There aren’t many growth stories quite like Qualtrics.
In January 2010 they had 37 employees, by December 2013 there were 260 employees and now (Oct 2014) there are over 550 employees. They’re going through hyper-growth and there are no plans to slow down.
The Utah-based start-up, which produces cloud-based survey software, recently secured $150 million in venture capital. The new stream of funding has been allocated to product development and overseas expansion.
In addition to the HQ in Utah, last year saw expansion to Dublin; the office grew from 3 to 50 employees in a year – next year the aim is to be around the 100 mark.
They’re now about to take on the same mission is Sydney.
Bill McMurray is the man tasked with the job.
Starting out as just a team of just three renting out office space in the Sydney CBD.
However, that’s all going to change pretty quickly.
“I’m currently in the process of securing 8,000 sq ft of office space in Sydney. We’re unlike most organisations that taper at around the $100 million mark – Qualtrics is still going through rapid growth.
“We’re aiming to be over 50 employees in Australia within 12 months and then we’ll start building out local operations in key APJ countries.” Explained Bill.
But the team aren’t starting from scratch, deployment has been years in the making and they already have an impressive 250 active customers here in the region.
Bill explained how people have been at the core of the organisation’s success and are consistently provided opportunity at the same rate as business growth:
“It’s the people that have really driven this business. They’ve been tapping away and built up a great base before we even arrived. Opportunities are passed down to the people in the organisation, I’m a firm believer in promotion from within.”
The man behind the mission…. And it’s not who you’d expect.
Tim Pales was a man with a plan. It started back when he had one year left of his course studying Chinese and Business at BYU. Like most students Tim took a part time job.
It was 2008 when Tim joined Qualtrics – as employee number 29. He’d be at school all day and on the phones all night. The night calling was a very deliberate decision for Tim “My interest was always APAC. I had lived and studied in Asia and coupling that experience with my focus on business in school it seemed like a good fit. Seeing how rapidly the economies in Asia were growing, I knew there would be good opportunities there.”
“We first focused on academics and we successfully managed to land pretty much all of the major universities in Australia and New Zealand.”
The last three years have been spent managing his own sales team whilst building business in Australia, without so much as an office space here.
With continued success year on year, it wasn’t long till Tim became a senior manager. The mission never faltered “The goal has always been to create a problem so we had to come here. It got to a point where (after pushing it for three years) there was enough of a customer base in APAC. The appetite was there, the time was now – it was time to go.”
Whilst excelling quota for both him and his team members, Tim and John developed a full business plan for launch here in Australia. Part of that plan – hire an exec: “Qualtrics needed executive leadership on the ground in Australia. I have been fortunate to manage teams but I wasn’t the guy to strategically launch Qualtrics here. I found myself in the unique position of helping our executive team hire my new boss.”
Sitting with the team of three in their temporary rented office in Sydney, you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking you were chatting to a group of guys about to start their own business. Bill McMurray jokes “We see this as we’ve just started private school and have our parents financing – we’re all so interested in this region, it’s exciting to lead the launch here.”
Coming soon…. John’s story
This was John’s first role out of university. Like most he started in entry level sales 3 and a half years ago.
Over the course of the last 21 months he’s had 4 promotions.
How? The company has a really clear development path, it’s not based on politics or people leaving – it’s based purely on performance.
Every quarter you’re given a quota. Hit the quota of the level above you for 2 quarters, you get promoted. It’s that simple.
John played a big role in developing the business plan and now as part of the landing team, is a big part of leading the roll out in the region.
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