Hello! Please can we meet you?
My name is Segun Adigun Williams. I am a Lagosian; I am married with two awesome kids. I graduated from Lagos State University, and I studied sociology. I have been in business development field for about eight years now. It's a passion career.
For me, if it is not business development, then I am not going to take the role. I will also like to say this because people don't know; I am a chief from Epe. I am the Olori of Ikosi-Ketu in Epe.
You mentioned that you studied sociology; how many years ago was this?
I finished in 2010, that should be like 12 years ago
Nice, you mentioned that you're into business development. As for me, I don't think there is any relationship between sociology and business development. So, I will like you to tell us about the correlation or probably the switch.
Okay. You can't really call it a switch because as a sociologist you relate with people. And this century is more of a social century, where you get to meet with a lot of new people. So relating sociology with my job; if you are trying to develop a business, you have to bring in new personalities; new investors into the business, so in as much they aren’t really the same, it still blends, they have a lot of similarities. At the end of the day, you can’t be a successful business developer, if you don’t know how to socialize, you have to meet people; you have to go all out to meet people that you've never even met before. Most of the clients I've met in my life, I didn't even know them from anywhere; I use my skill as a sociologist to meet people and build relationships.
When you were studying sociology, did you ever think that you would become a business developer?
No, never. It was never a thing. But I remember that when I was growing up, my mom had a store; so whenever I go to her store, I make a lot of sales. In fact, I was making sales and I was making money for myself. My mom would be like “Segun just go and handle it”. I felt like I can really talk to people; I can convert people; and I can make people buy things. This was here the interest of selling developed from.
Also sociology is a 21st century course, there are lots of industries for you to work in. We call ourselves the 21st century scientists because we fit in into different industries. Infact, at a time I was doing music and I felt that after school, I would get into music, I still do it partially though, but it’s not like a core thing.
So you can sing very well?
I try. I like to think I can sing, but “very well” can be relative.
You introduced yourself earlier as a business developer, can you please tell us the difference between a marketer and a business developer?
All right. They are very similar; in some companies, if you're going to be in the business development department, you also have to be a marketer. But here is the difference, let me break it down to you; marketing is more like you're trying to create awareness, that is; you are trying to bring the brand out there. In most brands, where I worked before coming to Digital Abundance; I was the head of business development and marketing. So what that means is that I was responsible for getting the business out there, marketing the business; trying to do billboards advertsing, radio presentations, video adverts, just basically marketing the business so people can get to know the company. And this is where marketing comes in. Marketing also as different niches. There is the digital marketing part where you can reach out to people via social medias.
But for business department, it's more like developing business; trying to bring in new businesses. You can be a marketer and you don't care about any business that comes in, your own is just to get the brand out there. But if you are a business develper, you are to bring in new people. For example if you're trying to develop a site, let’s say your house, if it is on a foundational level, you want to take it up to the duplex level. So this is the way it is for business development. If you call yourself a business developer and the company has about ten clients when you joined in, you want to develop the ten clients to about 200-300 clients, bringing in people who can invest in the business.
Okay, so for Digital Abundance, do we have it separately or they are together?
Yes, we have it separately.
Thank you! I would like you to share your journey as a business developer for the past 8 years. Your experiences, lessons and mistakes.
Okay. I mentioned to you that even before the whole career thing and school started, I always feel like I could develop businesses, bring in new people, makes sales like I did in my mom’s store, which gave me some level of confidence. I started my career with LG. LG is a gadget company. They sell all sorts of gadgets, I started there as a business intelligence, and my role was to give strategies on how we can convert people. At a point, I created a campaign with some other people where bankers could make installmental payments for the things they purchased, if they can’t afford to pay it all at once. The strategy improved our sales a lot, we started having a lot of new clients.
After then; I moved to Skye Bank where I worked as a business developer, but I didn’t really spend a lot of time with Skye Bank. I spent about 5-6 months; and this was my introduction to financial industry. I left Skye Bank early because as at that time, the GM of the bank wanted to create a new company called Page which I joined and which I am going to call the highlight of my career because I spent about five to six years of my career life.
