LISA STONE, Commercial Director at KMI Brands
Lisa Stone is KMI Brands Commercial Director and has spent numerous years working in the Health and Beauty industry.
Lisa may sometimes skip breakfast but she never misses a sales target. Here she tells us what a typical day in the life of a Commercial Director entails.
Hi Lisa, let’s start from the beginning! Tell us about your morning routine.
I’m not a morning person, however I do love to get the day under way so I’ll usually wake at 5am if I’m heading to the office.
I have nine year old twin boys so I sneak out of the house early leaving my husband to drop them off with our childminder. I’m out of the door by 5.45am and then I hit the M25. Without traffic it takes about an hour for me to get to Teddington. This is my time to have some music on and start thinking about the day ahead.
I don’t always eat breakfast, although if I’m in the office before the rest of the team I might grab some peanut butter on toast and a coffee.
What does your typical working day look like?
I start the day by identifying two or three top priorities which really helps keep me focused on the key targets for the day ahead. With so much going on it’s easy to become distracted.
Once the sales team has arrived (made up of three UK Account Managers, an International Development Manager and our Sales Support Co-ordinator) we have our ‘sales scrum’.
This is my favourite part of the day. A five minute moment for everyone in the team to shout about what sales successes were achieved the day before, what sales they are going after today and where they are being blocked. It creates a great sense of both team spirit and competitiveness amongst us all!
I also review our global sales figures looking at the forecast for the month ahead and how we sit against the targets to ensure that I’m there to support the needs of the team to reach these.
The average day will then involve forward focused cross functional meetings to keep developing and enhancing our retailers and the experience we bring to them, updating the other members of the Senior Management team and looking at any upsides or risks in the month or quarter ahead.
For me it’s all about rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty and leading by example.
What challenges do you face as Commercial Director?
I’m fairly resilient – I think you have to be if you want to pursue a career in sales.
The greatest challenge for me is when, as a team, you’ve worked so hard to open up a new account and everyone and everything is really focused on the result, then for whatever reason the retailer denies the opportunity. This always leaves us all feeling a little wounded, so it’s my responsibility to share my resilience, keeping everyone’s heads up and focused on the next challenge.
I also use this skill every Sunday on the side of the football pitch as my boys play for the same team. Sometimes they lose….it’s about having fun. It’s the same mentality at work, you have to enjoy what you do.
What advice would you give somebody keen to start a career in sales?
My number one rule would be don’t be in too much of a hurry to promote yourself. Learn your trade, gain the experience, take advantage of training and then put this into practice.
Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed yet are also invested in the team and business. It’s all about teamwork, and leaning on each other at the right times.
To succeed in sales you need the right combination of soft and hard skills. By demonstrating self-insight, you can identify your skill gaps and then go and seek help and advice, because everyone needs ongoing development and nurturing. It’s your career and ultimately you are responsible for it.
Tell us how you like to wrap up your day
It’s picking up the kids and a quick juggle of wife, mum and Commercial Director all rolled in to one. It could be I’m making packed lunches for the next day whilst on the phone to Maddie, our Director out in the US. However evening time is my time to relax… maybe with a glass of wine.