Axial's Growth 100 : Benoit Stephenson

Benoit Stephenson

CEO, ClearGoals

Clarity and Focus

With the advent of technology, software solutions available to corporate marketing departments have increased dramatically — but with that has come increasingly complex products. Many individual contributors at large companies use marketing tools that are extremely powerful, but may require customization or on-boarding in in order to be used to their full potential.

ClearGoals aims to make this process easier. ClearGoals partners with large companies like IBM and Sugar CRM to provide end users of their marketing solutions with the guidance they need to make the most of their products. In addition, ClearGoals is a software reseller of these products.

Says CEO Benoit Stephenson, “We help companies leverage technology to enable their marketing efforts and allow them to better understand and reach their customer. We help them get a 360 degree view of their customers in a more personalized way.”

ClearGoals was founded by Benoit’s partner, Domenico Farinaccio, currently the VP of Professional Services,  and Benoit joined as chief executive in 2009. Together they’ve grown the company from 4 employees to 42 today.

First Timer Lessons

As a first-time CEO, Benoit said the early stages were challenging — as a company of 5, he dealt directly with every administrative, HR, or finance issue. This has gotten easier over time as the company built an organizational structure that allows him to delegate tasks accordingly.

Building a tight-knit team is one of Benoit’s biggest focuses as CEO. His favorite part of being the company leader “is definitely at the end of the year when we have our holiday party. There are the moments where Domenico and I can look around at all our employees and see, wow, we’ve really grown.”

Hiring is key, he says, “but everything around that is very challenging.” He says he and Domenico have matured as leaders, particularly when it comes to addressing situations where things clearly aren’t working with employees. “In the past, there were times when we knew almost immediately that a person wasn’t the right match, but then a year later that person is still with us. It’s not good for that person, and it’s not good for us. Now we’re managing that better.”

ClearGoals’ employees are spread out across multiple locations, including New York, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Denver, Florida, Columbus, Ohio, and even Romania. The company prioritizes face-to-face meetings when possible, particularly when kicking off a new relationship with a client. “Like in any consulting organization, internal politics is always the biggest challenge” when working with clients, says Benoit — often “more challenging than the tech itself.”

The internal team uses Slack to stay in touch in real-time — “we want to make sure that every single person knows there are a lot of other people behind them. Though we’re in different places, we’re still a family and a team.”