Grows from Startup to Thriving Hotel Marketing Technology Company in Under 10 Years with Top Sales Leadership, Marketing and Product Management Talent

The story begins in 2006 when Leonardo was known as VFM Interactive, a niche visual content production company in Downtown Toronto serving the global hospitality industry.

Paolo Boni, the company’s CEO was eager to start scaling the business, and in order to do so, he needed to be fully equipped with high-performing talent. Specifically a CFO, an Inside Sales Manager and an Account Manager. That’s when Martyn entered the story.

Martyn went to work on the searches. He presented Paolo with candidates that not only had the effective skillset and expertise for the roles, but were also excited to join a small and thriving company with plenty of opportunity and growth in its future.

A company is only as successful as its talented person, which is why we turned to Martyn to find us the right people, for the right roles, at critical points in Leonardo’s growth. Having top talent in place has helped the company’s transformation from a small media production company to a digital technology company serving the global hospitality industry. The quality of talent that Martyn has brought us is unmatched.

– Paolo Boni, CEO, Leonardo

And ‘growth’ would be an understatement. In 2008, a time when the economy was tough and investors were risk adverse, the company secured $18.5M in financing and purchased Europe-based Leonardo to become VFM Leonardo. As is the case with mergers and acquisitions, considerable changes were mounting on the horizon.

Next Step: Kick-Start Sales and Marketing

The biggest change initially came with major shift in the company’s value proposition and go-to-market strategy. They needed a top-tier CMO to head up this change and a high-octane roster to execute it.

Martyn and his team were tasked with the search for a candidate who had sales operations, analytics and digital strategy experience and could build the company’s complete digital marketing infrastructure. Enter: John McAuliffe.

John was a 20+ year marketing veteran at the time with hands on experience in leading market-driven strategies for disruptive technologies. He previously led the marketing function of a Silicon Valley technology firm and was the President and COO of a mid-size Canadian advertising agency.

When I came on board, I trusted Martyn to find me the sales leadership and marketing expertise I needed to advance the company’s sales and that’s exactly what he delivered. I don’t have time to sift through piles of resumes or spend hours interviewing candidates for the role. Martyn did the work for us, found the top three or four candidates for the role, and one of them was always the right fit.

– John McAuliffe, President, Leonardo

Martyn then went on to place a Manager of Demand Generation and a Web Operations Manager who worked together to successfully implement a marketing automation system and a powerful marketing machine that took the company from receiving no incoming leads to 40,000+ in just under two years.

An increase in the company’s revenue inevitably followed, but not without the essential building blocks that Martyn helped lay the foundation with. They quickly built a global team of sales representatives to convert the leads generated by marketing to closed deals. Today, exclusively inbound leads fuel their sales.

Between 2014 and 2015, Martyn successfully placed two key Digital Marketing Managers, a Marketing Operations Specialist and a Content Marketing Manager to fuel the division. With an effective marketing machine up and running and sales of its hotel visual merchandising solution taking off, the company was able to expand its vertical in their product to include social and mobile marketing capabilities.

Key Search Highlights

  • Staffed marketing team that moved all marketing to inbound
  • Placed product managers with highly specific skill sets
  • Played a key role in company’s revenue growth
  • Placed 6 high-ranking marketing team members

The Results 

Leonardo continues to thrive. In 2014, they underwent another successful re-invention and re-branding and launched a completely new digital marketing platform. Martyn continues to be their go-to recruiter and is instrumental in landing top-tier talent to their sales, marketing and product management teams.

Martyn and his firm are awesome at hiring salespeople and sales leaders. He pretty much staffed up our entire sales team at Eloqua.

We benchmarked him against the best, even local recruiting firms and we found that Martyn could bring on better people, with less yield loss, from Toronto.

Mark Organ
Mark Organ
CEO, Influitive

You can spend weeks, even months, in search of the right candidate. Or you can work with someone that knows where to look and save yourself the headache. I gave Martyn Bassett a job description and watched him repeatedly deliver on that from within the sales talent pool.

Keith Nealon
Keith Nealon
CEO, Vyze

Innovation is the key to success, which is why I trusted Martyn to build the product management team that’s pioneering our next generation of software. These were strategic, technical roles and – as usual – Martyn’s team delivered nothing less than the ideal candidate.

John McAuliffe
John McAuliffe
President, Leonardo

We drew up a very specific wishlist for our Business Development Executive – which included experience in managed and professional services, consistent over-performance and experience as a consultant – before we retained Martyn. We had no guarantee that candidate was on the market but Martyn’s team produced several that ticked all the boxes and one that exceeded our expectations.

Steven Graham
Steven Graham
Managing Director, Computer Aid

Martyn has access to a seemingly limitless number of talented sales leaders and he is sure to understand business needs and present only fully vetted candidates. I wholly recommend him for anyone – candidate or hiring manager – looking to find the right home for talented sales leaders.

Chris French
Chris French
VP Enterprise – Eastern Region, Globoforce

Having gone through interviews and job negotiations many times on my own before, I have to say that being presented by a recruiter this time made the process so much smoother. I’m sure that myself and my employer are both happier with the outcome as a result of working with Martyn Bassett Associates through the process.

Eric Bradnam
Eric Bradnam
Solutions Architect – Channel Sales, Dundas Data Visualization

Martyn’s ability to bring talent to you is a benefit in and of itself, but what truly impressed me is his understanding of what you need and what you don’t need and having the conversation about it.

I looked at Martyn as more than the guy bringing talent to me – I looked to him for advice throughout the process.

Jamie Schneiderman
Jamie Schneiderman
CEO, Clearfit

A company is only as successful as its talented people, which is why we turned to Martyn to find us the right people, for the right roles, at critical points in Leonardo’s growth.

Having top talent in place has helped the company’s transformation from a small media production company to a digital technology company serving the global hospitality industry. The quality of talent that Martyn has brought us is unmatched.

Paolo Boni
Paolo Boni
CEO, Leonardo

It’s a tricky thing to find the right people based in Toronto who can go and sell to distant markets and how to sell in a SaaS world with the right language skills – you can imagine it’s like finding a needle in a haystack and Martyn came up with great candidates that we used to fill a number of roles.

Greg Durand
Greg Durand
VP, Global Sales, Cority