Meet Jamie: Sales Director EMEA at Student Beans
Next to share their Student Beans story in our Meet the Team series is Jamie, our Sales Director for the EMEA region. Here's what he had to say about his proudest moments, plans for 2018 and tips for anyone interested in a career in business development...
Can you tell us a bit about your story so far at Student Beans?
I joined Student Beans in January 2015, initially as a Business Development Manager, responsible for managing a small team. My remit included developing the team, but initially no direct business development with clients.
However, I’ve always believed that managers should “roll their sleeves up” (metaphorically) and develop new business opportunities, and so when the opportunity arose to manage the Key Account strategy in early 2015, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
At that time, my day-to-day still involved managing the growing team and supporting their development, but I was directly responsible for a variety of new brands to our platform. These have included River Island, Papa John’s, KFC, Carphone Warehouse, Buyagift, OnePlus, Oakley, HP, Lonely Planet, & Other Stories and GANT amongst many others.
In 2016, I was asked to join the Student Beans Leadership Team, a group of senior managers and directors, with the aim of strategically setting out the goals and objectives of the business moving forward.
In 2018, I was promoted to Sales Director EMEA and responsible for the company’s strategic international program across multiple territories, and the expansion of Student Beans offices into key markets.
My position also provides a continued opportunity to lead our client strategy and international business development teams in both existing and new territories, together with key client acquisition across a variety of verticals.
You joined our business development team from a background in recruitment - what was it about Student Beans that inspired you to make the jump?
I remember perusing a job search on LinkedIn in December 2014, and stumbled across the advert for a role that caught my eye.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of great opportunities out there, but this company seemed to be exciting, fresh, innovative and had “something” I’d not seen elsewhere.
Most of my professional career has been in client facing recruitment positions, as a consultant but mostly leading and managing teams. So moving to another client facing role wasn’t that big of a jump, as the principles of business are the same.
The immediate challenge was working directly with a SaaS (Software as a Service) based technology, rather than a service based industry, but for me, that was definitely part of the appeal.
I’ve always wanted to push myself, and my desire to continue learning is no different now, than it was when my career started.
But, ultimately there were 3 reasons why I wanted to join Student Beans:
Innovative product environment I hadn’t experienced previously.
I felt I could add value and make a positive difference.
What has been the proudest moment of your time at Student Beans?
There are so many proud moments, but the one that sticks in my mind the most, is helping to support a member of our team in her early career with the company, and who has gone on to be the most successful business developer for the business and a true asset to Student Beans.
What are you most looking forward to at work in 2018?
We have so many exciting plans for the remainder of 2018.
Our expansion into new countries, opening offices, welcoming new people to Student Beans and working with new brands across additional markets is definitely something I’m looking forward to achieving this year.
What do you think sets Student Beans apart from other companies in the sector?
Like most businesses, we work in a competitive industry, but there are definitely things which set us apart from other companies in our sector.
One of the big ones is our culture. We are genuinely a great group of people and all of the positive feedback from clients reinforces this.
Next, it’s the people and so whether you’re in Account Management, Engineering, Accounts, Operations, Design, Finance, Marketing or Business Development, every person is committed to continued development, and providing a world class service.
Lastly, it’s innovation. Student Beans is all about continually pushing the boundaries and developing technology which is market leading.
What’s the no.1 thing that makes you stay at Student Beans?
I am so fortunate to work with such a phenomenal team. We are absolutely a “can-do” company and the people make Student Beans what it is today.
We also do a lot together socially, so whether it’s an impromptu trip to the local pub, our annual summer and Christmas parties (which are legendary!) or meal nights (different cuisines from around the world), we enjoy spending time together when we’re not in the office.
I am genuinely proud of being a part of our business.
What’s your top tip for people interested in working in business development?
Business development can be a very exciting challenge. Essentially we’re initiating a business relationship with a company we’ve never worked with previously and introducing them to a service which they may not have ever considered.
The relationship and partnership with the client starts with our team, and so someone coming into a business development role needs to have the skills and experience to achieve this.
At Student Beans, our focus is taking time to understand each individual business, to ascertain what’s important to them, and deliver a service which meets their unique needs.
The last thing I’d like to add, is that it’s such an emotive feeling for me, but I want people who join the business development team to share the same glorious feeling I get when I see a business that we work with and the difference they will make to all parts of Student Beans.