Kyan Burke: forging a technology career

January 19, 2023

Kyan Burke in the Because of BDRs podcast studio

Shakira Dyer quizzes digital guru about how to get ahead in tech

Kyan Burke is a Business Development Team Leader at Siteimprove, a company that empowers marketing people to optimise their content for accessibility, user experience and marketing performance, so they can expand their brand’s reach, exceed their marketing goals and work towards a future with purpose.

He also speaks to start-up CEOs and Business Development Representatives (BDRs) on his podcast, Because of BDRs.

I wanted to find out what Siteimprove does to help businesses, how Kyan got his role and how he created his separate podcast.
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Shakira: Growing up, what inspired you at first to get involved in online sales?

Kyan: After I finished university, I knew I wanted to build a career within the technology industry but at the time it was difficult to get my foot in the door. I started working in customer-facing roles as a lettings agent which gave me key skills such as active listening and communication.

When I decided to make the leap into technology sales, I knew I would need to take some additional courses to help build my resume. Most of the courses available were extremely expensive and would have required me to take out a loan. That’s when I found TrainYo, a free boot camp for anyone who wants to get into tech sales.

I really enjoy operating as a team leader because you still have the opportunity to connect with leads, but you also are operating as a mentor to your other teammates

The course was great – it focused on the importance of making tech diverse and it exposed me to a lot of leaders in the world of tech, such as Jonaed Iqbal and Michael Akinle.

The programme also helped me get my position at Siteimprove as a Business Development Representative. I was eventually promoted from that entry-level role to team lead because of my work exceeding my targets and building strong relationships with my team. I really enjoy operating as a team leader because you still have the opportunity to connect with leads, but you also are operating as a mentor to your other teammates.

Shakira: You were promoted to Team Lead in Sales at Siteimprove: what does your role entail?

Kyan: As Team Lead in the sales department, I am responsible for helping the team meet their targets. On a day-to-day basis, this means I’m working to advise customers on the best ways to reach their goals and helping my team members stay informed on industry trends.

It’s an exciting time to be working in sales at Siteimprove. More than 7,000 companies worldwide use Siteimprove’s technology to optimise content for every outcome.

Siteimprove’s platform simplifies the workflow of both Content and Performance Marketing teams by prioritising recommendations based on the potential impact on search engine optimisation, the digital experience and paid search performance.

Brands are competing more and more for customer attention online

We also recently launched a new product called Prepublish, which enables content marketers to confidently create digital experiences that meet the highest standards of inclusivity – before content is published, saving time and money.

Brands are competing more and more for customer attention online and brands need to unlock the full potential of the digital experience – one that considers all facets of content production – to grab that attention. Siteimprove is the only platform that truly enables marketers to ensure their content is being seen.

Shakira: Which companies or website creators has SiteImprove sold to and how have they improved a website’s accessibility?

Kyan: Siteimprove’s customers include brand names such as, Vodafone, Microsoft, Cuisinart, Americanegale.com, Merck and more.

Customers like Cuisinart are actively benefiting from Siteimprove’s technology. Cuisinart partnered with Siteimprove to address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance needs and other digital strategy challenges. Through this partnership, Cuisinart was able to significantly improve its customer user experience and its accessibility score by over 20 points from 57.1 to 77.8 – putting it on par with the industry benchmark of 78.9.

Shakira: You have a podcast called Because of BDRs. What is a Business Development Representative? And what inspired you to make the podcast?

Kyan: A Business Development Representative would find people who are potentially interested in your product, they would speak to them about the product, and find out if they are suitable, but they wouldn’t sell directly, that is handled by the sales team. The BDR is the first point of contact between the potential customer and the technology vendor.

I thought that there would be a lot of podcasts with success stories (“I made this much money” etc.) but being a BDR is one of the first positions you can get, and I really wanted to represent the people who are just starting out.

Shakira: How do you find guests for Because of BDRs?

Kyan: We use a lot of our network, like people we met from TrainYo, and the CEOs and co-founders Sunil Kumar and Omar Sadik. My co-host, Brandon Hook and I made a conscious decision to not just show people who liked working in BDR, but also individuals who decided that the role was not for them, and they went into marketing or a different role instead.

[authquote text=”For those who want to pursue a career in tech, there are so many ways to connect with tech leaders”]

One of our most recent guests, Jonaed Iqbal from technology training company NoDegree, oversaw NoDegree’s initial stages entirely on his own. On the go, he learnt everything from social media marketing to search engine optimisation. He then formalised it using his money and three partners. NoDegree has grown from a small endeavour to a trusted platform for career advice and counselling on LinkedIn.

Shakira: How do you think that the tech industry is becoming more viable for young people right now?

Kyan: The younger generations grew up around technology and consume digital information quickly and comfortably. This puts them at an advantage when it comes to working in the tech industry. They know what a good digital experience should be and how to navigate the web to find information. For those who want to pursue a career in tech, there are so many ways to connect with tech leaders through social media or grow their digital skills online through programs like LinkedIn Learning.

Shakira: What advice would you give to young people wanting to work in tech or in technology sales?

Kyan: Network, network, network! Building a community of mentors that you can learn from – and lean on – is key to building a career within the tech industry. I have amazing support from my leadership Team in Marcus Cooper, Ryan Nelson and Siteimprove Account Executive Oli Brennan. My network has helped me every step of the way, and I’m forever grateful for that.
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I’m inspired by Kyan Burke’s supportive leadership skills, and by his range of podcasts, from Jonead Ibqal’s episode (Season 1, Episode 2) on success in a job without a university degree to Mike Rivald’s episode (Season 2, Episode 3) on organisation.

I repaid Kyan the favour, and let him interview me about Exposure, and how it trains young people to engage with businesses in their communities. He asked me and my blind German friend, Jochen Kienzler (kind of a BDR in his own right) about how we create our projects outside Exposure.

Kyan’s new website, kyanburke.com is dedicated to his upcoming speeches, such as on representation in the workplace.

For more information on Siteimprove, please visit their website.

Because of BDRs can be heard on Spotify and YouTube.

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