An important sound in the choir of L’Oréal, National Account Manager, Francesco gives us key insights
At L’Oréal we can feel as if we were an orchestra, all people, functions and métiers of L’Oréal come together in harmony. Through the violins of marketing, the cellos of finance, and the trumpets of human resources, we can find Francesco, pne of the flutes of National Account Management.
Hi Francesco, what is is like to work as a National Account Manager?
This role is a unique part of the L’Oréal orchestra as it making trade with the public its ultimate goal. I am in a position where I have the privilege to lead a team of account managers, and so together, we form one of the many links between the company and its clients. Our effort is expanding the customer portfolio and negotiating terms with customers relating to the supply of the goods; therefore, we must follow the market trends, and always evaluate direct competition. Leading a team, for me, means giving strategic direction, leading by example, and driving results through constant support to every team member.
When did your L’Oréal story start?
I joined L’Oréal more or less than one year ago coming from a totally different business. Once I had the chance to be in contact with L’Oréal I was really excited and curious to discover more about this great and high-profile company! I knew that this was the ideal company for me which was ambitious, appealing, and strong.
What makes me definitely fall in love with L’Oréal are the brands. Once I did the “shelf test”, so spending some time in front of a typical beauty shelf to build a better idea of different products and business, I really understood that the only reasonable choice for me was ultimately to join the L’Oréal world.
Tell us about your typical work day!
In this role every day is a different one. Managing a very heterogeneous customer portfolio means being well prepared and knowing as much as possible about every customer’s individual way of working. Therefore a solid preparation is the mandatory framework in order to be able to provide a full support to the team. On top of that, during my typical work day, my first priority is to check and drive results in line with our internal targets, trying to anticipate and manage every potential issue. Another daily objective is to help the team to work better, filtering and prioritizing the key company messages and being also a “shield” for the team in order to let them work with the proper level of pressure keeping also the focus on their customers, that is absolutely crucial for a National Account Manager.
What makes sales unique in L’Oréal?
- Our brands: They are powerful, appealing and unforgettable.
- Power to make a difference: The company philosophy stimulates an entrepreneurial approach and being a sales professional in this context gives you the ability to your leave you mark on the business.
- Team spirit: Overall what I appreciate the most has been the fair competition inside the team, always oriented to make results but following the best way to do it.
What motivates you most at work?
Three things motivate me the most:
- Passion for results! The goal-oriented approach guides me to always do better, to look toward and beyond every point of arrival. Achieving great results is a powerful building block of every role, and should be THE driver. Results is not only a mere number, but sometimes could be affected by external factors. Real results are linked with your way of working and how you approach every topic. Being solid and pragmatic, focused on opportunities rather than risks, and be able to think outside of the box are key indicators of your accountability into every organization… and if you have a full ownership of those pillars, results will be a natural product and you’ll be a valuable resource for your company.
- Negotiation challenges linked to H&B development in GDO channel: H&B is a growing market and it is showing great opportunities across different channels. GDO, that is the channel where I’m playing my role, is showing to be particularly interesting in Italy in terms of dynamics to manage, that in H&B are even more complex than in other business so for me this is a great source of motivation. Being able to make the difference and fully unleash company potential is more than a mission for every L’Oréal employee, it is a real obsession and I’m really proud to be obsessed as well.
- Strong belief in the L’Oréal strategy and values: our brands are our strength, they’re able to talk and communicate a clear and powerful message, inspiring anyone who looks at them. Once officially entered in the company, I discovered a great environment from Day 1! Several great professionals in every department and a strong ambition detectable by every breath. What is constantly me motivation here is amazing professionals in every department and really strong ambition across the entire company.
What do you like most about your job?
Covering the role of Head of National accounts means several additional responsibilities, such as coordinating a contractual negotiation strategy and managing and translating the company strategy into reality, differentiating and mixing all the actions based on every customer’s peculiar structure and their way of doing business. In my role, I cannot directly manage the daily business of a customer but I need to coordinate and drive results of an entire perimeter indirectly, so the importance of having a strong and motivated team is crucial. Therefore, people management is the key element of this role. This is for sure a challenge, but is also one of the best tasks I have in my current job.
Every time I can see an improvement or an achievement coming from one of my team member I’m very proud, and I’m happy also to celebrate results and recognize the effort of everyone. Their success is my success!
What is your greatest success and biggest challenge?
Considering the whole career I had the chance to cover different roles, starting in the Finance Department and then moving to RGM and finally in Sales, and totally changing the business environment as well. So every time I left my comfort zone has been a challenge and every time I managed and succeeded throughout these changes has been a success. Every role and company shows different objectives and success drivers, what motivates me is to think that the best success is yet to come and every achievement already gained needs to be celebrated but quickly forgotten, in order to be eager to learn every day and hungry for success.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Everything is possible if you strongly believe in it. Nothing is taken for granted, but the real secret is to always push yourself beyond your limits. Do not rest on your laurels but always desire something more, and play to reach it.
What did you learn in the company?
I learned to achieve imaginable goals by winning small challenges every day. You cannot be a market leader if you are not a leader in your daily challenges. Every L’Oréal brand is the perfect synthesis of this approach, as is the ability to show passion, competence, and ambition of every employee, and ultimately this is the secret of the great success of this company. This is what I learned from L’Oréal, and it is something that drives me in my personal life too. Being ambitious and having great goals in mind is something that is part of me, but there isn’t success without resolution, commitment and passion in every single task you do. Success should be the guiding star, strategic plans allow you to draw the road, daily effort let the dream come true.
Interested in exploring the opportunities in Sales and Commercial in Italy?