When Sam Hay entered the Indy tech scene, he brought with him a range of interests and passions, informed and led by a desire to help others succeed. His time as a TechPointX Sales Bootcamp participant helped him define his place in the tech ecosystem and has led him on a path toward success in his own career as well as the opportunity to help build up tech in the place he’s always called home.

Sam grew up in the Indy area. He was a competitive soccer player through his school years at Pike High School, and he was able to join the collegiate team at Olivet Nazarene, where he played for a year while working on a business degree. Beyond soccer, he discovered a new interest in public affairs and shifted his focus to the Media and Public Affairs program at IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 2016.

Sam HayAccount Executive, Costello

Throughout his time at IUPUI, Sam wanted to find a role where he could serve as a trusted advisor for people. After considering a host of potential paths, he discovered he could have a meaningful impact in Indiana through the tech ecosystem. “I’m in love with the idea of tech serving as a growth engine for Indy and what it can provide for this city and its residents,” he said. “Tech is the best opportunity to help Indy enter that next growth phase. It enables people to experience a profitable and high quality of life for a low cost.”

The second Sales Bootcamp class had just wrapped up when Sam delved into it. His only real sales experience at the time was selling items online, so he knew there was plenty he could do to augment his skill set. As he learned more details about the bootcamp, he was intrigued by the process behind sales. “Introducing the problem, the pain of the problem, and then the source of the solution and how to benefit the company is fascinating,” he said. “It’s great to experience the emotional impact of a solution on customers’ lives.”

When the bootcamp kicked off in January 2017, Sam immediately invested himself into the process. The bootcamp’s host, Matt Nettleton of Sandler Training, helped Sam understand the sales process in detail and how he could share the stories of companies with potential buyers and form meaningful relationships.

“Matt became a personal mentor,” Sam said. “I was able to learn from someone who’s direct but patient and understanding with bootcampers who are new to the field of sales. Sales is beyond just talking to people; it’s about solving problems. It’s how to break down a story, to really understand the sales process. If your buyers don’t like to buy from you, they won’t buy. You need to build trust – tell compelling stories and be relevant.”

During the six-week program, Sam discovered how broad the Indy tech ecosystem can be and learned where he was most interested in plugging in. “I think it’s as valuable to see where you don’t fit just as much as where you do fit,” he said. “There are so many niches and types of tech. The bootcamp helped me see what I did and didn’t want to do.”

Where he did find belonging was the startup community, specifically with the work that sales software disruptor Costello accomplishes. Sam met Costello co-founder Frank Dale during the bootcamp’s mock interview day, a time when participants get to interact with local tech founders and hiring managers. At the time, Costello was a very young company with lots of growth in their future. “The team is what got me interested,” Sam said. “Frank had already found success, and I really was drawn to the process it takes to get to where they wanted to go. Frank, himself, was the initial selling point, and then I met the rest of team.”

Though getting involved with a startup always entails some risk, Sam considered it an amazing opportunity and jumped at it. “The people I admire in my professional life took chances early on in their careers,” he said. “So I had a choice — do I want to join an established company or help create and build something new? I really wanted to be a part of something that we could build together.”

Moving into a sales development role at a young startup was challenging and exciting for Sam. As Costello built itself toward meteoric growth, Sam found connectivity between the experiences he had during the bootcamp and what the functions of his real-world job entailed. “Sales Bootcamp prepared me for the hardest part of the job, which is to be able to present a new product to the market,” he said. “I was selling sales tool to salespeople. This program prepared me better than any program could have to be the first official sales guy at Costello. It’s been an adventure.”

Sam is going further on his adventure, as he was recently promoted to a more advanced role as an account executive. He’ll manage the full sales process now, overseeing the same process that got him hooked on sales in the first place. As he creates his path in his home state, Sam also believes more can be done to interest students in staying in Indiana and joining him in the tech community in roles like his. “We need to get kids involved as early as possible,” he said. “We’re doing a great job of keeping engineering talent, but we also have some of best business schools here. We need to keep thinking about how to capture those students and keep them plugged into the community.”

Discover more about Sales Bootcamp on TechPoint.org.