Meet Vicki Reeves - new Perkins global marketing and channel development director.

Less than one month into her new role, Powernews headed to Peterborough, UK, to catch up with Vicki Reeves, the global marketing and channel development director for the Perkins brand, to learn more about her responsibilities, expectations and motivations.


 

 

Q. Vicki, many congratulations on the new role. What made you want to become the global marketing and channel development director?

A. Great question! I’m just 22 days into my new role, so I’m on a steep learning curve for sure, but the reason I wanted to take on this role is that I’m truly passionate about how we, as a business, market our products and services. Throughout my career, I’ve always loved creating a positive experience for our customers and end users. So, when the opportunity came up to lead the marketing and channel development team, I immediately jumped at the chance.

It’s such an exciting time for the industry, as well as Perkins, with new industrial engines and advanced power solutions rolling out around the world, that I couldn’t miss out on the chance to play a key role in driving our global marketing team through the opportunities ahead of us. And it’s not just engines we have to market, it’s the new connectivity solutions that will make such a difference for our customers, coupled with the service and support options offered by our distributors. I hope you can tell that I’m really driven and excited by what lays ahead.
 

Q. Can you talk us through the new role? What does it involve?

A. At a high level, I’m responsible for defining and delivering the global marketing plan. I also lead the global Perkins Distributor Excellence programme and the delivery of the marketing and rental strategies. These are key for our continued business growth, so I’ve already been spending a lot of time with my team, delving into each one of these more and understanding what we’re already doing and what the proposed next steps are. While I already know many of the team, I am and will be devoting more time to getting know each member of the team better, as everyone is key to the delivery of our objectives.
 

Q. Let’s go back in time a little. Can you tell us a little about your career to date and what motivates you?

A. Over the past 22 years I’ve had the opportunity to take up very diverse and varied opportunities, which have helped me to develop in directions I had never thought of, and it is a key reason why I’ve stayed at the company. 

So, I joined as a commercial graduate with no technical or engineering experience. During the development scheme I spent time with sales, marketing, pricing and strategy which gave me a great overview of the type of organisation and work I could explore in the future. 

I went on to spend about six years working various roles within the product marketing and strategy space getting involved with feeding back voice of the customer (VOC) into the business to drive product developments, pulling together financial business cases, working with external agencies to create marketing promotions campaigns and also working with consultants to understand how to focus a business for profitability. 

I soon had the opportunity to take VOC back into the engineering teams to drive the products of the future, after which I became a new product introduction programme manager leading all functions across the business to deliver the future of our business. It was a demanding but exciting time of my career.

My return to marketing, to lead our global product marketing team really started to change my focus in terms of my own fulfilment with my career. I still got to stay close to driving change to grow our business on some exciting new products, but I also found another passion, which was developing others and mentoring and coaching my immediate team and beyond.

Going into leadership and delivering then opened my eyes to other opportunities and I took on a role leading a technical team, before progressing to my most recent role as product support director, as a leader of leaders with four different teams all supporting our customers throughout the whole customer life cycle.
 

Q. As you’ve just explained, your most recent role has been as product support director. How do you think roles like this, and the others you have held outside of marketing, will help you with the new role?

I feel having relevant experience outside of marketing is key for this role. Working so closely with our customers and distributors as I have done in many roles, is vitally important, as is an understanding of our wider business make up from time spent in sales, pricing, strategy and product. Drawing on this rich experience from across the business, coupled with the learning from the positions I’ve held within marketing, does I feel, give me a good blend of knowledge and insight, and the ability to ask the right questions, to not only do my job effectively, but move the team forward to deliver on our commitments. 
 

Q. Over the past year, the business has made changes to the Perkins brand. What do you think of the changes so far and what more can we expect?   

A. It was definitely the right time to work on refreshing the Perkins brand. Over the past decade, the world has changed dramatically, including the challenges and needs of our customers, and as we see from other industries, brands only remain relevant by routinely recalibrating what they do and say to align with the shifting needs of customers.

We’re reinvigorating the brand by building on our past success to transform from just a manufacturer of diesel engines for equipment manufacturers to a future-forward problem solver serving an array of customers seeking a wide range of advanced power solutions. Our unique position allows us to consult with our customers and deliver solutions they value, while also addressing their sustainable commitments.

Our new tagline: ‘Together we Power Ahead’ captures the continued importance of collaboration with our customers, across thousands of different applications as we explore new ideas that will shape the future.

It’s been great to see this work taking shape and being rolled out, and I’m excited to now be leading the brand in this new direction.
 

Q. What motivates you as a leader to keep driving you and your team forward?

A. There are three things that I enjoy and am motivated by, which have also kept me with the business. Firstly, even though I am not an engineer I love to be close to things the company creates and brings to the industry – learning more about the products we develop and the processes we go through. Secondly, seeing that product being used and working close to our customer so you don’t feel detached from why we are doing this - it makes the role more fulfilling. Finally, the people. I would not have been here for 22 years if it wasn’t for the people who work here. There are always busy times and stressful times, but people always seem to pull together to achieve - doing that as a team brings a greater sense of satisfaction than doing it alone.
 

Q. It’s great to hear that people are one of your motivations. Is there anyone who has been influential to your career and leadership role and why?

A. Lots of people! Without the support of a lot of influencers during my early career to show me the possibilities I would not have explored the various roles I have been in. To this day I still reach out to a core few, who I use as a sounding board about day-to-day things and careers.
 

Q. You came in on the graduate programme and are now a senior director in the organisation. Do you have any words of advice for the current graduate intake or indeed anyone looking to take on a leadership role? 

A. Firstly enjoy your time here. It’s a great place to work with many opportunities, so get involved in everything you can and be open to changing your career plan as you go along, as it may be the best decision you’ve ever made. 

In terms of the leadership, I’ve said it already, but I’m passionate about developing, mentoring and coaching people. Engaging and working with people is a key motivator for me. It also helps if you’re a good listener too. If that sounds like you, then again, seize every opportunity open to you, from leading a project team to getting involved in the many employee activities we offer, and find the right mentor for you – not necessarily the same work, to work with you at different stages of your career. The opportunities are there, and it’s up to each of us to make the most of them. 
 

Q. What else can we expect from you Vicki, in your first 100 days?

A. As I mentioned, I’m going to be spending a lot of time with my team, getting to know each of them and familiarising myself with everything that is going on within this very busy global marketing and channel development team. I’m based out of the UK, where the majority of my team is located, but I will also be spending time in the U.S., at our facilities and at trade shows such as the American Rental Association (ARA) exhibition.

Marketing aside, I am also responsible for our channel development, so I’ll be taking up every opportunity I can to meet with members of our Perkins distributor network. Thankfully I have met and already have established relationships with a good number of our distributors through my previous roles, but the network is a priority for me, as they are Perkins in their territories and play a vital role in delivering our continued growth.    
 

Q. Many thanks for your time, Vicki. Before letting you go off to another meeting, do you have one final message for Powernews readers?

A. Perkins is going to keep communicating and I’m going to keep communicating on what we’re doing to find better ways to serve customers who trust and rely on Perkins to help solve their ever-evolving challenges. So, stay tuned!

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