Careers: Adding Rocket Fuel to our Rocket Ship

Written by Abhirukt Sapru, Chief Revenue Officer

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.

“On any given day, we’re meeting with prospective clients, answering due diligence queries, mapping out new sector strategy and running commercial discussions. Sometimes this means we’re in boardrooms negotiating with senior stakeholders from the biggest organizations in the world, and sometimes that we’re on slow trains to rainy cities to clarify technical queries.”

—  James Deacon, Business Development Manager

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 glamourous 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.

“What I find most empowering about my role is the freedom I have to run my entire workload. As BDMs, we work fully autonomously, whilst checking in with each other to share thoughts and experiences. It’s pretty close to working for yourself - the main difference being you’ve got an awesome team and company behind you too.”

—  Chris Mansfield, Business Development Manager

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 organisations: 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.

“What I like the most about my role is that I shape it myself and can define my own path in the Tessian journey. To me, BD is more than one role. I started as a BDM and today, I am managing the Finance team. Given my background as an investment banker, it made total sense to focus on this specific mission and make sure that the most prestigious financial institutions end up using (and loving) Tessian! I am always so proud when my friends in banking tell me they’ve been saved by Tessian.”

—  Morgane Zerath, Business Development Director

Morgane (Business Development Director) and Christian (Strategic Account Executive)

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.