Vice President, Sales
“I saw opportunity in the forced disruption”
NetSapiens Vice President of Sales Jason Beckett says he was one of those individuals who graduated college not really knowing what he wanted to do and not having a skillset of any particular kind. “I basically backed into sales and backed into this industry.”
Despite earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting and minoring in Law and Advertising at Boston University, Jason says he wasn’t interested in going to work for a New York City advertising agency nor going to the Midwest to work 24/7 at a radio station for peanuts. Fortunately, right when he was graduating the breakup of the Bell system was happening.
“The Supreme Court had recently ordered the breakup of the phone company’s monopoly and I saw opportunity in the forced disruption. Not knowing better, I applied for a job with the incumbent phone company in Boston. I was in a room of 50 applicants, where we were forced to take a 1950’s SAT test. I asked if the score was graded on the total number of correct answers, or the total number of correct questions of the ones answered. I knew at that moment a check mark was placed next to my name and I was never going to fit in. Later I was told, ‘They don’t hire bus drivers who ask a lot of questions, only those who follow the route exactly as described.’”
Climbing telephone poles wasn’t his calling
Jason says that he didn’t fit the telephone company profile because he’s not a compliant person. He considers himself a nonconformist. However, he was still curious about the industry and how his contrarian approach to problem solving could be leveraged, when he answered a blind newspaper ad titled, 3 Days That Can Change Your Life. There was no company name, no address, just a phone number. The ad was placed by one of the first independent companies to leverage the new telecom environment and he was hired by a Boston startup to sell phone systems to businesses.
“On the first day of training, the class of 30 was told, ‘Three days after this training there will be 10 of you who understand the opportunity. 30 days from now, there will be just three of you. If you are one of the three, you will have a lifelong career.’” Jason was one of the three. Early on, he recalls the biggest challenge was just to convince business owners they could buy instead of rent.
“I was one of the survivors of the early interconnects and I’ve been in telecommunications ever since. Going from selling direct to customers, selling to resellers, and working for manufacturers, doing different roles. So all of my experience came from answering a blind ad in the Boston Globe 40 years ago.”
Raised in a blended family, surrounded by sisters
Born in Rochester NY, Jason was raised in a blended family. He says, “At the age of 14, I was surrounded by four sisters. Early on I realized the essence of reaching mutual agreement by understanding there are two parts to any agreement.”
While attending Northfield Mt. Hermon School in northwestern Massachusetts and later Boston University, Jason worked a wide variety of part-time jobs. He recounts his pre-telecom employment experience as “working as a busboy in a fancy steakhouse taught me the value of serving others. My first sales job was selling encyclopedias house-to-house. To prove the concept that becoming good at sales comes from learning to sell almost anything. Aluminum siding was how I earned money in college. That is also where I was trained in the classic sales techniques of prospecting, qualifying, presenting, and closing. These techniques are as relevant today as they were when originally taught.”
Some of Jason’s other more unusual jobs included cucumber picker, greenhouse builder, busboy and waiter, Boston desegregation security guard, discotheque bouncer, and Porsche and BMW mechanic.
Converting street smarts to management skills
Following years of selling directly to end users, Jason was recruited to work for Comdial, a US based telecommunications manufacturer. Not known as someone who was afraid to express his opinions, Jason was asked to translate and formalize what he learned in the industry for the benefit of all the manufacturer’s customers. After developing sales training and other development programs of all types, he was asked to manage the product development team.
In the early years of integration between telephone systems and computers, there was a second revolution in telecommunications. This revolution was to integrate both and place the transport capability onto the local area data network. Over his career, Jason worked for four different telecom manufacturers, helping to navigate the transition to IP-based telephony. NetSapiens is his fifth company in the VoIP field and most significant experience.
Design with the customer in mind
Jason believes for a company like NetSapiens to be successful, sales and engineering teams must be in sync. He states, “You can take the most technologically sophisticated platform in the world, but if it isn’t designed with the customer in mind, it will never reach its full potential. In every company I have had the pleasure of working for, it was the focus on the relationship with the customer that when leveraged with the technology has resulted in significant growth.”
“The secret to sales isn’t making the most polished presentation or being the lowest price. It is putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and understanding what they want, finding out how to solve their problem, and not ignoring them in the process. You can’t win every deal, but if you follow this principle, you will get more than your share,” declares Jason.
Landing at NetSapiens
“I never felt comfortable working at a large company. I always liked working at a smaller one, where I could do lots of things and have the greatest impact. I approach the industry like the David and Goliath story, and that makes all the difference. My father worked for Eastman Kodak his entire life. I never could have followed in his footsteps. It wasn’t in my DNA to do that. That’s why I like the NetSapiens story. We compete against the big guys.”
