From Goalie to API Account Manager: Why College Athletes Are Perfect for Sales

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For a college athlete with no plans to go pro, graduation can seem daunting. What are you supposed to do with all of those skills you spent years perfecting for your sport? Just a few short years ago, our very own Kelsey Duryea (API Account Manager at SmartBear, former lacrosse goalie for Duke University) was in that same spot. Two years later, she’s been promoted twice in two years on our sales team. Check out what else she had to say about being on SmartBear’s sales team.

Q: What’s it like to work on the sales team here?

A: I come into the office every day looking forward to the people I work with and the challenges ahead of me. We’re broken into several teams, but all of them collaborate with one another. I am always learning.

Overall, it’s a fun, but challenging experience. We know when to have fun, and when to put our heads down and get to work.

Q: What makes SmartBear an ideal place to work?

A: It is a place where you can really learn. I have spent time with reps that have been here for 10 years and reps that have been here for 6 months, and I learned from every single one of them.

There is also continuous opportunity for growth at SmartBear. I’ve been here for almost 2 years and have been in 3 different positions.

Q: What’s your favorite aspect of working at SmartBear?  

A: I’ve been here for almost 2 years, and the people keep bringing me back. My colleagues here are all hard working, but really fun people. We all joke around and have a good time, but when we have to get back to business we all put our heads down.

I would say that the culture at SmartBear is very open. No matter what team you’re on, everyone is open to talking with you. There is an overall warmth throughout the company. Everyone says hi in the hallways, and you can ask anyone to help you out.

Q: How did being an athlete help you prepare for your role in sales?

A: I think a lot of my work now requires preparation, as it did when I was an athlete. Being an athlete also put me in a position to have a team goal and know what I was working towards, while also making an individual contribution.

Additionally, in playing sports, there is a lot of failure, and in sales there is a lot of rejection. I always try to have a short memory. If a customer hangs up the phone, I can learn from it and move on to the next one. I think that was a big theme in lacrosse as well, especially as a goalie. When I would get scored on, I had to move on.

Q: Do you prepare for sales like you prepare for sports?

A: I prepare for sales similar to preparing for sports and games. When I played lacrosse, we had a game plan for our competitors, and before every call I sit down and make a game plan for my customers. I want to know where I’m going, what my goals are, and how I’m going to attack it.

Q: What would you say to graduate athletes looking at a career in sales?

 A: Go for it! It encompasses everything that you’ve learned. And while we all want to be professional athletes, it doesn’t always work out, so sales is the next best thing. Every day you come in and have your own personal goals, but the company is working towards something that is bigger than you, so every second counts and everything you’ve put in will help it get there.

Q: How has SmartBear encouraged your growth?  

A: I feel like every single day I’m learning a new thing. We have regular Lunch and Learns. Everyone is open to teaching you something they may be great at.

SmartBear has helped me grow internally by presenting me with goals, and helping me get there. I have been in 3 different roles in 2 years. Presenting me with a career path has really helped me to move forward.

Want to join the team? You’re in luck! We’re hiring in sales (and lots of other positions) all around the world. If you’re curious, you can see more of what it’s like to work for us on our blog, Instagram, and our website.

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