Elite Level Athlete to SaaS – A Conversation with Andy Laws

December 12, 2023
Content Marketing | Marketing Strategy | Rep Matters

Episode Summary

In this episode of Rep Matters, hosts Zoya Segelbacher and Caroline Jones welcome Andy Laws, a Senior Business Development Manager at Braze. Andy shares his journey from being an elite sportsman to a key player in the tech industry. He discusses the importance of quality research and creative problem-solving in business development. His story is a testament to the power of adaptability and resilience.

Andy recounts the exhilarating experience of Braze’s IPO, highlighting the sense of community and growth within the company. He then delves into his transition from professional sports to SaaS sales, a move driven by his competitive nature and interest in business. Andy’s story is one of reinvention, showcasing how skills from sports can translate into business success.

Andy opens up about the challenges he faced, including identity loss and mental health struggles, as he moved away from sports. He emphasizes the importance of a healthy relationship with failure and the competitive edge it brings. Andy’s journey is inspiring, showing how embracing failure and leveraging one’s strengths can lead to remarkable achievements in new fields.

Featured Guest

Name: Andy Laws
What he does: Snr. Business Development Leader

Noteworthy: Former elite cricketer, Andy Laws, transitions to tech sales leader at Braze.

Key Insights

Embracing Change and Overcoming Identity Loss

Andy Laws candidly discusses the profound challenge of identity loss he faced after retiring from professional cricket at 21. This transition marked a significant shift in his life, leading him to reevaluate his goals and interests. He shares his journey through anxiety, depression, and struggles with painkillers, highlighting the often-overlooked mental health challenges athletes face when their sports careers end. Andy’s story is not just about the end of one chapter but the beginning of another. His resilience in overcoming these challenges and finding a new path in the tech industry with Braze is a powerful testament to the human ability to adapt and grow in the face of change.

From Sports to Sales: Harnessing a Competitive Edge

Andy draws a compelling parallel between his sports career and his success in the tech industry. He emphasizes the value of a competitive spirit, honed from his days as an elite sportsman, in driving his achievements in business development and sales. Andy reflects on how the discipline, dedication, and resilience required in sports have been instrumental in his professional growth at Braze. He speaks about embracing the daily grind, the importance of striving for continuous improvement, and how seeking challenges and learning from failures are crucial for success. This insight offers a unique perspective on how skills and mindsets developed in one area of life can be effectively transferred to another.

Celebrating Milestones: Braze’s IPO and Community Expansion

Andy shares his exhilarating experience during Braze’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), a significant milestone for the company. He describes the IPO as not just a financial achievement but a moment that brought the entire Braze community together, highlighting the company’s growth and unity. This event was particularly poignant as it occurred post-COVID, marking the first large-scale gathering of the Braze team since the pandemic began. Andy’s recount of the IPO day reflects a sense of pride and accomplishment, underscoring the importance of community and collective effort in reaching corporate milestones. This insight sheds light on the human aspect of corporate achievements and the power of shared goals and experiences in building a strong organizational culture.

Episode Highlights

The Role of Hard Work and Dedication in Achieving Success

Andy Laws discusses the importance of hard work and dedication in achieving success, both in sports and in the business world. He emphasizes that the glory and achievements people see are the results of consistent effort and tackling the less glamorous aspects of any job. Andy shares his experience of pushing himself to the limits in sports and how he applied the same discipline and commitment to his role in sales and business development. He believes in embracing challenges and the grind, which he sees as crucial to becoming a high performer.

“I know what it takes to be a high performer… People always see the glory… But what they don’t appreciate is all the one percenters and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”

The Importance of Personal Growth and Career Direction

Andy reflects on the importance of personal growth and reassessing career direction. He talks about his annual process of evaluating what activities give him energy and which ones drain him. This self-reflection has led him to surprising realizations about his career path, such as preferring team goals over individual targets and finding more joy in helping others grow than in personal achievements. Andy’s approach underscores the value of aligning one’s career with personal changes and interests.

“What are the things that are giving me energy versus… detracting energy has been a really helpful exercise… I realize maybe that route wasn’t the right or isn’t the right route for me to go down.”

Building Quality Relationships in Business Development

Andy highlights the significance of building quality relationships in business development. He stresses the importance of trust and collaboration with team members, which he sees as key to personal and professional growth. Andy shares his belief that nurturing deep, meaningful relationships with colleagues can lead to better performance, career advancement, and more fulfilling work experiences.

“Have that kind of layer and depth and quality to the relationships because that’s the thing that’s really going to make the difference when it comes to… the pipe number.”

Promoting Personal and Professional Resources

Andy talks about promoting his professional services and personal resources. He discusses Rev Rocket, a service aimed at helping young organizations with pipeline generation, and his digital resources, including an actionable SDR playbook and eBooks on best practices. Andy’s focus on providing tools and knowledge to others in the field reflects his commitment to supporting growth and efficiency in the sales and business development community.

“There’s an actionable SDR playbook, which is a number of frameworks and resources that… are there to create some efficiencies, for SDRs or, and create some additional structure for people.”

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