Commercial Interview: Mark Stockx, Twitter
As part of our Insight Interview Series, The Up Group spoke with Mark Stockx (Senior Sales Director, EMEA at Twitter) to discuss disruption, growth and talent.
UP: Let’s start with your role Mark. What falls under your remit, and against what KPIs are you measured?
MS: I lead the revenue teams that we have in Dublin focused on the EMEA market with my base of operations being large client and scaled sales teams; We also run a comprehensive Sales Partnership team who represent Twitter through affiliates. Regarding my KPIs: driving revenue, health of partnerships, and team culture are things we focus on. This is to name but a few – it’s a broad role!
UP: Do you see more fragmentation emerging in the market, and, if so, do you think that is driving more competition?
MS: I think, no matter the competition or state of market fragmentation, what is always going to be most important is defining yourself by the needs of the clients that you serve. Ultimately, by knowing what consumers want, you can spot trends and potential areas of disruption. You cannot be blinded by your present success, and instead always be looking for new developments across a broad a spectrum as possible.
UP: What do you think prevents large incumbents from keeping up with these trends?
MS: I think the difficulties many established companies have can be boiled down to two main variables. The first is the business element: a lot, if not all, of the revenue generated by these organisations comes from traditional models. Of course it is only natural that there would be hesitation to change these income channels, but it will only become more difficult as the market is disrupted.
The second relates to the inflexible organisational and operational models in these companies. These modes of operation are, in my experience, not conducive to innovation, being too rigid and beholden to legacy in their formation.
This pivoting of revenue and operational structure is not something we at Twitter, and the Commercial function within it, have been exempt from. Our revenue streams experienced hyper-growth and we are still undergoing significant growth today. To sustain this growth, we had to adjust our models based on the financial and developmental stage we were at as a company, re-focusing on the needs of our consumers in order to perpetuate our success. Today Twitter has a unique position within the advertising landscape. We are one of the most known brands in the world and due to our core of being “what’s happening”, Twitter connects brands and advertisers to the most valuable audience, when they are most receptive. This gives businesses the opportunity to reach an influential, global audience. No other service can do that the way we do.
UP: What is it that you look for in hiring great talent, and how do these hires fit into the culture you want to create at Twitter?
MS: Touching on the culture point first, it is honestly something that is so hard to define: things like putting a ping-pong table in the kitchen won’t automatically make this a great place to work or turn us into a collaborative team; you have to work at it. Here at Twitter we value the ability to change coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to innovate and being a great team member.
All of those qualities are sought after in our hiring process. We’re looking for talent who will flourish and add to our culture here; We place a lot of emphasis on making sure the right people are hired in as well as their integration when they arrive.
UP: What sort of trends are you seeing the market at the moment and what do you think the future holds?
MS: Broadly, I think people need to realise that disruption in technology and the wider economy is no longer a cyclical thing but is instead permanent. In order to survive now, companies must undergo continuous revision in pursuit of innovation.
With rising levels of consumer awareness, we will see the adoption of more transparent methods and operations by companies. Nowadays consumers do so much research into the businesses they buy from - the near infinite choice of competing companies driving this - that I think this will lead to the emergence, and eventual wholesale adoption of, the purpose-driven organisational model.
James Burrows and Andrew Duncan co-lead the Commercial practice at The Up Group. In order to provide our clients with insight, we regularly meet with Commercial leaders across industries to uncover trends and themes that can help all leaders improve their own business.
The Commercial interview series spans B2B and B2C businesses, uncovering common themes and shifts in how organisations build brand, acquire and maintain customers and grow revenue.