Simon Baldacchino Barthet
Senior Sales Manager
Years on Earth – 37
Years at Melita – 11 (with a two year break in 2013)
Passionate about recruitment and people development
“I’m a firm believer that official and formal qualifications are not the best indicator that someone will be a good sales person. So be different, go mental and always be yourself.”
Prior to first joining Melita I was working in the oil and gas recruitment industry, and between 2013 and 2015 I worked at Eden Leisure as the group’s sales manager. As a Senior Sales Manager at Melita I am now responsible for Telesales, Digital Sales, Affiliates, B2B and Retention. Mostly I am responsible for making sure that 64 employees earn good money and are happy at work.
When I first joined Melita back in 2008, as a Sales Manager, I was tasked with the job of structuring the telesales department and create an outbound team. This meant recruiting 30 new agents within 4 months. The whole exercise was quite a learning curve, not just for me, but also for Melita and Malta as a country, because back then, cold calling was not a widely practiced sales tactic. Thankfully the team was very successful and contributed very well to the continued growth of Melita’s subscribers.
After 3 years I was offered a job with another company and although I loved my job at Melita, especially the company culture it fostered, at the time I considered the new offer a very good opportunity to learn and grow in my career within sales management. This new job was in the B2B industry and the company was family-run, thus making it completely different to what I was used to. Through various situations I grew to understand and overcome the challenges someone one has to face and overcome when directly reporting to family members who founded their company with passion.
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During my time away from Melita, I never missed the job itself but the company’s culture was always something that I knew would draw me back at the first good opportunity. Then, two years on the dot, when I had just come back from a long holiday, with that sinking feeling of having to go back to work, I got a call from a headhunter offering me a job that he said perfectly matched my LinkedIn profile. All he said was that it was a sales role at a telecommunications company, but would not give me any more details.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I emailed the Head of HR at Melita and asked about it. Their reply was that it wasn’t Melita that the headhunter was talking about, but that they were in fact looking to recruit someone in a senior sales role. Having found out that I was interested the Head of HR coordinated a meeting for me to meet with the Director of Sales. Three weeks later I was back on my old desk with a very different team and very happy to be back.
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This time my goals were just as clear as the first time, but rather different. I was tasked with the job of building and developing a sales team that gives more importance to quality than numbers and to develop the people in my team into what they could be great in.
With this in mind, we restructured the termination process, making it simpler for both our employees and customers. We then developed a digital sales and affiliates team, and finally, at the end of last year I was entrusted with the B2B sales team.
The most rewarding part of all this is seeing people in my team making it from the very bottom of the corporate ladder to the very top – 5 employees who started with Melita right at the bottom have now become managers, 6 others are at supervisor level, and there are many others who succeeded both in other departments and also working for other companies.
I’m a firm believer that official and formal qualifications are not the best indicator that someone will be a good sales person. I’m proof of that myself. I never even bothered to pick up my school-leaving certificate but Melita is one of those places that gives you a chance to shine even without these formal papers.
To my mind there are 2 main things that make a good sales person. The first is their own personality and the second is the leaders they work with.
When it comes to personality, I believe that a good sales person always has a positive disposition towards life, is ambition and is hungry for success.
And when it comes to leadership, I believe that a good sales person can only shine to his or her full potential when working for a great leader.
I honestly believe that whilst good sales people can perfect their skills and get better at what they do, sales per se are a skill (if not a talent) you’re born with and not a qualification that you can earn. Those who recognize this power and pursue it as a job will find that it is a very interesting, fun and rewarding.
Whilst formal qualifications might make it easier to get an interview in the first place, they won’t help you on a sales job. It’s only your attitude that will help you will succeed in anything you want to become. And you need to be the best leader for yourself too.
Simon’s Sales Career Tips
- Be patient with your career path. Go slow. Do not skip positions, as you will miss out on valuable experiences and learning opportunities that come with every role.
- Invest in Self-Development – a lot of it. Research and read as much as you can.
- Master Soft Skills such as, Empathy, Emotional intelligence, Negotiation, Time management, Reading People and Active listening.
- Question everything – If it’s bad, ask why. If it’s good, ask why.
- Be yourself- Fake people don’t get far.
And finally remember – when in a sales role you will hear the words “no thank you” much more often than you will hear “yes please”. But every ‘yes’ you get will give you the push you need to go further.