While Dallas-based Beck Technology has a long history of hiring UT Dallas engineering student interns, company leaders discovered the Center for Professional Sales at the Naveen Jindal School of Management only a few years ago. Beck Technology, a provider of innovative preconstruction solutions to the construction industry, was ramping up sales efforts for a newly launched software product when officials decided to check out JSOM’s sales courses.
“We were absolutely blown away that the sales methodology UTD teaches the students lines up so well with what we are trying to do at Beck Technology,” said Stewart Carroll, president.
The company began supporting sales scholarships, became a Center for Professional Sales corporate partner and started recruiting JSOM grads. In the last three years, Beck Technology has hired nine Jindal School graduates for full-time positions, and sales interns are now exclusively from UT Dallas, Carroll said.
“The way in which sales is being done is changing dramatically,” said Dr. Howard Dover, director of the Center for Professional Sales and a Jindal School marketing professor. “Beck Technology teaches us what they’re doing, and we teach them what we’re seeing. They are agile to the market, like we are agile to the market. When we prepare our students and say this is the modern way of selling, what we’re teaching them is what’s going to be hitting most organizations two to three years from now. But at Beck Technology, they’re doing it now.”
The company has “pulled off a pretty amazing feat,” said Dover, “because we have a lot of Fortune 500 companies that work with our center and try to recruit our students, and yet a large percentage of our best students tell me they hope to get to work for Beck Technology.”
“There’s so much alignment with our three core values — passion, innovation and caring,” Carroll said. “These young adults have enormous levels of energy. They are directed in the right way. They’re great problem-solvers. They innovate. They care about what we do and the industry we serve, and why we do what we do seems to resonate with them.”
Beck Technology began as an internal effort to maximize technology within The Beck Group, a commercial construction and architecture firm. The internal spinoff became an independent entity in 1996.
“We’ve grown from 15 employees to 66 today, and we think within the next two or three years we could be upward of 100 employees, and I suspect the number of UTD students could grow as a percentage justecause of the fact that we’ve had so much success with them,” Carroll said.
JSOM’s professional sales curriculum complements Beck Technology’s business-to-business solutions serving the construction sector.
“We’re selling in an enterprise manner, meaning it’s a long sales cycle,” Carroll said. “The big-dollar item that we’re offering involves selling to multiple stakeholders. A lot of the skills — doing an upfront contract, taking people down the pain funnel, reversing of questions — are reinforced through the exercises and the simulations that the students go through as part of the sales program. We found that by going through it at such a young age, they inherently hit the ground a lot faster, and they are able to contribute — even as an intern — in a way we haven’t been able to find from other schools and other candidates.”
The typical sales hiring route is via an internship in a sales-development role, “working at the top of the funnel trying to bring leads into our business,” Carroll said.
Savana Al-Nahi, BS’18, a marketing major, began as a Beck Technology intern in June 2018 and transitioned to sales enablement specialist — a newly created full-time position — after she graduated in December.
Now she manages Beck Technology’s interns. The company has two to three interns at a time — typically in their last semester at UT Dallas, so it is an easy transition to a full-time position.
Al-Nahi also is a Salesforce administrator, oversees onboarding and workshops, does operations analysis and serves as a liaison between marketing and sales teams.
“There’s a lot of confidence and trust that leadership puts into us that we can really make our own way here,” she said. “… Everyone has a defined purpose. If you’re not feeling like you’ve achieved that, I think it’s really impactful that our leadership will encourage conversations around how can we make you feel like you are serving a true purpose that fulfills you as a human and not just as an employee.”
Beck Technology and JSOM’s sales curriculum both provided safe environments that encouraged Al-Nahi to get out of her comfort zone and try new things.
“I remember when I first started, my boss told me I would never get in trouble for failing as long as I learned something from it,” she said. “That is the motto here, and that was kind of the unspoken motto in Professor Semira Amirpour’s sales class.”
Through their corporate partnership with the center, Beck Technology employees serve as judges for student competitions, attend thought leadership events and participate in the Sales Leadership Summit held twice a year. Beck Technology leaders will be sharing about the company’s sales journey at the Nov. 5 Sales Leadership Summit.
“Beck Technology is such a fascinating story. They are innovative in the way they sell, in the way they treat their people and in the way they generate revenue,” Dover said. “I think they would have been fine without us, but because we were able to feed them with people who think the way they think and work the way they want to work, they’ve had huge success. It’s just a very exciting group.”
— Rachel Stowe Master