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Andrew - Head of Business Development at Answer Digital

February 6, 2024
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 👇

Andrew -
Head of Business Development at Answer Digital

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

I’m from a small town outside Belfast & now live in Leeds. My academic background is far from stellar, throughout School I had a habit of revising the night before and hoping for the best (spoiler alert, it didn’t go well). Thankfully I managed to get accepted into University to study Business Management. This gave me an overview of Accounting, Marketing, Leadership etc. and most importantly a few years to mature. After University I started with PwC in Risk Consulting, I was placed primarily on Banking & Investment Projects. I loved learning, coaching new team members & stakeholder management. A lot of what I enjoyed doing were skills core to Sales but I hadn’t quite worked that out yet. I was introduced to a friend of a friend who ran a Recruitment Firm who was supposed to give me advice on my career path. Like a typical recruiter, he pitched a role to join his company and learn the ropes of IT Recruitment. This was a risk, but I was up for the challenge. Thankfully with the support of some excellent mentors I got to grips with the role and established an understanding of IT Principles. I enjoyed the challenge of recruitment, but the learning had slowed, I decided to continue my professional development I would pursue a more technically focused Sales Role within a SaaS Company. This was a Series A Start-up in which I had to learn a lot & very quickly (you can probably see a pattern here). After just over 2 Years with that company I was approached to interview for my current role. Which required a step up to build a New Business & Account Management Function from scratch within an existing business.

What was your journey into a career in Tech Sales

I’m not embarrassed to admit that discovering Tech as a career path was an accident. Belfast had a booming tech scene at the time of my move to recruitment and there was a real buzz in the city. It was an exciting industry to be a part of as it was growing quickly & the challenge of learning the terminology & nuances had me hooked. To recruit for Software Developers your understanding of Technology doesn’t need to be deep, if anything, knowing too much can be a bad thing. Once the opportunity to learn had slowed I pursued a role that would allow me to work hands-on with a Software Product and deepen my understanding. I have one specific mentor to thank for passing on his love of tech, without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What would you say are the best things about working in Tech Sales

All sales roles are very similar, however, in my own opinion, Tech Sales roles are the most complex. Due to the complexity, this demands a higher salary, which creates a demand for Tech Sales opportunities, which creates competition for those Roles. The constant learning, complex sales processes and the competition are what I love about Tech Sales.

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

Leave your ego at the door. To quote Yellowstone (which I’ve been watching far too much recently), ‘there will always be a bigger bear’. You’ll might speak with a client who has much more technical expertise than you will ever have. You might engage with sharp CFO/CRO who is making you jump through hoops and trying to catch you out. If you don’t know the answer, it’s fine to say you don’t know, as long as you position it that you’ll come back with an answer later.

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

I’ve had a lot of support from mentors throughout my career. I’m very conscious that I wouldn’t be where I am today without having them as a sounding board, to challenge my thinking and to stop me running face first into the same wall they had previously. It would bring me joy to repay some of that by helping someone else.

Ready to make a difference?

A few hours a month, a lifetime of impact. 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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