Career Path: Derek D'Angelo, Technical Sales Engineer at Localytics
What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Technical Sales Engineer at Localytics?
We connected with Derek D'Angelo to find out!
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Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in Salem, NH, a relatively small town just north of Boston.
My father has almost 30 years into his career as a firefighter, as well as almost 15 years of tenure as a police office, and my mother has worked a number of jobs but most recently is heading up customer success at Verizon.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I stayed in New Hampshire for school, attending the University of New Hampshire from 2010-2014. I majored in Economics with a focus on natural resources, which provided a strong foundation in statistics and data science which I still use on a daily basis.
After graduating, I moved to Boston and that’s where I now call home.
My first job out of school was at a startup called NetProspex, a lead generation and contact data management SaaS platform targeting other B2B companies.
I started there as a BDR (Business Development Representative) on the Sales team, and gained valuable experience in regards to cold-calling, working with enterprise companies, and understanding the rapidly increasing value of data to businesses.
Shortly following NetProspex’ acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet, the manager that hired me left to join Localytics and I followed him there a couple months later. It was a wonderful experience to work for a large company such as D&B, but I knew that at this point in my career a startup would be a better environment for me and Localytics’ growth trajectory was a perfect fit.
I initially joined Localytics as a BDR similar to my first role, but after working with the sales team I became interested in the sales engineering role.
My manager at the time pointed me towards the Customer Support team in order to learn more about the product from a technical perspective, so I made the transition to the support role and stayed there for about a year.
From there, I joined our Custom Services team to further develop my technical acumen and gain further experience prior to going into a full-time sales role. It was an amazing experience working with new customers to help them integrate our solution, and I had the opportunity to continue working with several key accounts after that phase to assist with upsell opportunities and scoping out any additional technical projects they requested.
After about 2 years in that role, I finally switched to a full-time Sales Engineer per my goal when I first started.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
My path has changed a number of times since I started my career, but regardless I have always been vocal about where I want to go next and proactive about asking how to get there. That has been the biggest source of forward momentum for me, resulting in a number of different roles and various types of experience over the past couple years since I’ve been at Localytics.
In my particular case, a key part of my career growth has been a strong understanding of emerging trends in business regarding big data and digital communications. The same could apply to any industry, so always be thinking of how to make yourself an expert in a particular field and demonstrate your passion for it.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Sales Engineer at Localytics?
As a sales engineer, I am responsible for assisting our sales staff in a variety of ways.
With a typical sale, I’m typically introduced after a brief “qualification” period so my first interaction with a prospect is providing a demonstration of our platform.
From there, my goals are to listen and learn as much as possible so as to ensure that our offering matches the needs of our clients, and addressing any technical questions that arise within the sales process.
One of my favorite aspects about the role is being able to travel and work with numerous businesses across various industries. We typically try to be “on-site” with a prospect prior to closing a deal and afterwards in order to ensure a successful transition, which is great experience especially in regards to networking and experiencing other cultures.
Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?
My top recommendation for someone starting their career would be to have a long-term path in mind and share that plan with anyone you can.
Pay attention to the classic pieces of advice you always hear, even when they sound cliché. Show up early, stay late, always be the best-dressed person in the room. All of these points seem trivial, but in the long term they help you to stand out and get you into the running for opportunities to advance.
Beyond that, also go above and beyond to identify and take advantage of opportunities to differentiate yourself. Always keep an eye out for situations where you can assist especially when it’s not expected of you, and be vocal about wanting to take on more responsibility and learn more. In short, never say “no” to an opportunity even if there isn’t an immediate payoff.
Lastly, understand the “impostor syndrome” and don’t be too hard on yourself! It is totally common and expected that you may feel overwhelmed or underqualified at times, especially early in your career. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, and more importantly don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
What time do you get into the office?
Depends on the day, as about half of my time in this role is spent traveling, but typically around 9:00 am if I’m going into the office.
I’m incredibly grateful for the flexibility provided by Localytics in regards to office hours. Personal responsibility for one’s work and work-life balance are built into our culture, so I appreciate the ability to work on my own schedule while management is relatively “hands-off.”
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
Continuous education and adaptation in a fast-paced environment.
A feeling of creativity and accomplishment, especially when a deal closes!
The ability to contribute to the “bigger picture” in order to advance our team closer to our goals.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
In the office, my day is broken up between meetings with clients and responding to smaller requests as they come in.
I try to block off at least an hour in the morning to get caught up and plan my day.
Towards the end of the day, you can almost always find me at the office pool table relaxing before I leave for home.
While traveling and visiting a customer or prospect, my trip typically entails a demo to a broad group (ie. product, marketing, developers) followed up by working hand-in-hand with developers and technical teams for the rest of the time I’m on-site.
I also try to spend time working with product folks in order to discuss what we could be doing to improve and any other ways we may help – architecting solutions and seeing them to fruition is always a rewarding experience!
Outside of the client’s office, we always try to take our clients to dinner and build relationships with them out of the office as well.
What time do you head out of the office?
Usually between 6:00 - 6:30 pm, but we work with clients across the globe so it’s not unusual to be on a call or working on a project later than that.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I never shut down completely – I’m always available, and typically log back on after I leave the office at least once per night.
Any productivity hacks?
Put everything on your calendar, and more importantly stick to it! It’s helpful to have a plan in place, especially as it helps to separate between work and your personal life.
Create a checklist in the morning to organize and prioritize any tasks to be completed that day.
Accomplish your most difficult tasks first to get them out of the way.
Write everything down – it’s hard to remember everything in a fast-paced environment!
Listen to music – it’s a great way to relieve stress and block out the background noise in order to focus on the task at hand.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
Robinhood – as a new and inexperienced investor, Robinhood is an easy-to-use platform for trading and, more importantly, education.
Expensify – I couldn’t imagine traveling as much as I do without it!
Duolingo – I love learning new languages, and my most recent endeavor is French!
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Aside from the various roles which I’ve had the opportunity to experience, my proudest moment at Localytics so far was in January 2019 when I was awarded “Unsung Hero of Customer Success” by the executive team.
Whom do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
I feel incredibly blessed to have had numerous valuable sources of information in my career so far.
Within my current role, I would feel comfortable going to any member of the team or management here to pick their brain and chat about any aspect of career growth.
I stay connected with a number of former teachers & professors whom I respect and admire, so I always try to ask them for advice whenever I’m unsure about something.
Another awesome and often overlooked source of advice is my friends in similar industries. It’s great to have other people in my network in similar roles and I find most people with whom I network to be happy to discuss their experience and provide a unique perspective.