Meet Ines Gallagher, BDM
Could you tell us a bit about yourself please?
I am Reading born and bred and currently live about 10 minutes away from our offices – nice and easy commute! I went to sixth form at a school called Blue Coat, in Sonning, before attending Swansea University to study English Literature.
In my spare time I enjoy amateur dramatics, which I have done for several years. More recently I have been involved in fitness, weight lifting and watersports. I’ve worked at Clarify for about 4 years.
What do Clarify do?
Clarify is as a professional services business development organisation and we help our clients to reach new audiences. Clarify helps our customers to expand, sell new and disruptive technologies, build a predictable and sustainable pipeline and grow as a business by better understanding their customers and prospects challenges.
Since joining Clarify I’ve been working with the same customer, which I enjoy as I like to own something and develop it. We have helped my customer by ensuring that their products stand out in the market which is rapidly becoming saturated. This has been done by reaching new audiences with capabilities that they are not historically associated with, and therefore are less well known for. We achieved this by involving strategic level contacts in order to build the customers reputation and pipeline.
I recently described this process as “rather than taking food off your plate; Clarify are filling up your plate when you’re away from the table”.
What does your role entail?
As a BDM, my role is to build pipeline alongside my customer’s BD team by booking high level, high quality, fully qualified opportunities (Prospect Meetings), which will then convert into closed, won deals. What that means is that I speak with people within the desired prospect account to understand their challenges and pains, in order to understand their goals. Following this, I explain how my customer’s solutions can help and arrange for them to meet my customer for further information. This handover includes a discussion about what we already know and which of the customer’s solutions would be most pertinent to the prospect.
I work really closely with the customer team and we are always sharing ideas, discussing inroads and offering each other tips and hints from what we’re learning from speaking to prospects every day. I really enjoy it!
What did you do before you joined Clarify?
After finishing University I worked for an independent retailer supporting marketing, before joining a digital marketing agency where I worked for nearly 2 years; my role there was to act as an Account Manager and introduced me to selling. It was that experience of pitching and understanding a businesses needs and how we can solve them, which ultimately led me to Clarify.
Why did you decide to join Clarify?
Clarify wasn’t on my radar if I’m totally honest. I didn’t know that I wanted to go into sales or business development until I tried it. I first heard of Clarify when I met a member of the senior management team through a mutual friend at a fancy dress party, and he persuaded me to come in for an interview.
The talent team really helped me understand what the role was about and why it existed. For somebody who’s never worked in this industry and this kind of environment, it was completely new to me. I was so worried at the first interview that I wouldn’t understand what Clarify did, but the talent team ensured that I knew what I was getting into.
How did the reality of working at Clarify compare to your expectations?
I was concerned that it was going to be a very “salesy” organisation. A couple of my friends worked in sales & recruitment at the time and I was terrified it was going to be like the Wolf of Wall Street; people shouting across the room, being publicly shamed for not hitting target, all that jazz! I actually recall bringing that up in my interview and the interviewer’s face was a picture. Working at Clarify isn’t like that at all, it’s a supportive and collaborative environment where everyone is happy to roll up their sleeves and help others.
What’s kept you at Clarify?
I want to give an answer that’s something different to ‘the people’, because everyone always says that.
Honestly, I think it’s partly the customers and partly the culture. I worked in an environment previously where if there was a problem or something wasn’t working as well as it should, there were no discussions on how to improve. In contrast, here we want to grow and expand, so there is an emphasis on working through a problem and thinking of solutions. I like to run at a problem and in my experience, that’s a very Clarify-way of resolving things.
The other factor is the customer. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s nice to be in an environment where you’re working with somebody instead of reporting into them. The way we set up our programs, because we’re a professional services business, is geared to working with the customer to solve their problems and to reach their goals rather than generating leads, and I think that makes a big difference to me.
How would you describe the culture at Clarify?
I would say it’s a very positive culture. I think that even when it’s crunch time or difficult, the environment is energising! If I were to use three words to describe it I’d say: energetic, engaging and entertaining!
What would you say your favourite things about Clarify are?
Obviously in every business there’s a sort of hierarchy, but I love that at Clarify I can speak to Claire (Clarify’s CEO) in the kitchen or pop my head round the door and just talk to her. I love that I can go up to David (Clarify’s Managing Director) ask him how his weekend was, and in the same breath get his wisdom on a work challenge. Everyone is treated as a colleague and a team member, not a subordinate.
Obviously the Christmas social is always a highlight! And I like that fact that although there are friendship groups, it’s not cliquey. If someone’s organised something and you want to go along then you’re always welcome.
What are your hopes for the future?
I’d like to stay with Clarify because I do really enjoy it. I think that I’ve challenged and tested myself in the customer environment, and what I’d like to do is take what I’ve learnt into a coaching environment, sharing some of the knowledge that we work so hard to accumulate. Part of that could be with new recruits, and part of that could be with our customers, so I’d like to explore it further.
What advice would you have for anyone looking to start a sales career?
When approaching a prospect assume you are going to like them. It is important to assume that you are going to have a fantastic relationship and that everything is going to go really well. I’ve found that in sales you often have self-fulfilling prophecies, and if you approach a prospect with a positive frame of mind it’s likely that you’ll have a positive experience. When I pick up the phone and someone sounds like they’re having a nightmare of a day, I love that, because it’s an opportunity to turn their day around and put a smile on their face.
Ask LOADS of questions; of your customer, of your prospect, of your team, of your managers – it’s the best way to learn and it is the surest way to show you are engaged and care about what is going on.