Pete Ashby, Sales Director at FlexiTime
From hiking and skiing in the mountains, to ending up working for a SaaS startup, Pete Ashby, Sales Director at FlexiTime has a winding journey into working in Tech and it sounds like he wouldn't have had it any other way.
We caught up with Pete to learn more about his career journey from coming down from the mountain playgrounds to learn how to 'adult', finding himself right in the thick of a government job starting the journey of digital transformation and eventually ending up back in New Zealand.
Pete shares more about what he loves about the team and his current role at FlexiTime as well as dispels his views on the common misconceptions of working in sales and much more. Thanks for sharing your story, Pete.
“We help businesses pay their workers quickly and accurately, so they can spend their money on their children.”
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
We help businesses pay their workers quickly and accurately, so they can spend their money on their children. We also help busy adults by cutting down the time that they spend staring at their computers, folders, and calculators.
This means they can spend more time talking with people face to face and more time at home with their kids.
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
The sales and marketing team play a crucial role in any business.
At FlexiTime, we are fortunate to be working with some of the most innovative developers and designers in the country. Our team builds beautiful software to help companies automate tedious admin-heavy jobs.
Every day our sales team has conversations online or in-person with businesses worldwide, focusing on helping them improve their employee management systems.
These conversations can cover all areas from scheduling, invoicing, timesheets to payroll and everything in between.
Our mission is to help businesses streamline their employee management systems, so business leaders have more time to focus on growing their businesses.
What are some of the common misconceptions about working in Sales?
When you mention 'sales', many people have a fixed idea of the industry or a typical 'salesperson'. Alec Baldwin in 'Glengarry Glen Ross' is a stereotype that many would consider a regular salesperson; out for themselves and fixated on closing sales at any cost.
While some industries still have work to do to improve their practices, the sales team at FlexiTime is already on a different path. We put our customers at the centre of everything we do, and while we know who our target customers are, we also know who they are not.
We want to make sure the partnership with our customers works for them and FlexiTime. If we’re not a good match, we'll happily suggest alternatives that will help solve their problems better.
“In fact, my mum shunned the microwave craze, and we only got one when I was about 15 years old!”
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
Tech wasn’t on my radar as a kid. It would be fair to say we were a low-tech household. In fact, my mum shunned the microwave craze, and we only got one when I was about 15 years old!
After leaving school, I embraced my mother's Luddite tendencies and was more interested in being out and about travelling the world than stuck in an office.
I'm an outdoorsman at heart and happiest hiking, trail running or skiing in the amazing Colorado Rockies or Bavarian Alps.
When I couldn’t avoid adulting any longer, I started my first job in a government department in Southwark, London. At that stage, technology was beginning to reshape how people worked drastically.
I was lucky enough to be part of that shift from offline to online. It was an exciting time, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been part of the revolution and the great friends I’ve made along the way.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at FlexiTime?
As you've probably guessed, my career journey started a wee while ago, so for the sake of brevity, I won't start from my first enterprise, selling lemonade as a kid.
Truth be told, I've never been one for planning a career, and I'm sure that shows when you look at the roles I've had. I've always enjoyed engaging with people and considered these softer skills as a strength of mine.
This focus on people and understanding what makes them tick made the sales and marketing world a natural fit. I've had many roles in different industries, both in New Zealand and Europe.
“Only in the dictionary does success come before work”
I enjoy an adventure and starting something new. After returning from a year working in Munich in 2017, I decided to leverage the digital experience I'd had and turn my focus to the SaaS industry.
My first role in a SaaS business was as a sales and marketing manager at a social enterprise. This role was a great introduction to both SaaS and the growing social enterprise industry.
More recently, I was drawn to FlexiTime because of the innovative products and focus on growing the business globally.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
“Only in the dictionary does success come before work”.
What do you love about working at FlexiTime?
There’s lots to love but the top three are the people, products and customers.
Lastly, FlexiTime continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people that will be well placed to work there?
We love working with smart, enthusiastic and optimistic people. We want people that are globally focused and excited about building a world class business.