Susannah's living the fast life of a Business Development Executive, read her story
"I like to start my day by having a clear understanding of what I want to achieve, even if it's only small"
Name: Susannah Downs
Job title: Business Development Executive
What area of Sky do you work in? Sky Business Field Sales – Sky Sports
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I graduated from The University of Strathclyde in 2014, having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Sociology. It was during my time of studying that I developed a love for sales and the fast paced environment that it was accustomed to. For a number of years I sold a variety of FMCG products for one of the largest mobile network operators in the world. I sold everything from mobile phones, to tablets, to home broadband.
After graduating in June 2014, I decided that I wanted to develop a career in sales and knew that I wanted to stay within a dynamic environment. I was very picky about the industry I wanted to work in and I made a conscious effort to stay with ‘big name brands’ as I knew the training and support I would gain from them would be second to none.
My first job after graduating was working within Heinekens National Sales Team, where I looked after over 150 pub accounts throughout the UK, selling into them a large portfolio of beers, cider, wines and spirits. In my specific role I looked after Independent Free Trade pub businesses as well as those that were tied to pub companies or breweries. My experience within Heineken and their estate was central to propelling me forward within the drinks industry.
After a number of years I moved to the Edinburgh based craft brewers Innis and Gunn. During my time there I worked a very hybrid role, touching various areas of the business from sales, to business development and even logistics. I developed a new sales platform for their free trade pub businesses and was involved heavily with the integration of their Inveralmond estate into their Innis and Gunn brand. In a similar fashion to my time at Heineken I focused on developing independent free trade pub businesses and had many accounts throughout the UK.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? A typical day for me starts early and consists of planning ahead. It is extremely important to work closely with business partners as I focus purely on new business acquisition. I spend most of my time prospecting for new business accounts and meeting with publicans. During these meetings I need to effectively understand their business and discuss how Sky Sports can help them meet their business objectives; such as drive footfall and increase customer dwell time within their account. In my line of work it is really important to offer expert advice to our accounts, therefore when I am not out and about meeting people, I am working on my local knowledge and industry knowledge.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Securing my first two sales within several weeks of being in the business, whilst still being in training.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job?I love getting to meet new people, no day is the same and every day is a school day.
Describe your work/life balance? My work life balance is great, I have a supportive team around me and we all help and look out for one another.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Be confident in your own capabilities and always have a goal in mind. I like to start my day by having a clear understanding of what I want to achieve, even if it is only small – these things tend to lead to bigger opportunities and keep you focused. Identify areas that you would like to improve on and work on them daily.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? From a young age I developed a love for music and at the age of 9 I began playing the cornet. I quickly progressed into becoming a Scottish, British and European Champion and I have performed in some of the most prestigious venues throughout the world, as a soloist and as part of a brass band. I even have my own CD recordings… available for sale, price negotiable.