Has your grandmother had a significant influence on your career and work life? She certainly has for Majbritt Svane, Area Manager at PALOMAT®. In fact, she can thank her grandmother for being where she is today.
On a cold winter day in 1998, Majbritt’s grandmother told her about a job advertisement from BILA and said; “They’re looking for someone like you, Majbritt.” Majbritt applied for the position but didn’t hear anything for a long time. One day, while she was dozing off in her armchair, the phone suddenly rang. It was Jan Bisgaard, BILA’s director. He wanted to talk to her about the job as a Sales- and Marketing Assistant for PALOMAT®. Majbritt was unsure, but after some consideration, she decided to go for it – and she hasn’t looked back since.
It quickly became clear that it was an exciting job with plenty of opportunities.
"When I started 25 years ago, we had 28-30 employees, and in PALOMAT, it was just me and a technician who spent only 10% of his time on PALOMAT®. Being part of the development that BILA has undergone in the last 25 years has been incredibly exciting," Majbritt explains.
So, without even knowing it, her grandmother had found the perfect spot for Majbritt.
"I probably never really knew what I wanted. I didn't have a clear career dream. It just happened along the way. If you had asked me as a recent graduate, if I would work in export and dealer sales, I would have said no—but today, I can't imagine working with anything else. I have never been bored in this job, and I can't recall a single day when I haven't looked forward to coming to the office."
Looking at PALOMAT® today, the business is a resounding success. Year after year, ambitious goals are set – and year after year, they are achieved.
However, it hasn't always been this way. In the early 2010s, there were headwinds, and for a brief period, the board considered whether it was best to simply close the department.
Fortunately, they didn't. On the contrary, they went all in – this time, it was make or break.
"2012 is a year I particularly remember. It was the year we truly invested in the business. We launched PALOMAT® Greenline, bolstered our sales efforts, and boosted our marketing. It was also in 2012 that we started holding dealer meetings and attending trade shows. 2012 was a pivotal year. Many might have chosen to close down and pursue something else – but we had a fundamental belief that our product would benefit manufacturing companies. So instead, we went all in."
And it paid off.
Today, PALOMAT's pallet magazines are sold worldwide, and each year, both the team, the goals, and the revenue grow.
If you ask Majbritt why PALOMAT® has achieved the success it has today, she attributes it mainly to the extensive global network of dealers.
"I have no doubt that a significant part of our success is due to our skilled and dedicated dealers. They have truly helped us gain a foothold on the international stage by introducing our product in their markets and contributing to the branding of PALOMAT®," says Majbritt.
Achieving success with dealer sales can be challenging, but according to Majbritt, their success is due to a perhaps slightly atypical approach—or at least an approach that was ahead of its time.
"We have always had high expectations and demanded a lot from our dealers. We see them as an extension of ourselves—a colleague we unfortunately don't see daily at the office but who is just as much a part of the team as we are. Some may think we are too pushy, and that's okay. It just means we're not the right match. On the other hand, our dealers can also expect a lot from us. We provide sales support, marketing resources, joint events, and technical support."
In addition to the dealers, the success is also attributed to the PALOMAT® team: sales, support, and marketing, who operate daily in Mors.
"Work should be enjoyable, and I must say, it is for us. It's wonderful to see how we help and motivate each other every single day. Our product, viewed in isolation, is not unique, but our setup certainly is. We can sell to the entire world, even though we all work together in a small building in Mors. And that helps us in our daily work. This way, we can support and motivate each other to achieve results together with the dealers."
In the past 25 years, it's not just PALOMAT® that has evolved, but Majbritt as well.
"We have gone from being a team of 2 employees to a team of 25. It has certainly demanded my skills as a leader. I have learned, among other things, to have difficult conversations, even though it's never enjoyable. And I have placed great emphasis on how I can educate the salespeople to motivate our dealers."
Fortunately, she has had good mentors, and Majbritt is not too proud to ask for help if she couldn't solve a task herself.
"I may have a tendency to get involved in things I find exciting and take on tasks that I may not necessarily be equipped for. On the other hand, I'm not shy about asking for help. Luckily, I have a fantastic team that supports and backs me up on all my crazy ideas."
And what about the future?
The answer came promptly when she was asked that question:
"I'm not done," she smiles, and with a twinkle in her eye, she adds, "Jan [Bisgaard, Director of BILA] usually teases me that I'm a permanent part of the inventory list. He needs to be careful because people tend to throw that out. I hope, of course, that doesn't happen to me. I love my job and I'm not done selling PALOMATs. We've only just begun."