SAVO: The Company That Works! Now Hiring


Mark O'Connell

Chicago-based company, SAVO offers an "on demand" software solution for sales professionals used to help them sell.  With an impressive roster of clients including: IBM, Morningstar, American Express, Staples, GE, & Northern Trust, this privately-held 11-year old company with 121 employees is in a major growth cycle.  With a solid revenue base, they are ramping up the company at warp speed, though they are very selective of whom they hire.


SAVO's solution is quite different than other sales related solutions on the market because it makes it simple for sales people to prepare for great meetings with their prospects and clients. They do this by automatically gathering information about their own company's products and services giving them better tools to sell, rather than traditional customer relationship management CRM solutions that gather information for the management but provide little help in the sales process.  This is what most of the other companies like Oracle and, do.


With the job market still struggling to regain some momentum, it is a thrill to find a firm that is aggressively hiring.  I spoke with SAVO's CEO, Mark O'Connell; a transplant from Boston who took over the helm from the founder last October, about the company.  He appears to be making significant changes to the structure and plans for the company's growth model.


Mark O'Connell is an experienced leader in late stage start-up companies.  He has had terrific success at building later stage start-up companies prior to them going public.  He has a finance background, yet has worked in a variety of positions in his career, including product management, sales management, marketing and strategic planning, all in the technology field.  This gentleman knows how to run a business and SAVO will benefit from his leadership!


So what is SAVO doing?  They are currently located in the West Loop and will be expanding their office space from 19,000 to 50,000 square feet when they move to new space later this year.  The company is moving into the global market with plans to hire personnel in Europe as well as on the west and east coast here in the US, with the headquarters remaining in Chicago.  They are actively recruiting, hoping to hire 100-plus additional employees by year end.  They have already placed offers out to 35 people in the first three months of 2011 in all areas from entry level to senior positions in sales, marketing, HR, technology and finance. 


I asked Mr. OConnell what his advice would be for job seekers in today's competitive job environment and what he looked for in a candidate. He said that he believes that an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance and engineering are the area's that would be the most useful as our economy moves forward.  He suggested that the finance knowledge could be picked up by getting an MBA, but doesn't require his employees to have an advanced degree.


Other tips he offered were to "stay healthy, keep your energy high and to work hard".  He also said, "Don't be afraid to move around either within a company or outside of a company."  When hiring recent college students, he looks for those that were involved in a multitude of activities when they attended college.  The interview process is quite intense, yet they move it along.  It involves a phone interview, face-face interview with a few hiring managers and then an all day-interview with other members of the company, where the short list of prospective employees will have to give a presentation to a selected SAVO team.


They are methodical in their approach to hiring, yet it appears that they are really looking for the "right" people who will succeed in their company.  They value human capital and want to insure their success.   They want a collection of personalities and backgrounds and believe it will make the company stronger.  SAVO even has a mentor coach model and pairs every new employee with an individual (besides their direct manager) to help them assimilate into the company as quickly as possible.


For more information on how to apply for a position at this exciting firm, go to their web-site at

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