Callan Howard

Career development at Juro

Business ops
July 14, 2022

Hi 👋 who are you?

I’m Callan, I’m an Account Executive (AE) Team Lead at Juro. I’ve been working at Juro for three years, having joined in June 2019. 

What’s your career journey been like at Juro?

I joined Juro as a Business Development Rep (BDR) - I was part of a lean sales team at the frontline, booking meetings with potential clients. 

At the time, in such an early stage business, we didn’t have a defined sales process in place, and a team of only two BDRs, so there was a huge aspect of learning about contract automation on the job. I worked in that role for almost a year before getting promoted to an AE.

I moved from being the one booking demos and initial meetings, to being the one who closed deals and worked with the potential client all the way to signature. I spent just under two years in that role before being promoted to AE Team Lead. 

What does the AE Team Lead role involve?

I initially spent 50 per cent of my time continuing my responsibilities as an AE, where I had my own quota, and managing three junior AEs on the team with the rest of my time. Now I manage five AEs and don’t have a quota to balance with that work. 

How did you find that transition towards a managerial role?

Easier than I thought - coaching is a big part of what we do internally in sales. I was already guiding the junior AEs, but each AE also coaches a BDR, to help with their learning and development. This involves a weekly one-to-one session, in which we cover progress, challenges, any questions they may have, and dive into deals and how we can progress them.

I would say up to 40 per cent of my time involved coaching before I even moved into a management role. It actually became easier to transition because it meant I had greater responsibility, more flexibility, and an even split of workload between helping others and closing deals.

"At a high-growth scaleup, we don’t have formalised processes in place for everything ... it’s difficult to measure the success of a process until someone has been through it"

How did the business support you in this progression?

juro-learning-and-development

Juro offered plenty of resources and training sessions to help me along this journey - and luckily, I had enough experience with that coaching aspect through the team culture in sales already. 

The People and Talent team ran sessions on wellbeing, systems we use at Juro, how to run quarterly reviews, and so on. The CEO, Richard, also dedicated his time to these trainings, which was really valuable.

I was part of a small group of colleagues who were progressing into managerial roles at the time, which also really helped; it was useful to share that experience with others and help each other along the way.

At a high-growth scaleup, it’s understandable that we don’t have formalised processes and playbooks in place for everything. This was definitely one of those examples.

We’ve seen diagonal moves, and progression into specialisms, but moving from a contributor to a manager role was a new experience. And it’s difficult to measure the success of that process until someone has been through it. 

The People & Talent team were great at setting out a formal structure, capturing our feedback on the process, improving and iterating - and are now creating an ‘individual contributor to manager progression’ playbook so it scales with the business. 

How did the career framework set you up for success?

I’ve shown our framework to friends at other companies and I've only ever heard positive feedback, mainly around how our framework is crystal clear on what you need in order to develop, and how to get there.

Usually, businesses have a career map in place that’s vague and doesn’t really explain:

  • The roles available to you
  • What your potential job titles could be
  • How long you need to be at the company to get there
  • The skills required for the job

Our framework offers all this information, and is a great way to:

  • Hold managers accountable. Having the criteria publicly accessible to everyone in the business eliminates the risk of negative bias - and favouritism too. It’s clear that someone with certain skillsets should get promoted, and managers are held to account if that progression doesn’t materialise
  • Give employees a strong case. I can easily attend a quarterly review and say: ‘I fullfil these criteria, and I think I should get a pay rise because I’ve exceeded in these areas, listed under the manager category’. The framework is a great resource in helping employees, of any level, build up a business case for a promotion or a pay rise, or even a diagonal move
  • Educate new joiners on the options available to them. When you’re new to the world of business, it might seem daunting and not entirely clear where you’re meant to go from this starting point. Our career map definitely helps us simplify this

And this results in a stronger company culture, with motivated employees that know what they’re working towards. You can check out our career maps in the 'growth' section of our public handbook.

Example of the career map Juro follows - from generalist ('individual contributor') to specialist
and lead ('manager') to leader

What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?

The workload itself! When I was an individual contributor, I could be working on around 20 opportunities at any given time, for example. But now I’m managing several AEs, all of whom have 20 opportunities each.

It’s a balancing act of dipping in and out of all these ongoing deals, remembering specific details, and knowing when to offer support - especially as the AEs in my team have varying levels of experience in the role. 

It’s a really interesting mixture of hand-holding and knowing when to loosen the reins and let them handle it solo. 

"People are always super keen to move upwards as quickly as possible. While that drive is a great trait to have, it’s important to take a step back and master the role before you progress"

How do you mitigate this challenge?

Prioritizing ruthlessly, and being super efficient with your calendar. I block out everything in my diary, and colour code it around:

  • External meetings (red) - whether it’s calls with clients or sitting in on demos
  • Internal meetings (green) - from company-wide all hands to one-to-ones 
  • Tasks I need to complete (yellow) - anything from writing up notes to outreach
  • Life admin (blue) - whether it’s going to the post office, or making dinner

This helps me visualize my day and understand where my time is going. 

juro-learning-and-development

And what’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing the hard work pay off in the team. Everyone on my team has been in sales for at least a year. They all started in the same position as me, and worked their way to the AE role they’re in now.

It was a tough journey for me - there were times where I wanted to give up and not be in sales altogether! But it’s great to know that this is the universal challenge of the role; everyone goes through this experience, and I’m at a stage where I can pass on my knowledge and focus on the development of others.

I actually helped one of our newest AEs close her first deal, which was an amazing experience. And then on the other end of the scale, watching AEs become independent and close deals without me is equally brilliant.

Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to move upwards into a managerial role? 

People are always super keen to move upwards as quickly as possible - BDRs want to become AEs within six months, AEs want to become senior AEs within a year, and so on. 

While that drive is a great trait to have, it’s important to take a step back and master the role before you progress. 

It might feel like you’re slowing down your progression but actually it makes the transition process from individual contributor to manager much easier, and much more enjoyable. 

Thanks, Callan!

Want to join the #1 startup to work for in 2022? Great news - we're hiring! Check out our careers page for open roles.

Callan Howard is the AE Team Lead at Juro

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