I joined the company as a junior business developer, it was a finance house and we had to bring in new businesses. So from there, I started getting promotion, and then having to lead a team. In Page, it was another ball game entirely, we had to bring in numbers, we were working with big numbers. I entered Page with zero customers, and as at the time I was leaving I left with having about 200 customers.
From Page, I moved to BLH homes, which is a real estate company. I want to touch various niches as I proceed in my career, which was why I took up the offer when it came on board. I got my first head role in BHL homes, where I was heading a particular department. It was a nice experience and I felt that we acheived a lot within the space of a year. I spent about a year there before moving to Digital Abundance this March.
Okay, so you joined Digital Abundance this year?
Yes, this year, late March.
I was really enjoying your story, and it looked like you have had a smooth journey all the way.
No, nothing is smooth o. You know the same way we watch in movies and we see happily ever after; it is not happily ever after in their house, they would go through a lot of stuff that people won’t know. If you want me to share the whole story, you might spend the whole year listening. We also have our bad times which is normal; where we have to struggle and meet the target. There was a time that my target was 50 million, two days to the deadline, I was still on 4 million. There have been days where I didn’t even meet up with my target at all. But over all, it has been a great experience for me. At a time, for like 4 months straight up, I was the best sales man, which is one thing I always enjoy. At the end of the day, the good moments still outweighs the bad moments.
So working for digital abundance, How has the being experience so far. What can you say about the journey so far?
Actually, It's being very awesome. And one of the reasons I came down here was the different subsidiaries the company has. This will be like the first time I will be in a crypto-oriented company, a media oriented company and other different niches which makes it very interesting for me. It’s being an amazing journey so far.
And having a CEO like Chris, I consider him as a big visionary, he has a lot of things in his head to share. He is one of his kind in Africa, he is somebody that you can look up to. If you go to him to talk about something, before you know it, he has started to talk about other things because of the things he has in his head, and I respect him on this note.
Because it's a different ball game from what I've been doing, it makes it very interesting. But everything has it challenge.So I won't say I haven’t been going through my own challenges here as well; but so far, it has been an interesting one. And one thing about challenges are, if you are prepared for it, you will win at the end of the day.
Do you also work for other subsidiaries, because initially, I was thinking you work for only Cryptolife.
Yes, out of the 6 subsidiaries that we have, I can say I am fully involved in about 3-4. But I major more on Cryptolife Capital.
By the reason of the conversion of our conversion, I perceive you to be a workaholic person, so I will like to know what you do when you are not working
I won’t lie to you; most of the time I think work even when it seemed like I'm not working. But asides from work, I like to hit the gym. I pay a lot of attention to my body. I am also family-oriented; I like to spend a lot of time with my family, my kids and wife particularly. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, so if I am working, I am with my family.
How do you keep the balance between work and the other things you like to do?
Okay, do you know you can be in a family gathering where your uncles and cousins are present and during the course of having a family time, you throw in your business. This doesn’t change anything, and this is what I meant by thinking work. One of the reasons I like to go to the gym is because I get to meet a lot of personalities, it’s an avenuel of meeting new people. As a sociologist, you can never see me in a place where there is no people; because I believe that your network is your net worth.
So what I mean by thinking about work is seizing every opportunity to talk about business. For me, I don't think there is any disruption between my work and life balance, I think I have master-minded the act of doing both. Infact, it is a problem if I am not thiking work, because it is already a part of me.
Thank you! So let’s move down to relationship with other staffs at the office, on a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you have been able to relate with others?
On that note, I don’t think I should be the one answering this question, probably other people. But if I am to answer it and if it is in terms of work, I think I shoube on 7 with everyone. Last week, we had a campaign; where we had a marketing activation at Marina, I had the opportunity to go with other members from the other department; so when it comes to work, we work.
