Drafting pitch decks that can change the mind of even the pickiest investors. Aligning state-of-the-art tech with clients’ business goals and users’ needs. Crafting astounding yet practical interfaces. Delivering clean code for websites, apps, and interactive experiences. Designing forward-looking marketing campaigns. These are just some of the things we do at Apptension on a daily basis.
We won’t lie if we say that we love our job. In fact, for many of us, it’s more of a passion than something that helps earn a living. At the same time, however, we recognize the value of a healthy work-life balance. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?
To prove that our reality is not only about data, frameworks, and KPIs, we asked the people of Apptension to let us know about their favorite pastimes. The survey and the succeeding talks have led to the creation of the new series on our blog: Apptension After Hours, in which our team members discuss their hobbies and the impact they have on their lives, including their careers.
Our first protagonist is Tobiasz and chances are have already spoken to him or had some great time dancing to his music. That’s because he’s our Business Development Specialist and a first-rate DJ.
Clients, sales, and all that jazz
Tobiasz began his sales journey at Apptension as an Outreach Sales Specialist. Back then, his responsibilities included conducting market research, developing the outbound sales process, and trying out novel outreach methods. Performing all these duties, he had one main goal in mind: engaging in a meaningful conversation with clients seeking bespoke software development services.
As he mastered the art of sales, Tobiasz has decided to take up a position that would allow him for an even closer contact with the client. As a result, he works now as a Business Development Representative. What does this job title mean in practice?
On a daily basis, Toby is in charge of managing business queries, matching clients’ goals and requirements with relevant technological solutions, drafting business proposals, and making sure that the project’s onset goes as smoothly as possible.
Broadly speaking, he’s the one taking care of building and nurturing new client relationships. So whether you’re an agency producer looking for an interactive experience to support your next big campaign or a startup founder searching for a tech partner who’ll breathe life into your disruptive web app idea, Tobiasz will most likely be your first point of contact with us.
And you can trust us when we say that he’s ready to support you and consult your business proposal with the best project managers and technical leaders. From the very first message up to the project handover, he’s always there for you.
What makes a good meeting
As a Business Development Specialist, Tobiasz gets to know clients in two ways: through calls and face-to-face conversations. Since working with agencies, startups, and investors from all over the world is Apptension’s daily bread, the former are much more common. Nonetheless, as Tobiasz observes, neither of these two types of meetings can be said to be easier to conduct:
When on a call, I don’t really worry about timezones and long distance. It makes working with international clients much more convenient for both sides.
At the same time, however, there’s always the risk of misunderstanding each other because of the noise or poor quality of the connection. Nonetheless, follow-up calls summarizing what we’ve agreed on are a really helpful tool to verify everything that’s been said.
Face to face meetings aren’t all fun and games either; however, they seem to be a more natural form of communication:
Real life conversations or workshops with clients are undoubtedly more stressful – after all, if anything goes wrong, you can’t blame the Internet connection. But overall, they allow me to speak freely and develop a deeper, to a certain extent friendly emotional connection with the client.
The f2f meetings give us a chance to have lunch, coffee, or even a drink, and see the human face behind the project. After all, we’re all people and not just projects in a Google Meet tab 😉
Awareness of all these pros and cons has allowed Tobiasz to work out a set of rules that makes both calls and face-to-face meetings as enjoyable for both parties involved as possible.
- Good preparation is the key to success.
Thorough research as well as establishing the agenda and the desired outcomes of the meeting are essential to ensuring effective communication and smooth execution of the business process. You will never ever provide value if you don’t even try to understand the client’s business!
- Trust is fundamental in relations with clients.
Fee cuts and promises of special treatment might sound exciting but they are a short-sighted business strategy. What really works miracles in the long run for both the customer and the company are positive relationships built on mutual respect.
I always treat clients as reliable partners with whom I can be completely honest. If I find myself unable to answer any of their questions, I consult the tech lead rather than pretending to be a know-it-all. It might take some more time but clients really do appreciate truthfulness. B2B sales process is quite lengthy in its nature. Trying to speed things up through insincerity will surely backfire – says Tobiasz.
- Personality factors are more important than you might think.
For Toby, establishing close relations with people has always been a piece of cake. There are, however, certain qualities that need to be continuously nurtured, such as inquisitiveness, resilience, and confidence. The latter is especially important as it allows Tobiasz to truly embody Apptension’s expertise and value.
Music keeps me going
Lead generation, business consulting, market research – if you wish to know anything about these subjects, our Business Development Specialist will surely have a precise answer for you. But every now and then in between the meetings, you’ll hear somebody asking him not about the project progress but about a concert or a recent release.
The first chords
For well over a decade, Toby’s biggest passion has been music. It all started with a summer camp he went to as a 12-year-old boy.
One day, I saw there a guy with a guitar who was playing one of Myslovitz’s songs. It wasn’t anything special but he was surrounded by a bunch of girls who were hanging on every sound. I remember thinking: Damn, I want to be like him. In the end, I didn’t get myself a bunch of groupies but at least I grabbed the guitar – laughs Tobiasz and continues to elaborate on his musical journey.
