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My first sales manager told me the people who are successful are the ones who do the things they don’t want to do. Matt Ashton-Melia

Five years within any career is a short amount of time. But to become head of sales in a global beverage exporting company within such a small window is truly astonishing. Matt Ashton-Melia, 27, started his career when he was just 22 and has since rocketed to sales success.

Matt always had his heart set on a career in sales. With a BSc in Business Management from Aston University, he had the drive and ambition from early on. “I knew I had the skill set to succeed in sales and felt Pareto would present the best opportunities to start my career,” he says. Now, just five years later he’s the head of sales for Sovereign Beverages who export premium beverages to more than 70 markets across the globe.

From the very beginning Matt had the attitude and the perseverance to fast-track him to the top. With a natural ability and a substantial amount of effort, his progress was rapid.

Matt thrives on hard work and this makes a career in sales the perfect fit for him. He takes a moment to reflect on what it has taken to get him to the top. “Success comes with consistently working hard. You get out exactly what you put in and the job doesn’t let you get complacent,” he says.

This certainly seems to be the case with Matt. After achieving such an accelerated career in such a competitive field he says he can’t imagine doing anything else.

Apart from natural ability and the determination to put in all the hours for the best results, Matt says he takes one sentiment with him, whatever he’s working on: “My first sales manager told me the people who are successful are the ones who do the things they don’t want to do.”

Unafraid to push himself to go the extra mile, Matt often refers back to this sentiment as something of a compass in his working life and values it as an excellent piece of advice for anyone starting in sales.

Other than such admirable success in such a short amount of time, what else has Matt’s hard work led to? Extremely proud of the teams he has brought together, Matt views developing and training them as one of his most rewarding achievements.

“I used Pareto to bring in a sales team who were fresh out of university,” he explains. “I nurtured them myself and they have since gone on to succeed and outperform previous sales teams who had significantly more experience,” he adds.

Placed by Pareto himself, Matt came to an assessment day in 2012, shortly before he graduated from university. His potential shone through and he was quickly placed into the technology start-up sector for a company called The Sandpit. He soon excelled from there and eventually found himself within Sovereign Beverages as head of sales.

Matt remembers what Pareto taught him at the very beginning of his career. “They’re very clear about the fact it’s hard work and a consistency of effort that will get you results,” he reveals. “Acting with integrity and being a man of your word are all part of building trust with your customer base - I feel Pareto promote very well the character traits their candidates need to demonstrate to succeed,” he adds.

Reflecting further on his time as a university graduate, Matt talks about what he has learned in his career: “I get to build relationships and speak to new people every day. My job also enables me to see the world, as we export to so many countries,” he says.

Now, five years since he began his career, he has some advice for anyone looking to start a career in sales. “Ultimately you need to accept your confidence is going to be tested and you’ve got to show grit and perseverance to come out the other end,” he advises. “When you do you’ll have a thicker skin and will be much better prepared to take on future challenges,” he adds.

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