in the U.S. Simon explains, “It was an ambitious thing to do early on. We had big goals for our sales effort in America and virtually no U.S. footprint established at the time. This person would be the first tasked with building our U.S. sales effort, and would also be our first employee in America.”
“We were fortunate to have a couple of rock star sales people early on in the UK, so we knew what good looked like, but we also experienced some poor performers who delivered little,” he continues. “When it came to expansion in the U.S., we felt even less sure of our ground. In America, we had less familiarity with the companies and a limited candidate pool. There were also cultural differences to consider and time differences that could result in a lengthy recruitment process. It became clear we needed to work with a qualified recruitment partner.”
Peak steps up to the challenge
Through a referral from another VC-funded startup company, Simon turned to Peak Sales Recruiting to launch Incopro’s U.S. sales effort. With a goal to hire the very best sales professional on the East Coast, the stakes were high but the Peak team stepped up to the challenge. Adds Simon, “We needed someone who had some experience in brand infringement, possibly an analyst who had used technology like ours but also had strong sales experience. This person would also need to hit the ground running in an entirely new market.”
As a start-up, Incopro’s sales culture was very entrepreneurial and customer centric. “Our focus has always been on the customer. This was especially true early on as we built out our product to meet our customers’ needs,” he says. “Our approach to selling has evolved but it has always focused on understanding the customers and the need, not selling the wrong benefits to the wrong persona. If you’re selling to a brand protection manager, you will have one dialogue, and if you’re selling to a marketing or e-commerce manager, it’s a different conversation. It’s all about being in the shoes of the customer and understanding what they are looking for. At the same time, you need the right people, structure and culture to empower your sales team to succeed.”
Peak Account Manager Kara Ragsdale and her team met with Simon to gain a good understanding of his criteria for the position, business objectives and selling culture, and quickly started identifying and evaluating candidates to find the perfect fit.
“The key advantage in working with Peak was the team took the time to understand our company and our needs and then they focused hard on finding candidates with the right background and fit,” Simon explains. “Each candidate was presented to us very carefully, with a full personality profile and reference check. It gave us good control over the recruitment effort and a high level of confidence.”
Peak’s talent acquisition process relies on a 4-step sales recruiting methodology that includes determining corporate objectives, identifying the profile of an ideal candidate, targeted headhunting to find the top candidates and scientific assessment. Through its proprietary P95 assessment method, Peak takes the process one step deeper and evaluates candidates’ selling behaviors through three phases of advanced assessment that are critical in determining whether candidates have the sales DNA to perform in a client’s selling environment.
“We liked Peak’s approach and believed it was very effective in helping us find the right candidate to launch our U.S. sales effort. Kara was very good at finding candidates that were suitable and pushing forward quickly and thoroughly. It was a well-structured, responsive and professional process.”
— Simon Baggs, CEO of Incopro
Incopro’s U.S. sales team now a reality
At the time the company retained Peak’s services, Incopro was also in the process of finalizing a deal with a leading trademark search company that had a small team in the U.S. Incopro acquired the company’s operations as well as the U.S. staff. Incopro now had a Boston-based candidate that Peak had found as well as a sales team member from the trademark search company based in Orange County, California.
“The timing was amazing. We had 10 staff members in the U.S. right at our doorstep about the same time that Peak had found our ideal U.S. candidate. This came together at the same time and gave us an effective east-west bridge. We also gained a team member in Washington state and New York,” he explains. “We now had to integrate the team but this all went very well because of the caliber of candidate that Peak recruited. We were now able to offer Peak’s candidate the luxury of a bigger footprint in the U.S. so it would be easier to get up and running.”
U.S. sales team contributes over 50% of global revenue
For Simon, Incopro’s expansion in America has been essential in delivering revenue targets for the business. “It was critical that we faced the challenges and moved ahead with our U.S. plans. Peak was a true partner helping us take this significant step to put our U.S. sales team in place.”
Chris Hardy, Incopro’s Chief Revenue Officer, agrees. Chris joined the company in 2018 to grow Incopro’s revenues and leads the Sales, Marketing and Partnership functions.
“Prior to building our U.S. sales team, our revenues were 100% from UK and European customers. Today, over 50% of our global revenue comes from our U.S. operations. This is a significant accomplishment from a relatively young, evolving company.”
— Chris Hardy, CRO of Incopro
With a goal of doubling revenue worldwide in the following year, Incopro is on a strong trajectory for success. The candidates secured by Peak are still driving revenues for Incopro’s U.S. operations, now part of a 6-person strong sales team across 4 states.
Are you ready to take your talent acquisition to the next level? Learn more about Peak’s services or contact us today to recruit top sales talent.
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