Job title: Account Manager
Tell us about yourself
I am from a very small village called Auchendinny just outside Edinburgh, famously home to the mill that produced the paper used for money.
I have always had an interest in technology, so after high school I moved to Aberdeen to study Business Information Technology. I choose Aberdeen for its course and the fact as it was the perfect distance from my hometown (meaning no surprise visit from the parents)! Although my degree was designed to push you toward becoming a Software Engineer within the Oil & Gas industry, I quickly realised this career path wasn’t for me and so applied for Sales based Technology roles instead.
What is your role?
I am a Senior Account Manager within our Glasgow office. The purpose of my role is to drive not only new business but also maintain and develop existing customer relationships. As I have been part of the Softcat family for almost 3 years, I now have a number of larger customers which I deal on a daily basis. This is the part of the job I enjoy the most, as these are relationships that I have built up from nothing. I love seeing our relationships with customers grow from strangers to being in a place where you can go for a meal and have a good laugh together!
As an account manager it is my job to manage the full life cycle of a customer project, from discovery right the way though to deployment and support. In the process of doing this I not only engage with the customer but with a wide range of teams throughout the business, such as Purchasing, Credit Control and Customer Success Managers to name a few.
What drew you to apply for Softcat?
Whilst I was really interested in technology and passionate in pursuing a career within it, I knew I didn’t want to be programming all day. I researched quite a few companies and resellers within Scotland, but Softcat was the only one that was able to provide the culture and work life balance I was looking for.
I was fortunate that I had a friend applying to Softcat at the same time as me, so we spent a lot of time reading up on the business through the website and other recent articles that had just been published. It was important to me to gain a clear understanding of not only what I could bring to Softcat, but what they could offer me too. I am a big believer in being in a job that satisfied you, and from the research it did seem that Softcat could offer me the things I was looking for. Spoiler alert: 3 years on and this has still proven to be the case!
Tell us about your candidate experience during the recruitment process?
Having never worked in sales before I was nervous to apply to a company like Softcat. There was doubt in my mind as to what I could really bring to the table, however, during the application process this was completely put to bed. Softcat and the assessment centre team made it clear that you didn’t need prior sales experience and that they were just looking for you to show off your personality. It may be cheesy to say but Softcat really is a people focused business; sales skills can be learned so just being yourself is what really matters.
The application process consisted of 3 main steps. First was the assessment centre, in which included everything from icebreakers to slightly more formal sales activities. If you were successful in this stage, you were then put through to a panel interview- this was really an opportunity for management to get a better insight into your personality and to see if you were a good fit for the role. Finally, there was a call with the Sales Manager of the Glasgow office. This was probably the part I was most nervous for, but once I understood that this was just another chance to show myself off, I then realised there was nothing to be nervous about.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of the recruitment process?
My main advice would be to do research, not only on Softcat as a business but also the role you are applying for. I would also try to gain a good understanding of the industry as I think this will help your chances. Secondly, I would say be yourself and just let your personality shine through. This process is an opportunity to show yourself off and what you can bring to the business.
How has your Softcat experience been so far? How do you feel Softcat has supported you in your career?
When I first came to Softcat, I was picturing myself as the next Wolf of Wall Street- where he just picks up the one and gets a sale there and then. This, however, isn’t always the case with sales. My first 6 months in Sales were hard at times and it took me a while to get into the swing of things, but Softcat were nothing but supportive always asking what additional training they could offer to help.
After that initial period, I have really found my stride and now can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be working. As my career has developed, I’ve also joined the Mentoring Programme and now enjoy sharing my experiences to help newer members of the team develop. When it comes to progression, there are many options for someone in my role, you can either go down the management route or pursue a pure-sales role- Softcat really allows you to follow the path that is best for you.
What would be your ‘Top Tip’ for success within Softcat?
Success at Softcat is not a straight road, there will always be a lot of ups and downs, but that is why it is important to have a clear goal in mind to keep you going through it all. For me that was a personal goal of owning a house, but find whatever keeps you motivated and stick to it!
What advice would you give someone thinking about joining Softcat?
If you think Softcat is the place for you, then just go for it! Don’t let a lack of sales experience or technical knowledge hold you back. Sales can be a hard job, but if you are willing to put the work in then you will reap the rewards.
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