Interview with Gianluca Di Chiara – Sales Intelligence Analyst @ Vodafone Italy.
 
 

Transcript

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Thank you, Gianluca for agreeing to take part in the series of interviews where I’m interviewing marketers and digital marketers around the globe that I met while I was teaching marketing at Henley Business School. So Gianluca was one of my students. almost four years ago, he was doing a master’s in was it international or digital marketing, international marketing. There we go international marketing at Henley Business School. And Gianluca is Italian and now he’s based in Italy as well working for Vodafone, doing sales intelligence. So thank you again for agreeing to talk to me today. And tell us more about like, what was your journey after you graduated? How did you end up at Vodafone? And what does a sales intelligence person do on a day to day basis?

 

Gianluca 

Okay, first of all, thank you so much, Rodrigo, for inviting me in this wonderful session of interviews. And, and yes, I graduated in in LA business school and December 2017. And after they’ve started, you know, like, every other graduated person started to you know, to send so many application in the UK, in the Netherlands and in Italy. And after a few few interviews, after not too many interviews, we can say, I, I made it in, in in joining Vodafone. When I joined Vodafone I started from the from from an internship, obviously, which was exactly marketing internship internship. To be precise, I was the assistant of the product manager, the product marketing manager of the mobile b2b sector in in Vodafone. So, in order to clarify since the beginning I work for the b2b sector in Vodafone now for the b2c so I speak with companies and businesses not with not with the with the normal consumers we can say,

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

which i think if i if i may interrupt, I think it’s very interesting because many times and even perhaps at business schools, we tend to focus more on b2c, right? We always speak of b2c and even Vodafone it’s very much associated with b2c. But sometimes students they don’t know like there is this whole industry right of companies selling to other companies. And and this is where you are and whenever you’re building your career. Yeah,

 

Gianluca 

exactly. And I can tell you, in general telecommunication, it’s so much, at least from outside from external. It’s very, it looks like focused on b2c. But in reality, one of the greatest focus of telecommunication companies in general is probably B to B to B because all the companies today have to have good connections, high quality connections, high quality infrastructures, secure infrastructures. So all of these kinds of products, which are complex products are, we can say at the core of our revenues and we’re not going to say revenues, but at the core of our business, we can say. So, after seeing after after thing that this, this internship was based basically on on the was finalised, we can say on participating in the Graduate Programme. So, thanks, thankfully to the to this to this wonderful internship, I had the great advantage to be to join the graduate programme of Vodafone. The Graduate Programme is probably a programme in which was built in order to how can I say to build that managers of the future?

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Okay, yes.

 

Gianluca 

So you make many rotations inside the inside the graduate programmes you have to think that Firstly, I I’ve been a shop assistant in a shop in Milan for Vodafone Vodafone shop. And I was very lucky, I have to say, because I’ve been in the shop of porta Vittoria. I don’t know if you remember a little bit of geography, geography or Milan, which was very close to the low court. And then I had the great advantage we can say to see even consumers like normal consumers, normal people, all people, young people, normally families going inside the Vodafone shop and for advisors or you know, to renew the tariffs and the plants and even businesses, because water is very central. So there were many entrepreneurs that were coming inside and you know, please talk to me about this IoT solution or please talk to me about this new connectivity plan. So there you you can build we can say that the perspective of the consumers and

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

the knowledge of the of the ground and who your customers will be, which I think is great, right? It’s very important then

 

Gianluca 

knowledge of the crowd you said it in after it, you a with a with rotation, I’ve been assigned to a call centre team I’ve been I’ve been doing Call Centre for a few days. And these was the the second part of the voice of the crowd we can say, because there was like, you know, like people calling, not seeing anyone face to face no. So they were just complaining,

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

yeah, there was a problem, there was a service they were and they wanted to get it fixed. So, you can

 

