Newly promoted to Head of Sales and Partnerships Debbie is certainly a woman on a mission and she’s not going to let a little thing like sleep stand in her way. Responsible for driving sales from the output part of the business and with a team in Malaysia, the new role is a step up at a time of significant change in all parts of her life.
We met with Debbie to talk about taking on new challenges, managing change and her amazing ability to squeeze every last drop out of every day.
First of all, congratulations, this is a role bringing with it lots of challenges. How are you approaching it?
Well, there is so much happening right now at activpayroll, with a new management structure and a real drive for sales across the board, with a focus on APAC. It all feels extremely exciting when it comes to our sales and business development functions, and I’m delighted to be working with both Thiva and Siti in KL to ensure that our ambitions become a reality.
It’s also been important to build a close working relationship with two relative newcomers to the business, Matthew, and Marcus who as outbound Strategic Sales Development Managers are busy gathering and feeding leads into the team.
It feels like this is such a brilliant opportunity to lay down the right foundations for everyone working in this area and in my team in particular, and while that feels like a big responsibility it’s also very exciting.
It sounds like there is a lot going on how do you find the pace of change?
It can be daunting but I’m a firm believer in being confident in your own abilities. It’s all about trusting your judgement and applying your skills and knowledge to new situations. And of course, having the right team working with you helps enormously.
There’s no doubt that taking on a new role at a time of growth and expansion within the business has presented me with plenty of opportunities for learning, including the need to understand the regional and cultural variations in terms of both staff and customers relations.
Luckily, I am a huge advocate of continual learning in both my personal as well as my professional live so I’m not too daunted by the pace and quantity of change my new role has to offer.
How has your background working with our Strategic Partners helped in your new role?
It’s been an enormous advantage when it comes to how to manage and maintain connections at work, and in fact I will be continuing to work with our Strategic Partners, exploring new opportunities and developing new relationships.
Having the ability to build and nurture relationships is key to securing new business, and indeed in keeping that business. Our sales cycle is not a quick one so there is plenty of time to really get to know our potential customers and strategic partners. It’s a source of pride to me that in the unlikely situation that a customer is looking at an escalation I am often their first point of contact thanks to the investment in our relationship. Ensuring that our customer and strategic partners have confidence in our abilities to support and understand them is borne from strong established foundations and I am delighted to be part of that process.
How will you find working with the time difference between you and your team and customers given they are based in APAC?
Working with a time difference can be a challenge but to be fair in my previous role I was working with our US partners which meant that lots of late-night calls. Doing demos at 2-3am is not unheard of for me, and as this is a global role with a growing global business it’s only to be expected.
Maybe my greatest challenge will be to resist the temptation of Botox in the years to come. 😂
But it’s not just a work where you’re seeing change as your daughter heads off to study law at university. How are you coping?
It’s a total whirlwind of emotions if I’m being honest. There’s this amazing sense of pride at having raised such a clever, confident young woman who is able to take this huge step forward, leaving home and moving hundreds of miles away to start a new life. But inside there is a sense of loss at a way of life ending, a kind of grief that one chapter of my life is closing. This is where having my new role is a great opportunity to embrace a whole new chapter, one where my career is centre stage, and I can use all my skills and experience to make it a success.
To end on, how would you sum up your philosophy on life…
There’s a good old Scottish saying ‘Yer a long time deid’ which is all about living life to the full as there will be plenty of time for sleeping when your dead. Cheery stuff but it certainly sums up my approach to life.
I like to be busy, to fill my days and I’m a firm believer in leading by example. As a mother of an only daughter, I feel it’s my job to show her that with a strong work ethic the rewards will come.
After all you get back from life what you put in!