Today we’re talking with Azucena Rua, Fluidra Comercial España sales rep in charge of major accounts in Madrid. Azucena is married and has a daughter who is about to turn two. She has been with Fluidra for 19 years.
- Hello, Azucena! Can you tell us a little bit about your career within the Group?
I’ve been with the Fluidra Group for 19 years, my goodness, it seems like yesterday!
I joined the Group in 1996 as an operator-receptionist at the Getafe (Madrid) office, which was then called Equipool. Later, I joined the customer service and orders department, also working with purchasing, billing, logistics, and the technical and commercial departments. It was then that I learned how all the company’s departments worked, something that has helped me loads to develop my future positions, and to know how to manoeuvre inside the company. After a while I got an itch for sales and put in a request for a position change. I was convinced that I wanted to work in sales, and it wasn’t easy, but I finally got it! Sales was tough at first: a young woman 12 years ago in a male-dominated sector… they were tough, but it was a very positive experience and it made me develop empathy and mature a lot both personally and professionally.
And finally, five years ago, I joined Fluidra Comercial España’s Major Accounts Department, along with my direct supervisor Octavio Fernández.
- Now that you’ve been with the Group for 19 years, how would you define Fluidra?
Fluidra is a multinational leader. Currently, I know of no other Spanish company that has such a wide range of solutions for sustainable water use.
The company vision I had when I joined the group in 1996 was of a group of more family-run companies which manufactured and marketed a quality product, which in turn made customers value us for our products, service, and professionalism. In 2015, after big changes, investments, international expansion and restructuring, we still have the same values. I would even say that we have improved in many ways in addition to becoming a large multinational company operating in 44 countries.
Something that characterises Fluidra is that it is constantly changing, depending on the times and the needs of the market, so that employees have learned to be agile with change, accepting changes with flexibility and applying them with enthusiasm.
- Can you explain your typical day to us? The best part? The worst?
My typical day here is the ongoing struggle to maintain our market and grow within our industry, where we are already positioned, but also diversify into other sectors where we don’t have a presence with all our portfolio of products, and with the advantage of using all the group’s business units to edge out the competition.
My work consists of annual negotiations with purchasing centres following a protocol, capturing more market share year after year, increasing revenue and expanding the range of product families consumed by those customers. I stay in direct contact with the associates who work in these purchasing centres, providing support to my colleagues in the sales department. The best is that I love my job and fight to make sales. I’m never bored because no day is the same, there is always something that makes it different. I’ve met so many people over these 19 years, from installers and engineers to builders and managers of large companies, and I’ve always learned something positive from them.
The worst is working hard for something and then not getting it. It’s a frustrating situation after dedicating so much time, but that’s sales: after losing a battle you have to keep looking for other wars to win, so keeping up morale is part of every day.
- Have the needs of our customers changed over the years that Spain has been in this economic crisis? Has your work changed?
My work has changed, of course; negotiations with customers are much tougher and more complex. It’s complicated to grow in a market that is compressed and that places such a focus on price with the quality product we have and the excellent service we provide, but eventually you develop sales skills that allow this growth, defending our values as a company, above all.
- What is it that Fluidra Comercial España’s major customers like about us?
More than anything they like the quality of the product, our range (the ability to centralise purchasing of such a wide range of products from the same supplier makes work easier for them), the professionalism and seriousness of the staff, and our great distribution capacity.
All major customers want to work with large companies like us because it brings them prestige and peace of mind.
- Anything you want to tell the rest of your colleagues around the world?
I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of you in business meetings that I attended over the years, and it has been a real pleasure and a wonderful experience. I collaborated with some of you directly, and all of you have given me something positive. I hope to continue doing so for many years. Now that we are moving past this crisis I’d like to send out some words of encouragement, because thanks to all of our efforts we’ll achieve our professional and personal goals. HUGS!
A colour: Red
A place to get away from it all: Madeira Island
A book or movie: The Pillars of the Earth
I couldn’t live without: My daughter