In this month’s ‘A Day in the Life’ it’s the turn of Senior Business Development Manager, George Essex, who talks us through the daily life of the HeadBox sales team, dodgy lockdown haircuts, and his passion for cycling.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role?
As a Senior Business Development Manager on the HeadBox Business team, I am tasked with selling our ‘human-kind’ event technology (software as a service (SaaS)) to corporate clients. But what does that actually mean? In short, HeadBox offers a single platform that allows corporates to plan, book and deliver all of their events in one place.
On a day-to-day basis, much of my time is spent speaking with prospective clients about the challenges they face within their meetings & event programme, pitching HeadBox’s service offering, as well as absorbing as much industry insight as possible. The last year has demonstrated the need for rapid digital transformation within the events industry, the old way is no longer fit for purpose, and HeadBox is well positioned to lead this change.
What is life like at HeadBox? How has it changed over the last year?
Despite the fact time spent in the Headbox boardroom has been replaced with my front room, many of the routines and cherished ‘HeadBoxisms’ like the ‘big-cheese’, our HeadBoxer of the week award, and ‘coffee-mate’, a weekly 30 minute coffee chat with a random HeadBoxer, have endured the transition to WFH. Thankfully the pool table, host to my weekly thrashing and a source of constant ridicule, remains firmly locked away in the office.
HeadBox’s company culture, grounded in its values of ‘brilliance, integrity, empathy and curiosity’, is embedded in everything we do. Whether it is the access to senior management, the incredible attention to staff wellbeing (weekly yoga sessions, virtual socials etc.), or the training & opportunities we are exposed to, there has always been a strong sense of every employee being a valued member of the team, something which has not faltered during the last year.
How do you look after your wellbeing when you’re working from home?
I would be lying if I told you that trying to sell event technology during a global pandemic has been a walk in the park. Far from it. Buoyancy is a word often used in sales to mean ‘remaining afloat in a sea of rejection’, and this phrase has been apt in the past year. Staying positive has been vital.
Outside of work I am an avid cyclist, and train 5 to 6 times a week which some family and friends have labelled quasi-obsessive. Regular indoor and outdoor rides have been invaluable for coping with the long lockdown days and most importantly, provide damage limitation to my insatiable appetite for puddings, particularly ice cream! Above all, when I was fortunate enough to spend some time living with my parents during the first lockdown, there was no better influence on my wellbeing than Zola, my family’s 7 year old cocker spaniel and resident cuddle therapist!
What skills do you need to do your role? How did you get into it?
My journey into software sales was a happy accident. Upon graduating university I found myself on a graduate scheme in the Insurance industry which ultimately wasn’t the right role for me. I knew I wanted a challenging, goal-oriented job which was client facing and would allow me to learn quickly. Next thing I knew I was at HeadBox HQ in Jan 2019, nervous and bewildered by the sight of a pool table in the middle of the office after the corporate start to my career.
Looking back, the skills that enabled me to succeed in my role were:
1) Being process orientated – no salesperson will succeed without following a sales process, so champion that process.
2) Being buoyant – every salesperson will relate to this, but being able to stay positive and ‘above the line’ pays dividends both personally and benefits team members too.
3) Controlling the controllables – sales, like life, will always hit you with a few curve balls, so make sure you are doing everything in your power to understand a prospect’s challenges and building the value accordingly. To give a relevant example, I can’t control Covid-19, but I can consistently check in with prospects/clients and offer insight and support to help them through these times.
What do you like most about your team?
Despite the rollercoaster ride of the last 14 months, it has been an absolute pleasure seeing the same faces everyday at 9am on Zoom, although I think memories of some of the experimental lockdown hairstyles will forever haunt me.
Andrew, our CEO, often talks of how ‘rough seas make strong sailors’ and navigating the impact of Covid-19 on the event industry together has definitely solidified the bonds within the team. Ranging from the consistently sub-par banter on kick-off calls, to the insightful retrospective and training sessions led by different team members, everyone has displayed an unwavering willingness to help each other and muck in when needed.
Covid-19 has broken down the divisions between work and personal life, providing a real appreciation of the interests and activities of each team member outside of the 9-5. Most importantly, I look at each member of the team with the knowledge that everyone is bought in to the HeadBox cause and is striving to make the company as successful as we know it can be!
What are your goals for the year ahead? Personally and as a team
As the UK emerges from Covid-19, all of us at HeadBox are excited for the return of in-person events and the opportunity it presents. For the HeadBox Business team the simple goal is to expand our corporate customer base. With the pace of digital transformation increasing, we want to build on the progress we made with the product and our clients over the last 14 months by consolidating HeadBox’s position as a marketing leading event-technology company.
Our mission, reinventing the global events industry through technology, remains at the core of everything we do and 2021/22 promises to be a very exciting year for HeadBox so watch this space! On a more personal note, I have lots of plans for the next year. The easing of restrictions means that cycling races will be back on and I also cannot wait to go abroad on holiday (ignoring the torment of my legs being crushed on a long haul flight!). That being said, the Great British Summer, kicking off with the Euros, promises to be an absolute corker!
Discover more about life at HeadBox here