Over the next six months, St. Petersburg-based InsideOut Labs will hire 150 employees, some of whom will staff the new T-Mobile national B2B center in downtown St. Pete and others who will fill jobs created by additional contracts with Google, Facebook and IBM.
The sales play development and experimentation company will build out the new T-Mobile national business-to-business sales center in downtown St. Petersburg.
Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer Chad Nuss expects many of the new hires will be people who have been working in the hospitality industry, which has taken a hard hit amid efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.
“I’m watching people in the service industry fail right now. It’s so difficult for them to make ends meet. If you work in a restaurant, a bar or a hotel, or any of those types of jobs, we want to reach out to them and let them know that because St. Pete has diverse industries now, there are other things they can do,” Nuss said.
“We see this as a huge opportunity to make an impact on our local community by giving an opportunity to people who are probably sitting at home right now trying to figure out how to make ends meet.”
Twelve years ago, when the 2008 recession hit, the local economy primarily was driven by hospitality, retail and tourism.
“Now 12 years later in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region, there’s a much greater diversity, so hopefully the impact of these issues will be lessened,” said J.P. DuBuque, president & CEO of the Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation.
That’s due in large part to the Grow Smarter initiative, a program by the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, to target growth in five key industry sectors: marine and life sciences, specialized manufacturing, financial services, data analytics, and creative arts and design. The industry diversification strategy is an example of recession proofing the local economy during turbulent times like this, Nuss said.
“In this challenging time, it is heartening to see one of our great businesses in St. Pete growing,” Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement for the St. Pete Catalyst. “While we anticipate Covid-19 will have a broad economic impact here in St. Pete, around the region and around the nation, it is a validation of our efforts to diversify our economy that Chad and his team are bringing on new staff. Successful businesses like InsideOut expanding in St. Petersburg are how we know our Grow Smarter strategy is working. I want to thank Chad for his commitment to St. Petersburg, and look forward to welcoming his new employees to the Sunshine City.”
T-Mobile (Nasdaq: TMUS) is one of the largest wireless providers and telecommunications companies in the United States. “Big brand name companies are now seeing that St. Petersburg and this region are a good place to have an operation,” DuBuque said. “They can find the talent, so it makes sense for them.”
A spokesperson for T-Mobile said the company did not have information to share about its plans in St. Petersburg.
InsideOut, which currently occupies the third and ninth floors at First Central Tower in downtown St. Petersburg, is taking two additional floors in the building to build the T-Mobile sales center. Both T-Mobile employees and InsideOut employees will work at the center.
Nuss said about 100 of the new workers InsideOut is hiring will work at the T-Mobile center, and the rest will work on InsideOut contracts with Google, Facebook and IBM.
“These companies want to create a virtual workforce and we are experts in that,” Nuss said. “They’ve got to get more productive. The productivity of a sales person right now is going way down. InsideOut provides new sales plays that help a sales person get more productive.”
New workers don’t have to have sales experience, Nuss said. Seventy-five percent of InsideOut’s employees did not have a sales job prior to the joining the company.
“If they are working the front of house as a restaurant manager, they are doing customer service. They speak to hundreds of people every day. They negotiate issues and problems. They greet people and provide great service. They interact with them to make them smile. Those all are sales traits,” Nuss said. “All those attributes that people share in the service industry can transfer very easily to a sales person.”
InsideOut designs, tests, and install sales plays into its client’s native sales applications to increase buyer engagement through highly personalized sales plays. It has grown rapidly since it was launched four years ago. The new contracts put the company in hypergrowth mode.
“Essentially what we did in four years we’re now doing in four months,” Nuss said.
Click here for InsideOut’s hiring site for more detail.