Marie Willoughby, National Sales Manager for CPM’s Charity Accounts (Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders and Dogs Trust Ireland) shares with us her career path and her inspirational story of career progression.
What roles have you done to get to this position?
I joined CPM in 2013 as a Field Sales Rep on the eir account having never worked in Field-sales previously. My background prior to CPM was Contact Centre Management which I did for over 13 years, both in the UK and Ireland. I began my Contact Centre Career as a Customer Service Rep with Carphone Warehouse and progressed through the ranks with Carphone to Team Manager, Customer Service and eventually Contact Centre Manager and reaped the benefits that growing within the organisation brought me – in terms of competence, confidence and reputation.
I joined CPM with the same motivation and objective – to progress and be successful, and CPM’s “Grow Our Own” culture has supported and enabled me to realise my ambition. So over the years I have progressed from Field Sales Rep to Assistant Regional Sales Manager to Regional, Divisional and now National Sales Manager.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
Where do I start? There are so many facets to the role – number one is the people I work with. I’m privileged to be surrounded by positive, creative and talented colleagues and clients. My greatest source of satisfaction is leading team members to realise their potential through goal achievement and personal development.
I thrive on the challenge and variety the role presents – no two days are the same in this fast-paced industry which makes it exciting and rewarding. Listening to our Clients’ needs, translating these into executable plans of action and delivering on these requirements is a constant source of motivation and satisfaction.
What characteristics do you feel are needed to be a successful National Sales Manager?
There are many – however my top three would have to be:
- Personal Values - when your success depends on the success of your people, it’s very simple – Honesty and Integrity. Treat people as you would like to be treated – so simple and powerful. This extends across the spectrum – colleagues, clients and most importantly our Customers. I believe this has been a key ingredient of my career success in every Organisation I have worked. Quality first then quantity
- Leadership – being a role-model for those in your sphere of influence in terms of attitude, work ethic, drive for results and open-ness to change and new ideas – inspiring others to do the same
- Communication is key to building strong relationships and trust in any business so investing time and creating the space for conversation is essential, particularly listening to your people and client needs. Someone who influenced my early career always used the maxim “be concrete” meaning be specific when communicating and it works for me
How does it feel to work in a sector that has been traditionally male dominated?
Personally, I’ve never felt that being female has impeded my career success, either in this sector or any other in which I’ve worked. I think a significant factor has been my own psyche in the sense that I see myself and others as either the person for the job or not, as the case may be. So gender doesn’t enter into it. Further, I’ve always assessed organisations’ cultures and values before joining to ensure they align with my own and believe this has been an important factor in my relationships with the organisations I have chosen to represent.
It’s frustrating that there are many out there who don’t have this experience or confidence and that we as a society have allowed this scourge to pervade through the years. However the tide is turning and the institutions of power that cultivated gender inequality no longer have the influence they once had. Fairness and parity is finally finding its voice.
While the sales sector in general may be male dominated, at CPM we are honoured to have Inspirational Leader Lorraine Butler as our Managing Director
What advice would you give to women starting out their sales career?
Believe and achieve. The remarkable thing is that women excel in the business – they bring heightened resilience, intuition and emotional intelligence – all of which fosters success – both with Customers and in terms of progression as they are key ingredients where leadership is involved.
All women who join CPM are championed and celebrated as their value is well recognised. If you are considering a career in sales – have a chat with myself or the team and we’ll help you understand if you are the “person” for the job
Can you tell me about a female role model who has inspired you throughout your career?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you about one but I can tell you about millions. Working Mothers Worldwide – Mothers who work, raise children, care for family members and worry – all at the same time. Working Mothers Worldwide are my inspiration. I know many and I am one.
What does #PressForProgress mean to you?
As Mum to 12 year old twins, a daughter and son, I want both to be able to choose careers where they are happy, valued and rewarded fairly on the basis of their skill and contribution, as opposed to gender. I am hopeful that when IWD is celebrated in 10 years’ time, it will be more a celebration of success than a campaign for change!