Growing your team in an ever-growing business
by Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing, Toolstation and Adam Faquirbhai, Director of Marketing, Reed

Greg and Adam discuss the technical skills modern marketers should have in their arsenal to engineer organic growth in dynamic-growth brands.

28th July 2021 Read time: 50 minutes

Everyone’s talking about the ‘new normal’ and what it means for their businesses. In some organisations, teams had to become smaller, in others they had to become larger. 

Dynamic growth businesses that have seen customers flock to them must rapidly recruit the best talent to fulfil demand in the new normal.   

Similarly, the role of the marketing department has never been more vital. Communicating with customers, collating data, and handling the brand are all delicate balancing acts for the marketers.  

What’s Possible Community sessions welcome marketers from some of the most dynamic growth brands to uncover the lessons they’ve learned in the last 18 months, and what they have implemented to navigate the changing nature of business.  

The tools of the trade

One business experiencing rapid growth in a fast-paced environment is Toolstation. They’ve just opened their 500th store in New Malden, London.  

Greg Richardson, Head of Marketing at Toolstation, says his sector has fallen on the busier side of the pandemic. With more people home-based, the need for home improvement tools has skyrocketed. The growth trajectory the company has been on for the last 15 years has suddenly sped up.  

This growth has led to a recruitment drive which has resulted in new appointments in their retail stores. The marketing team, however, is a smaller collective within Toolstation that looks after the brand and more.  

The marketing team is a support function for the business. There are 3,000 people in retail, there are 40 in the marketing department” Greg explained.  

While we’ve got a clear structure of what we need to add to the retail business, how do we build that marketing team with the right specialisms going forward to match up not just where the business will be in twelve months’ time but where we will be in 2 years or 3 years as we approach 800 stores” he continued.  

Greg says that a shift has occurred in the search for marketers. Greater digital skills are required, as is a mind for ecommerce, as the industry shifts towards direct-to-consumer more than ever before.  

Finding the right fit

The complex manoeuvres a brand might have to do to find the right person to join their team in today’s uncertain landscape might feel like a mountain to climb. 

Finding specialists to plug into working teams is what Reed does. Adam Faquirbhai, Director of Marketing at Reed, one of the UK’s leading recruitment platforms, says that marketing has had to adapt over the last 18 months.  

Adam’s role covers every form of marketing at Reed including branding, brand advertising, all the way down to the nitty-gritties of performance and CRM-based activity.  

There is a reliance on digital teams. Teams that manage organic channels like CRM or SEO have become super important for businesses” Adam asserts.  

Adam says that companies are looking for marketers who can engineer organic growth for organisations that specialise in acquisition and performance marketing.  

Even before the pandemic hit, marketing teams were operating more like product teams and working in a more agile way” he said.  

Filling in the gaps internally

Marketing needs the space to be creative within an organisation.  

Adam says he wanted to create a separation between the branding and creatively based teams at Reed, giving them the space and autonomy to be creative.  

He adds that Reed will focus more on communications in the future to keep customers connected and engaged. Meanwhile the SEO and CRM teams, who are tackling the necessary targets on the backend, will manipulate the necessary outputs and collect the data that comes from those systems.  

Speaking of the creative product too, Richard from Toolstation posits that a lot of the things they would have outsourced in the past, might be done in-house in future.  

Recruiting more technically skilled creative marketers, who can complete projects that might have once been outsourced, might be in an organisation’s best interest as post-pandemic budgets become tighter.  

For marketers in general, they can be encouraged that recruitment in the marketing space is becoming more nuanced than ever. Greg says that at Toolstation he’s looking to create a pipeline of enthusiastic, experienced, digitally-savvy, brand-competent marketers into the team.  

Team dynamics and cohesion is the final part of the recipe for the growth-minded marketing team.  

As individuals we can be powerful, but as a team we are infinitely more powerful,” concludes Adam.