Greta Mantell, 31
Senior Account Executive
Image Source, Kirkland, Wash.
How she got her start: A family friend recommended the industry and specifically the company to me. I was in a sales role at another company (Cintas) for two-and-a-half years right out of college, and was looking to make an industry and company change. The promo industry sounded exciting and creative, and it would allow me the opportunity to provide a reoccurring service and relationship to my clients, which appealed to me. My prior role was only geared toward “new” business, and didn’t allow me to continue building the relationships I had built. I started as an account executive and then was promoted to senior account executive, so I have always been in a sales role here at Image Source.
Her current role: My role at Image Source is to establish new prospective clients, as well as to maintain and grow existing business and market share within existing clients. I am the primary point of contact for the clients I develop, and manage and respond to their branded merchandise and apparel needs. The process first starts with better understanding my clients’ needs for an upcoming event or project, sourcing and quoting products that I believe will be a great fit, and then making sure the process from order to delivery is as seamless as possible. My teammate and account coordinator, Ashley Lindsey, is also an integral part of this process, as she works closely with me and my clients on a daily basis, helping to manage the back-end details with the factories, such as purchase orders, proofs, order updates and shipping to ensure customer satisfaction.
What she likes best about her job: There are several aspects of this job that I love. I love the autonomy and creativeness it allows. Each project is completely different from the last, and our executives allow each salesperson to provide their own unique and creative solutions to each request. They trust each of us to operate on a daily basis as our own independent team with our own game plan, as long as you “get it done,” which allows us to create our own schedule and sales process. I also love being able to provide a tangible product that really excites our clients and the people receiving the merchandise. Seeing the excitement some of the products bring to our clients is an amazing feeling. It’s an extremely fast-paced industry, given the nature of event-driven projects, and there is never a slow or dull day.
Age roadblocks and advantages: Thirty-one is definitely an age that can bring both challenges, as well as advantages. The challenges I’ve faced have been more so leading up to 31. Being a young salesperson can sometimes give the perception of being inexperienced and not as credible as someone who has been in the industry—or on this planet, for that matter—a little bit longer. Anyone who is in this industry knows how much there is to learn and all of the details involved with the wide array of products and services we provide and with experience and time, comes confidence and expertise, and, sometimes, the best way to learn is from some of the mistakes you make along the way. Being young and making those mistakes can be difficult emotionally when you’re trying so hard to prove yourself to your clients and team. I didn’t have any industry background before coming to Image Source as an account executive, so that was also a bit challenging as well.
The advantages with being relatively young are I feel pretty in-tune with trends and technology, and represent the demographic in which much of the working world is (and is becoming) millennials, so I feel I can truly understand what’s going to be a well-received product for both my buyers and the end recipients of the merchandise. Understanding the influence technology has on our evolving society is also helpful, and I feel that growing up with technology for [a bigger] part of my life than later generations has been an advantage as well.
Her biggest career influence: The three executives here at Image Source have all been extremely influential in my career development in their own ways throughout the years.
Brian Haner, CEO of Image Source, has been a coach for me personally, as well as professionally. No matter what time of day it is, if I have a question, he’ll take the time to sit down with me and talk out the best solution. I really admire his customer-first mentality, as I feel it really aligns with my personal beliefs and values, and helps keep me on this path. He is an extremely well-rounded individual who values a work-life balance, and he cares about each employee here at Image Source professionally and, even more importantly, personally.
Tom Goos, president of Image Source, is the king of rationalization and reasoning when presented the facts and the potential different outcomes. He is the “numbers guy,” which, unfortunately, is not my strong suit, so he’s a great person to help guide me through tough decisions that need to be made [by] weighing out all options. In addition to being the president at Image Source and having his own active book of business to manage, he was a board member for PPAI, which shows his devotion and passion for this industry, which is very energizing as well.
Jeff Holt, vice president of sales and marketing of Image Source, being my immediate boss I report to, has been extremely helpful on a daily basis, as well in helping me work through any challenges I face. He has an extremely creative outlook on presentation and solutions, and I appreciate his open-door mentality. He has had a very successful career as a sales and marketing professional, and I admire his ability to problem-solve and the ideas he brings to the table.
Her most meaningful business accomplishment: Being awarded “Sales Team of the Year” in 2015. This was a year when I worked remotely from New York City because my husband had a job opportunity he took for two-and-a-half years that caused us to relocate. Image Source is located in Seattle, so managing my existing Seattle book of business from across the country, while continuing to grow my business, was challenging, but extremely rewarding.
Her differentiating factor: As long as I continue to be a branded merchandise consultant and partner, rather than just selling swag, I feel as if I will always be a vital and relevant partner to my clients. So much of our industry requires attention to detail with extremely tight deadlines, creative solutions and continuous follow up with the factories producing the product to stay on track and meet event dates. Being a trusted and reputable point of contact for my clients and working closely with them throughout the entire order process and making the process turn-key, is, in my opinion, invaluable.
Why she believes the future is bright: With the growth of the economy and businesses comes more business competition. Brand recognition amongst consumers plays such a crucial role in helping persuade people’s buying habits. Marketing through traditional advertising (ads on television, in the paper, etc.) will also become less effective and relevant with the decrease of people watching and listening to “real-time” television or radio either by streaming, downloading, DVRing, etc. I also believe that tangible merchandise has a unique way of exciting both internal (employees) and external (the public), and makes for a much longer impression than other forms of marketing and advertising if the correct product is selected for the event. A lot of the products we provide our clients also make their way into our end users’ daily lives and may even have a significant use or purpose, which helps to build a lasting and hopefully positive impression.