Mark Henley discusses his role as Squiz’s sales manager in Queensland, the great social events in the Brisbane office, and his favourite snorkelling spot.
Squiz: Can you tell us about your role at Squiz?
Mark: As the sales manager for Queensland, I get to hone a vision for where I’d like to take the business – the direction we’d like to go and where we see ourselves in the future. ‘Dream big’ is how I’d describe it.
I’m really here to take my vision and rally a team to deliver it. Luckily at Squiz, we’re a massive delivery machine. I have people around me who would walk over glass to see my vision realised, which is quite a flattering position to be in.
So, if you think in traditional sales terms, where everything is a funnel, I get to coordinate how we manage ourselves throughout that entire funnel. Throughout the entire life cycle of our clients, my job is to ensure that the relationship remains meaningful, strong, and just as innovative 10 years down the track as it was the first year they came onboard.
What are some of the everyday challenges you face, and how do you overcome those?
The biggest challenge I see is that the turnaround times for our sales projects are relatively short. If we’re looking to demonstrate the capabilities of what Squiz can achieve for customers, we have very little time to understand their objectives and try to bring innovation to the table. We want to pitch something that will exceed their expectations and those of their users.
We overcome this challenge by having an agile team that’s innovative enough to turn around projects very quickly. What’s more, we don’t overcome these issues on our own. It’s all about having strong relationships with production and the key delivery people within Squiz who can help us tackle them together.
How long have you been at Squiz, and what’s the best thing about working here?
I’ve been here nearly 10 years!
The best thing about working here is that the company has never remained stagnant. I’ve always been really inspired by the company’s two founders, John-Paul “JP” Syriatowicz and Steve Barker, who’ve always been able to see vision in where the industry is going.
Take our acquisition of Funnelback, for example, and what we were able to do with an enterprise search engine. It was something that nobody else was doing. Then we started working with marketing automation, and now we’ve moved into customer-relationship management (CRM). It’s great to work in an environment in which we’ve truly put our finger on the pulse of the industry.
How did you progress into your current role?
When I first started at Squiz, I was really a jack-of-all-trades. I was lucky enough to have experience with analysis, design, and implementation. I even used to crunch tickets when I first joined Squiz!
I found an opportunity at Squiz to focus on my career development – on the business of building relationships and understanding people and businesses and how technology can enable them. That’s where I found my passion – identifying the movers and shakers in a company and being able to connect with them and feel like I was part of their journey.
JP and Steve recognised this passion and that it aligned with their vision for Squiz Brisbane. So, the progression of my role has really been inspired by the likes of them and has also been a result of being able to put my own personal vision into Squiz in Queensland.
What advice would the you of today give the you of 10 years ago?
It would be to believe in your passion and to be comfortable in your own skin. As I said before, I used to be a jack-of-all-trades, and for a while, I did get caught up in trying to fill too many roles. So, if I could go back, I’d tell myself to follow my passion and don’t sweat the small stuff.
What should we know about the Squiz Brisbane office? Does the staff organise many social activities?
Each week, we do things like Friday morning bike rides, where we meet in the office early, go for a ride, and then come back and have breakfast together. We also swim two days a week at the local pool and go for runs during our lunchbreaks. There are so many of us who’ve joined the local gym that we now get a special discount for Squiz staff!
Apart from that, we also have special country days for every Squiz office around the world. We recently held a Polish day, where we drank Polish beer and had pierogi, a kind of Polish dumpling. We really enjoy celebrating those days; it gives us a chance to have fun and be creative.
Friday beer lunches have also been a staple from the very beginning. We’ve even started inviting clients along. We’ll find a local pub and all have lunch together.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love the water. I’m what you might call a water rat. I used to surf a lot as a kid, but these days, I’m more into jetskiing, snorkelling, and diving.
Every week, I’m watching the weather, and if it’s really windy, I’ll do some kitesurfing. If there’s no wind, I’ll go jetskiing. I love heading out to Tangalooma – there are 15 ships that the government sunk off of Moreton Island, so I like to snorkel the shipwrecks there.
If you had a time machine, when would you travel to and why?
I’m going to be honest – and this is a bit embarrassing – but I would go back to the day I decided to shave a goatee out of my beard. I look at every photo from back then and cringe. So, I’d go back and keep the beard!
Mark will be tweeting his week at work at @lifeatsquiz from 20 to 24 March. Follow along to see what he gets up to on a daily basis in Brisbane.