Women in IT – Sabina Brahimi

The fifth in our series of ‘Women in IT’ blogs is Sabina Brahimi from our Education Team …

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the industry for 1 year and 10 months.

What roles have you held?

Sales Executive in Education and Senior Sales Executive in Education.

How long at Phoenix?

1 year and 10 months!

What made you choose IT?

Having just finished my masters, I was determined to start work immediately and make a head start on my career. I was approached by a recruiter looking for potential candidates for a new IT sales role in York. I had already fallen in love with the City, so it was the ideal time and perfect opportunity for me to consider a job in York and move here permanently.

In preparation for my interview with Phoenix, I looked into what an IT sales role entailed and some of the attributes associated with the role that I was applying for. In hindsight, I understood the bigger picture, however it wasn’t until I started working in the industry that I built a greater appreciation of IT sales and in particular Phoenix as a company.

Whilst I developed into my role, the words eager, motivated and persistent became increasingly paramount and I began to really understand the interview question; ‘Why IT Sales?’

Did you face any challenges when starting out in the industry?

Phoenix is a great company to work for because it is extremely well positioned in the industry and has a massive portfolio of vendors and partners. I think the most challenging thing for me was learning all the products and licensing, but most importantly, understanding how and when to position these in front of my customers so my conversations sounded more seamless. Fitting all the pieces together and pitching these details to the customers was perhaps the biggest challenge at the beginning for me.

IT is such a fast-paced industry to work in and it’s constantly evolving so this never becomes easy as such. However, you learn how to be relevant and up-to-date with all the changes happening in the market which makes it even more interesting as one sale cycle is never the same! There are different partners you must engage with each time and different products/licensing you’re talking to the customers about.

What changes have you seen in the industry and Phoenix over the years?

Even though I am relatively new to Phoenix and IT, I have seen a lot of exciting changes occur in the industry. The corporate sector has always been fortunate in experimenting with the latest and greatest technology and have been more innovative in incorporating these into their business models. It’s now apparent how this has trickled down to public sector and the education sector. Microsoft have really been key in shaping a customer’s environment and with the introduction of Office 365 and its powerful apps such as Teams, customers are now finding more creative ways of working and encouraging collaboration and engagement amongst staff and students. Being part of these projects from start to finish is really rewarding and interesting from a sales executive role.

Phoenix has evolved so much since I started working here and has continued to grow even more. So many new things have been introduced and the business model has changed as we continue to grow as a company and the sectors, overlays, IT services, marketing continue to grow. Some of the key introductions this year for me were the Solution Pillars, the introduction of IT Support Managed Service and then winning Microsoft’s Global Modern Workplace Transformation Partner of the year which was a great achievement. I think the changes the marketing team have introduced have also been great! Really enjoyed seeing how innovative and forward thinking the projects have been!

However, one key changes for me has been the Group Employee Engagement Survey. I thought the results were taken into consideration and you could really see an impact and changes occur as a result.

What can be done to encourage more women into IT?

When you think ‘sales’ the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ comes to mind! I think there is a lot of stigma associated with sales in general and in particular with IT sales. I think the perception is that it is a very male dominated role, however in reality, it couldn’t be more different.

For me, sales is about having great communication skills and the ability to build relationships with customers and work effectively with your team and our partners. By earning a customer’s trust, you become an extended member of their team and they will turn to you for your support for every problem they encounter.

Personally, I think sales has changed me from being an introvert to becoming an extrovert. I’ve learned how to resume power and control over a situation and that’s a very rewarding feeling in the end!

As a woman, I think one of the challenges for me has been to build relationships with some of the more senior IT staff, it’s been somehow tricky to find a common ground, but I’m currently working on this.