Chris Hickman, 39
Vice President of Direct Sales
Regency360, Raleigh N.C.
How he got his start: Regency360 was my second job out of college. At the time, my primary goal was to find a career in sales and less about what I would actually be selling. In my 11 years with Regency, I have progressed through the different sales roles with the organization: sales, account management to sales management. I attribute my success to the experience of these different roles that prepared me for where I am today.
His current role: As vice president of sales, my primary role is to lead our sales force and ensure that we continue to grow and develop. We have an incredible sales and support staff here, and I love working for them to continue to improve our sales processes and make their jobs easier and more effective.
What he likes best about his job: The people, for sure. The Regency360 family is our “secret sauce.” Over the years, there have been countless people who provided me with unprecedented mentorship and support throughout my career, and I love to pass the same level of support to the newer generation of our sales team.
Age roadblocks and advantages: When it comes to helping companies manage their branded materials, I think that most marketing directors and managers are definitely more inclined to work with people who have experience, which is often associated with age. One thing that has made Regency360 so successful is that we have people within our organization who bring that level of experience to the table. We strongly leverage team selling and have found tremendous success in utilizing the great resources we have.
His biggest career influence: If I had to choose only one, I’d have to say our president, Eric Beguelin. Eric has been the driving force of Regency360 since day one. In working closely with Eric over the past 10 years, I witnessed and learned first-hand the relentless hours and sweat that it’s taken for us to be successful. He has put us in a position to be successful for years to come.
His most meaningful business accomplishment: I’ve sold some big deals in my time, but my most meaningful accomplishment is helping our younger sales reps find success. In our industry, success doesn’t happen overnight and there are always challenges lurking. I’ve had the pleasure to witness others find success and learn the industry, and that’s a feeling that gets me out of bed in the morning the most.
His differentiating factor: Regency360 has always embraced technology, so I feel that we have always been a step or two ahead of the game. When we build a custom online store for our clients, we are enabling them to leverage an entire network of suppliers that fit their needs and streamline their internal processes for purchasing and distributing their branded material. With that said, we also acknowledge that the human element is still a key ingredient to our customers. By combining these two ingredients, I believe we will always be successful as we evolve.
Why he believes the future is bright: As our industry continues to evolve, I believe our ability to embrace and leverage technology will be the key to continued success. In addition, the ability to leverage suppliers and products that are relevant and easy to purchase in smaller, more strategic quantities is also key to our success.