Hot List - Sales Superstars
Meet These Successful A-Listers
When some think of salespeople, the stereotypes still come to mind: hucksters and slicksters, fast-talkers and snake oil-peddlers. But in our industry, successful salespeople are the rock stars, the first-round draft picks, the A-listers. They can write their own ticket and it's not for nothing that they wield such power – their presence, or absence, can make or break a company.
Andrew Hughes, sales rep extraordinaire for the FL-based supplier IDProductsource, is one of the main reasons the company has experienced double-digit sales growth. So much do his distributor clients adore and value him that they voted him the runner up in this year's Supplier Global Resource Supplier Rep of the Year contest.
Monica Channa, sales executive with Ottawa-based distributor Akran Marketing, has become such a force to be reckoned with in her country that she was named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women in 2011. Lora Williams and Chris Jenkin, the partners behind Gotcha! Branded Mobile Solutions, use Smartapps, Managed QR codes, Augmented Reality and SMS Messaging to help distributors' clients such as GE, Absolut and Pacer create buzz.
Jeanna Abercrombie, sales manager for Pepco Poms, just implemented new internal procedures to increase the speed of information flow from the customer to the factory floor to keep her company's pricing competitive. Carla Younan, only with Counselor Top 40 supplier Dard Products for two years, has grown sales in her territory and taken the time to learn the intricacies of product importing and exporting. Baker, fashionista and trend-hunter Frankie Gashler, with PromoMatting by Americo, races across the U.S. and Canada regularly meeting with clients.
And then there's Roger Burnett, national director of branded merchandise with Counselor Top 40 distributor WorkflowOne. He not only shares a first name and air of confident insouciance with Mad Men's Roger Sterling, but his witty bon mots and bon vivant attitude make him – like the retro Roger – the salesman clients clamor to spend time with. While other industries' sales stagnate, it's because of the prodigiously talented people on this page that ours continues to thrive.
Jeanna Abercrombie, Pepco Poms
As sales manager for Pepco Poms (asi/77280), Jeanna Abercrombie recently implemented new internal procedures to increase the speed of information flow from the customer to the factory floor, developed a strategic pricing strategy for high volume customers and developed a plan to increase customers' sales of Pepco Poms products. Her favorite movie is Steel Magnolias and most of her time out of the office is spent watching her husband coach high school football and her two sons play it.
Roger Burnett, WorkflowOne
Favorite thing about the industry?
"What we do is fun. There are times when the jobs themselves may suck, but unquestionably what we do is fun by design, and its obvious to me that the most successful people in this business are the ones that have the most fun."
Where does he see himself in 5-10 years?
"In three years my youngest turns 18 and will be off to college. I'll be 45 and it'll be Game On! Free to go where I please, when I please? Are you KIDDING me?? I'm excitedly looking forward to where life may lead me, personally and professionally, while enjoying the melancholy of these last years with sons in the house."
What's the best advice you've received in the industry?
"Take care of your suppliers, and they will absolutely take care of you. If you're not doing business that way, you're probably not winning as much business as you could be."
What would you change about the industry if you could?
"We have a responsibility to help distributor salespeople be the best they can be. Better salespeople means more money for all of us, and we need to take a hard look at doing a better job of providing quality sales training for distributors. "
What song best describes you?
"With a Little Help (From My Friends)," the Joe Cocker live version where he completely loses it."
Who would play you in a movie?
"Robert Downey Jr. He understands."
Monica Channa, Akran Marketing
As executive director of Akran Marketing (asi/115329), Monica Channa is responsible for all operations of the company, including order processing, purchasing, warehousing, accounting and sales inquiries. Last year she was named one of Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 by the Women's Executive Network. At her first job she worked for Canada's state government, Ontario 3, and she loves Indian food.
Frankie Gashler, Promomatting by Americo
Known as a "fashionista" by friends and co-workers alike, Frankie Gashler rarely wears the same clothing or jewelry twice, and despite the painstaking effort it takes to stay on top of the ever-shifting trends of the fashion world, PromoMatting has always been her "top priority." Described as "the person in the office that builds everyone up and is constantly checking to make sure everyone is ok," she is a valuable asset to both her clientele and company who masterfully balances an international travel schedule with her spare time hobby of making delicious, "Ace of Cakes" worthy, bakery goods. For those who can't get enough of Gashler during the workweek, she can always be found "rocking out" on a fellow concert goer's shoulders in the background of Bon Jovi's music video "Living on a Prayer."
Andrew Hughes, IDProductsource
With an eye for detail and a ‘quality service, no matter the order size' mentality, Andrew Hughes is quickly earning himself a reputation as one of the top sales reps in the industry. With less than a year under his belt at IDProductsource, Andrew has already been the second runner up for SGR Supplier Sales Rep of the Year and is frequently described as a "breath of fresh air" due to his rare ability to convey a feeling of care and attention to every client who has the luck of working with him. Hughes believes in valuing the client's satisfaction over a quick sale and shares his motto with fellows reps, "Don't get caught committing to something you're not certain of just to close a deal." An avid poker player, Andrew is sure to be a major chip winner for years to come.
Chris Jenkin & Lora Williams, Gotcha Branded Mobile Solutions
CEO Chris Jenkin and chief marketing officer Lora Williams of Gotcha! Branded Mobile Solutions (asi/57851) have teamed up to bring mobile technology and powerful partnerships to distributors. Recently, they've rolled out Smartapps, the Smartsite Builder, Managed QR Codes, Augmented Reality, SMS Messaging and more, all to empower distributors in the industry. Jenkin wants to see Bruce Willis casted as him in a movie about his life ("It will be full of action, adventure and making distributors money"), while Williams' favorite music album is Trouble in Mind by Hayes Carll ("He's a cool Texas boy who knows how to party").
Carla Younan, Dard Products
Described as a 'do it all' extraordinaire, Carla Younan divides her time and talent at Dard Products among innovation and creation of projects, importing and exporting, and sales. Proving that she is more than up to the daunting task of managing those numerous areas of expertise, the second year employee has "already made sales sizzle in her territory," one that encompasses six states and over three thousand accounts. Co-workers and clients alike have taken notice of Carla's aptitude in the industry, commenting that she "is amazing" and "has more savvy than I have run across in years." She spends her remaining time teaching kids to dance and volunteering at St. Jude's Children's Hospital.