Case Study - Head of Sales, Belazu

Head of Sales

Belazu is a leading food manufacturer based in North London; specialising in premium condiments, the products are multi-award winning. The business was founded in 1991 by Adam Wells and George Bennell with a dream of bringing higher quality Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients to the UK food service market.

Belazu was acquired by The William Jackson Food Group back in 2018. The WJFG are a 6th generation family owned food group with a host of premium brands. The merger provides Belazu with even more knowledge and expertise of the UK food industry.

The business supply to supermarket chains and bulk packages to wholesalers and the food service sectors. In addition to sales in the United Kingdom, they also export to Europe and many other continents.

The Brief

Belazu required a highly motivated and experienced Head of Retail Sales to develop strategic relationships with their retail customers. The role reports into the Sales Director and would be responsible for developing the sales strategy for the retail channel across all the major retailers, growing distribution points and brand awareness.

The role deals with all matters relating to the retail channel for Belazu. This was a new role, developed within the sales structure to support the growth ambitions of doubling business in the next four years.

The brief was to find someone with a proven track record of driving growth with major retailers. Food experience was necessary as Belazu are a premium food brand with a sell on quality. The ability to speak passionately about the product would be key to success.

We were seeking someone commercially minded who knew what retailers want. Someone who can identify opportunities, has the influencing skills to win the listing and manage the teams internally to deliver.

We agreed to seek someone who was classically trained in a larger FMCG business, who had proven they could adapt to SME environment. The role involved leading projects and a commercial team.

Most importantly we needed to find someone who lived the company values; Belazu are a value driven B-Corp business who have won awards for people development. Finding someone who believed in the values of Belazu was absolutely essential

Alexander Steele Approach

The first step was a detailed discussion with the Managing Director of Belazu. The immediate challenges and opportunities of the role were shared with the Alexander Steele team. The calibre of candidate and key criteria were agreed, along with timescales and plans for the process.

We swiftly approached existing, ‘known’ individuals; sought recommendations from their extensive sector network and made targeted approaches to marketeers in appropriate peer businesses.

The shortlist consisted of candidates offering highly credible branded food manufacturing expertise harvested from time spent in both category leading businesses and entrepreneurial SME’s. The successful individual was hard working and self-motivated with a proven track record delivering strong results with a wide range of UK’s major retailers.

We fully pre-screened all candidates and had in depth conversations to identify and extract information on their major retail achievements. Under consideration was the candidates' branded products experience, processes and ways of working as well as seniority of contacts within the wider industry.

Outcome

The new Head of Sales at Belazu has been in situ since October. They have settled into the team well, were brought up to speed swiftly and are building relationships internally. Both parties are very happy with the appointment and Alexander Steele have since engaged with the business on further recruitment projects.