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Duncan graduated from the University of Exeter this year, with a First Class degree in Business and Management. Venatrix placed him into a graduate role in a Marketing technology startup in the early autumn. A few weeks into his role, we caught up with him to find out how he’s doing, and what working in a startup is all about.
What were your career plans when you finished uni?
Initially, I didn’t really have any- I wanted to take a year out and travel. I changed my mind because all my friends were moving to London and I wanted to join in!
What attracted you about working in Sales?
I thought a Sales role would play to my strengths and interests. First, I’ve always been motivated by money, and I know there’s a high earning potential in Sales roles. I’m also a proper ‘people’ person- I love talking to people and working with people, and so all this came together and pointed towards a career in Sales.
What’s different about working in a startup?
The company culture is just so much more positive- I feel like our company has got things so right in terms of motivating people and getting the best out of them. Everyone is really friendly, and wants you to ask stupid questions and make mistakes so that you can learn- they don’t feel like scary work colleagues at all.
As part of my degree, I did a placement year at a big Retail chain, and that was totally different- it was very intense and very hard work, and everyone felt pressured and scared to get things right. It’s been a complete contrast to come to a place where you want to do well because you believe in the company and you want to succeed for the rest of the team- it makes working hard come naturally.
I think it’d be hard to replicate our company culture in a bigger organisation- there are only about fifteen people in the office I’m in, and without wanting to be too cheesy, you feel like part of a family rather than a cog in a big machine!
What does an average day look like for you?
It’s still early days- I only started a few weeks ago! But my job’s all about targeting new customers for the company, so I spend some time researching them to make sure I know all about their business, and finding out about the industry they operate in and their competitors. Then, once I feel like I’ve got the whole picture, I call or email them to make my pitch. I’m also still having lots of training and induction events, so all that takes up a significant chunk of time at the moment.
What’s the most important thing you do?
The whole process really- we SDRs are the people who get potential clients interested in our platform, which is an expensive piece of tech! It’s really important that do our research properly, so we’re targeting businesses that will benefit from our software, and so that we sound credible and expert. But the Sales-side of things is equally vital- that we can explain the value of the solution in a way that will drum up interest, and that we’ve got the communication skills to build strong ongoing relationships.
What kind of clients do you work with?
Our platform can be used by different businesses- Business to Business companies, publishers. Each segment will have different needs- so you have to learn about each individual market and the clients you’re targeting, because different solutions will suit each. Learning about all the industries has been really interesting! In each case, I’m usually talking to Marketing managers.
Do you have any advice for grads who want to work in a startup?
Basically, just go for it- make sure it happens, and don’t give up because working in a startup is so much better than being in a big company. And sign up for Venatrix!