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Aaron Eckelt

December 5, 2023
Team Tangent

Our Changemakers are Sales Mentors who are supporting the next generation to access opportunities in tech sales. They make an outsized impact on the lives of our jobseekers through short-term mentoring and referring them for open roles.

Learn why they became a Tangent Mentor 👇

Aaron Eckelt

Aaron is a Product Marketing Manager at Beamery. In this edition, he shares his story of moving to the UK aged 3 from Germany, how he moved from selling coffee machines to software sales and how someone seeing his potential and motivated him to be a Mentor

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Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re up to now 

My parents moved to the U.K. when I was 3 years old, my mum was a care worker back in Germany and my dad had moved from Nigeria to Germany, where they met. We moved to London so my dad could study and we ended up settling here.

I grew up in various parts of London, first Mitcham, then Croydon and ultimately I spent most of my formative years in Thamesmead - which had, unequivocally, the ugliest skyline in London. A harrowing concrete jungle home to Europe’s largest council estate. 

As a typical South East London youth, I loved playing basketball, eating fried chicken and listening to music by the local legends of grime (think Tinie Tempah before mainstream fame).

I can’t understate the impact a good connection, friend or mentor can make because when my parents moved to Thamesmead and enrolled me in primary school, I was in Year 5. The following year, I would need to take the 11+ which determined which secondary school I would go to. My new best friend’s mum approached my mum as she picked me up from school on one of the first days and extolled to her - without reservation - the need for me to prepare for the 11+ exam. Luckily for me, my mum listened, found me a tutor and changed the outcome of my life by sending me to a school with far better outcomes. 

When I finished secondary school, I took a less traditional path after school and spent a couple of years doing some voluntary work with my church and then came back to study Chinese and Business Management at Sheffield University.

Nowadays, I find myself spending a significant amount of time and what feels like a small fortune doing DIY in the house, playing basketball and searching out the tastiest hidden eats across London. I’m a big fan of tech on the consumer side, wed to the Apple ecosystem and love catching the latest releases around AI.

What was your journey into a career in tech sales?

During the final year of uni, I landed a grad sales role for a company selling coffee and vending machines (it’s exactly how it sounds). I had a close friend who reached out to me about needing someone who works in sales and speaks German to join his company in an “Account Development Rep” role.

I was reluctant, but eventually heard him out and being a fan of technology in general, thought the prospect of working for a tech company was quite cool so I gave the interviews my best shot and landed the job. Speaking another language is a huge bonus and if by chance you speak another language - especially a European language, it’s a huge bonus.

After a couple of years in the role, I was approached by Beamery - where I work now - to do a similar role. The mission and company aligned with my personal interests around DEI, so I made the move. Coming up to two years now and still enjoying it!

What would you say are the best things about working in tech sales?

Working in tech sales is transformational, especially if you haven’t studied a technical degree. The resilience, organisation and drive you need to succeed mean you can earn life-changing amounts of money throughout your career. 

Being an xDR (whatever the name the company chooses) is typically a springboard into a closing role - Account Executive, but can also lead you into other parts of the organisation.

I’ve just moved into Product Marketing, which involves bringing Beamery’s products to life in communications to our current and potential customer base. I’ll be leveraging what I’ve heard from potential customers about their challenges and goals, and positioning Beamery to solve them.

Bringing the understanding of customer needs into the product marketing role is key to being a successful Product Marketing Manager (PMM), but you also have to think strategically, collaborate with a bunch of folks across the organisation. Being a BDR meant I had some great existing relationships and can continue to leverage those in my new role.

When you’re an xDR and you do well - booking meetings and generating pipeline for sales to close, you build an internal brand within your company, which is very important as you continue to navigate your career, whether in sales, marketing or something else altogether.

What advice would you give to someone who is just about to start their career in sales?

When you think about sales, you think “people who want money”, but while that’s a reward for success, the process to get there involves developing a host of skills. You’ll have to work hard, be attentive, learn fast and deal with heaps of rejection.

What you get in return is often life-changing money (especially when you come from a low-income background) and a skillet to drive revenue for organisations, which is in extremely high demand as every business tries to scale.

Also, be easy to work with and deliver good work. Collaborate and over communicate. Learn how to get stuff done and find answers for yourself. Always think “how can I make my manager’s life easier?”

Why did you decide to join Tangent as a Mentor and why should others join as Mentors too?

I got my start in tech because a friend saw the potential in me. There are so many savvy kids/young professionals that just need the right opportunity and they’ll be able to make a real difference in their lives and the lives of their families. I didn’t even realise the “bank of mum and dad” or having “daddy’s friends” was a thing till I entered this world. For those who don’t have that, this is the next best thing.

Why others should join: There’s something incredibly fulfilling about helping someone with high potential, but low access take their first steps into a new world. They often need extra guidance to navigate the nuances of a new world, but when they do and it clicks for them, it’s magical. For me, it’s definitely about giving back and if others are in a position to do so, they certainly should.

Ready to make a difference?

Tangent connects you with aspiring Business Development Reps from socially diverse backgrounds for short-term mentoring and an employee referral.

Sign up to be a Tangent Mentor today 👇

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