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Mum-powered flexible sales force drives growth for SME

20 April 2017

Here at 2to3days, we always have an ear to the ground to find exciting, flexible working opportunities for our mothers. Sometimes this happens in the most unlikely of places.

On a trip to the bowling alley with her children, our CEO, Juliet Turnbull, struck up a conversation with a mother in the next lane. When the conversation turned to business, it transpired that her husband was experiencing difficulty recruiting for a sales manager role, until 2to3days stepped in. Barns Morison, the founder of Pineneedle, tells us more:

Can you tell us a bit about Pineneedle?

Pineneedle was founded by my business partner and me in 1988 as a print and design company producing bespoke publications. Now, we are the leading agency in producing wedding and ceremonies literature for councils across the UK. Our company comprises of two directors, one graphic designer and a sales team of six, three of whom have been found through 2to3days. All of our staff work remotely.

Why did you advertise with 2to3days?

Initially, I advertised the position on one of the larger recruitment sites. We had taken on more projects and I didn’t know where to look for staff. We just got inundated with completely the wrong people. It wasn’t what we wanted and was really a waste of time and money. I was literally pulling my hair out trying to find good sales managers.

When my wife came back and told me about 2to3days I knew it was the answer. I totally got the concept. We have 3 children and my wife had taken time out for them. If you’re ambitious or have got a good career you want to get back into it. When we placed an ad with the large recruitment site lots of young graduates applied who didn’t have the experience. Experience can be hugely underestimated. Placing an ad with 2to3days was a no-brainer for us; of course we’d take on those with experience who could do the job.

We hired our first sales manager through 2to3days just before Christmas. I then placed another ad in January and hired three more sales managers. I had only intended to hire one mother, but I knew I would’ve been kicking myself had I let two go and they’d found work elsewhere, they were all that good!

What are your views on flexible working?

Flexible working is something that is important to me. When we started the company, sales were all face-to-face, people would see clients and sign them up. Now, a lot of business is done over the phone or by email. It works for us. And, as a parent I want to be involved; to be there for my children and see them in school productions or sporting events. Running my business flexibly makes sense on many levels and I want to offer my staff the same flexibility.

We have to have trust in our team, and hiring someone who just gets it and is confident in their abilities is key to our success. Remoteness can be a challenge, you have got to treat people like grown-ups; our sales team are very experienced and they know exactly what they’re doing. We’ve always said if you want help or advice we’re here but otherwise, you will be left to your own devices if that’s the way you want to work.

Our sales team of mothers talk to one another. It works really well, great advice is given and solutions are found between them. We also have more than one person working on the bigger projects, so there is a lot of teamwork involved, even if we don’t meet face to face.

How has your sales team of mothers helped drive growth?

I’m a big believer that it’s not the hours you do but what you do during those hours. Already, our team has driven business growth by achieving more upfront sales than before. We are totally confident in their abilities. Now we have the staff it’s our job to find them new projects, we want to keep people as busy as we can which is great for the company and our growth.

I would definitely use 2to3days again now I know how it operates and I know the quality of people you’re going to get, for me it’s absolutely brilliant. I want more people to know about it. For a company like mine, it’s an absolute godsend!