My career started out working in a Government Agency in a function known as commercial, which was a completely new concept to me when I started working there in 1996. Since then I’ve never actually left this line of work; working for a variety of different companies. The definition of commercial is incredibly broad so I’ve been doing a number of things during my time working with it. But fundamentally, it’s a very customer facing role requiring me to interact and negotiate with customers on a number of matters.
Here at Vodafone, I manage a team of twenty, who are involved in reviewing and assessing new financial business cases. This includes finding new customers to sign up to the Vodafone network. No day is ever the same and a single phone call can change the entire course of the day. Since my journey is a little bit different, I haven’t had extensive training so I’ve been more of a trainer than someone who’s been trained. But sharing my own knowledge and experience with others is a very rewarding experience. Of course, I still do training now and then to keep my own knowledge up to date, but I definitely spend more time helping other people to develop skills to advance their career.
A good commercial person needs to be sure of themselves and have the confidence to say “no”, but also be able to provide the right answers and guidance. They need to be comfortable with face-to-face discussions both internally and externally. I actively encourage my team to not drop me an instant message and to talk to me instead; not only does it build confidence within a customer facing role, but it enables people to make an impression and make themselves known.
The environment here really gives you the opportunity to progress, and that’s why I’d recommend Vodafone to anyone. Nobody comes here expecting to do the same job for the rest of their life, people are really encouraged to further their careers and develop.