Q&A with our new Key Accounts Manager: Kay Gilbert

The only constant is change, so said Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which is true of the ever-growing team here at Cloud Direct. This month we’re excited to welcome Kay Gilbert into the fold. With glowing experience in the retail & hospitality industries in sales & marketing, doubling year-on-year Christmas sales in her previous role, Kay will mostly be managing our key accounts in these markets.

What attracted you to Cloud Direct?

Kay: Having sold new technology into retail and hospitality companies for many years, I’d become very focussed on lead generating and wanted to get back into account management. So, I spent the last 2 years learning a lot about the hard face of retail as National Account Manager at greeting cards company, Ling Design. But I missed the tech industry and was ready for a new challenge.

I knew Brett (Cloud Direct CEO) through mutual friends and started to learn more about what he was doing at Cloud Direct. I was immediately impressed by the energy and ethos at Cloud Direct and I could see Brett was running the company in such a cool way.

You have a wealth of experience in the retail industry, where did it all start?

Kay: Well, I started my retail career folding jumpers in Primark as a Saturday girl, back when it was terminally un-cool. But post university I worked in retail digital shelf space management during the very early days. Back then, using digital images of products for planograms for the first time was transforming trade marketing and the way in which suppliers could partner with retailers.

The company had been acquired by Nielsen and grew fast; I travelled a lot as Marketing Co-ordinator for 18 international offices and gained an understanding of international retail.

Why did you move from marketing to sales?

Kay: After working in marketing for years and being told disparagingly by a colleague “What do you know about sales?”. I realised I didn’t know much, which made me hungry to develop my career more into sales.

I was tempted away by an exciting opportunity in a new fast-growing tech company as a sales person. I worked mostly from the office because the technology they had was so innovative that new prospects would happily travel to see us. It was a revolutionary type of lossy image compression based on fractal mathematics. In the days when you could only fit one image on a floppy disc, this tech allowed you to fit a hundred and it was used to compress the images on Microsoft Encarta.

What prompted you to set up your own consultancy?

Kay: I took a career break to have children and consultancy work could fit around looking after my three kids.

I set up Kick-start Sales to help tech companies grow their customer base through targeted telesales and networking. I worked with a range of clients such as a local company using big data analysis for growing e-commerce; a US based research company delivering actionable insights on consumer behaviour to the retail industry, and an e-learning company specialising in the retail & hospitality industries.

Enough about business. How do you spend your time outside of work?

Kay: I love tennis and play as much as I can. Sport is a passion that my children have picked up, all of whom played county sports and my son has gone on to earn a scholarship as a college athlete tennis player in North Carolina.

When I’m not playing I’m watching tennis. I was there when Andy won Wimbledon both times, when he became world No. 1 at the O2 and when GB won the Davis Cup in Ghent.

What will you be doing at Cloud Direct?

Kay: In my role as Key Account Manager, I’ll be mostly looking after our hospitality and retail clients, which is a change in strategy for the business. Cloud Direct is making an investment in the relationship with their existing customers and they saw a real mutual benefit in having an account manager with the expertise in their vertical industries.

Right now, I’m really enjoying upskilling in all things to do with Microsoft Cloud technology. I’m excited to meet the most ambitious IT Directors and teams at forward-thinking hospitality and retail companies looking to get ahead by doing something different and disruptive with this new tech. I’ll be based in the Bath office but I’m happy being out and about. I want to be on the road travelling, meeting new clients as much as possible; gaining a deeper understanding of what they are trying to achieve, so that I can help them to maximise the return on their investment and profit from the expertise within our team here.