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Meet women at Diageo Greece pursuing exciting careers in sales

Meet women at Diageo Greece pursuing exciting careers in sales

 January 03, 2019

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Sales teams are at the forefront of every commercial company. They boost turnover, follow market trends and help build all-important relationships with customers and clients.

Where Women Work caught up with Evaggelia, Zoe and Elisavet who are talented women who work for Diageo in Greece to help drive sales and maintain the company's leading position in the spirits market. All three women are enjoying successful careers with this progressive employer.

Meet Evaggelia Anti, a Key Account Manager at Diageo 

Diageo women in sales jobs

Passionate, self-motivated, communicative, methodical and consistent. This a great way to describe Evaggelia, who truly thrives in her fast-paced career in sales.

"I enjoy working in sales because it is a highly demanding field where you need to interact with different types of people on a daily basis while at the same time you need to be disciplined and focused on your targets," explains Evaggelia. "When you work in sales, you need to successfully manage in five key fields - operations, people, finance, information and skillset development."

Sales is the forefront of every company therefore it's a career with a lot of opportunities. "If you work hard and demonstrate great capability, then you can soon find yourself growing your expertise in a commercial career path. The most important thing you need to do is to constantly develop your skill-set and turn potential to capability. Every level of the commercial structure requires different skills but, on the other hand, every level sets you up with your skills for the next level," explains Evaggelia.

Evaggelia likes to be challenged, and her favourite part of her job is the responsibility of building the customer strategy and driving results. To achieve this, she has to establish cooperation and cohesion among different departments and teams, both internal and external. She also loves the highly demanding environment of working in sales - not only does it require lots of interaction with different types of people every day. Evaggelia also needs to be disciplined and constantly focused on her targets. 

According to Evaggelia, being a Key Account Manager is a multi-tasking role requiring strategic thinking and an ability to focus on projects. She suggests that problem solving skills, a positive attitude and out of the box thinking are also important. The ability to work under pressure is key, as is analytical and organisational skills. Advanced negotiation skills and leadership are also crucial, as is relevant professional expertise.

Diageo has a great company culture

Diageo has supported Evaggelia to excel in her career and has provided a very inclusive work culture alongside her male colleagues. "Diageo isn't afraid of what may be seen as different and we're focused on promoting diversity," says Evaggelia​​​​​​​. "Women and men may have different skills and points of view, all of them equally needed in a team. Diageo is constantly trying to have that type of gender diversity among teams. I think women by nature have high multi-tasking skills and empathy, and enjoy responsibility. They also have high interpersonal effectiveness and strong work values. All these skills and qualities are valued at Diageo." 

As well as a strong focus on diversity, Evaggelia also loves Diageo's collaborative environment and team spirit - with open and honest interactions - where everyone contributes to the success of Diageo. "My work, such as everyone’s work in Diageo, is the engine of the company’s ability to move forward and develop. So it's my duty as a Diageo employee to initiate, shape and direct that purpose. All of us as one team really need to constantly overcome obstacles and drive Diageo toward success," suggests Evaggelia​​​​​​​. 

Important career advice

So what's Evaggelia's best career advice for anyone wanting to work in sales? Work hard, put passion in everything you do, think big and be a team player are her key tips.

"I learned in my career that it's the passion that drives you toward your goals, but it's the hard work that produces your success! Don’t let anyone, not even yourself, tell you that you can’t achieve a target you set," explains Evaggelia​​​​​​​. "Always improve yourself by questioning today, and thinking about how you can accomplish more tomorrow. This way every next achievement will be greater than the last. The most important thing is to exceed ourselves and reach the point that yesterday may have seemed inaccessible."

And it's not all work for Evaggelia​​​​​​​, who makes the most of her down time through travel and reading books. She also enjoys trekking in the mountains and having cozy nights with her friends and family. Great life, great career.

Meet Zoe Genouzi, an NRM Manager (Mediterranean) at Diageo 

Diageo's Zoe Genouzi in sales

The sales function is where all the action takes place. It's the heart of every organization, the muscle that sets the pace and delivers the ambition. I’m happy to be working in such a dynamic, vivid and evolving environment where every day is a new learning experience that matures me as a professional and as an individual," explains Zoe. 

