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Ben - Sales Manager at Attest

February 16, 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 👇

Ben - Sales Manager at Attest

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

My name is Ben Attenborough, I originally hail from East Sussex, England and I’m a software seller working at consumer insights company, Attest. I started my career in London as the first SDR in the company, and the 13th employee, 6 years ago. I have since advanced through five promotions, culminating with my existing role as a Sales Manager in North America, working in our NYC office. In that time, many of my proudest achievements have been around coaching the next generation of sales talent coming through and I’ve seen the huge impact that diversity of background / experience can have on building a well rounded company and sales function. 

Outside of work, I’m a huge foodie and love nothing better than to check out the latest spots for great food and wine (for which the commission cheques are certainly useful!!). 

What was your journey into a career in Tech Sales?

I caught the sales bug early, in the summer before university, I joined a local company that ran B2B telemarketing campaigns for global publishers. I immediately found I was very good at engaging prospects over the phone and got an early taste for the financial rewards that a career as a seller can offer. From there, I embarked on a grad scheme internship with a global CPG brand, getting my first experience of selling face to face. After this, I was offered the chance to join their 4 year graduate fasttrack programme, but having got a taste for life at a big corporate and yearning for something more entrepreneurial, I decided to choose a different path, specifically the path of a software salesperson. 

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

It’s perhaps a bit of a cliché, but a career in sales provides you with a huge amount of transferable skills. Beyond the obvious: learning to build cohesive arguments, developing negotiation skills, communicating more effectively, etc., being able to demonstrably understand and empathise with people is a pivotal trait as a software seller, this also happen to also be the most fundamental skills one can have as a human being. Therefore in my (admittedly biassed) opinion, this career path sets you up for broader life incredibly well.

I am a huge believer, regardless of career path, in the need to always have a strong sense of your ‘why’. It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning, the reason you work that bit harder than anyone else, the reason you stay motivated when the chips are down. I have found that my own ‘why’ has changed as I’ve progressed through my career - from having a big chip on my shoulder early on, to seeking financial reward and stability, to wanting to progress and experience leadership, I have always found that my career in tech sales has kept me incredibly engaged and connected with my ‘why’. I’ve had an immense sense of satisfaction from being a consistent top performer and being recognised as such, I’ve advanced and been promoted quickly, all whilst being well rewarded financially. As a result, I can’t recommend this career path enough. 

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

To my earlier point, I would focus on getting very well acquainted with your ‘why’. Sales, particularly sales today, is hard. There’s no shying away from that, and it’s very important that you’ve got a real driver that gives you the power to dig deep and work harder than everyone else around you. Stay connected with your ‘why’ and this won’t feel like a chore, in face you’ll enjoy it!

From day one of joining a company, your focus should be on acting like a sponge. Leave your ego at the door and assume you know nothing. Any company will have top performers, get in front of them early and start learning what they’re doing to be successful. Take them for a coffee / beer and prepare thoughtful questions. 95% of people will be more than happy to offer this support to a newbie and this is the number one thing you can do to get up to a good standard quickly. Learning to put your own spin on things will come later - focus on mastering the fundamentals. 

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

Through my working life, I have seen the massive impact that background can have on peoples ability to get ahead. It’s not just the social connections that it gives you, but also the confidence that people from certain backgrounds have instilled in them from a young age. 

For those without this background, it can feel like an uphill battle getting started and I’m deeply passionate about fostering an environment that encourages a level playing field for everybody. Many of the smartest, and most high achieving, sellers I’ve met have come from non-linear and non-traditional backgrounds, yet they still represent a very small percentage of the people working in our industry.  I believe our differences should be celebrated and that the world, both inside and outside of work, is a richer place when people from all backgrounds are brought together. I’m therefore super excited by the prospect of helping the next generation of talent to get a leg up, whilst also getting opportunities to develop myself as a leader and coach. 

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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