Gianluca 

imagine, you you perfectly see you know, that the buyer persona of your consumer, you perfectly see it in even the psychological sides. And, you know, like, every, every every shade of the consumer. So this thing was very, it was very, it was very it was it was training, you know, after it has been assigned to the digital marketing team, as a third rotation, a way to, like remind me so much of you, the digital marketing team, when I’ve built you know, like an editing plants and social media and social equal, with many dashboards, done with so many partners is what it was, it was really wonderful, because all the digital marketing environment is very, it’s very analytical control it in and what what crowd, the crowd think is very analytical, and is full of, you know, like dashboards and plans and the continuous analysis, continuous analysis, because social media are mainly big data in real time. So the analysis and the voice of the customer, there is really, it’s really listed. And it allows you and where I learned even to take action in an immediate way, very, very fast way. Immediately after, is there, the digital and social media marketing section department, I’ve been assignment, I’ve been assigned to my last rotation, which was customer insights. Even that one was really, really, really nice. But that kind of analysis is quite different than the social media analysis and the real time analysis, because customer insight, it is mainly focused on very long, descriptive analysis, okay, where you see sales or data trends, data consumption trends, and then you take insights to give to the marketing department to the sales department, in order to, you know, like to align all the company, to those insights that you took from that moment or from that year. Yeah.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

And I imagine like with this customer size, like, as you said, you you analyse trends and stuff, and then you could identify, okay, there is this new train and I don’t know usage of data. So perhaps we could develop like a new package or a new plan to meet these requirements, that doesn’t fit anything else. That’s what I would imagine they do. I don’t know, maybe I’m completely

 

Gianluca 

out of the road yet, instead of your belt in the road, because, for example, one of the stimulus we can say to change tariff plans are customer insights, because for example, if you if you understand that a customer is using or is getting every month, very close customer when I say a customer I’m sorry, I say like a segment. Okay, like any other segment, for example, families, families are getting are getting too close to the limit of giggles. Yes, for six months in a row. Perfect. You know that now you have to anticipate the market and put out a new tariff plan where the the Giga Giga Salah once he’s doubled. True. Yes. No, yes. This kind of needs of them. Yeah,

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

totally. And I imagine as well that we can see, well, actually, on average customers use this amount of minutes. So we can say, yeah, we just give you unlimited because we we kind of know that this is on average, what happens Yeah. So. And if you wouldn’t analyse the data, you wouldn’t be able to know what’s what’s happening, right? So

 

Gianluca 

I can’t even tell you another thing. For example, I see data of segments of cars, geographical segments of customers, like people who bought in Lombardi in Milan, they are using so many, so many minutes, and not so nice. Amina giggles. So they’re there. I know that the composition of that sample of the market is mainly focused on older 50 people, or ftts. All people, which are more used more used to use minutes than gigs, of course,

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

yeah,

 

Gianluca 

yeah. Instead, if I go to galana is our answer. And they see the geographic geographical analysis, they’re gonna see that people have a limited minutes, but they don’t even use maybe two or three minutes.

 

 

Yeah, just because

 

Gianluca 

they finish all the giggles Yeah, it’s it’s nice. It has been nice customers. You

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

But that you didn’t like it that much. So you said like, it was nice, but it was not the same for you that at that stage.

 

Gianluca 

True, true, okay, I didn’t like it so much, because I was, I was mainly focused on just marketing, you know, like, I want marketing, doing marketing, digital and mobile marketing products and blah, blah, blah. And it was nice at the beginning, you know, even because, for example, in that, in the, in the first experience of the marketing intern, I designed a new product, I made analysis on that on the on the possible needs that that product would have addressed. But then, inside there, I’ve understood that maybe my pleasure wasn’t just marketing, marketing is lovely marketing remains my major, my my love, we can say, and they think is one of the keys to better understand markets and sectors and the economics in general. But, as I understood a complete manager, if you want to become a manager, of course, but a complete manager, a complete professional, should learn many departments, more departments than one. And the nice thing about the one is that, in companies like both multinational companies, in general, you can do that, actually, you can do that, because you can change departments, and I am the demonstration because I’m going to, I’m going to demonstrate it because I’m gonna, I’m telling you, I passed from customer insights. And then I went to my final position, which was Vodafone business strategy. So I was, I was in a strategy department. But as you know, like, all the strategy departments have many, many small departments, you know, many, many teams inside. So I’ve been assigned to the channel strategy channel Strategy Team, which was basically looking and managing all the sales channels for Vodafone business. So I used to make a deep analysis, trend analysis, but this time, not about data usage and all these kind of things, but on just sales. So not right now. Because what I’m doing right now is quite similar, but from that point on, it was mainly sales, a sales trends, sales analysis and geographical sales analysis in this in this kind of data we can say, which at the end of the day is what brings money into the pockets.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Of course,

 

