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Working in sales isn’t easy. Being at the top of your game in sales? Now that’s another story. But for Ali Esfandiari, Director of Sales Operations for Philips Healthcare, the rise to the top has been an unexpected journey, buoyed on by a passion for helping others, a keen ability to listen, and the support of a company who’s helped him develop his dreams.
It wasn’t always this way. In fact, if you looked to where Esfandiari started out — Electrical Engineering – you might have imagined him working in quite a different field than he is today. But when Esfandiari graduated and was working during the day doing hospital layouts for Philips – all while pursuing his Masters in Electrical Engineering at night – one of his mentors from Philips asked him a very important question: “Are you interested in using what you’re learning in school in your career?”
The answer was a heart-stopping no.
And even though Esfandiari worried about changing course with all of the time he had invested in his Engineering degree, he knew it was time to go in a different direction. Listening to his gut and counseled by people he trusted at Philips, he took the bold and unexpected path of pursuing a Masters in Business and moving into the world of healthcare sales with Philips supportive and firmly by his side. In his words, “Philips being the size that it is — it had a lot of opportunity…the team was incredibly supportive, and they kind of took me under their wing.”
That support was something in his time at Philips that he has perpetuated ever since. According to Esfandiari, “From a day to day basis, I believe my most crucial role is learning from our sales team and supporting our sales team. It’s important that they know that someone completely cares about them, [and is] behind them all the way.” A culture of caring is a tradition of sorts at Philips, where the sales culture is geared towards operating as part of a larger whole, supportive of others and the organization at large. Salespeople who do well at Philips, according to Esfandiari, “approach their role as a Philips representative, knowing about our entire portfolio and making sure they understand their customers’ needs and ensuring that the solution [in whatever division] is something that’s going to prove valuable for their customers’ needs.”
The multidisciplinary approach is a keystone of Philips’ ability to innovate. In fact, a recent project from the healthcare and lighting divisions working together resulted in something called ambient experience — a customized lighting and animation experience which allows patients to interact with and design their medical imaging room so that it is a less fraught, more peaceful and care-driven experience. One component of the ambient experience is a video animation for younger patients getting imaged. The animation helps kids get a handle on the imaging experience and get through it with less fear. The result is the same level of medical care with a much better patient experience.
These kinds of innovations are all in a day’s work for people at Philips, because, as Esfandiari pointed out, caring is the reason that Philips exists. The mission for Philips is “to improve 3 billion lives a year by 2025, and they start that internally, [offering] opportunities for volunteering, for learning, [and] for innovation.” And by being a good listener and understanding your customers’ needs, Esfandiari says, it becomes that much easier to find success and, even more importantly, find opportunities to help others.
Clearly, success can be achieved by giving back. And with Esfandiari at the Healthcare group within Philips North America, it’s certain that Philips will continue to give back, changing lives while achieving success, for many more years to come.
To learn more and apply for a career at Philips visit: www.philips.com/na/careers.
Learn more about Philips Ambient Experience innovation.
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