Jon Ferrer joined Belzona eight years ago as a Technical Service Engineer at the Company’s Office in Miami, Florida. At Belzona, he became increasingly involved with Belzona Great Lakes, a Distributorship in Canada, eventually becoming Technical Sales Manager of the Distributorship.
In this interview, we ask Jon about his unique career path within Belzona and what it took to become a Sales Manager at one of Belzona’s Distributorships.
Q: Can you provide an overview of your career journey, from your initial role at Belzona’s Corporate Office to your current position as the Sales Manager at Belzona Great Lakes?
A: I began my journey with Belzona in 2016 when I took on the role of Technical Service Engineer in Miami. In this position, my primary responsibility was to provide support to our Distributors and Consultants across North America and South America. My support took various forms, including remote assistance through training, emails, and phone calls. I also engaged in extensive fieldwork, where I visited their territories. During these visits, I conducted presentations and demonstrations to highlight the value of our Belzona solutions. Additionally, I actively participated in testing and engineering projects to assess how well our products suited specific applications and different service conditions.
As my journey with Belzona continued, in 2018, I started to work more closely with the Belzona Great Lakes Distributorship. While I continued supporting other Distributors, my involvement in the Great Lakes region became more significant. This shift was primarily driven by the fact that the Distributorship lacked technical support at that time, and there was a pressing need for a dedicated professional to fill this role.
A significant turning point in my career came in early 2020 when I was offered the role of Technical Sales Manager for Belzona Great Lakes. This transition marked a substantial advancement in my career within the Company, allowing me to play a more direct and influential role.
In my current role as Technical Sales Manager for Belzona Great Lakes, I oversee the sales of Belzona products within the Ontario province. This role involves not only promoting our exceptional products but also providing support and guidance to our team of Technical Consultants. I am committed to helping our customers find the best solutions for their needs, maintaining the high standard of service that Belzona is known for, and fostering strong partnerships with our customers and Consultants.
Q: What motivated you to transition from a Corporate Office role to a Sales Manager at a Belzona Distributorship? Were there specific experiences or factors that influenced this decision?
A: After spending five years in a Technical Service Engineer role within a Corporate Office, I felt a strong urge to seek a new challenge and step out of my comfort zone. While working as a Technical Service Engineer, my primary interactions were with Distributors and Consultants, which provided me with valuable insights into our products and services. However, I noticed a gap in my experience—I had limited exposure to direct customer interactions and end users of our products.
This realization led me to consider a transition to a Sales Manager role at a Belzona Distributorship. I was motivated by the prospect of being on the front lines, directly engaging with existing and potential customers. I wanted to take a more active role in promoting and sharing our Belzona solutions. This shift allowed me to leverage my technical expertise and product knowledge to build relationships with customers and help them find the right solutions to their problems.
Q: Can you share the key skills or knowledge you acquired during your time in the Corporate Office that has been particularly valuable in your role as Sales Manager?
A: Several key skills and knowledge areas have proven to be immensely valuable in my transition from the Corporate Office to the Sales Manager role.
First and foremost, my experience in the Corporate Office equipped me with a deep understanding of the coatings industry and its crucial role in helping customers across various industries combat the detrimental effects of corrosion, erosion, and abrasion. I can empathize with customers’ challenges and present Belzona’s solutions as essential tools to extend the life of their equipment, reduce downtime, and cut costs.
Another important aspect is my familiarity with Belzona’s extensive product range. With over 100 distinct products, each possessing unique properties, it’s imperative for a Sales Manager to have in-depth knowledge of these offerings. This knowledge helps me to provide the most suitable recommendations to customers, ensuring feasibility and cost-effectiveness. By making informed product suggestions, I can consistently deliver long-term solutions that enable our customers to prevent downtime and save money on expensive repairs.
