Christian Burton

A lot of recruiters have a plan, but few of them subsequently deliver on what they’ve promised.

The Pareto-KYOCERA Partnership

KYOCERA Document Solutions is the document imaging division of the multibillion dollar KYOCERA Corporation - one of the world’s market leaders in the manufacture and provision of document imaging devices. Headquartered in Reading since 1988 and with branches across the UK, KYOCERA Document Solutions offers a range of document solutions across the UK and Republic of Ireland, through a network of authorised distributors, dealers and resellers.

KYOCERA came to Pareto in early 2006 with a vision to inject renewed drive and energy into their sales force. Having observed one of our unique graduate sales assessment centres, KYOCERA were impressed with our approach. The experience confirmed that this was the way forward for future recruitment drives for the business, and a partnership was born.

Nine years later and the formula is still working. We have successfully placed a total of 40 graduates with KYOCERA since 2006 through our unique sales assessment process, providing those graduates with the sales training they need to launch successful and rewarding careers within KYOCERA.

Originally from Marbella in Spain, Christian came to England in order to undertake an Interior Design and Architecture degree. Attending the University for the Creative Arts, Christian undertook a four-year course which included a period spent in Italy. 

On conclusion of his studies, Christian felt his skill set lay outside the creative element of design, with his strengths aligned more to communicating with people. On this basis, he began investigating options for a career that would capitalise upon his communication skills. Beginning at Twinings, Christian took a direct marketing role that included door-to-door selling, before deciding it was time to look at options for a long-term career. 

The Pareto Journey

In December 2008, Christian made an application for a sales role through Pareto and was invited to attend an assessment day in London. Pareto offered a bridge and introduction to the kind of organisations Christian was looking to access and on arrival at the day he came with a broad desire to work within the Berkshire / Hampshire area but limited understanding of what he would be facing or knowledge of the companies interviewing. 

Due to his success on the day, Christian was put forward to interview with KYOCERA. His preparation and enthusiasm saw him offered a Business Development role, beginning in January 2009. 

Joining KYOCERA

Entering the Business Development Team, Christian was charged with prospecting potential customers, trying to tap into emerging markets and identify leads to introduce KYOCERA Account Managers to as part of the business development strategy. Undertaking around 110 calls a day, he was able to utilise his strong communication skills to secure recognition as the company’s top performer in his first year, leading to his promotion into an Account Executive position. He has continued to progress through the business, now acting as the current UK’s Business Development Manager for KYOCERA, hiring further Pareto graduates in his capacity as a manager. He talks about his experience with Pareto and KYOCERA here.

How did you find your experience of the Pareto recruitment process?

As a manager I’ve hired nearly 30 graduates through Pareto and it’s the structure I appreciate most; a lot of recruiters have a plan, but few of them subsequently deliver on what they’ve promised. Having gone through the process personally I know what to expect and appreciate the quality that comes through a competency-based process. 
I greatly enjoyed the training; in fact, it reminds you of The Apprentice a bit - you enter a slightly competitive yet amiable environment and have the opportunity to meet other graduates placed through Pareto, which makes for a fantastic experience. As a candidate, it makes you feel invested in by your employer. I still remember and use the content I learned to this day.

What has been the biggest challenge for you, working in the sales environment?

Entering into my Business Development role, I actually found it easy to keep a positive attitude; the challenge for me was getting to point whereby I could ‘get out there’ and meet clients / prospects directly. The waiting game while I up-skilled was tough.

What have you found to be the best part of your role?

For me, it’s being able to see a direct correlation between effort and result; it’s the main reason I wanted to join sales! As an individual, I wanted to ensure I produced results from day one and that gave me real motivation to succeed. In sales, every day is a new adventure: there’s no mundane repetition, and you’re continually bringing on and meeting new clients, addressing new challenges and finding solutions to new problems. 

Is there any advice you would offer to others considering a career in sales?

Getting the job is the easy part; the work starts from day one in the office. It’s about standing out; if you want to succeed, you need to be prepared to go the extra mile and have the confidence to challenge the status quo in order to drive change. If you’re happy to just do 9 – 5 and clock out, sales probably isn’t the career for you.

How has your career progressed?

Since joining, I’ve had 3 internal promotions. The first was from Business Development Executive to Account Executive, when I was charged with helping to manage the largest account for KYOCERA and focused on generating direct business from the public sector. 

When the Business Development team lost some members of staff, the company set the objective to increase morale and retention, and felt someone with experience in the role would be best placed to head it. At this point I took up the role of Business Development Team Manager. 5 years ago when I took over the team, it comprised of just 2 people. Now the team holds a headcount of 10 across Manchester and Reading, and in 2014 we increased our new business turnover organically from under £1million to over £3million: a representation of how much myself the most successful division in KYOCERA: it’s the KYOCERA-Pareto process and partnership, with us continually bringing in Pareto talent and progressing them through the business thanks to a unique training and development structure I put in place and my team have accomplished. 

We are now spearheading a new process in the print and copy industry, and KYOCERA’s partners and competitors alike are looking at what makes the Business Development team the most successful division in KYOCERA: it’s the KYOCERA-Pareto process and partnership, with us continually bringing in Pareto talent and progressing them through the business thanks to a unique training and development structure I put in place.

How do you see your future developing?

My aim is to grow the Business Development team, with a target of doubling it in size. At the moment, working with Pareto I have recruited, trained and successfully placed over 1/3 of the existing KYOCERA’s external sales team. Thanks to this KYOCERA is now a very young forward thinking company and able adapt to quickly to change, so with the support of Pareto, I believe we can continue to cultivate that “top notch talent” and continue to deliver the success we have managed to deliver to date. 

From a personal perspective, I’d like to progress to a more senior position that offers more challenges; but I’m enjoying the direction we’re headed in at the moment. 

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