Aislinn Mahon, Partnerships Team Lead here at Web Summit, is taking over the blog today to give an insight into what it’s like working on the partnerships team. Take it away, Aislinn…
From the beginning of my career, I’ve always valued the importance of building sustainable relationships and I’ve found I thrive in a role where initiative, creativity and teamwork are valued. I have worked in a startup environment from day one, and enjoy a culture of “getting stuff done”. Web Summit ticks all of these boxes. Since joining last year, I have travelled around the world, met fascinating people and developed both as a professional and an individual through learning from and teaching others.
When I interview people to join the partnerships team, the most common question I get is “what do you actually do on a daily basis?” It’s a fair question, but not the easiest to answer.
It’s cliché, but each day is completely different. So instead of telling you about one day in the job, I thought I’d give you a look into a year in the life of a Business Development Executive like me. Starting from when I joined the company one year ago.
September: Diving into the deep end
When I joined the team I was tasked with identifying, approaching and closing partnerships with Portugal’s largest companies. This was a new market for us so I started from scratch. It meant building a targeted list using market reports, and travelling to Lisbon every three weeks to pitch to CEOs from the likes of EDP and Portugal Telecom. Naturally, I developed a slight addiction to black coffee and pasteis de nata, Portugese custard tart – it fuelled my busy days.
In my first few months I got to pitch at a lot of quirky places, it helps that Lisbon is in such a cool part of the world. Once I even pitched at the Lisbon Oceanarium!
By the time Christmas came along, I had built a strong pipeline of future business in Portugal across different sectors, including banking, retail and energy. And back in the office it was great to be part of a team all driving in the same direction – with lots of team activities, dinners and social events.
What I found was that the tech world is constantly evolving, with disruptors rising from every angle. That meant that I was operating in a unique position in the market: selling across industries where the pool of prospects will never run dry. On a daily basis you’re speaking to CEOs, CMOs and CTOs of global brands as well as companies poised for success.
January: A new year with a new focus
The focus shifted towards the USA and selling for our American event Collision. I spent two weeks in the US, starting in New York. I’m not just selling for our American events though. It was in New York that I closed a deal with one of our legal partners for >RISE, our Asian conference.
Of course, San Francisco – the home of the world’s biggest tech companies like Google and CISCO – is also an important city for us. Here, I met with companies to nurture our existing client base and pitch to new prospects. We travelled an hour outside of the city to Mountain View, where a lot of the companies are based. We spent a full day here, hopping from HQ to HQ and meeting COOs, CMOs and CEOs in the process, securing partnerships for all of our events.
April: One conference after another
April is when things start to get super busy. In 2016 it was three conferences within three months! At the events, I spent every waking hour making sure partners are happy, meeting potential clients, and attending dinners and receptions during the evenings. It’s hard work, yes, but it is my favourite time of year, seeing our events in action.
One evening event stands out in particular: the Desk.com party at Collision. I couldn’t have left New Orleans, a city famous for its jazz, without seeing some live music. The Desk.com party delivered this and more with a traditional brass band and bowling at Fulton Alley.
July: The countdown begins
After MoneyConf, attention turns back to our flagship event, Web Summit. The summer is our key selling time, and I spend a lot of time meeting clients face-to-face and closing deals over the phone.
October: So here we are
It’s the final month before Web Summit, and I am looking forward to an incredible week in Lisbon. We have well over 100 partners confirmed including CISCO, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. I am too busy preparing to write more!
There you have it: one year at Web Summit. I’ve travelled the world and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
Our CEO Paddy speaks a lot about the importance of “having fun at work” and that comes from having a great team. We hire great people who are always ready to answer a question and help out, despite working for one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world!
If you are someone who is inspired by ideas, smart people, and being a part of a successful startup story then Web Summit is for you. You will need to be hard-working, decisive and ready to roll your sleeves up from day one. For me, it’s been a blast.