I love the people I get to work with, the cultures I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and the customers that have turned into friends. There’s never a day where I don’t learn something or speak to someone new.Rob Picken
Currently Director of Sales for Converge, a division of the $24bn global company Arrow Electronics, Rob’s career has been fast paced and very successful. In his high profile role, he covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), leading four key regions and 23 team members.
From humble beginnings, Rob began his career at data company IHS in 2006, in a junior telesales role. He was immediately thrown into the deep end at the fast-paced, rapidly expanding company and soon found he began to thrive: “The work was fun,” he enthuses. “The people were great and the company was fantastic to work for. Overall it was a great placement.”
From there, Rob’s career has moved consistently in an upwards spiral. He moved through IHS in several different positions, eventually leaving after almost seven years, having established himself as the European subject matter expert in the company.
Keen to take his expertise to the next level, Rob accepted a role as EMEA Director of Sales at SiliconExpert Technologies. In this role he was responsible for the vast growth of the company and delivered a huge revenue stream in the three and a half years he stayed with the company.
Now at Converge, Rob talks enthusiastically about his role and his responsibilities to his team of 23 account and territory managers: “First and foremost I’m responsible for their happiness and wellbeing, second for the numbers they bring in and third for recruiting and expanding that team,” he explains.
In addition to supporting his team and hitting big targets, Rob is passionate about the future of his industry. Charismatic and an excellent speaker, he can often be found at international conferences and talks, delivering dynamic speeches that aim to challenge and push the future of sales.
His passion and commitment to his industry becomes all the more apparent when asked what he loves most about sales: “I love the people I get to work with, the cultures I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and the customers that have turned into friends. There’s never a day where I don’t learn something or speak to someone new,” he says.
He explains that, over the last 10 years, his priorities have changed: “Initially I loved the chase and the kick of sales. Now I get a real personal win from developing my teams. I love this job.”
Although his CV is peppered with big sales wins, incredibly successful companies and some enviable experiences, Rob says his most gratifying moments have been when working with and developing people: “The first time I hired someone was extremely rewarding,” he begins. “I found a guy in Germany who was pretty raw at the time and tried to model my interview technique on the Pareto model - work out what makes him tick, understand where he’s strong and get him to draw on his experiences and desire to sell himself,” he continues. “It worked well and he’s still at the company. He’s actually the top global performer for sales and customer retention.”
Hold nothing back. Use your inquisitiveness and personality to bring out the best in your clients. People don’t remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel. Make them feel valued, unique, listened to. Grab the opportunity with both hands and - most importantly - enjoy every moment.Rob Picken
Rob’s eye for talent and his natural selling ability is undisputable, but success in sales wasn’t always the obvious career path for him. Looking for a change in vocation after graduating in History at Newcastle University, Rob found Pareto and was impressed by their results for graduates: “They had a great employment rate and the process they run through to vet grads at the time seemed like a good idea. But now, the more I look back on it, it’s a clear pride in their product and work that makes them so successful,” he muses.
Rob says Pareto also helped in the swiftness of his career progression: “I’m certain I would not have worked at IHS if I hadn’t gone through Pareto and that gave me such a head start in my career. I learned so much and was given so much exposure to amazing experiences,” he says.