Being into rock music, the teenage Toby decided to make the electric guitar his weapon of choice. Once he mastered the basics, he formed an indie rock band called Peppermind with a couple of friends. We put Franz Ferdinand, The White Stripes, and Arctic Monkeys in our repertoire and even played a couple of real gigs. Not that we filled the biggest concert hall in town but it was a great first step towards something bigger.
Peppermind in action
Finding the beat
In high school, Toby started broadening his musical horizons and opened up to new sounds: psychedelic and experimental but also more down to earth like old-school rap or indie pop.
Back then I formed a guitar duet with a friend – due to almost no drummers available in our home town, we played mostly ambient and post-rock. At that time, I also felt the need to somehow immortalize the sounds that I created. That’s how Tobiasz delved into music production, the effects of which you can listen to on his Spotify profile.
In 2018, Toby set off on a quest for becoming a DJ. The reason behind this bold decision was the desire to share his own work as well as pieces that inspire him with the larger audience.
My own compositions might be a bit challenging at times which is why I’ve basically never played them anywhere. DJing is a different story – it’s all about indulging in your passion and making it accessible to others. Especially, if you enjoy seeing other people having fun.
However, conquering the local stages on his own wasn’t an easy thing to do. As Tobiasz observes, the industry is highly competitive and sometimes it’s a matter of luck rather than actual skills to break through. In order to make his dream more likely to come true, Toby decided to join forces with other musicians: that’s how KURORT came about.
Kurort (which in Polish means a holiday resort) wasn’t born overnight. It all began with Toby meeting a bunch of like-minded people from Syndrom Paryski in a small club cafe in Wilda. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that they caught up and agreed to form a clique.
Graphic design by Anita Święciak
They knew from the very beginning that KURORT will not be yet another generic band that attempts to appeal to every musical taste. In other words, their goal was to deliver an extraordinary product with a defined vibe, line-up, and success plan. In the end, they decided on playing a slightly different genre each. Moreover, they managed to build an old-school image that brings to mind long summer nights.
But let’s go back to Tobiasz for a little while. In KURORT, he performs as TBH whose setlists are filled with synth-ish, sometimes cheesy disco and house tunes. You can listen to one of his mixes here but we guarantee that you’ll get the truest impression of his music live.
KURORT: (from the left) TBH, pawlack, Sebek1pol
In addition to being one of the four DJs, Toby performs an executive function at KURORT as well. I like to call myself “the resort manager”. Why? Well, I brief our graphic designer, keep in touch with the venues’ managers, arrange the schedule, take care of our social media presence… It’s basically a Business Development function all over again.
While such an amount of work might seem overwhelming, Tobiasz doesn’t mind it at all. And that’s because KURORT is pretty much a musical dream came true. Its members see eye to eye in most matters and while KURORT might not be too long on the market (as I’m writing this article, it’s been around for 4 months), it has already performed in a couple of pubs and clubs in Poznań.
Life is a dancefloor
So does music have anything in common with drafting business proposals and fostering client relationships? If you ask Toby, he’ll give you a definite yes for an answer.
My hobby and my work influence each other. I guess I can even say there’s a perfect synergy between them. On the one hand, experience gained at Apptension allows me to build meaningful relationships with club managers, run the whole initiative, and make sure every bit of it is airtight.
As a Business Development Representative, I need to be self-confident and able to win the hearts of my interlocutors – and that’s exactly what I’m also doing when performing in front of a vast audience.
On the other hand, as I’m handling KURORT’s organizational matters and attempting to sell my ideas to the venues’ managers, I gain confidence in my actions. And that helps when you’re working in a client-facing position.
There are also some other side benefits to KURORT, e.g. the possibility to try out some new negotiation techniques which can come in handy in contact with business clients.
As said, it’s a perfect synergy, perpetuum mobile. Developing at Apptension helps me out when developing KURORT, and developing KURORT allows me to improve myself at Apptension.
What matters most, however, is that thanks to a healthy work-life balance, Tobiasz is able to pursue his personal goals. When telling me about his passion, he recalled going to a club and talking to a DJ a couple of years ago.
As I was at a venue looking at the DJ, I realized that I want to stand behind a mixing console one day. One year later, and I was at the exact spot as that DJ. But I’m only getting started. He knew that it won’t be an easy task but he decided to undertake it anyway. If you ask anyone at Apptension about it, you’ll surely hear that TBH is doing a great job. You don’t have to take our word for it – check out the upcoming Kurort’s gigs and see Toby in action for yourself.
As you can see, being a part of a Sales Team in Apptension is not only about hard work but also about celebrating your passion. Stay tuned for more After Hours stories which are coming soon. And if you’d like to experience the Apptension vibe for yourself, take a look at our current job openings – maybe it’s you we’re looking for right now?