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Sales is where it really happens says Diageo Iberia’s Ana

'Sales is where it really happens' says Diageo Iberia’s Ana

When you think of a role in Sales, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it working on exciting events and exploring new untapped markets in fascinating locations? If so, you’re spot on when it comes to a sales career at Diageo Iberia!

Seeking out new opportunities for the business to grow, sales professionals at Diageo Iberia ensure their global drinks company can adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace while creating value and delivering performance.

Where Women Work spoke to impressive women working within the industry and discovered that not only is sales at Diageo Iberia an exciting career option, but it’s one that offers infinite possibilities for growth and development. Here we meet Innovation Commercialization Executive, Ana Alonso as she provides insight into her impressive sales career at Diageo Iberia.

Celebrating life and its achievements together

If you’re considering a commercial career, Diageo could be a great choice. They’re certainly a supportive, progressive and challenging company to pursue. Ana can’t praise her employer enough. “There have been so many special moments since starting my career at Diageo because in DIAGEO we are experts in celebrating life everyday everywhere. That’s our purpose and I can tell you everyone shares the same spirit. By my second week in the job, I was amazed at the quality of this company I’d joined. Attending a convention in Iberia, everyone I met was so engaged. They shared incredible results and openly celebrated success together - and this includes everyone from the top of the business to my peers who were so approachable and professional at the same time. It made me feel so confident and enthusiastic about the new career journey.”

Diageo is an employer to be proud of

Having spent a year on an Erasmus programme in France during a Business and Advertising degree in Madrid, Ana developed an early taste for an international career where she could connect with colleagues around the world and collaborate on global projects.

Once her studies were complete, Ana started her first commercial role in Iberdrola on a six month internship. This was promptly followed by a considerable career in the Fashion industry working with impressive clients including UGG Australia, Steve Madden and Swarovski. But what Ana really missed was the feeling of belonging to something big and being proud of it, so she sought out Diageo - a company with solid values and a real investment in its people. “If you mix Diageo’s culture with the quality of its brands then you can’t go anywhere else,” explains Ana.

A global perspective on sales

On joining Diageo’s Commercial Graduate Scheme, Ana spent one year as a commercial executive in the field dealing with grocery customers around Madrid. This was followed by a move to London to take up a Key Account Manager role in the wholesale accounts team. Ana then returned to Spain to start an innovation commercialization role, but says she’s certainly not tired of the travelling bug just yet.

“Working in sales in a non-native country and discovering a new market with new brands, customers and consumers has been an amazing experience that enabled me to broaden my scope and the way I perceive the business. Being out of my comfort zone is difficult and the level of effort required is huge but what you have in return is an exponential learning curve,” remarks Ana.

Sales is where the action really happens!

When you join the commercial teams in Diageo Iberia, there are endless opportunities for growth and development. “At Diageo, we’re flexible and we talk about careers and growth constantly and this enables everyone to change and develop in totally different areas of the business. I’ve seen people move from sales to logistics or from HR to sales. Nothing is impossible if you have a clear career plan and you know where you want to go. We’re all lucky to work in a company that believes in its people and their careers,” says Ana.

Ana says if we had asked her a few years ago if she thought she would have been in a sales career today, and thriving in such an exciting international company, she would have been surprised. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about sales and I was guilty of some of that thinking,” she confesses. “After these years, I’ve realised that working in sales is about making strong relationships with customers, being involved in a long-term growth plan and working together to benefit both sides. Sales is where things really happen, where the reality of the business is. I think this commercial focus will stay in with me for the rest of my career and I feel really proud because it enables me to design realistic plans to implement in the market,” she adds.

Developing powerful skills for business

So how do you build a lasting and successful commercial career at Diageo? Ana believes it requires empathy, emotional intelligence and a great deal of flexibility explaining. “You get to know lots of different profiles of people and end up developing a real sense of what they need. If you think about it, this is very powerful as you can use it both internally and externally when selling projects or teams to others. Being close to customers and fully aware of competitors’ movements helps me realise how quickly sales environments can change. It also forces me to learn fast and build my credibility in the sector.”

Sharing goals and aspirations

With such great support from colleagues and peers, Ana has received invaluable career advice. “The best career advice I was given was by my mentor, and it was to share my career plan openly in Diageo. If you are not responsible and an ambassador for your goals, then no one else is going to share your aspirations with you,” she explains. “A further piece of great advice was to make sure you leave a legacy in every role you do before moving to the next one.”

Career opportunities at Diageo

We’re sure Ana will continue to make a considerable impact in her commercial role at Diageo Iberia, contributing great learning from her experiences abroad. So if you’re interested in a fast-moving and rewarding role like Ana’s, take a look at these current vacancies with Diageo and perhaps you could leave your own legacy at this impressive global drinks company.

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