The Transformation Series: Chris Low
by Chris Low, Senior Account Executive
The first time I applied to VideoAmp I was rejected. I had heard they were a company making big disruptions in the connected TV space and having a lot of fun doing it. So I deleted my rejection email and applied again. Long story short, they gave me a shot.
I started my career in Portland, Maine working in broadcast radio sales. I sold ad spots to small and medium sized businesses, oftentimes conducting deals directly with business owners in their storefronts and a few times even in line at their cash registers.
This was my first job in advertising, first job in sales and first full-time job. I was fresh out of college learning how to be an adult and living on my own with rent and bills to pay. I made a lot of mistakes. But my bosses were understanding people and saw that I had hustle. They thought I was entertaining and a hard worker, and liked that I brought the average age in the office down by a decade, so they let me stick around.
Working with small business owners taught me one of my most valuable lessons in sales. If a small business owner gives you a check for $10,000 to solve a marketing problem, you better deliver results. If you don’t, that’s $10,000 out of their own pocket. This taught me from the very beginning to always have a relentless client focus. Working in media sales and consulting is not “selling” something, but rather solving for challenges, providing solutions and delivering results.
After three successful years I decided to put my skills to the ultimate test in the advertising capital of the world: New York City. My boss was always singing Frank Sinatra so I took his advice, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” I packed my bags, popped the question to my now wife and headed to the city that never sleeps.
In New York my life sped up. I got the experience that I wanted working with big brands and big media dollars nationwide. I stayed in radio because it’s what I knew best…and I had a wedding to pay for. No longer was I doing deals at cash registers. I was working with agencies and marketing teams selling the biggest radio stations and shows in the country. However, I always knew I wanted to get into a more advanced medium. New York radio was my stepping stone to joining the digital side.
After getting rejected at VideoAmp the first time around, I gave it another shot and came on board as an Account Executive working with agency partners to leverage VideoAmp’s data and software solutions. I had sold connected TV and online video in my previous roles, but VideoAmp was a pioneer in the space and I had a lot to learn.
One of the most refreshing and exciting parts of my new job was that I was surrounded by young, smart, like-minded people. Many of them had grown into leadership roles not because of their company tenure, but because they were incredible at their jobs. This inspired me that I wouldn’t need to wait multiple years before moving into a leadership position. In fact, very few people at VideoAmp stay in a role for more than six to 12 months because of the fast company growth.
This motivated me to excel as an Account Executive and move into a leadership role. After 12 months as a high performing Account Executive I was ready to test my skills in leadership and teach others how to succeed the way I did. I hired the first member of my team and began my journey. This went well, and after four months my team had tripled in size as I was given additional headcount and responsibilities.
I had always wanted to be in sales leadership but before VideoAmp I never had the opportunity or the motivation to do so. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing coaches and mentors throughout my career, and I want to provide this same guidance to others. Succeeding as an individual contributor and winning deals was always fun, but watching and supporting my team as they grow professionally is exponentially more rewarding to me.
I’ll offer three pieces of advice for others looking to transform their careers:
- Fail, learn and try again. I’ve made a lot of mistakes throughout my career but I’ve never made the same mistake twice. Each failure is a learning experience and I always come back stronger.
- Surround yourself with people who push you to be better. It’s fun being the best, but your growth is limited if you don’t have peers to learn from and compete with. When things get easy, that means it’s time for a change.
- Culture matters. Find a company that cares about your career and wants you to grow. Many organizations see talented people and try to keep them in that position. Not all companies proactively look for leaders and foster meaningful career growth.