How Cutting Our Marketing Budget Made Our Sales Explode

How Cutting Our Marketing Budget Made Our Sales Explode
Michel Cohen

For quite a few years now, we’ve provided our dev teams to U.S. companies. Saying our developers are the core of our business is an understatement. Today, we consistently see up to 35% annual growth and we owe much of it to the quality of our resources. But it wasn’t always like that. It all started when we hired a developer named Alfonso. 

See, when we met Alfonso, he demonstrated incredible technical skills. He was also the #1 developer at his college and fluent in English.

Immediately after joining the team he stood out because, beyond coding skills, he understood the market. He helped clients, solved disagreements, and offered solutions to complex problems. He embodied the perfect mix of hard and soft skills. Yet, the project he was working on was dull and he resigned after 10 months.

We couldn’t get it out of our heads.

When Alfonso left, we thought: “Are we unable to keep such high-quality resources?” We felt that we were failing our clients, knowing there were incredibly capable developers out there who we weren’t able to attract and retain. 

One month after Alfonso left BEON, we reassigned our sales and marketing budget to use more efficient recruiting practices and pay higher salaries.

Up to that moment, we had focused on getting clients and providing them with good talent. But Alfonso revolutionized the way we saw our business and we started focusing on finding exceptional developers. We thought: “With this level of talent available on our teams, clients will find us.”

It was the strategy we needed: our team evolved. We started populating our teams with communicative, proactive, outstanding talent. Every project these team members were involved in succeeded. They demonstrated outstanding professionalism, so we gave them more responsibilities. And, we brought Alfonso back on board.

Our clients started recommending us to others and augmenting their own teams. Typically, a client expanding their team would say, “I want a clone of my current developer.” We called these exceptional devs “the keepers.” 

The secret formula 

Once we understood that consistently hiring top talent was the secret formula for our success, we developed a system for identifying the keepers.

First, we categorized our database, which included 25,000 developers all over Latin America. With the help of a data entry team, we screened their resumes one by one, looking for the features of a keeper, including how they introduced themselves, their average grades in college, English proficiency, and how they talked about the technologies in which they had expertise. 

Those who were marked as potential keepers were interviewed immediately. These interviews at Beon were — and still are — carried out by a psychologist specializing in human resources. Why?

Because someone may fake talent, but empathy, proactivity, and initiative are impossible to forge. 

Once HR determined that a prospective employee had the soft skills (communication, interpersonal skills, critical thinking) of a keeper, we brought them in again for English and technical assessments. Only those who scored more than 80% on these tests passed to the next phase.

The final test was a meeting with one of BEON’s tech leaders. This interview focused on the hard skills, including expertise in the project’s framework and languages, and knowledge of agile project methods. 

Our Recruiting Process Results as of May 2020*

 

*These numbers are based on monthly statistics produced by our HR team.

What comes next?

If there is one thing this whole journey has taught us, it is this: put your energy not into sales or marketing, but into gathering the best devs that want to be part of your team. Using this philosophy, we have built an army of top-notch developers ready to join U.S.-based projects. And our growth will keep proving how quality always comes first.