Time in the startup world moves fast—something Sean Breen knows from experience. After getting his start as an intern at a venture capital firm in Washington D.C., he quickly immersed himself in the ecosystem of enterprise companies and their founders, eventually making his mark as the territory account executive for Mapbox, a billion-dollar mapping platform. After hitting the job market a few years later in search of a new challenge, Sean met his match with Finch. Read on to hear Sean talk about the road that led him to our team and how he has been able to succeed.
How did you hear about Finch?
I was referred to Finch by a company they use for placements called Candidate Labs. It was at the point in my career where I was ready for change and looking for a fresh challenge to energize me. When I met Ansel and Jeremy, Finch’s co-founders, I immediately understood what they were trying to build. I understood their business model and had prior experience selling technical products to developers. But meeting the team and feeling the chemistry was what sealed the deal for me.
Can you describe your role?
In the beginning, it was all about building processes. Since then, it has evolved into generating new business and growing sales. Getting new customers to join Finch is my main job, but because we’re a startup, I also work with the engineering and product teams to understand what the market is telling us and communicate that internally.
What does your work with the product and engineering teams look like?
It's very bidirectional. We're building our roadmap based on what we think the market needs and, at the same time, the market is telling us what it actually needs.
Did you always want to end up in sales?
Not at all. I was a chemistry and economics major in school. Going into the workforce, I wanted to figure out what my abilities were and what I might be more naturally inclined at than others. A few of my mentors suggested sales. The first thing I pictured was the stereotype that everybody associates with sales, but I was intrigued by how consultative the field can be. It’s more than just selling. I’m thankful for my mentors and the conversations we had that led me here.
What do you think has made you successful in a sales role?
Along with being naturally curious, I’d say it’s the ability to hear what someone is saying at face value and then deduce what will best solve their problem. Oftentimes, the real value that people are looking for is one or two layers deeper than what they might communicate. For me, it presents a fun puzzle to solve.
What excites you about your work?
I love that it's so dynamic. I’m a naturally curious person, and I like to get into the weeds. Working at a startup, some days are harder than others for a variety of reasons. You don’t know what you’re going to get. At the same time, you exercise a real impact on the company, the team, and your own career. Outside of fulfilling my own needs, it’s important to me to help other people fulfill theirs.
How do you structure your day to optimize your time?
I’ve found that simplicity is key. There are three things that I need to do to have a good day: drink water, work out, and get outside. I structure my day around these very clear objectives to ensure I can be the best version of myself both professionally and personally.
What are you passionate about outside work?
I like being outside and moving around. Last year I did a couple of endurance races, but my biggest passion outside of work is helping to organize the D.C. Bike Party. It’s a once-a-month social ride that attracts 600 to 1,000 people. We tow around a large sound system and have a DJ play music, but it’s more than just a party on wheels. We’re bringing music, the arts, and joy to the city.
What do you like best about working at Finch?
The people. Every company is going to have its customers and its product, but it’s the people that you’re working with and going through challenges with that make a major difference. The longer I’ve been at Finch, the more I realize how great my teammates are.
Being a remote-first company, how do you create strong relationships with your teammates?
Zoom. It sounds weird, but having conversations where you can see someone’s face gets you 70% of the way there. And then, because we’re a remote-first company, there’s greater emphasis on building relationships at any time, not just during office hours. For example, I was skiing in Utah and arranged to meet up with my co-worker, Sam. We skied a full day together. It was like we’d been friends for decades.
What’s something you’ve learned from your time at Finch?
The importance of process. Passion can get you a long way when it comes to certain endeavors, but process helps you scale. That’s a lesson I’ve learned in my time here, and I already feel like I can apply it to future projects.
Interested in joining Sean’s team at Finch? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions.