Meet Grad to Great Brian Whigham
Name: Brian Whigham Age: 36 Education: BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences from Chester University Job Title: MD and Founder at Venn Digital Pareto start date: 2002
Whether it’s in sport or in sales, competition is one of Brian Whigham’s key driving factors. Always pushing himself to outdo the competition, 36-year-old Cheshire-based Brian has already forged an accomplished sales career and started his own highly regarded company, digital marketing agency Venn Digital. Reaching this momentous milestone meant achieving a key career dream at just 30 years old. He has since led his company from success to success. In less than seven years Brian has grown Venn Digital to 50 members of staff across two offices, situated in London and Manchester, who operate across 14 different countries.
Additionally, Brian has led Venn Digital to be nominated for a number of national awards. In 2013 they were given the ultimate seal of approval as they entered into a partnership with the world’s largest tech giant, Google. On top of all that, Brian has managed to cultivate an impressive client list and been able to treat his team to a company-wide break to Ibiza. “You always want to be the one to beat the competition, to make deals and win clients. You always want to feel successful.” Brian admits competition and reward has always been something that drives him. His competitive nature pushes him to achieve and has led to many of the most rewarding moments in his career. Although starting his own company at just 30 years old was a hugely gratifying moment, he has found that when you’re in sales there are rewarding moments and business ‘firsts’ scattered throughout your career: “Whether it’s your first company car or your first incentive holiday, in sales you always feel rewarded because you’re always striving for that next big win,” he explains.
Extremely driven and very competitive, Brian studied Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Chester before the world of business caught his eye. At the time he was training to be a PE teacher and considers the competitive nature of sport as having a parallel in the world of sales. He uses the same determined focus in his work life to make sure he is always pushing to improve: “You always want to be the one to beat the competition, to make deals and win clients. You always want to feel successful,” he explains.
As a graduate in 2002, Brian came across Pareto Law when they were a young, small company. Still in their growing stages, they convinced him of the potential he could have with a career in sales and inspired him with the possibilities of where his career could take him.
“The thing that attracted me to Pareto Law was the process of having someone call you up, interview you and offer you the world - it was really exciting... The prospect of one day owning my own company, of going far in business and the overarching impression that nothing was unachievable in sales.”
After his preliminary interview with Pareto, Brian was asked to attend an assessment day where he impressed the trainers with his confidence and drive. He was immediately approached by a member of the Pareto sales department, who offered him the opportunity to work for them as a Sales Manager. In this role he was given the responsibility of helping grow the company. When he started in 2002 they had six members of staff on the sales team - when he left in 2009 they had 145. “Working with Pareto Law as my first job was a huge privilege,” he says. “To be in an environment where I was always surrounded by people who want to constantly develop and help you improve was extremely beneficial to me. I was taught to develop others, to communicate with people and manage a team.”
From Pareto, Brian moved to digital marketing agency Prodo, where he got his first taste of the digital marketing world. He stayed for a little over a year as a sales director, before moving on to start up Venn Digital in 2010. “Make sure you’re passionate about everything you’re selling. You will always find value in your work if you’re passionate about it. Money is short lived, so you have to be driven by something bigger than that.” His proactive attitude is something that is not only apparent in his career, but in his home life too. Although he claims he’s had too many broken bones to carry on in sport, Brian says he’s still not one to take time out and relax: “I don’t sit down, I don’t see the point. I’m always active and doing something. Whether that’s walking the dog, climbing a mountain or going to the pub to meet friends. I just can’t sit and watch TV.”
For now, Brian aims to continue to with his success at Venn Digital and looks forward to his next big goals. Despite enjoying the rewards that come with working in sales, Brian says one thing underpins all of the success he has had in his career: Passion for what he does. Brian’s tips for those looking to start a career in sales are quite simple: “Make sure you’re passionate about everything you’re selling. You will always find value in your work if you’re passionate about it. Money is short lived, so you have to be driven by something bigger than that.”
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