President’s Club @ MiQ: Kate Thomas
“Always remember that this industry is small, so treat everyone the way you'd want to be treated” - Kate Thomas, Head of Client Partnerships, Western Region
President’s Club is the pioneer employee recognition program for sales superstars in the MiQ Canadian market. We are excited to recognize and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond to achieve great results.
You started as the senior sales manager at MiQ, and you have grown to become the head of client partnerships. Why did you choose a career in sales and why sales at MiQ?
Well, I haven’t always been in sales. Not to go too far back, but I started my career in media on the client side with brands like Live Nation and Best Buy, before moving to an independent agency where I worked with a lot of vendor partners. After this experience, I just knew the next iteration would be sales because I am a very competitive person — I like to win. It is always great to see things come to fruition when I put my mind to it. You know, you build a new partnership from the ground up and you finally get that paperwork signed off. That feels great. That’s a win.
But I didn’t want to sell just anything. This industry has a lot of smoke and mirrors and I wanted to work with a good brand with amazing services, and because of my experience with programmatic partners, I knew MiQ was legit. There were just so many things we were already doing at the agency with MiQ and I remember thinking to myself, I think I could get behind this brand and sell it. Add in the amazing people I met throughout the interview process and when I got the call, it was a no-brainer to jump on board.
You are being recognized for your amazing sales achievements in 2022, what key moments were defining points of success for you last year?
We had a huge year in Western Canada. I’ve been with the company since 2019, and we’ve never seen growth like this. We’re up 75% year-over-year.
I think a big part of that was we approached last year strategically. We had big numbers in previous years and we knew that if we kept doing the same thing, we’d see growth, but we wouldn’t necessarily see exponential growth. Naturally, partners will continue to grow, but we needed more than that to hit numbers. So one of the things I did last year was I decided to point myself at what we would call dormant accounts and bring MiQ back into the spotlight.
There were two major agencies in that market with solid client lists. I essentially went in cold with the plan to develop relationships with each team. It meant going to market once a quarter, wining and dining and getting to know the teams, jumping on lots of calls to work with planning teams and get ahead of planning cycles. It was really just lots of legwork before we even got any real media spend. We wanted to show the agencies that at MiQ we value partnerships, and not just transactional dollars. It has been really cool to see that come to fruition. We’ve become really strong partners with both of those agencies, and 2023 is poised to be an even bigger year than 2022.
As the newest President’s Club member, what would you say is your best strategy for a successful sale?
Hmm… I don’t think there’s a single right answer for this, I think every client is different and every sale is different. This might sound crazy but the strategy for me, is being a real person. Clients know when you’re not being genuine or honest and when things are purely transactional, this will always negatively impact sales.
Have conversations to know the actual business challenges, the campaign KPIs, and who your clients are accountable to. It’s by finding solutions to their challenges and asking the right questions. Sometimes, it could be a short slide deck to make our contact’s internal approval process straightforward. The bottom line should always be how can I make my client’s life easier. This will move you from a salesperson to a friend, and eventually a partner.
Let’s shake things up – can you tell us how would you describe your perfect day?
Okay, my perfect day would start at home with the fam – my husband and two kids. We would have breakfast together in a non-rushed mode and then we’d all jump in the car to drop the kiddos off at their school or daycare. Then Alex and I will head to the hill and snowboard for the day. Ideally it’s a bluebird day with 10+ cm of fresh powder – this is the perfect day, right? Après on a patio, cold beer and nachos. Then back down the hill to pick up the kids and cook dinner at home. Dinner is dry aged steaks, homemade caesar salad, roasted potatoes and veg, accompanied by a Chinon Cabernet Franc. Sounds pretty perfect to me.
What is the best professional advice you have received and how does it guide your work?
That’s a really good question. The best professional advice, honestly, is probably that this industry is really small, so treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated. Again, circling back to being a real person. You’re always going to come back around and meet the same people. So yeah, treat everyone exactly how you want to be treated because reputations truly precede.
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