Regardless how innovative the idea, or how widespread the problem that it solves, any start-up must sell their solution to the masses: communicating why, exactly, a market must embrace and adopt a product.
While the start-up world turns at a head-spinning pace, and traditional thinking has long argued for a stripped to the core, lean approach for the start-up team – without the right sales talent, even the most ground-breaking products would falter.
As others around us in the software industry continue to advocate services teams as nothing more than a cost – to be replaced instead with third-parties, we know that strong customer communication and on-the-ground insight can only come from the right sales talent – for which, we’ve found Roel van de Ven, our new Enterprise Sales Executive.
Introducing – Roel van de Ven – Enterprise Sales Executive
From taking his first steps into the corporate world as an office assistant at an Attorneys’ Firm, Roel has taken increasingly larger leaps – moving onwards from Junior Business Developer at G4S, onto Henkel, a world leader in adhesive technologies, beauty care and home care, grossing €18 billion a year.
Roel’s initial internship would transition into positions on steadily higher levels – Regional Marketing Assistant, to Regional Product Management and finally securing Regional Pricing Manager, all in the space of 3 short years.
This heady rise into the upper echelons of a global leader’s business team demonstrates an impressive business acumen, yet Roel’s career history has been far from all work and no play. Following a stint as a Wealth Manager, he would go on to become co-owner in a wakeboarding business in Dubai – quite the stark contrast to the straight laced and serious world of financial services. The tenacity to be just as effective for high-net-worth individuals seeking financial advice, as adrenaline junkies looking for a speed thrill, is not to be underestimated (and truth be told, as an avid wakeboarder for over a decade, this is also a real labour of love).
As DSMN8 prepares for growth, it is in Roel’s direction, communication and insight that we’ll secure interest, clients and, ultimately, long-term sustainability.
What did you do before joining DSMN8?
I ran my own water sports company called Wake Evolution, based in Dubai, which is still going strong. Prior to that I was part of the Regional Marketing team at Henkel – spearheading campaigns and growth in India, the Middle East and Africa (IMEA).
Describe your role in 5 words
Develop and maximize growth opportunities.
Who or what inspires you?
There are many great people in the world who I’m inspired by, but I would say my top 3 would be: Tony Robbins, Will Smith and Richard Branson. Each of whom have taken on industries, questioned the status quo and achieved progression by breaking with convention. They also know what true leadership looks like, Branson puts this best:
“A company is people … employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.”
Why did you choose to work at DSMN8?
For the challenge, potential and opportunities – challenge comes in many forms when positioned in the fast-paced start-up world, whereas potential can only be realised when ground-breaking opportunities are fully understood and strategically exploited. Around me are a team of leaders who have track-records for success – alongside them, we’ll be hitting the ground running at a speed that start-ups demand.
How does your role fit into the rest of the DSMN8 Team?
I bring the business to the table – but this begins with a robust understanding of the product features and the ways in which I can bridge the divide between the end user, and our development team. In this way, I’m the cog that makes refinement of features and UX possible. This link is critical to developing a product that users need, and that users love to use.
What are the main challenges for Enterprise Sales at a Startup organisation?
Starting from ground zero is fraught with many challenges – from an enterprise sales perspective, the most imposing is getting your name out there in front of big brands, over and above your more established rivals.
We’ve achieved this with vigorous research on what customers want from an advocacy platform – this has ensured we’re developing the right features and user experience. Of equal crucial importance, is our robust sales funnel, and our CRM that helps us talk about the right things, to the right people.
What sales tech do you use to make your life easier in identifying leads and booking pitches?
We use HubSpot which is an awesome tool for prospect and pipeline management. Besides that, we use old school tools: LinkedIn, cold calling and networking. Perhaps the most vital form of networking are trade shows, which place us face-to-face with industry leaders. We’ve met some fantastic brands at CES, NAMM and most recently IPSO.
How do you spend your time out of the office?
I’m a wakeboarding addict, when not in the office, you’ll likely find me in the water at Wake Evolution or at the cable at Al Forsan.