Known for its amazing perks and great culture, TripAdvisor has been a sought-after workplace for many job seekers. As the travel industry has been slowly returning to normal, we’ve sat down with Alberto Plasencia-Gonzalez, ex-Senior Manager, Key Accounts at TripAdvisor to learn about the pros and cons of this role.
K: Tell us about your journey of getting into Sales
I started my career in Financial Sales, back in 2000. I was in charge of about 10 key accounts in one of the biggest banks in Spain. My clients were both B2C and B2B, that was my first experience dealing with medium-sized businesses.
After working in this industry for five years, my bank offered me the opportunity to move to Paris where I worked with more complex accounts and private clients across Europe. My job was mainly to help clients who were looking to move their savings from one off-shore location to another.
After ten years of working in Banking, in 2010 I decided to start from scratch in a completely new industry. So I moved to Oxford, UK. For about six months until my language skills had become sufficient, I worked as a kitchen porter.
In 2011, I applied for a role in TripAdvisor. There, I was selling annual subscription products (paid business listing) to Spanish and French hotel chains.
I did that job for about another five years. Around 2015, I started selling to more complex accounts with bigger budgets and more products. My role was in between Account Management and pure Sales, including meeting clients in their home countries.
K: What is the single most exciting thing about your previous role as Senior Manager, Key Accounts at TripAdvisor?
The most exciting thing is growing accounts and improving relationships with clients. It’s amazing to see the account that started from 20K grown to 100K year-over-year, achieving 500% growth with your product. It’s a great feeling that the client is happy with your work, they trust you. Transparency and trust are very important in Sales.
K: Are there some cultural differences that influence sales in different countries?
I would say that Southern European countries like Italy, Spain, or Turkey have some similarities about how to sell products. In France or Benelux, for example, the approach is completely different. Clients in these countries need to see the value first. It takes time to build a relationship with them, so the sales cycle is longer.
Sometimes, during the day you have three-four calls with clients in different locations, so you need to remember that this is a completely different call and alter your approach to building relationships accordingly.
K: What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for their first job in Sales?
The main thing is trust. I believe that the only way to keep growing your sales over time is to build a relationship with a client. You can make a very quick sale, but in the end, if that’s not what the client needed, you’ll get bad feedback. So, if it’s not the right product for your client, don’t tell them that it is. I believe in a long relationship with clients, and fast sales is not the right thing to do.
The main thing is trust. I believe that the only way to keep growing your sales over time is to build a relationship with a client. You can make a very quick sale, but in the end, if that’s not what the client needed, you’ll get bad feedback.
K: What are some of the disadvantages of working in Sales?
It’s quite disappointing when you’re working towards achieving your target, and you are talking with a client for several months, but then they change their mind at the last minute. They might decide to put the purchase on hold or deal with another company.
It’s always frustrating because you have to start again with a new client. The good thing is that if you keep pushing towards your goals, your % of wins is typically high and you achieve what you wanted to achieve.