Furthermore, the communication and presentation skills I honed during my duration in the Corporate Office have proven to be a vital asset in my current role. Over the years, I had the privilege of conducting numerous training sessions for Consultants and Distributors. These experiences enriched my ability to convey complex technical information in an accessible and engaging manner. Effective communication and presentation skills allow me to articulate the benefits of Belzona’s solutions persuasively and clearly, aiding customers in understanding the value we bring to their operations.
Q: What challenges did you face during your career transition, and how did you overcome them to excel in your current position?
A: My transition from a technical role to a Sales Manager position presented me with several challenges. One of the most significant challenges I encountered was my limited prior experience in sales. Despite having a strong technical background and a deep understanding of Belzona’s products, I had little exposure to the intricacies of the sales process. This transition, as expected, presented a substantial learning curve.
To overcome this challenge, I chose to tap into the invaluable support of my colleagues and the Distributors and Consultants within the Belzona network. They all have been one of the key factors in my success. They provided me with lots of support and guidance, helping me navigate the complexities of the sales field. From my colleagues and people within the Belzona network, I’ve gained valuable insights into effective sales strategies, customer relationship management, and the skills necessary to successfully finalize deals.
Additionally, I recognized that to excel in my new role, I needed to proactively acquire the knowledge and skills required. I invested time in training, workshops, and self-study to build a solid foundation in sales techniques and customer relationship management. This continuous learning journey remains ongoing, and I acknowledge that there is always more to discover and refine in the field of sales.
Q: In what ways has your career path in Belzona given you a competitive advantage or a unique perspective in the Sales Manager role, especially in terms of understanding customer and Distributor needs?
A: My career path at Belzona has equipped me with a valuable perspective and a competitive advantage in my role as a Sales Manager, especially in understanding the unique needs of our customers and Belzona Distributors. Starting in a technical role, I gained a deep understanding of Belzona’s products and their practical applications. This foundational knowledge allows me to confidently engage with customers and Distributors, addressing their challenges and specific requirements.
In addition to my technical training, I underwent NACE certification as a Coating Inspector, broadening my understanding of coating applications. This certification provided me with insights into the entire coating application process, encompassing surface preparation, application, and quality control, following both manufacturer and industry best practices.
Furthermore, my in-house training emphasized the significance of every player in the application process, including the customer, the applicator/Contractor, the inspector, and the coating manufacturer. I’ve learned that finding competent contractors is a common challenge for Belzona Distributors, and ensuring proper application is essential. Unprofessional Contractors occasionally cut corners, which can compromise the product’s performance. This insight enables me to offer tailored solutions and guidance, ensuring a comprehensive approach to coating applications.
It’s crucial to understand that if the application is compromised by improper application and the product fails, the customer’s confidence in Belzona solutions can be negatively impacted. This underscores the importance of maintaining customer satisfaction and continuing to earn their trust.
Q: As a Sales Manager, what are your future career aspirations, and how do you envision your background contributing to your continued success within Belzona Great Lakes?
A: As a Sales Manager, my future career aspirations are closely aligned with the growth and development of Belzona Great Lakes. I believe that there is tremendous potential for our region, and I see myself contributing to this growth by expanding our team of technical Consultants. We’re at a point where we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can achieve, and I’m committed to taking our progress to the next level. As we bring in more talented professionals and provide them with the necessary training, I envision us becoming the go-to company in Ontario for coatings, maintenance, and corrosion control solutions.
Looking ahead, my personal career aspirations align with the broader industry trends. I’m passionate about the coatings and corrosion control sector, which I find incredibly intriguing. It’s a field that’s evolving rapidly, and I’m excited to be part of that evolution. The growing awareness across industries about the importance of repairing and protecting equipment rather than simply replacing it is a promising development. As companies become more environmentally conscious and seek greener solutions, I see an exciting future for Belzona Great Lakes in providing innovative and sustainable maintenance solutions. My aim is to contribute to this positive change and continue fostering our growth in this dynamic industry.
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Digital Content Creator, Belzona Inc., Miami, Florida