Gianluca 

you have to have a team, it has been I have to tell you, it has been wonderful because working in in a study strategy department in general is nice because you you face continuously all of the the other strategy teams, and you you have to how can I say to address the main strategy that Vodafone group and the big big super Nick Reed CO is giving you and to all the company to to the channel of sales, and then you have to make it like as a complimentary to the other strategy teams like we did data strategy with? I don’t know, we the product strategy. So it’s very, it’s nice. It’s nice, but it’s very collaborative. You have to you have to learn how to work in a team because if not, it’s it’s impossible.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Which again, you mentioned if and if you watch the interview that I did have Kate is what she mentioned as well, how this collaborative and working in teams and all that which, which, I don’t know if you remember your uni days that sometimes because it’s like, I don’t either want to work in teams, it’s so complicated. But the reality is that when you join companies, that’s the way you will work right? At the end of the day, you got to do things on your own.

 

Gianluca 

It is it is but for one, one big reason, Rodrigo, you can do everything on your own. Even if you work 1818 hours per day, you can’t, you can make everything on your own, because there are too many, because especially multinational companies, there are too many processes, too many systems that cross themselves and, you know, make complimentary parts, like the first part of the product is made by one process, and then by another process, it’s impossible to make everything by yourself. Impossible. Yes. And

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA  

then there is like financial elements and then legal regulations and you cannot be an expert on all these things. Right? Exactly. You have to work with them to do so that you can see and foresee any any problems that you might have. Right.

 

Gianluca 

Exactly. And this brings me exactly to that sales intelligence role, where I’ve been assigned in in April in April 2020. What happened Basically, there was like a general reorganisation of our departments. And they’ve been assigned to these to this role, which is basically what what I was doing in in China strategy. So practically managing them their sales channels over the phone, but focus only on one channel which is the outbound channel which In direct sales, you have to imagine that the overall market in general in, in in Italy have so many goods but especially particularly telecommunication and energy is dominated, dominated by in direct sales companies. So it’s not Vodafone, that goes to the businesses are the agencies that go to the businesses. So my job practically, is to understand all of the analytical part of these of these agencies, and try to help them and develop them. So, you know, like, I don’t know, organise trainings, new remuneration, new models of remuneration, all of these, these, these particular things, okay, then I have to organise contracts, I had to organise the legal part, with my two colleagues, I have two legal colleagues, when I strictly collaborate to, you know, to make the remuneration and all the legal part of the, of those of those agencies. So what you were saying that the paper, the paper father, and, and especially had to make, I have to manage, we can say, all the projects that go around, then this outbound sales channel, so if we want to make I don’t know, when a new partnership, we the new call centre in Bolton, Albania, I have to manage all the interest we can say, of our agencies. So it’s very, how can I say, and lastly, I have to manage all the remuneration of the products that the marketing produce for the for the for the indirect channels, so you have to understand how much is going to be the price of this product, how many customers are going to are going to buy this product. And so I have to, I have to fix a remuneration for this product. And I have to make a proposal to marketing into finance, and finance and marketing have to, you know, like to make a verified check or know about this about this. The this proposal is very, it’s it’s quite in the middle. It’s nice, because it’s, it’s basically it’s a health project management and health analyst role. And, but that’s why I’ve learned how to how to work in a team because a project manager cannot work by by himself. See possible?

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Yes, and I guess also, it also shows how you see you need a marketing degree and all that. But marketers, they can feed in different areas at the end of the day, right, which is a bit of a crossover, what you’re doing now, right? As you said, a bit of project management and all that. And also this elements of customer insights, but to design products, or contracts or plants are motivated like payment schemes, right that we drive sales, right? For Vodafone at the end of the day.

 

Gianluca 

That’s true. That’s true. And you say that the right thing, that is a crossover with marketing, but marketing is inside the room, why? We have studied all together that channelling and channel in general is the lower part of marketing, but it’s still marketing, first of all, and he’s in the middle between marketing and sales. Okay. But sales? Or, I mean, what comes out from sales inside it is at the end of the day is what the customer think. So if the sales people in the channel is telling you those products are no like, a toy expensive. For this geographical part of Italy, you have to make an action to solve this. Yeah. That’s why it’s very nice. Because you Yes, you talk with marketing, talking about the possible new features of the product by either you even talk with sales, and you even talk with finance, because the product has to be sustainable, then, after you launch them launch it. Because if you launch it, and then he’s not going to be sustainable, you’re not going to make money with it. So it’s nice. It’s nice, but it’s very, it’s crossover. It’s true. Very good.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Good. Now, I’m conscious of the time and I don’t want to take too much time of it. Shall we move to the end of the interview? And I told you that I wanted you because I mean now you graduated four years ago, right? And, and I keep in contact with students that are studying now right? What would be your advice now considering also the pandemic and all these things for someone who will graduate in a couple of months? Like if you if you could do it again? Or if you had to do it again, like four years ago, what what would you do different and how what advice would you would you give to recent marketing graduates? I would say

