Update: See also coverage of this news at the Portland Business Journal and the Oregonian.

Lots of startups look for an experienced, successful player/coach combo to build out their enterprise sales efforts. Good ones are hard to find - big bonus points if they're likable people, too. We're thrilled to announce that Jessica Rickson (right), a local sales leader with a history of success at Jama, Jive, StepChange (acquired by Dachis Group) and elsewhere has joined the team at Little Bird.

JessmarginLeading the new team with savvy new sales rep Nell Loomis (below, formerly at Webtrends), along side marketing leader Carmen Hill (formerly of Babcock & Jenkins), Rickson has made an immediate impact on Little Bird's strategy and execution of sales to enterprise marketing and sales organizations. After selling millions of dollars of software to happy customers of some of Portland's most successful startups, we're honored that Jess has joined our team.

Jama Software's VP of Worldwide Sales Christian Prusia is enthusiastic too. "Little Bird has just secured an incredible sales capability with the hiring of Jessica Rickson. She has an unparalleled mixture of curiosity, persistence and smarts, combined with years of rapid growth experience. There are only a handful of people that can fit this mold, and Jessica is definitely one of them."

J.D. Mooney, Jive's Director of Sales for four years, through the company's A and B rounds of financing, says, "I've worked with Jess twice (at Jive and Unicru), and she's like a great athlete with a broad skill set. Customers love her—she's very smart, a quick study and advocates for them."

Little Bird's CTO Michael Jones, who worked with Jess at StepChange (acquired by Dachis Group), says "Jess's passion for solving real problems coupled with her experience in the social SaaS space made her uniquely qualified for the position. The hustle, enthusiasm and caring she brings makes it an absolute joy to work with her!"

Both Jess and Nell are great additions to our team and are really smart about social strategy. If you'd like to get on the phone with them and talk about how Little Bird can help move your marketing and sales department into a much stronger strategic position on the social web, we hope you'll drop us a line. They'll be happy to talk with you about how some of the biggest companies in the world are already using Little Bird and how you can too.

The Network Effect of Experience

One of the biggest lessons we've learned since raising our most recent financing from the Oregon Angel Fund early this year is that one great hire supports the next.

nellmargin(Left: Enterprise sales pro Nell Loomis)

After building a strong and scrappy team of people doing their jobs for the first time, we got tapped into a great network through Wieden & Kennedy's PIE program. That network included PIE mentor and now Instrument Marketing CFO Marshall King. Marshall connected us to Ben Kaufman, who in January became Little Bird's COO. Ben's super connected and respected around the Portland startup scene and was how we met Jess. She's worked with both Ben and Little Bird's experienced new CTO Michael Jones in other successful Portland startups (StepChange and Monsoon).

Now Jess's network has already led to our next blockbuster hire, which we'll announce in two weeks. These internal referrals are incredibly valuable because they help us connect with a new level of experienced professionals. Big new hires already know our team and our team already knows how effective they can be. That makes both recruiting and execution stronger and faster. It's awesome!

Every day is getting more exciting here at Little Bird and we're thrilled to build the future of the company with our new team members.