Being Greek yet working in a country outside her own, was a big challenge for Zoe when she decided to join Diageo. "It was a hard decision to leave a company I loved working for, but it was the right time to move beyond my comfort zone and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made," says Zoe. 

Zoe's work is in the area of Net Revenue Management (NRM) which is all about driving net sales efficiently by optimizing pricing, promotions and investment in trade spend. NRM processes help Diageo women in sales positions to make the right decisions, enabling sales teams to sell in a smart and profitable way. Zoe explains the skills predominantly needed to successfully deliver the NRM agenda are commercial acumen, analytical skills, agility, passion for results, team spirit and great communication skills. She and her team try to address any opportunities in their Price & Promo strategies to ensure they have the right assortment, brand and pack for every occasion at the right point of sale and at the right price, providing value for their customers through efficient promotions. Some great challenges!

There's never a dull moment 

Zoe describes herself as restless and agile, and this is certainly reflected in her career journey as Zoe has pursued several different commercial roles throughout her career and treated each one of her roles as a learning journey, continuously seeking challenges and new experiences. For Zoe, career paths reflect people's ambition and finding what fits best with their personality so maximum outcomes can be delivered. This restlessness and agility also mean Zoe is well suited for her job at Diageo, where the best part is a lack of daily routine. "The last couple of months we've been working on our Pricing Strategies for next year, yet at the same time we review our promotion strategies in order to address competitive challenges and accelerate our performance," explains Zoe.

Another exciting aspect of Zoe's job is her interaction with such a diverse group of peers, not only in her immediate cluster, but in her wider NRM community. Her colleagues come from many different backgrounds and places, yet share similar ambitions and goals.

Adapting to challenges

Zoe recognises that she works in a constantly changing field that presents many challenges and opportunities. For her, the key to a successful career is how effectively and quickly people can interpret change and how flexible they are in adopting and adapting. Shifting consumer trends towards healthier life styles is just one example of change. "This shift may have an impact on our product consumption occasions and the frequency to buy them. On the other hand, the same trend could provide an opportunity for a new product portfolio with less alcohol to address those needs," explains Zoe. "Apart from consumers behaviour, it's also the trade itself that is continuously evolving. We see merges of big customers and a sophistication on pricing and profit maximization while e-commerce gains ground in the retail sector as well."

Diageo supports women's careers and an overall work-life balance

"I don’t know any other company with so many women in senior roles, especially in Sales which was historically a field where men were dominant. In Italy, we have three dynamic women as Heads of Channels and their achievements are simply remarkable."

Diageo makes a huge effort to promote a healthy work- life balance and values the importance of family. "I really enjoy taking some days working from home to be next to my eleven year old son while he’s doing his own homework," says Zoe who also enjoys yoga in her downtime. Her career advice to women is that "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Very salient thinking indeed.

Meet Elisavet Baxevanidou, an Outlet Developer at Diageo

Diageo's Elisavet in sales"I love working in sales because as a quite communicative and social person I enjoy this every day contact I have with my customers and people from different backgrounds and professions," says Elisavet. "I feel that this job broadens my horizons and capabilities every day, teaches me how to be flexible and approach different people more effectively, and gives me the freedom to take initiatives and do my job in the best way possible. I don’t think that many roles have these privileges, therefore many times I feel blessed that I work in a sector that offers me so many options and possibilities."

Elisavet's role for Diageo as an Outlet Developer is exciting and varied. Every day, she plans her tour of between 10 and 14 different outlets nearby and sets specific goals for each outlet, and then goes out and does her visits. This might seem challenging, but Elisavet reassures that, to meet your set goals, you just need to be well-organised and disciplined."You must always take notes for every visit you make in order to be well-prepared for your next one. Also, you need to be self-motivated, patient and always ready to work hard until you achieve your goals. Moreover, you need to be persistent and not give up after an abortive attempt," explains Elisavet. 

Playing a pivotal role

Elisavet believes that in any organisation the sales department plays a pivotal role in the direction and success of the business. As a sales person, she feels that her role is to bridge the gap between the potential customer’s needs and the products Diageo offer that can fulfill their needs. It's the sales team that really helps the business grow by boosting its sell-out and increasing its turnover. Sales teams have a long list of important responsibilities: introducing new products to Diageo customers; convincing them to buy these products; closing deals with new outlets; making sure that all the deals run smoothly; and making sure that Diageo customers and partners are happy by building strong relationships with them. And it's this relationship and the one-on-one communication with customers and partners that Elisavet loves most about her job. "Sometimes I see myself not just as their partner but as their consultant that gives them the right guidance for different aspects of their business, such as how to create a successful cocktail menu or how to organize their back bar," adds Elisavet.

