VRtuoso is a London based startup that built a “PowerPoint for VR”, the first-ever Enterprise product to create VR presentations in-house. We’ve sat down with Harshil Patel, ex-Business Development Account Manager at VRtuoso to learn what it’s like to work in this cutting-edge sector that is poised to change the world as we know it.
K: Tell us about your journey of getting into Tech Sales
I started off on the agency side where I worked in Recruitment for 5 years, focusing on technology and executive hiring across EMEA. My three focus areas that I was growing within my clients were Big Data, Cloud Computing and Cyber Security. This was pretty exciting to me, I’ve learnt a lot about how businesses make their decisions, how they grow and how they look at stakeholder management. I then moved to a more senior position at Gartner.
n this role, I had more internal responsibilities that allowed me to gain three years of experience within Gartner, a fantastic, well-established organisation.
Reflecting on my career at that stage, getting into my thirties, I wanted to reevaluate and make sure I’m making the right decisions for the long term. Going into Sales was very interesting and exciting for me from the two perspectives. One is that I got to stay very close to technology, which is a genuine passion of mine. And two is that it is a potentially lucrative field.
Naturally, I started to explore the abilities and transferable skills that it takes to move from Recruitment to Sales. When I started to look for my next role outside of Gartner, I wanted to join a company where I could have more responsibility and have a direct impact on growth and revenue. Hence, I went into tech sales for VRtuoso, a startup within virtual reality.
K: Could you tell us more about your role as a Business Development Account Manager at VRtuoso
VRrtuoso is a small startup, which was seed-funded when I joined in January 2019. So I joined as the second person in the Sales team, after the CEO – we grew the sales team to four people by the end of 2019.
My primary responsibility was to generate revenue for the business, create a sales and go-to-market strategy. My focus was heavily on outbound sales: attending various sales events, my own campaigning, liaising with key decision makers by guiding them through the procurement process, closing deals and then onboarding. My role also included looking at renewals and retaining existing clients.
As in any startup, you have to juggle multiple responsibilities, so I was also helping with recruitment and doing a lot of mentoring and training.
K: What is your experience of building your own sales team?
My Sales experience and knowledge come from a value-based, consultative selling approach at Gartner and the Challenger sale so at VRtuoso, I started from establishing what type of culture we wanted to build. Our goal was to create a collaborative Sales culture, with some healthy competition.
So, we were recruiting individuals who had specific technical knowledge required for our company, but it was equally important to understand their personalities. How do they approach the market? What are they responsible for? A lot of SaaS sales individuals from big organizations are normally responsible for specific aspects of the sales cycle. And, at VRtuoso they’d have more end-to-end responsibility, so we needed someone who was comfortable with that.
As a startup, it was also important to hire agile individuals, someone who is ready to wake up one day and have a complete change of agenda.
K: What’s the single most exciting thing about working in Sales?
For me, it’s bringing on-board blue-chip companies like Pfizer, for example. When I’m able to manage the full sales process, from getting in touch with the decision-makers to spearheading that complete project pipeline and the revenue stream, to onboard them, it’s great to see their first successes and see them grow naturally over the next few years. That really becomes part of your internal personal brand, it naturally leads to success within businesses.
Bringing on-board blue-chip companies really becomes part of your internal personal brand, it naturally leads to success within businesses.
K: What are the downsides of working in Tech Sales?
Sales is very competitive. It can be disheartening at times. You need to be very resilient because you will probably get a lot more rejections, then you will get approvals, especially during the early stages. So the difficulty can sometimes be to remain in that positive mindset and to ensure you’re resilient and self-motivated. When I evaluate my personal targets at the end of the month or end of the quarter, I’m still achieving or overachieving, but naturally, there are good days and bad days.
When you’re doing an end-to-end sales role at a startup, prioritization is extremely important because you get to be involved in many different projects, but you have to stay focused on that revenue stream coming in.
K: How does working at VRtuoso compare with working at a bigger company?
Going from Gartner to VRtuoso was a world of difference. At VRtuoso, it was never a fixed-hour role, sometimes, I’d be driving up to Manchester at 7 a.m. and driving back at 11 p.m. In bigger firms like Gartner, I very much had a 9 to 5, and it was a bit more rigid.
In bigger companies, you have the structure and framework to fall back on. So at Gartner, if I had some queries or I needed to get some marketing material to send out, I had a team that I could ask for help. Whereas at VRtuoso, I needed to work on it myself. For some people, it doesn’t always fit working in this kind of startup environment.
K: What is your advice for someone who is just looking to get into sales?
My advice would be to find out what you’re passionate about, what drives you. You can sell anything from a hardware box to SaaS technology, to manufacturing goods, but being passionate about your product will help you always keep up to date with the market and trends, which is key in Sales.
The second is your internal approach, what type of salesperson are you? Are you a Lone Wolf? Are you a Hunter? For that, I recommend reading The Challenger Sale.
This book really breaks down the five different types of sales personalities, and you should lean into that. Once you have found a work environment that works well with your type of sales personality, you’ll be able to thrive.
Lastly, it may sound as a cliché, but people buy from people. If you’re confident and you’re able to build relationships and trust, you will naturally be more successful in Sales.
K: From a candidate’s perspective, what are the most frustrating things about searching for a new role?
The toughest part is not getting feedback. There’s a lot of time and effort that naturally goes into providing the information necessary for the application, and without getting constructive feedback it’s very difficult for a candidate to improve.
The other struggle is that it is a very saturated market. Sales is something that a lot of people are either breaking into or working in, and then being able to really find the right opportunities that fit your skillset.