Working on a proposal with a client feels like co-creating a unique piece of art
Ann-Charlotte (29) has a big love for international life, she likes traveling (sometimes by bike) where she can discover new places & cultures and connect with the people she meets along the way. After graduating from high school, she spent a semester in the Netherlands to improve her Dutch skills and then moved to Ghana to support a local Children’s home. During her studies at ICHEC she took part to a Housing Project in India and had the chance to study for a semester in Colombia and one in Thailand. She has been at Accenture for a bit more than four years now, where she can really put her international experience and love for people to good use.
After three years in Management Consulting at Accenture you moved to the sales department: how are you handling the sales pressure?
I have been taking a sales role for a bit more than a year now and to be honest I am learning every day, which is one of my favorite things in this new role! I switch from working on an end-to-end business transformation at an Agri-client to a managed service partnership for an industrial client to then focus on a journey to Cloud in the Life Sciences industry! It’s really cool to fully put yourself into a topic and then go to something different a few months later.
Regarding the pressure, I have to say that I quite like working on deadlines! If you make a good plan, it really helps the team collaborating towards our goal and it keeps complex & multistage processes on track.
Also, I don’t really work on sales targets, that’s not how my performance is evaluated. I focus on understanding the client needs and on being an impactful member of the team that co-creates the proposal with the client.
Closing a deal is not about celebrating the win, it’s about starting another exciting transformation journey at our client.
So you are part of the team who writes the story?
Exactly! First, we make sure we can understand the context of the client, their needs, challenges or fears and then we work together with them to build a fit-to-purpose solution. I always leverage Accenture’s network in BeLux but also globally (we’re almost 700 000 employees) to get access to the people that will bring the right level of expertise for our client. And then of course, there is the pure writing part of the proposals, putting the ideas on paper is also challenging, you have to make sure everything is very clear and understandable. You don’t want to lose your client’s trust on a badly written proposal!
The whole process gives me full of energy! I love being in a “war room” with five colleagues, brainstorming and thinking about how we can build the story but also meet the clients and directly co-create with them...Until that final hour when our little “piece of art” is ready and you can send it out to the client.
But then, what I prefer the most is bumping into colleagues at the office and hear about how the projects I been working on are going on concretely at the client. I like to feel how real impact it makes.. I try to take in as much as I can from their experience to get new ideas for the next one!
Do you work on other activities than the pure sales process?
Yes! Training is important, you need to keep yourself up-to-date with innovation, business trends or new capabilities. Origination is also a very important part of our job, we need to be able to anticipate our clients’ future needs & be ready to support them.
Next to that, I like getting involved into internal initiatives. I’m currently part of the organizing team of a BeLux innovation & transformation challenge – it’s quite exciting and it allows me to connect with many colleagues! I’m also part of the “Women In Sales” team with French colleagues. We try to identify challenges that women might have and make sure we can address them to make Sales a career track where women can truly be themselves and keep progressing all along their career regardless of their personal life choices like having kids 😊.
You graduated cum laude and succeeded studying in two universities abroad. Do you feel this helps you in your job at Accenture?
I am very grateful for travelling to these amazing countries during my education. It helps me connecting with my colleagues who are living all around the world. It’s not because they’re not always sitting in the same country as you do that you don’t need to find a personal connect with them, it’s very important!
You are strong and ambitious. Is that what it takes to be successful in your team?
Yes, you need to be resilient. And that is not always easy. Sometimes, the Sales process is like climbing a mountain: You’re enjoying your walk, then sometimes you slip back down but you know you have to start climbing again because you really want to reach that goal.
But of course, it’s not all about work and ambition, you also need to relate to your colleagues and have fun. We’re very much into a “work hard, play hard” mentality and to me that is very important 😊