2020 FierceTelecom Rising Star — BT's Annastasia Lang

The FierceTelecom editorial team is proud to announce our second annual Rising Stars series, in which we’re profiling up-and-coming executives in the telecom industry. We’ve selected a slate of executives whom we think are on the rise in 2020. We’ll be doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. And next week, we’ll post a Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in the FierceTelecom ecosystem. We hope you enjoy the series!

Annastasia Lang has found a bright spot in the gloom that is the global pandemic. As the sales development program lead for BT's Leadership Development Program, she works with 25 salespeople scattered across the globe. She said remote work has been a positive for her team.

"This has been a good lesson for people on how to collaborate and has provided the push for people to work across borders," Lang said. "And it's much easier to have 6:30 am meetings."

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Lang is training new hires who are in the same position she was in a short time ago. Her sales trainees are part of BT's Inside Sales Graduate Program, created to develop essential sales skills in new talent by having graduates work directly with customers and global account teams. The Inside Sales Graduate Program is one of the newer parts of BT's larger graduate program, which annually hires roughly 200 university graduates to work throughout the company for a two-year period.

Inside sales reps are those who sell remotely versus in-person, and Lang moved into BT's inside sales group as it was growing. As Lang was finishing her two years in BT's graduate program, the company asked her to permanently join the inside sales team to train new hires in the graduate program. 

Of course the pandemic has made inside sales even more important. Lang said her trainees are able to make real contributions to BT, and that by the time they complete the program some will even be reaching out to new customers. The goal, she said, is to prepare each trainee for a "standalone role." Each person goes through three separate rotations, and part of Lang's job is to establish roles and responsibilities for each person in each role.

Lang had in interest in developing talent even before she joined BT. While she was still in college at the University of South Carolina she developed an internship sourcing program for a company called Benefitfocus and went on to create an internship partnership program between SC Cyber, partner organizations, and South Carolina universities.