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Harnessing your attributes as an Athlete for future career success

Posted by Angus Gilmour • Posted on January 26, 2022

Elite athletes often feel they have limited options when considering new careers after sport and wonder how their attributes may apply to a commercial career. In this article we explore four attributes common in elite athletes, and how they can be applied for success in tech focused sales roles.


A pre-requisite of reaching an elite level in any athletic endeavour. To achieve sporting success, athletes receive and act on feedback with a growth mindset daily, often from an early age. This mindset results in small, consistent improvements which in turn increase the chances of reaching a high-performance level. Coachability is also fundamental to success in any sales/business development focused career. There is no one “degree” for sales, so companies that hire early careers sales talent put a lot of emphasis on training and development. It follows that new hires who are coachable have a much higher chance of long-term career success. Put yourself in the mindset of your early sporting years. If you focus on soaking up as much knowledge as possible, learn from high performers around you, and seek out and act-on feedback to improve – you’ll build strong foundations for career success.


As an athlete you’ll be conditioned to the rigours of training and the required discipline for many years. Success in a business development/sales career requires a very similar discipline. Developing competence requires purposeful practice, including repetitive tasks like researching and reaching out to new prospects daily. If you have the discipline to consistently perform the required tasks to build your network and develop your skillset, it’s another strong foundation and indicator of long-term success.


Whether you played in a team or individual sport, elite athletes have more insight than most into the benefits of teamwork. Team sports speak for themselves, and most who compete in individual sports train with others in training groups, and work with a wider team including strength and conditioning coaches, physio’s, nutritionists etc. Athletes understand that a team working in synergy, both supporting and pushing each other, benefits everyone. The same is true for companies and particularly in sales teams. Team members who offer insights, advice, general support, and raise the bar with their own standards are often well positioned to further their career development.


Resilience (or lack of) is probably one of the biggest reasons why people don’t succeed in sales/bd focused careers. As an athlete, you’ll be able to draw on various difficult experiences in your sporting career. Difficult losses, injuries, perhaps setting a high goal and just falling short of your expectations. And you’ll have had to bounce back from these difficult moments to reach the level you did. Embarking on a business development focused career, you’ll be on a steep learning curve, make plenty of mistakes, and not every prospect will buy your product or service. Having a reservoir of resilience can make the difference to stay positive and focused on learning – long enough to reap the rewards!

The attributes discussed are just four of many that can be harnessed for success in a tech focused sales career, and in fact a wide variety of careers. To learn more about the careers we facilitate for current and ex athletes, please contact us at

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What roles do we place Athletes into, and what do they involve?

Posted by Angus Gilmour • Posted on November 8, 2021

Athlete Origin’s mission is to empower Athletes to live successful and fulfilling lives beyond sport. 

Our core service connects athletes with business development focused careers across the technology sector. Why? Simply put, they are highly rewarding careers that align with the qualities and drivers that athletes often possess.

What is Tech Sales/Business Development?

The technology sector is continuously expanding, with new and existing companies inventing products and services to solve problems globally and address our needs and wants. It encompasses hardware (physical devices) along with various types of software and services to enrich our lives. A tech sales professional connects these products and services with customers, either individual (B2C) or organisations (B2B). Responsibilities vary across company and position, but often include:

  • Researching and reaching out to potential buyers (prospects).
  • Discovery calls to establish whether your prospects have a need that your product or service can fulfil.
  • Live demonstrations to highlight where your product can solve your prospects challenges.
  • Negotiating terms, overcoming objections, and closing deals.
  • Ensuring customers are satisfied with the product or service and wants to keep using it.

What are the entry-mid level roles, and what do they involve?


SDR/BDR (Sales Development Rep or Business Development Rep) is a common entry level role for those starting a career in tech sales. It involves researching and reaching out to potential prospects and having discovery calls to establish whether these prospects have a need that your product can fulfil. Depending on the company, SDRs may focus on inbound prospects who have shown interest in the product, or you may be expected to find your own prospects, known as outbound. SDRs/BDRs are foundational to the sales process.

Account Executive

Account executives are ultimately responsible for closing deals and have wider responsibilities than SDRs. They carry out product demonstrations and negotiate commercial agreements. You’ll often have full responsibility for key client accounts and seek to identify new business opportunities within these accounts. Account Executive positions can be highly lucrative and have wide scope depending on the type and size of organisation you work for, and type and size of customer you serve.

Customer Success Manager (CSM)

Customer Success Managers are typically focused on supporting customers as they become active users of your product or service. It’s very much focused on building close professional relationships with Customers – this can involve consulting to understand how to develop the product or service and being proactive in suggesting new ways to keep customers succeeding with the product. The CSM’s ultimate responsibility is to keep the customer succeeding with your product or service. 


What do companies look for in trainees?

A business development focused career in tech is both challenging and rewarding. To be successful in an application, candidates will likely need to demonstrate the following:

  • Engaging communication skills
  • A willingness to learn/coachability
  • A competitive spirit: Happy to go the extra mile to gain a competitive edge.
  • Highly motivated by what the role can offer. E.g., financial incentives, career progression potential, the opportunity to be “successful” in a meritocratic environment, and passion for the company’s mission, product, or service.
  • Resilience: It’s a challenging role especially for the first year, companies need to know an applicant can deal with the challenges


Progression Pathways

The broad range of skills learned provide access to opportunities across the wider business world, and the meritocratic nature of these career paths enable rapid progression for high performers. Progression pathways can often include:

  • Fast-track into management/leadership roles in tech companies, where role evolves into people management, P&L, product, and general business management.
  • Progression into enterprise sales/business development leadership roles. This progression continues to focus on sales/business development, but typically facilitates large deals with large companies
  • Move to senior business development roles across different industries
  • Move into early-stage start-up companies. You’ll have a network and skillset to be highly attractive to early-stage start-ups.

The specifics of these careers vary across companies and sub sectors, and each can have unique roles and responsibilities. The common theme is these positions are excellent entry points into progressive and rewarding new careers for athletes.

To find out more, contact us directly on or We look forward to working with you!