Following the latest trends

Market trends are constantly changing, but working in sales means Elisavet is very aware of what's hot and what's not in the drinks industry.  "I have noticed that a growing part of our consumers are becoming more health-conscious and are trying to stay fit by drinking more responsibly and less alcohol than their parents. That means that low ABV and non-alcoholic drinks will become a growing area in the future. This might seem as a challenge for our very successful alcoholic brands," says Elisavet. However, she's keeping an eye on a more positive trend that is on the rise: premiumization. Elisavet explains that people are drinking less but more premium and expensive spirits. For her, this is perfect opportunity for Diageo's rich portfolio of reserve brands to develop and thrive even more.

Thriving on challenges

Every job is not without its challenges but, for a positive and dynamic woman like Elisavet, these challenges are simply a learning curve in her career. "One thing I have learned this one year I am working as an Outlet Developer in Diageo is that every customer is different and each one needs to be treated differently. However, this is not always as easy as it might seem. You need to adjust your way of selling and convincing in every conservation you have with every owner or manager," explains Elisavet. "Even if you come to an agreement with the bar’s owner, there are more people working in this business who are also decision makers or influencers that need to be approached accordingly in order to be persuaded as well of the importance and the benefits of the agreement."

Proud of her work

Elisavet describes herself as passionate - something that is the same across all Diageo employees, where each and every one of them are passionate about Diageo customers and consumers and want to maintain the company's leading position in the spirits market. She explains that Diageo's work culture is built and maintained by the values that underpin the business and guide how each employee works. Everyone's opinion counts and Diageo makes sure that everyone’s voice and concern is heard and taken into consideration. Elisavet summarises Diageo's culture in one simple phrase: “We work hard so we can be proud of what we do and how we do it.”

Progressing in a career in sales

Elisavet has tonnes of experience, which means she has tonnes of great advice for women pursuing a career in sales. Previous experience in the same function is a plus, but not an absolute must - it all depends on the role and level of responsibility. Elisavet believes that for entry level in sales, any work experience - especially if it's people-facing - is important. But, ultimately, the best way to kick start your career in sales is to be passionate, eager to learn, results-driven and determined. Everything else can be learned on the job.

Once you've secured your dream job, there are many opportunities to progress in sales. Elisavet explains the career journey - after entry level, you start taking on roles with more responsibilities and bigger accounts. Then you might become a manager with smaller or bigger teams and still continue an upwards progression with higher job positions and responsibilities.

"Especially in big, multinational organizations, such as Diageo, the sky is the limit since there are so many opportunities to progress professionally through different roles, functions, channels, markets, even countries. That is not only the case in sales but in any commercial profession," explains Elisavet. "Once you have enough experience in a specific role and you have proven through your work that you are a valuable asset to the company, you will then be ready to move to a different function or a higher position that will offer you the opportunity to learn even more and become a successful careerist. Diageo doesn't want their employees to stay stagnant in the same positions but want to promote them and help them grow both professionally and personally. Therefore, the company values ambitious and purposeful candidates that see themselves grow within the organization in different roles."

Believing in oneself and your capabilities

Elisavet shares her best piece of career advice: always believe in yourself and in your capabilities and don't be afraid to take risks or fail. This advice made Elisavet understand that everybody is allowed to make mistakes or a wrong decision. "Even from your bad decisions and failures you can learn a lot and become a better person and professional," explains Elisavet. 

And if you're a woman who wants a career in sales, Elisavet is confident that Diageo is the company for you. "Diageo is a company that truly values and supports women in the workplace in various ways so that they can feel comfortable to grow and succeed," says Elisavet. "Diageo is a company that promotes teamwork and unity between the different functions. If you are a team player, eager to learn and work hard, the company will definitely help you reach your full potential."

Secure your own brilliant commercial role with Diageo

Search and apply for a fabulous commercial career with top employer Diageo where women feel truly challenged and supported in their careers. Exciting work, iconic brands, friendly teams and an excellent work culture.

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