Sophie LeBlanc has helped to grow Sebago Brewing Co. — and has grown in the process. When she started working at the company four years ago, it was as the Southern Maine sales representative. Six months after that, the opportunity arose for Sophie to cover the entire state; she took it.
Sophie has been managing Key Accounts at Sebago for a year and has supported the training and growth of the sales crew.
What does “Key Accounts” mean?
Grocery, convenience and pharmacy chains. There are five or six chains that we work with regularly, and I’m in touch with them on a weekly basis. My job is to provide them with data and creative ideas about selling the beer, but more importantly, I create and cultivate relationships with people. The data helps, but if you have a great relationship with someone, they’re going to go out of their way to help you if they can.
What do you like best your job?
I have a small set of customers and that allows me to give them a deeper level of service. It drives a lot of volume for the company, and I like that responsibility. And it may be stereotypical to say that I like not being chained to a desk all day, but…
What do you find challenging?
There are very specific windows of time in the spring and fall when we can increase distribution of our beers at various stores. I need to be strategic about capitalizing on those times, which can be stressful, but I love the challenge.
What’s the secret to success in sales?
You’re juggling a lot of balls all the time, so you have to be extremely organized. I was given two pieces of advice when I started. The first is, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing it right. Our sales team is fairly young, so I remind them that you’re going to drop balls from time to time. The best way to recover is to communicate the problem and then help figure out a solution. Most people are pretty understanding when you own up to your mistakes.
What’s the other piece of advice?
Underpromise and overdeliver.
What do you like to do when you’re not selling Sebago beer?
I like taking pictures, baking, reading. I also love working out, though I’ve turned to spinning because of a bunch of knee injuries.
What’s your favorite place in Maine?
Sugarloaf! My parents got a condo there when I was, and we went there every single weekend in the winter. I grew up skiing and raced all throughout high school and college and became an all-American. I went to CVA (Carrabassett Valley Academy, a high school near Sugarloaf that also teaches competitive skiing and snowboarding).
Since it’s the 20th year, any favorite memories at Sebago?
When I first started, I’d sometimes sit in at the brewery at lunchtime. I got to know the brewing staff really well and realized what a kick-ass group of people they are. They always make me laugh. They’re a big reason that I thought early on that Sebago is so awesome.
Employees like Sophie are part of what makes Sebago Brewing Company a great place to work, bringing “Brewed For Times Like These” to life every day. Think that Sebago Brewing Company might be the right fit for you? Check out current openings here!