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How Kingsley Gate
Helped a Major FinTech
Player Hire a Region-Wide
Head of Sales in 87 days

May 2024

A multinational fintech company, committed to revolutionizing the ever-evolving world of commerce, decided to disrupt their presence in Latin America (LATAM).

The reason? LATAM has been experiencing a boom, driven by rising internet penetration, mobile adoption, and a growing appetite for digital financial services. However, attracting top-tier executive talent for regional leadership roles in this dynamic market presents its own set of unique challenges.

This case study details our successful approach to filling a Head of Sales position within the competitive landscape in an 87-day timeframe.

Identifying the Business Problem

Kingsley Gate’s research of the emerging fintech landscape in LATAM revealed a key insight: many multinational companies with a presence in LATAM lack established regional headquarters in key markets like Brazil due to high cost. Instead, they often set up hubs in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, or Chile.

This results in fewer executives having exposure to multi-country operations. The geographic distribution creates a talent pool with limited exposure to cross-border operations and a regional strategic viewpoint. Local executives may excel in their domestic markets but struggle to translate that success into a broader regional vision.

Additionally, their network of relationships might be primarily concentrated within their home country, hindering their ability to leverage regional partnerships and opportunities. Lastly, the local executives bring limited knowledge of market dynamics externally and lack awareness of potential BD opportunities.

All the above factors can significantly impede a company’s ability to capitalize on the full potential of the region’s commerce landscape.

Kingsley Gate’s Tailored Approach

To navigate this complex landscape and identify the best possible candidates, we implemented a multi-pronged approach:

Target Focus

  • Market Specificity: We focused on industries directly involved in the payments ecosystem, including acquirers, merchants, and payments-oriented SaaS/Digital companies. This ensured that potential candidates possessed a deep understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities within the sector.
  • Executive Focus: Our search targeted high-level decision makers with a proven track record of success. This included CEOs, GMs, Executive Directors, and multi-country and in-country Heads of Sales. By focusing on leadership roles, we aimed to identify individuals who could provide strategic vision and direction while also possessing the operational expertise to drive results.

Deep Market Knowledge

We recognized the competitive nature of the market and adjusted our outreach strategies accordingly.

  • Understanding Career Mobility: We acknowledged the frequent career changes and proactively targeted executives who might not be actively searching but were open to new opportunities that aligned with their career goals.
  • Mapping the Startup Ecosystem: We identified rising stars within the burgeoning payments startup and fintech scene, recognizing their potential to disrupt the established players.
  • Competitive Intelligence: We understood the tactics of competitor approaches and employed alternative engagement strategies to break through the noise and capture candidate interest.

Rigorous Screening Process

While a competitive market offered a large pool of candidates, not all were the right fit. We implemented a robust screening process to identify individuals who possessed the following critical attributes:

  • Strategic Business Leadership: We sought candidates with a proven ability to develop and execute a regional growth strategy. This required a deep understanding of market dynamics, competitor analysis, and the ability to translate strategic vision into actionable plans.
  • Regional Exposure: Having a strong track record of success in multiple LATAM markets was crucial. This ensured the candidate could navigate the complexities of cross-border operations and leverage regional synergies.
  • Cultural Fit: Understanding the specific company culture and finding a candidate who could seamlessly integrate into the existing team dynamic was paramount. This fostered collaboration and ensured smooth onboarding.
  • Business Growth Expertise: We sought candidates with a demonstrable history of driving business growth in fast-paced environments. This included experience in building high-performing teams, scaling operations, and capitalizing on emerging market opportunities.
  • Language Proficiency: Fluency in English was essential for effective communication with international stakeholders and headquarters.

The Result

By implementing this targeted approach and rigorous screening process, we were able to place a strategic Head of Sales within a swift 87-day timeframe. However, achieving this executive placement demanded a keen eye for detail and a willingness to walk away from candidates who didn’t perfectly align with the client’s needs. For instance, we declined a highly qualified candidate with impressive sales experience in the LATAM region. Upon closer examination, we discovered their success was primarily concentrated in their home country. They lacked the demonstrable experience navigating the regulatory nuances and market variations present across different LATAM markets.

Furthermore, we also provided our client with valuable insights into the regional compensation structures. We pulled data that supported the hypothesis that standard compensation for this role was about 25% higher than the client’s starting range. By offering competitive compensation aligned with market expectations, we were able to attract a pool of highly motivated and qualified candidates.

Client Impact

Our executive leader placement resulted in a significant impact for our client. By filling the Head of Sales role with a skilled and qualified decision maker, the client was able to:

  • Develop a Comprehensive Regional Growth Strategy: The newly appointed Head of Sales brought their expertise in LATAM markets to the table, enabling the client to formulate a data-driven and regionally focused growth plan.
  • Expand Market Reach and Partnerships: The executive’s extensive regional networks facilitated the establishment of new partnerships and the expansion of the client's footprint across key LATAM markets.
  • Drive Business Growth: The leadership's experience in scaling operations and capitalizing on market opportunities led to a significant increase in the client's market share and profitability within the region’s fintech landscape.

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