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Meet Britt Timmermans, Partner Manager at AFA

  • AFA Dispensing
Europe, Benelux, The Netherlands, Beauty, Personal Care, Personal Care, Home Care, Pet/Animal Care

They say, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' For us, partnership is the heartbeat of our work. One individual who understands this concept particularly well is Britt Timmermans, Partner Manager at AFA Dispensing. Since joining in October last year, Britt has been instrumental in nurturing strong partnerships, providing the support and insight needed to ensure mutual growth.

Building Relationships with Colleagues, Not Clients

‘What first drew me to the role of Partner Manager? For me, work is always about the people. While sales have been a consistent thread throughout my professional life, and I still work in the sales department, I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘salesperson’. Instead, I love building and maintaining relationships, giving partners what they need to reach their customers. This means sharing whatever we can, being open, and working together on strategies – it’s more like working with a colleague than with a customer or a client.

‘These are partners: we’re not just there to fulfill an order; rather, we’re there to develop a relationship and support their growth, working hand-in-hand to help them survive and thrive. When a partner starts selling Flairosol, we’re there with them, making sure they have the training, the visuals, the material, and the website content to get everything up and running. It’s about listening to them and providing them with what they need to reach their consumers best.

‘Working together has real benefits for AFA: we know that if you want to succeed locally, you need loyal and active partners. Our partners are specialists with in-depth market knowledge and the flexibility to serve local businesses that would be complex for us to work with alone. It’s like they’re our eyes and ears for market feedback. Every region has its own rules, customs, and languages, so having local experience and know-how is truly valuable. Our partners are an extension of our company, helping us to serve customers locally and globally.’

Taking partnerships to the next level

‘As Partner Manager, I want to take our partnerships to the next level. My day-to-day work is diverse – to be honest, it’s very different from what many people here at AFA do. One of my main priorities has been creating a clear structure. We want all of our partners to have exactly what they need to take the next step forward: this means having a clear overview of every aspect of our joint business, with biweekly calls to manage projects, discuss steps, see where extra support may be needed, and follow up.

‘A big part of my role is supporting our partners with the right tools for the job, from employee training sessions for in-depth product knowledge, to providing up-to-date files, documentation, or sales material. When we first connect, we don’t always know what materials a partner has, so I need to find out what they need or what they’re missing. Think of a salesperson going to a big conference: they need the right information for each application to connect with their prospects. Now, we've expanded our sales deck for partners. Plus, we can link partners and share resources within our networks. After providing the necessary training and tools, the next steps may involve shared activities, joint advertising campaigns, or co-marketing, like local events and campaigns where we can support each other.’

‘We also visit our partners. I think it’s important to get to know people you’re going into business with, and meeting in person is so important for this: you can get to know who people are, where they are, and where they work. Face-to-face meetings let you connect so much more than online calls. While we visit, we can discuss market shifts, share our expectations for each other, and get things up and running. It also gives me a much clearer idea of their local expertise. And it’s always interesting to check out warehouses and plants – you get to see a different side of a country or region than you do when you go there on holiday.’

Working with a range of partners

‘We have a range of partners: some of them have been here for a long time, even since before I was born! Many of our partners are family companies – this means their company is something personal to them, something they feel. It can often mean they have real business expertise, especially if they work in a niche field. Whatever they do, we can be there to move forward together.’

Working in a dynamic, flexible environment

‘Even though it’s just been a few months, it feels like I have been working here for years: after I got to know them, my colleagues told me it was surprising how I got involved so early on, jumping into everything so quickly. It was quite funny how fast it all happened, but the culture is so open here, it’s easy to connect with the work and the people. It’s a diverse and dynamic environment, with new ideas popping up and being explored everywhere. And the team is fantastic: there are so many different types of people, there’s always someone to connect with, someone to learn from.

‘At AFA, there’s no, “Today you have to do this and this”. Instead, we can shape our own roles, which gives me a sense of both responsibility and flexibility. Then, working together, we can have brainstorms and back-and-forths, bringing our experiences to see how we can define and execute our goals.’

Life doesn’t stop, it just changes

‘What do I do in my free time? I have a daughter and a dog, as you may have seen in an earlier AFA post, so being with them takes up a lot of my time. Now that I'm a parent, there's so much to do: birthdays, school, weekend activities. I love spending time with my partner and friends – we might go to dinner or check out festivals, including anything from techno to R&B and hip-hop. It doesn’t sound spectacular, but it’s special – while priorities may change in life, life doesn’t stop; it just changes. It’s really nice!’

See also

  • Interview
  • English
  • Modified 10 Jun 2024
  • Hits 383