Position: Commercial Director - Africa
Location: Remote (you can be based anywhere on the continent)
At Pula, we are radically restructuring agricultural insurance, using technology to insure the previously unbanked, uninsured, untapped market of 1.5 billion smallholders worldwide.
We work in over 17 countries across Africa and Asia, and by 2021, we have facilitated crop insurance cover to over 5.3 million farmers across Kenya, India, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Zambia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Malawi. Since raising our Series A our operations have expanded globally including now Asia and Latin America.
Pula is a fast-paced space, constantly adapting to new opportunities and challenges and we are made up of a high-performance, multi-cultural team. We expect our team to value performance, results and professionalism.
At Pula, we:
- Obsessed with results: We are responsible for our future and therefore we get things done!
- Connect the Dots: We continuously identify different customer needs & business problems and build solutions that deliver value.
- Have a Can do Attitude! We dare to do things differently to make things work.
- We have each others’ back: We look out for each other & we share high quality, timely feedback that makes us better.
What you will be doing:
The Commercial Director at Pula is far from the typical sales leader. You must be passionate about having meaning in your work. Willing to go the extra mile to evangelize the importance of agriculture insurance in transforming the lives of millions of smallholder farmers across multiple stakeholders from the political elites, to the Government systems, development agencies all the way down to the farmer. For you to be successful at the role, one must consider it their mission - “how you will be remembered”. Whilst at it, you will be rewarded very well as we believe in “doing good and doing well”. Whilst impacting hundreds of millions of farmers, our mantra is that those who are successful in the mission must be dollar millionaires in the end. At Pula, good deeds are rewarded.
Everyday, you role will involve;
Expanding your networks, influence and Pula’s positioning in the region
- Constantly building deeply entrenched relationships that will enable one to understand client needs, gather market intelligence and build a credible pipeline of opportunities. To succeed in the role, one must incredible enjoy building new relationships and leveraging on relationships to achieve your goals.
- Effectively communicate value propositions through presentations and proposals
- Act as the Pula spokesperson in the region.
- Using knowledge of the market and competitors in the regions, identify and develop the company’s unique selling propositions and differentiators.
- Defining Commercial OKRs in your region and ownership of the results.
- Research, prepare and execute a sales plan focused on delivering new and recurring revenues through partnerships with agro-input companies and the public sector.
- Develop pipeline and continuously mature & qualify opportunities in order to increase Pula’’s market share and to enable achievement of sales target.
- Generating and qualifying new leads and using different approaches to penetrate prospective clients in your region. You are expected to qualify opportunities, know which deals to work on, and which ones to pass on.
- Progress prospects through a defined sales process to eventual contracting and implementation.
Customer Relationship Management
- Manage and nurture existing client relationships across a wide range of stakeholders including commodity associations, farmers’ aggregators, insurers, government and private companies.
- Manage the handover of new customers to the operations team for the implementation of the solution.
- Build and / or manage a high performing sales team to execute end to end sales including outreach, pitching, getting alignment, negotiation, closing deals and implementation.
- Analyze data and use it to make key strategic decisions for the business.
What you need to have to be successful:
- You have experience in strong demonstrable sales to development agencies, governments and / or financial institutions.
- You have demonstrable success working against a sales quota target.
- You have experience working with Development Agencies and / or Government officials at all levels and navigating government structures.
- Critical Thinking Skills. You must have the ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions
- Behavioural Skills. You must be self-directed, work well alone or in a team structure, highly results oriented, and willing to learn and expand his/her technical and product knowledge base through formal education, professional training, and self-study.
- You have knowledge and understanding of dealing with C-suite executives with excellent communication and presentation skills, integrity and impeccable professionalism.
- Sales and or consulting experience in the area of agriculture: seed / fertilizer / agrochemical industry or related is a significant advantage.
- Experience and knowledge in the insurance industry will place you at an advantage.
- You have the ability to use data and KPIs to make management decisions.
- You are fully comfortable with sales CRM platforms, Google Drive applications such as Google Sheets, Google Docs etc.
The right profile fit for the role is as follows:
(the weights show relative importance)
Relationships : 25%
Can build relationships with stakeholders rapidly and can expand into new networks quickly. Having deep rooted existing networks and relationships is a plus. Passionate about building and maintaining relationships.
Can navigate deal complexity and will not give up until the deal is signed. Tenacious. A self starter. Recovers quickly from tough situations. Anticipates and plans for complexity.
Hungry to close deals, has a point to prove and looks to prove that point at Pula.
Builds their profile and therefore reputation around Pula and the Pula products. They do not want to fail therefore will do what it takes for Pula to succeed.
Adaptable: Is eager to learn and grow in their skills and ability. Is resourceful to close any skills and knowledge gap. Openly receives and shares feedback.
A consummate learner.
Charming. Has a confident, comfortable presence. Can sit across from a PS, Minister and hold his own and pitch without assistance.
Street Smart: 10%
Can understand and map the stakeholders, identify and test champions, structure the deal, problem solve and find another way when the deal gets stuck.
Can confidently convert information internally and externally adjusting quickly between written and verbal communication as situations call for it. Follows through on action points from conversations and can succinctly summarize the progress required to progress a sale.
What Pula will bring to the table:
- Growth potential: With an untapped market of 1.5 billion smallholders worldwide, on track to doubling the number of farmers insured in 2021 and Pula’s global leadership in Agriculture Insurance, the Commercial Director has a tremendous upside growth potential.
- Market Leader: Not only is the opportunity massive, but Pula is by far the market leader in it’s category with 5.3m farmers insured as at the end of 2021.
- Solid: Pula has been funded by leading venture capital investors (Omidyar Network, ACCION, MercyCorps) and global philanthropic institutions (MasterCard Foundation, CGAP/World Bank as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Pula closed a $6m series A funding in December 2020 in the right in middle of the pandemic a clear testimony of the opportunity that Pula is going after.
- Respected: Winner of the Singapore FinTech Festival 2019, Winner of The InsureTech of the Award, Africa. Featured on TED talks, The New York Times, The Economist.
- Impact and creation: This is a high-impact role, reporting to the CEO and Co-Founder, that offers a unique opportunity to bring the company to the next level, whilst developing new strategies, approaches and ideas.
- Leadership: The founders & CEO foster a culture of transparency, respect, high performance, pragmatism, execution and personal development.
- Purpose: It is rare to find a professional opportunity that offers accelerated professional development and a life purpose. Pula is going through a second phase of accelerated growth that will naturally provide professional development, whilst contributing to the financial stability of small farmers in the emerging markets.
- Remuneration: Competitive base salary accordingly with seniority and experience, commission on closed sales and an employee share option plan that offers an attractive equity upside.
To learn more about Pula:
- TED Talk: Crop Insurance, an Idea Worth Seeding
- New York Times: He Grew up on a Farm. Now, He Helps Protect Them
- The Economist: The Poor, Who Most Need Insurance, Are Least Likely to Have It