ROCIO GARCIA / REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR
How would you define the Heppner spirit?
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the Heppner spirit. In all the years that I’ve been working for the company, I’ve never had the sensation of being curbed. We can come just as we are, with our ideas and our values! I have a lot of freedom in the actions I take and enjoy independence in both local and regional decisions. Heppner gives each person room to roll out their own initiative.
What responsibilities do you have in your job?
My job responsibilities can be grouped into three main categories:
1. Manage my customer portfolio: sell Heppner’s services and maintain existing customers.
2. Support and coach the sales team: this is a management role in which I supervise four salespeople and the sales administration team. I oversee quotes and sometimes accompany the sales representatives during sales calls.
3. Ensure implementation of the group’s sales policy: I am the region’s gateway for implementing projects and also for liaising with Corporate Sales Management.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
The pandemic has changed everything! We used to be 100% in the field. Now, 50% of our meetings are held via Teams. This new way of working has both an up and a downside. On one hand, human contact is lost. We no longer have that physical presence which lets us gain insight into our customers. Ironically, on the other hand, it makes getting in touch with people easier and, in fact, meetings are much more frequent because it’s easier to organise them. Today, to organise a meeting, all we need is a Teams link and a slot on the calendar. We’ve gone from holding meetings once a quarter to twice a month; even once a week with certain customers. Same goes for the teams. Now we hold weekly meetings on core issues, which has enabled us to bond and generate extra energy.
If you had to summarise your job in 3 words, what would they be?
• Sell: increase our turnover through the work done by the entire sales team.
• Lead: boost the company’s image and ensure implementation of its sales policy.
• Unite: mobilise the sales team around our common goal and make sure they give their best.
What are the main skills that you must bring to the job?
To be a good salesperson, above all you must like being with people, enjoy human contact, and have communication and interpersonal skills. You must also be very dynamic and have an entrepreneurial spirit. It is also a job that requires a certain kind of generosity and creativity, while also being very methodical. There is a financial reality behind the job that demands this Cartesian approach. It’s a job where you learn by doing!
What is your background and why did you join Heppner?
I graduated with a degree in Economics followed by another year studying international trade. When I finished studying, I went to Chile for a year, where I worked as a sales assistant. That period taught me self-reliance. After that, I came back to Paris, where I worked for an ocean and air freight forwarder for a year, and then I joined Heppner! I have held a number of positions during the last 20 years. I started in the Operations Department. That taught me the basics of the business and how it works. I was very happy there for 2 years! Then I became a sales representative working in the field.
Opening new sites, buying brands… Heppner has grown and evolved quite a bit. I feel as if I’ve worked for several different companies all these years! When I started, there were 3 agencies in the west of France. I used to rack up a lot of mileage. With growth, the areas were redefined and reduced in size. So I’ve been in sales for 15 years but I changed area as the company grew, so it was like starting afresh each time! I have been Regional Sales Director for the last 3 years.
What is the achievement you are most proud of within the group?
There are two stories that come to mind.
• When we found ourselves in the middle of COVID-19, it turned everything on its head! How were we going to see our customers? It was very frustrating because, in sales, our main job is to see people. So last year, we organised a conference on Teams about Brexit. I brought in the Le Mans Customs Office Manager and together we prepared the conference content. Over 60 people logged on. It was very successful! It is a good example of the spirit of initiative that Heppner takes great pains to encourage.
• One thing that makes me very proud is to have been able to choose and build my team. I recruited 2 people; one I had already worked with and another who had no prior experience. I went a bit out on a limb with this person because I felt that they were up to the task. A salesperson mostly works alone, but it’s important to be part of a team, to be able to share both difficult moments and successes. I am very happy to have this team; we work very well together! And I do everything I can to keep it that way by infusing every day with positive thinking.