Export Team

Olly Scott - Head of Export Sales

Age: 43
Lives: Chilham
Education: Degree in Modern European Business and French at Loughborough University
Career: Joined Shepherd Neame in 1995 in a temporary telesales role, before being given the permanent role of promotions and marketing assistant. Appointed territory sales manager in 1996, before becoming Sunlik brand manager in 1998, with a secondment to Kingfisher as brand manager from 2003 to 2007. Appointed Shepherd Neame’s head of export sales in May 2009.
Hobbies and interests:  Running, skiing, tennis, hiking and climbing.
Favourite Shepherd Neame beer: 1698
Favourite non-Shepherd Neame beer: Bitburger

What are your main responsibilities?
I manage a team of three: assistant export manager Chris Hole, and export administrators Fiona Bunting and Pauline Williams. We are the conduits between the exporters ordering our beer, and the beer being produced and distributed from our warehouse.  I am currently focusing on development of the North America and long haul market.  We are also involved in product development and marketing.

How often do you travel abroad?
We see our core customers quarterly, either by visiting them or inviting them here. If we visit them, we will have a business review meeting, and go out into a selection of off-trade and on-trade premises with them, to assess the market. We might also schedule the visit to coincide with a trade-related event, such as the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival. We wouldn’t normally stay somewhere for more than two nights. I was in America and Canada twice last month, but normally we are in the office three weeks out of four.

Do you speak any foreign languages?
I speak French and German and understand Italian. It is not essential, as we are lucky that English is the global business language, although there are some exceptions. I recently met a Russian importer who didn’t speak English, but we were both able to speak French to each other.

What are the most rewarding parts of your job? I love meeting new people, travelling and experiencing new cultures. We are also lucky enough to engage our marketing passions, by getting involved with new product development. We go to market, see what is working, and develop new products for those markets. It is really satisfying as we are involved with everything, from the design of the label to getting the product on the shelf.

What is tough about the job?
Shepherd Neame’s export business has grown dramatically in recent years, and there have been a few logistical glitches as the company adapted to cope with the extra demand. But we have a great team at the brewery, and everyone works really hard to ensure we meet our customers’ expectations.

What achievements are you particularly proud of?
I am very proud of the expansion of the export business. I am also proud of my work with Sunlik, which was not known at all in the UK, and is now the country’s No.3 Chinese beer brand.

What attracted you to the industry?
I have always loved languages. I studied German, Latin and French at school, and continued with French at university. I had planned to work in France as a ski technician, but I got a temping role at Shepherd Neame in customer services to earn some money. I grew up in Canterbury, so I was familiar with the company, and when the sales and marketing director offered me a role as promotions and marketing assistant, I decided to go for it.

Has the industry changed since you first joined?
Shepherd Neame is much more of a beer business now, rather than a pub business with some additional sales in off and on-trade. Our sales and marketing team has tripled in size, and we now invest much more in marketing and building brands.

What personal characteristics help you in your role?
Getting on with other people is key, as the role is all about the relationship you build between yourself and your customer. Also, a sense of humour, patience, and flexibility, to deal with the frequent logistical problems involved in the export industry.

Chris Hole - Assistant Export Manager

Age: 35
Lives: Whitstable
Education: Business and marketing degree at Kingston University; Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) accreditation
Career: Worked in recruitment, before joining Shepherd Neame in 2003 as a national account executive. Left in 2005 to work as a trade account manager for a drinks supplier, before moving to northern Spain in 2007 to teach English and provide consultancy services for Shepherd Neame, helping to build the business in Spain and Portugal. Returned to the UK in 2010, taking on the role of assistant export manager for Shepherd Neame.
Hobbies and interests: Sailing, outdoors walking.
Favourite Shepherd Neame beer: Master Brew
Favourite non-Shepherd Neame beer: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

What are your main responsibilities?
Managing customer accounts, which involves executing brand plans for our products, and assessing their success through sales analysis. I also deal with the internal logistics needed, liaising with the brewers and our distributors KNDL to ensure that the beer is produced and we get it out.

Does your job involve sales?
We are fortunate in that Shepherd Neame has a strong brand presence, so it is more a case of vetting the customers who approach us, hoping to sell our products. We want to make sure that we are working with people who have a passion for our brands, as we are very passionate about what we do and want our customers to be an extension of that. Also, we have to trust them to sell our product as an import, which is normally more expensive than a domestic product, meaning it has to be presented well and priced well. We work on an exclusive basis, usually with one importer per country.

Do you speak any foreign languages? I speak Spanish and a small amount of French, and understand Italian.

What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
Getting to travel, and taking pride in seeing Shepherd Neame products being sold all over the world. It is fantastic to walk into a bar somewhere like Lithuania, and find a beer made in Faversham on sale.

What is tough about the job?
Multi-tasking. You have to be able to jump from a conversation with a brewer, to speaking to a large corporate customer such as Walmart, then liaising with an official body such as HM Revenue and Customs. And you have to be skilled at managing the cultural differences and expectations involved with each country.

What attracted you to the industry?
When I finished university my dream was to be a brand manager for a brewer, as I was interested in marketing - and beer! – and thought it would be particularly satisfying to work on a product that I loved. I grew up in Canterbury, so I knew Shepherd Neame well, and when a friend from school told me that the company was recruiting, it seemed the perfect opportunity.

Has the industry changed since you first joined?
There has been a seismic change in consumers’ attitude to beer. In recent years, there has been a huge upsurge of interest in the category, with customers much more concerned with how a beer is made, and the ingredients used. The competition has become fierce, with brewers creating some amazing new beers. But they can’t replicate the history and heritage of Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer. It is a real selling point to be able to bring customers to our brewery in Faversham, and show them we have been brewing on site for more than 500 years.