Hitharth Patel is a Business Development Manager at Aptem. He joined Aptem in 2019 as a Business Development Executive. 18 months into the role, he embarked on a Level 4 Sales Executive apprenticeship, with sales specialists, BMS Progress. In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we share his story.
Why did you choose to work in sales?
Sales always felt like a natural choice for me as I had grown up in a retail sales environment through a family business. I had learnt the ropes from a young age and have been heavily involved ever since – understanding what it takes to run a profitable business, through the acquisition of new customers and the retention of valued existing customers. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in Computer Software Engineering, I had a brief stint as a recruiter, which confirmed my belief that my skill set was better suited for a Business Development role. I subsequently joined Aptem.
How did you end up on the Sales Executive apprenticeship programme?
I started the apprenticeship while working at Aptem, so my sales career was already underway when I began the programme. As an organisation, Aptem is a great supporter of lifelong learning, and of course, the incredible value to be had from apprenticeships. Working in that sector, was a compelling opportunity to live and breathe what our business was all about. Prior to the apprenticeship, I had no formal sales training, and I was therefore keen to learn different sales techniques, and how to consultatively sell products at all stages of the sales cycle.
How was the apprenticeship experience? What do you feel you have gained from the programme?
The apprenticeship experience was incredibly rewarding. It gave me the confidence to grow into my Business Development role, backed by tried-and-tested techniques and frameworks. The programme took me through planning sales activities and leading full funnel sales interactions with prospects and customers. It’s not an easy role in any organisation, so it was great to have the expertise of the BMS Progress team to guide me. The course introduced concepts that are now applied in my everyday work – value propositions, contacting prospective B2B customers, qualifying opportunities and closing deals.
The online workshops were my favourite part of the programme. They allowed me to work with other apprentices from diverse backgrounds and learn from them, as well as share my own experiences.
The online content was also incredibly useful, and I referred to it regularly in my own sales cycles. I was able to share what I learned with my team and even helped some of them improve their own sales techniques. In order for an apprentice to be successful, I believe it’s important not only to learn the course content but also to implement it into daily work. This mindset transformed my career and gave me more confidence in my sales meetings.
How did Aptem support you through my apprenticeship?
As a SaaS provider, Aptem offered the ideal place to grow in a sales career that was aligned with my academic background in technology. I hadn’t really considered an apprenticeship prior to joining Aptem, so having an employer that was so engaged and supportive made all the difference.
What advice would you give to anyone considering starting an apprenticeship?
There is something out there for everyone – and the range of apprenticeships available is continually growing. Perhaps now more than ever, with the current cost of living crisis, to be able to learn and earn at the same time is too good an option to pass up.
Can you sum up being an Apprentice in three words?
Learning and earning!