Hannah Young
April Woman to Watch

Hannah Young

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career. What has been your highlight so far?

To be honest, I never thought I’d end up in sales. I started my career in marketing at a small IT consulting firm, and it was a great foot in the door to the business world. At the time, being a marketing coordinator I told myself I’d never do sales.

I moved onto working in a small tech start up as a Marketing Executive and after working there for a while I had an opportunity to become an Account Executive for a short period.  I figured, why not give sales a try?

I took the leap and gave it a shot. And you know what? It was actually pretty thrilling! Before I knew it, I landed a gig at Aircall as an outbound BDR and from there I realised sales isn’t just a rewarding career but such a valuable skill to learn and have.

Nowadays, I’m a Business Development Manager at Liven, closing deals and managing the accounts also. Going from just booking meetings to now managing the full sales cycle and account managing has been really challenging but also really exciting. This is still the beginning for me, there’s a lot of learning still to come.

For me, the best part of this whole journey has been meeting some amazing people in the industry and working in tech. I Iove the tech space – it’s always fast-paced, always changing, never boring. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

You’re an ambassador at Earlywork and have done some Mentoring for other BDRs, we would love to know more about this? What excites you the least and most about the sales industry? 

Early Works is a startup tech community. It is one of the fastest and fairest ways to begin a career in tech. They have an incredible academy where a cohort goes into a bootcamp with a job guaranteed in the end. It’s really amazing for people who don’t know where to start and it’s a great pathway to get the right training before going into a tech sales role. They have so much amazing content and events that I go to as well.

I have been really lucky throughout my career to meet so many people in the Earlyworks community and met the co founders and team of Earlywork. I engaged with some of their content on LinkedIn and I was lucky enough to be picked as one of their ambassador for the community along with nine other tech sales legends.

Even though i’m still learning, it feels great to help so many other SDRs and BDRs  in the space with my experience and advice on personal branding etc and how to succeed in sales as a team.

For sales we all know, it’s a rollercoaster. For me, I had to learn not to take things personally in sales. You need to have the constant mindset of some will, some won’t but so what. It’s tough, it constantly feels like a love-hate relationship – although it can be challenging and cut throat, it’s taught me so many valuable lessons to take with me through my career. I think if you can do sales you can do anything, it builds a lot of resilience.

With your experience in marketing and exceptional Linkedin page we wanted to know if you have any tips on personal branding?

I love this question because I love Linkedin and personal branding. When I moved out of marketing I knew that I still wanted to use those skills and still wanted to be a ‘marketing girlie’ and I realised I could market myself instead. I started building out my brand when I was at Aircall and I think at the start it’s hard to figure out where to start and I was also afraid and didn’t know whether it was the right content, or if anyone would even like it.

I got really caught up with engagement and likes, I would say when you’re starting out don’t worry about this, all that matters is that you start. Be true to yourself, I definitely struggled with this in the beginning. I didn’t know if people would like it or not. I have actually won prospects through my social selling and creating my personal brand helped a lot. 

I really encourage people to have a strong or catchy tag line on your Linkedin. In sales it helps to catch the prospect’s eyes, mine is “Most people call me Han but maybe you could call me back?” I really think that in sales you need to use a mutli-channel approach and reach out on different channels but having a strong LinkedIn profile and personal branding is a really great way to be memorable and recognisable. 

Your nominee Kayla mentioned that you are committed to pioneering culture, diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. What do you think are the important strategies or initiatives to create an inclusive workplace in tech?

The tech culture from my experience has been quite good in respect to other industries. Working in tech for a while I have found there has been a lot of internal culture. Working in startups it is really close and tight knit, and everyone is in it together to thrive and work together. I really believe that we should prioritise diversity in the hiring process and have the mindset of actively seeking and recruiting candidates from different diverse backgrounds. 

At Aircall we had ERG’s and that was a great way to provide a supportive community. I was a leader of the Gender Equality Matters group and we supported each other and created a great space for collaboration. Tech sales sometimes has a bro culture so it’s great to have the group to lean on and go to. 

One thing I would recommend is checking in with your team regularly and doing anonymous surveys to get feedback and ensure everyone feels included. 

It’s so important to enjoy where you work and to work  in an inclusive and safe environment. It’s hard to navigate sometimes because I believe this has to be instilled into the company from a management level which sometimes means it’s hard to speak up. 

What is you one piece of advice you would give to women in sales coming from a different industry? 

It might sound a bit basic but I think you should just go for it. Some people might say it’s too hard or it’s too challenging but you will never know until you go and give it a try. When I first started I really wasn’t sure and didn’t feel super confident and there was times I wanted to quit as I didn’t feel like I was good at sales.

I had quite a bit of imposter syndrome but now I’m closing deals and making it happen. Sales has really boosted my confidence a lot. Don’t be afraid to fail, you’re always going to make mistakes but if you know how to fall forward and learn from it, that’s so important. You might have some rough months, I sure did but if I gave up back then, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that failure is a stepping stone to success. You might have some months where everything seems to be going wrong. But that’s when you need to dig deep and remain resilient (I know easier said than done). Keep pushing forward, keep learning and growing. Trust me, the rewards are worth it.

What have you been reading or watching lately?

I’m really into self help books and recently finished reading The Gift by Edith Eger and I’m currently reading The Choice by the same author. On the more career side I love listening to sales podcasts, I really like Outbound Squad and Best of Sales Skills Podcast. I’m always on LinkedIn absorbing content and there are so many sales leaders and legends in the space that I follow and look up three I would recommend follow are Mattia Schaper, Tim Teale and Christian Krause.