Rajah Nagarajah is a Boston native and was born and raised in Roxbury, MA. He was Tank Utility’s first Business Development intern and now works as a Senior Business Development Manager.
Q: What led you to Tank Utility?
A: Prior to Tank Utility, I had internships at a small startup called Cuseum as well as Hubspot. Once those ended I realized that I enjoyed working in sales. This led me to apply to the Business Development internship which Tank Utility had open three years ago. I didn’t know anything about Tank Utility or propane but I got the position and was their first sales intern. Currently, I’m a Senior Business Development Manager. Basically what we do is work the sales process all the way across the finish line — the point where the customer has installed the unit and been given preliminary information about Tank Utility, to the point where they decide how many and how they plan to deploy. This includes rolling out the plan through software demos, business analysis, deployment strategy, and helping our customers deliver the solution to their end-users.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being at a company where everyone is aligned in the central mission. Being a part of a collective environment where everyone is working hard to get things done and make it happen is a great atmosphere to be in. I also enjoy working with such a diverse group of customers. One day we’re talking to CEOs and C-Suite level executives of Fortune 500 companies and the next day we’re talking to dairy farmers in rural Wisconsin and then most commonly to small-town mom and pop companies. It’s just really rewarding getting to learn about different walks of life. One day I’ll be home in Boston and the next day be on a farm in Wisconsin or down in the Keys of Florida learning how to best implement our solution. It’s pretty cool and not an experience a lot of people get to have.
Q: How do you think the propane industry has changed over time and where do you see it heading for the future?
A: In terms of the propane industry and how it has changed, I’d say that we’ve been seeing a lot of consolidation and many of the bigger companies swallow up the smaller local ones. When I started, there were probably three or four-thousand individual propane providers out there whereas now there’s probably closer to seventy-five percent of that. While propane and equipment are becoming more costly, people are managing the dollars they spend on every level. This is why tank monitoring fits in nicely because they need to be efficient with these costs and make sure that they can take care of their customers the best way possible. As for where the propane industry is heading, there’s obviously a shift in the energy market and how people want to fuel their lives. As long as customers are educated on the benefits of propane, it will have a space in this world for a good chunk more time.
Getting to Know Raj
Q: What energizes you and brings you excitement?
A: Seeing those around me happy, healthy, and looking for the next challenge excites me. Beyond that? Health and fitness energize me. Morning workouts are a great start to the day Also regarding the sales team, it’s fun being with a collective group of people who are fired up and want to win. Everyone here is pretty dedicated and we all have goals and we all want each other to beat our goals. We share wins and losses and that is a good source of energy.
Q: What has helped you get to where you are and what advice do you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?
A: Beyond my parents and best friends, I’d say Mentorship is definitely the biggest key to success. Since this was my first job out of school, I didn’t know anything about the industry and I’m pretty lucky to have had Aaron as my boss for the past three years. He’s been around the block and seen a lot of things and has been in my shoes. Beyond an internal mentor, I also have monthly meetings with the HubSpot legend, Dan Tyre. He’s great for anything career-wise and life-wise but also because he’s worked on all things sales, he’s great to consult for just about anything related to that. Whether it be helping me be creative with a deal, best practices for managing pipeline and people, or career path, he’s got lots of wisdom. Everyone should have a mentor.
The second piece of advice I have is to embrace Iterative Scrappiness. This is the willingness to mess up, figure it out, and maybe ask for forgiveness later on. This has paid off a lot in my career thus far.
The third piece is to have Passion. If you’re going to work for a company, especially a startup, make sure to find a place you love. A lot of kids just get out of college and go to their nine to five job every day. They’re miserable and look forward to the weekend and I don’t want that at all because it’s really not contributing to your progress in life. That’s why it’s important to find a place where you like the mission and the people around you.