ambition - Interview with Rob Jolliffe
A new sales culture
What was the first impression you got of Deutsche Börse Group? And what had been the first steps?
What I found when I first got here was that the sales force were “siloed” into their business units – and they still are to a large extent. We are trying to encourage the sales people to come out of those silos, have a look around like a meerkat, and go back down into their silos to do their day job where they are specialised sales people. But also to reach out and see what other opportunities are going on within the Group. So one of the things I found was lacking when I first got here was penetration of the clients at a senior level. What I have done is to create a role of “Group relationship managers” and I have hired five people so far and they are going to work with our existing and our future client base on a very high level, actually at the C level. That way we can build relations from the top level down rather than just coming from the bottom level up, which is the way we have been developing our relationships over the past ten to fifteen years really.
Rob Jolliffe, an experienced investment banker and trained historian, took over responsibility for all sales activities of Deutsche Börse Group as Head of Sales in August 2015.
Do you think the market is really aware of Deutsche Börse Group’s existing product and services portfolio?
The question really is: is the market aware of Deutsche Börse Group itself? Because Deutsche Börse Group is a conglomerate and it has various different very well-known product silos. You’ve got, for example,, you’ve got , two brands which are very well known to quite a lot of people, particularly outside of Germany, who do not know that Deutsche Börse is part of those organisations. So the branding of Deutsche Börse Group needs to be stretched wider, because at the moment many clients just say: “Oh yes, Eurex, I know Eurex”. But they do not know that Deutsche Börse is the owner of Eurex. It is the same with Clearstream, they know Clearstream but they do not know that Clearstream is “married” to Deutsche Börse, to Eurex, to etc.
Do you see a demand for products and services that Deutsche Börse Group does not yet cover?
I feel that there needs to be a much higher influence of the sales input into the product development at Deutsche Börse, and that’s why I am very keen to work with. Because he understands the products, and the products on the sales side need to be interwoven together from the starting point until the final delivery point as well.
Has there been a particular experience which has impressed and motivated you?
The most influential person in my life was a history teacher when I was in school, when I was 13 or 14 years old. I loved history as a subject and he taught me how to have perspective and not objectivity; he basically told me to challenge the status quo all the time, to constantly revise the status quo, not accepting the current status as the only status available. And it is the same in the work place, to constantly revise how you are working, if you’ve got best practices, where are new influences and new ideas, new ways of organising. And that is the way I am constantly looking at my business. Because if you don’t, you become stuck in a rut, you don’t expand your horizons and your thinking which makes it very dangerous for an organisation and for people within an organisation.
How do you see Deutsche Börse Group’s future sales organisation?
Okay, coming back to the Group relationship managers. They are going to set the tonus as to how one should cover a client. And they are going to set the tone by covering the top 40 to 50 clients in a way which is agnostic, leads from seniority and also works with the product people who cover that particular account. And I think leading by example we can develop a new sales culture at Deutsche Börse.