Joining NetSapiens was in keeping with the theme of Jason’s career path. “I’m attracted to small companies that have high engineering pedigrees, but haven’t yet developed a strong sales and distribution channel. So for the past three and a half years here, that’s really what I’ve been doing: Taking a great foundation and building a sales program around it.”
A farmer hires a hunter
When Jason was introduced to NetSapiens, he already knew several people who worked for the company. “I saw that it would be a good fit based upon my previous career experiences. It was an extensive network of former associates, because everybody knows everybody in this industry. It seems like everybody has worked for everybody at one given time. So I was brought in by David Privée, NetSapiens’ Chief Client Advocate, to run the day-to-day sales organization so he could concentrate specifically on existing customers. You can look at it this way: Dave’s a farmer and I’m a hunter. We work really well together.”
Regarding the recent merger with Crexendo, Jason says that “Crexendo brings the opportunity to improve our relationships with NetSapiens customers because Crexendo is a telecom company that fully understands our offerings and what the end user is looking for. Before, a lot of decisions were based on what NetSapiens thought was a prudent course of action, but now we have the ability to ask for the advice and consult of Crexendo’s management team which is really representative of our customer base. So we’ll be more deliberative and our decisions will be more in tune with what our customers actually desire. That’s a good thing because I’m a huge advocate of looking at things through the client’s perspective and not just our own perspective.”
Looking into his crystal ball
Over his longer career, Jason has witnessed the telecommunications industry go through 10-year cycles of technology advances and acquisitions and consolidations. “I’ve observed that every four or five years a new technology comes out that displaces the old technology and out of those new technologies come the players. Analog to Digital, TDM to IP, on-premises-based to the cloud. So I think there will be a continuing evolution within telecommunications that may not radically change it but will significantly impact it. And I think NetSapiens has the insights and the ability to anticipate and develop those technologies for the better of the customer community.”
Regarding the history of video communication
Old enough to remember when phones didn’t have caller ID and one had to buy a small peripheral device to provide that feature, Jason also remembers the early days of video conferencing and how for decades it never took off. Comparing those early days to the ubiquitousness of video conferencing now is like night and day.
“The thing that I learned is that it’s not video itself that’s the key technology, it’s collaboration. I think a lot of us missed that,” says Jason. “I can stare at your face all day long and it doesn’t really change anything, but when I remotely screen-share and collaborate with you on what I’m working on, that’s the killer app. Collaboration like our SNAP.HD video conferencing product has.”
The 50 States Club
Over the course of his career, Jason has found himself recruiting and meeting prospective customers in many states. He was a road warrior and his wife of 38 years Paula recalls at times she felt like a “well-cared for single mom.”
Jason never thought about how many states he had been to until last year, when staring at a US map he counted and discovered he had done business in 48 states. In July of 2021, he finally visited the last two: South Dakota and North Dakota.
“I never started my career with that goal in mind, but now having accomplished it, I feel it is a significant milestone. Many other road warriors I met know how many states they have visited, so it seems to be a pretty common theme.”
When asked to reflect back on it all, Beckett said, “There are 50 states, each with its own heritage, beauty, history, and cultures. The characteristics of each and the regional personalities and dialects of the friends I have made in each state are so unique. It has been a great experience. What makes this country great is the uniqueness each one brings, regardless of location.”
Serving the community
In his spare time, Jason enjoys his family when not traveling and serving his community. With his two grown daughters who have families of their own, the grandfather of two has become more active in his community and at his church. He believes serving others has a close correlation to experience in sales.
“When you’re young, you focus on your family and how to be successful. But as you get older, your perspective changes, and you start doing things that have significance instead of focusing on success. So one of my life’s journey’s is transitioning from success to significance. I find doing things in my community have more significance than my own success. I’ve become more devout religiously and now I do a lot of community service. I find giving back to the community has given me so much. I think that resonates with a lot of people, especially people when they get past the age of 50. They start to wonder, ’What can I do to help others in the way others helped me?’”
“I found my greatest success in business was when I was able to help my customers better themselves. And now I have just extended that principle to those who need some extra help. And it doesn’t have to be in big ways, but even small ways can make a difference.”
Jason cites an example, “Many people are faced with unexpected expenses like when the one car they rely on is in need of repairs. Tying back to my early years when I worked as a foreign car mechanic, if anyone is in true need, my church buddies and I will repair the car at no charge so they can get back on their feet.”
Meet the Team profiles offer insights into the backgrounds, experiences, and lives of NetSapiens’ founders and company leaders. We are always focused on the NetSapiens mission, which is to become the best B2B provider of unified communications, video conferencing and collaboration, and contact center solutions for service providers.