 

Gianluca 

okay, that’s a very nice question. If I don’t know if I will do something in a different way, in reality, because not just because I’m happy about my situation, but even because if you really think about that, you don’t have so many. I mean, at the beginning of your career, you don’t have so many so many choices at the end of the day, you take the best opportunity that you can have. So what can what I can advise to two students, which are going to be graduated in a bit is that don’t think that you finish studying because you didn’t finish studying at all you just started studying is different, you have to remember is, it never ends, you have to imagine that not not every day, but one day, yeah, one day No, I study, I do courses, I do analytic courses, I do many, many type of courses. Because if you want to be a professional, a good professional, you always have to study, to train yourself, we did a new stuff, even because they knew the new economy, in general is very technological. But technology evolves himself very quickly. So you always have to have to be up to date. If you want to be in this kind of companies, you want to be in a multinational company, because multinational company, thanks to the fact that they have big resources, bear giant resources, we can say, they are always up to date. And if you if you don’t want to be left behind, you have to be up to date. First of all, so don’t lose the patient of studying.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Very good advice.

 

Gianluca 

And don’t don’t be discouraged because of, of applications that are not gonna go they’re not gonna go well, even because I can say that now I’m in a multinational company in a in a, in a giant company in a beautiful company in a beautiful reality. But before it, there have been 350 applications. So you never take it for the first time. Never. It’s impossible. I mean, just very few cases by the end of the week, as we as we say, they’re not even make statistics because they are not Yeah, just outliers. Yeah, doesn’t it? You simply doesn’t apply? You just have to be determined and focused on your future on your career and just be be not not quite but be. How can I say? Don’t persevere, persevere, persevere. And yeah, I

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

mean, that’s the reality I mean, you say you will you will get what you’re looking for jobs. The majority will be rejections right on the someone hires you. That’s it. That’s the name of the game, right? And I speak majority,

 

Gianluca 

Rodrigo. The big majority are gonna be like the I know managers that now are directors in Vodafone we call people like we call, we call a we know that they are like people that Gaines has money like 1000s and 1000s per year, okay. But these are people that when they talk to us, they take they tell us before I came here, before I arrived to this point, I have to pass a 30 day 30 to 30 days, 30 years of career. And second of all, I didn’t start from this kind of companies, I started from a shop. Okay, I started from that small company not even listed on my own stock market. It’s how can i say, i can i can say that, I can say to myself that I’ve been lucky. Because after 350 applications, I found the place in Vodafone, but even to those are not going to be that lucky to find immediately, like in the in the short, in the short term, a place in a car in a in a company is like that, or I got a programme Don’t be desperate. The carrier is very long, is very long. And now carriers are changing in general. Broadly changing because many companies many, many startups are becoming good companies and you you’re gonna see that so many revenues are gonna and are even now switching translating from big companies to medium startups, those ones that we call unicorns?

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Yeah, the ones that are disrupting the market, right, like, everything from scratch. They don’t have old systems and they just built beautiful solutions with the new technologies, right that are available now.

 

Gianluca 

And they’re even lucky because they don’t have old business processes. Okay, so they are basically free, the even the even more agile then super big companies. So don’t think that the multinational company or the Graduate Programme are going to be your start and your hands they have to be your start and your end. careers are long, very long. And competencies are so many you can build up a competency in one month that in your part of the world doesn’t exist. So the biggest the biggest advice that I can say that I can give to students is broad your mind open your mind and try to understand what you really want to do and what is really missing. in your home plays on in the place where you want to work. Because it’s true that this world in this age is is full of difficulties. But is Paley true? There is even full of opportunities. I think that we never had a world of opportunities like we have now. Every literally everyone can build the competency, everyone.

 

Rodrigo PEREZ VEGA 

Beautiful will will will, Gianluca we’ll leave it like that because you enter it very beautifully. Thank you again for your time and it was nice seeing you again after after this many years.

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