Thank you. I am really interested in knowing your struggles because you said that, there are no other people in the business development department for now, I am interested in how you have been able to manage the whole situation
Hei, it’s a big struggle, I won’t lie to you. First of all, the major project I handle is Cryptolife Capital, and there is this perception people have about Crypto and Forex, they feel it’s an air money and you can’t see it neither touch it compared to real estate that you can see what you want to buy.
When people put in their money in something, they want to see the returns on it as soon as possible. But for Cryptolife, you have to put in the money and still wait for like 6 months to a year before you see the returns on it. And you know the kind of environment we are in, Nigerians are too sharp, everyone feels like people want to scam them. (I am telling you.) So on this note, it’s a major struggle, we just have keep on moving and not stop. I understand it’s a business and when you reach out to people, you may get a lot of NOS. So if you let the NOS affect you, then it means you are not ready for business. When you encounter those NOS it is just to make you stronger.
It is a struggle now but it's the future; Crypto is the future and it is here to stay. You will even be surprised to hear that some government parastatals do not have an email address. There was a time I went to FIRS and I told them I am going to forward a mail to them, they said “No Segun, you will have to fill a form,” they do not have an email address; so to these kind of people, how do you sell crypto to them!
And this why you have to define your target market, but at the end of the day it is crypto and people are very skeptical. Some people will even tell you that they trade themselves. I believe that Rome wasn’t built in a day and I also believe that growth is a process.
This leads me to my next question which you have answered partially, when you get these NOS, what do you do, what keeps you going?
I think this is a very good question and I am going to be direct. For everywhere I have worked, I don’t look at what the company is getting because what the company is getting is for the company, if I leave the company, it is still going to survive, But what I hold on to is what I bring in because this is what is going to be in my CV. So if I am in a place and I feel like I am not doing so well, it affects me mentally and because I want to win, I like to win so much. I will keep pushing. I don’t really take no for an answer. I am naturally a fighter.
When you tell me no, it’s a challenge and it means that there is something about that thing that I haven’t gotten yet. Because if I am not in Digital Abundance tomorrow, I want people to say that Segun was here and he was able to do something like this, so this keeps me going.
We have spoken a lot about work, now I will want us to come down to individual levels, I mean you as a person. So what is that one thing you think people don't know about you. I mean an unpopular opinion of yourself.
So, I like to think about others before me. For me to be happy, other people have to be happy. I derive happiness from other people’s happiness.
I don’t think work stresses you out, but I will still ask. What do you do to relieve yourself from work stress?
Ahh, work does o. It stresses me out. But I am very lucky to have a good companion as a wife, because I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. And when I share ideas with my wife, she gives me a lot of amazing ways on how to go about things; even when I am bothered, she always calms me down. So whenever I am bothered, I talk to her, although I might not talk instantly, but after some time, I open up to her. She is more like my therapist. When she talks to me, I feel better, I feel very good; and this has kept me going. (this is very nice)
So, If you are not into business development, what do you think you'll be doing?
There are a lot of careers, but at the end of the day, you will still have to sell yourself or probably develop something. But I think if I am not doing this, I will be in music, running my own studio because I produce too; I will be making and mixing beats. I have a mini studio in my house, but I don’t get to use it a lot because I have been busy with a lot of other things.
Will you like to sing for about 30 seconds, so I can be the judge; to know if there is a greener pasture in your music career.
(Well… he sang, but I can’t type out his voice here. He sang and he sounded very nice, lol)
So, rounding up, what will you like to say the departments in Digital Abundance
Because I have worked in other places, I would say the company is very lucky to have the kind of people will have right now; I see passion; I see a lot of young passionate people. We are pulling in a lot of voltage that we might not even see now.
Everyone is doing well, product team has a lot of amazing people, programs — interesting people, production — awesome people, operations — Steph is very doing well, HR — great personality. Everybody is doing very well and great.
Wowww! Thank you so much for your time despite your busy schedules. Have a nice day!