April 27, 2021 • Interviews5 min read

Meet the team: David Burgess-Bellay | City Pantry

Next up in our Meet the Team series we're chatting to David Burgess-Bellay, our Senior Sales Manager, who joined City Pantry remotely during lockdown.

Our Meet the Team series celebrates the people who make City Pantry what it is and lets you get to know them a little bit better. Today, we're chatting to David Burgess-Bellay!

David, better known as DBB, joined City Pantry during lockdown, so he has a very unique experience to share, including plenty of work-from-home tips! So, join us as he explains what it's been like starting at a new company completely remotely, how he helps to make customers' working lives better, and what life is like as a Senior Sales Manager.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get to where you are today?

I live in London with my wife and two children and have been lucky enough to also work in Toronto, Sydney and four ‘magical’ years in Paris working at Disneyland. After an incredible year of backpacking around the world, I came back to my roots in the UK. Since then, I have spent the last ten years largely working in the travel and transport sector, working my way from account manager to leading global sales and partnerships teams. I have grown a fondness for complex B2B direct sales and partnerships, and am constantly learning from some great colleagues and clients along the way.

Covid brought an end to my tenure in my beloved travel industry but I was fortunate enough to find City Pantry within a few months. City Pantry had long been a company I had admired and wanted to work for as not only does it specialise in another of my passions, food, but also has an incredibly intentional focus on its culture and how it supports its people through a grown-up approach to flexible working, a focus on mental health & wellbeing and actually living by its values.

What does being a Sales Manager involve?

I am providing solutions to help solve a business pain for some of the largest companies in the world.

I know that might sound dramatic but that is what sales is about - true belief in the product and the solution and that I can help every customer I speak with. Every company has its problems and as a sales manager it is my job to make sure I am uncovering those problems at the right time, with the right person and delivering the right solution to solve that problem.

As a sales manager, backed by the support of an amazing team, it is my job to develop a constant pipeline of opportunities that will take an initial conversation to a signed contract and a happy customer, and repeating that time and time again.

This is no easy task during a pandemic and with lots of competition in the marketplace. But fortunately I get to speak to customers with a really simple and powerful message. We can make the lives of their employees better through the power of food and now more than ever, having an amazing tech-powered, delivered-in food solution that is easy to use and focused on providing choice, quality and safety, then I already have half my job done for me.

You joined City Pantry during lockdown. How did you find the process of starting a new job completely remotely and what are your work-from-home tips?

Wow I know! Like so many people who lost their job during the pandemic and started a new one virtually, it has been very strange interviewing and starting a new job for a different company having never met anyone apart from via a computer screen!

I think the experience can vary depending on how well your business is at onboarding new starters - but fortunately for me City Pantry had already onboarded a few during the pandemic so were pretty expert at it by the time I came along. They have a really solid and clear onboarding process. Also our amazing culture has meant everyone was incredibly warm, welcoming and supportive even if it had to be via a video call - so I felt very at home straight away.

There are of course challenges, especially when schools closed for a few months and you are back to balancing working and parenting (let’s hope we never have to do that again!) My biggest tip from that time when the schools were closed was making sure I split my time so I was a Sales Manager from 7am to 2pm and then at 2pm, my wife started her working day and I would take over the child care duties and be a Dad for the rest of the day. We worked out from the first lockdown that you simply cannot work effectively and parent well when you try and do the two simultaneously. This is not possible for everyone but again having a very flexible company like City Pantry that measures success by your outputs rather than when you work, meant I could work those flexible days and it was hugely helpful.

My other tip is to make sure you get out once a day at least, be it a run or a walk but just allow time to breathe in the fresh air and allow you to keep those everyday stresses in perspective.

What’s your favourite part of working at City Pantry?

I love how progressive City Pantry is and how very conscious and intentional we are about it. Such as ensuring everyone understands why gender pronouns matter and why pronouncing someone’s name right is important, to having an active racial justice and equality group that helps educate us all, enable a forum to debate issues and arrange speaker events. The City Pantry team is also hugely passionate about the positive impact we have on the planet and the communities we work with.

I have always been a huge believer in if you look after your people, they will look after you and your customers, and that is so true at City Pantry. Everyone has the autonomy to work with the flexibility they need to deliver the results that are set out in their personal objectives company’s Wildly Important Goals. This means that we have an unlimited holiday policy, you can take mental health days, you can prioritise your life around your work and we get lots of free food. And that’s fine because that is what grown-up companies do. I think it shows the way for other businesses on how they can manage their own teams to deliver the best productivity. We have a mission as a business to make working lives better through the power of food and so it is vital we practice as we preach and make the working life for us Pantlers, as we like to call ourselves, the best possible!

City Pantry is also part of the Just Eat Takeaway.com Group which is hugely exciting and means that as the largest food delivery company on the planet, we can transform working lives across the globe. We are just starting that journey, which really drives me on and offers lots of exciting times ahead!

What advice would you give to someone who’d like to get into a similar role?

Sales is an amazing profession that sadly often gets a bad rep due to the stereotype of that loud, pushy salesman or films that depict the aggressive sales world like Glengarry Glen Ross (amazing film though nevertheless!)

I got into Sales as someone who graduated from university in psychology but didn’t fancy the time it was going to take to become a clinical psychologist. I came to realise that as sales is all about understanding human behaviours and relationships and being a problem solver - I could be a psychologist after all!!

It is a brilliant career for someone who likes the idea of working flexibly, travelling a lot, getting rewarded for hard work and for those who love dealing with people all day long - be it your internal stakeholders as well as your clients and prospects. It is hard work with long hours and can be a lonely job too. You need bucket loads of resilience, tenacity, self-belief, self-motivation and above all a positive mindset. But if you are willing to be bold, back yourself and understand that you don’t need to pound the table to sell but you just have to listen more and know your customer inside out then you are on the path to being a successful salesperson.

Who’s your favourite City Pantry vendor partner to order from?

I am relatively new to City Pantry so have only scratched the surface on the 600+ vendors that we have on our platform. I am very excited to try some of the incredible options for lunch when we are back in the office. I have my eye on Patty & Bun, Ahi Poke and anything by Country City Catering. However, my favourite I have discovered is the folks at “Lovely Buns” who have only been around since 2019 but make probably the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. Their Cinnamon and Pecan Bun is absolutely phenomenal and I would happily have a slice everyday with my cup of tea. All their products are vegan too which is awesome.


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