Picture this: It’s 4pm on a Wednesday. While the rest of the working world is going through their midweek slump – clock watching and/or waiting for their boss to turn comments before burning the midnight oil – you are stepping in to the boardroom of a leading London law firm.
In front of you, as you pour yourself a glass of sparkling water with a postcard panorama of the city skyline behind you, are the Managing Partner and Head of IT. They usher you into your seat. As you scramble to connect the various adapters into your MacBook, your mind is 100% focused on delivering a pitch on why their firm should today solve their biggest problem. You need to educate, persuade and ultimately introduce this organization to machine learning (sometimes, for the first time). As you load up your slides on Keynote, it’s show time.
At Tessian, this is not a what-if scenario, this is just one of the daily occurrences as a Business Development Manager (BDM). I had the rare opportunity to be ‘patient zero’ for the Business Development function at Tessian. And it was – and continues to be – an unbelievably exhilarating experience. Every single exercise has value: multiple introductory emails to prospective customers, pitching and ultimately navigating organizations to implementation all help our company achieve our goals.
As a BDM, you are experiencing entrepreneurship in its most raw, gritty form. You are your own rapid-growth business within a rapid-growth business. You get to experience the glamorous highs – as detailed above – alongside the excruciating lows, all at breakneck pace. Industry-defining deals are the norm, and your targets have a direct impact on the products our team can ship, the services we can offer to our customers, and our ultimate mission to protect enterprises from threats executed by humans in order to keep the world’s most sensitive data and systems secure.
Given the nature of the role – a discipline in process, a fervent desire to do things faster and better, creative and strategic thinking, and collaboration through external stakeholder management – BD has become a natural breeding ground for commercial leadership at Tessian. It’s not just here, but across organizations: 20% of Fortune 500 CEOs have come from a selling/marketing background and there is a common adage in start-up world that an overwhelming amount of successful entrepreneurs have first built careers in sales. It’s true here as well – our CEO, founders, Head of US, Enterprise and Finance Directors, and myself (Chief Revenue Officer) have effectively all built our careers in some way as BDMs at Tessian.
Tessian is hoping to redefine sales and business development. We don’t believe in nor hire those who portray the negative stereotypes around sales. BDMs at Tessian are some of the brightest, hardest-working and most upstanding people I have interacted with in my career. It’s humbling to come in and work with these people on a daily basis and I am incredibly grateful that our team’s constant ambition is to outperform.
I sometimes think of the famous Sheryl Sandberg quote to Harvard Business School grads: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” As a member of the Business Development team at Tessian, we get to be right in the control room. And from our window, there’s an incredible view.