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From the inside

Q4: Special tips and tricks to prepare your team

Posted by Lorena-Sophie Blickhäuser |

Can you keep focusing on your wellbeing when times get as busy as Q4? In this inspiring piece, Lorena-Sophie gives us a few pointers to ensure your team is ready for busy and challenging times.

In a nutshell, could you tell us about your background and current responsibilities at Criteo?  

I've been working with Criteo for almost seven years now. I started as an account strategist and moved to my first people manager role in 2018. I have transitioned to different teams since then. One common characteristic of all the teams I worked with is their multiculturalism. I now work as Senior Manager for the EMEA Growth Campaign Management team. The team was put together quite recently, and we work together with a variety of different stakeholders, both internal (Operations team, Account Strategists, etc.) and external (customers). 

So, is yours a client-facing role?  

Yes, we work with both existing and new businesses. My team collaborates very closely with our account strategists. Broadly speaking, our account strategists work from the beginning on building long-term partnerships with clients, growing the accounts, and nurturing the relationship. While our Account Strategists focus on the long-term strategy, we assure that the day-to-day is running smoothly, managing operational, analytical, technical tasks 

Q4 is the yearly turning point for Criteo, right? Could you tell us a bit more? 

Q4 is the busiest time of the year for most of our clients, and therefore for us. It is also my favorite! It is super stimulating! As we're client-centric, the goal here is to make our clients happy, as when they win, we do too. We know it is a stressful time for our clients as they also have their yearly sales and revenue targets to hit. We could say we're all in the same boat, and it all culminates on Black Friday. Many of our clients' businesses depend on this peak period and as privileged partners, we need to be prepared. 

So, how do you prepare? 

The key to handling Q4 in a healthy way for everyone is, first, planning ahead. What makes this time of year so challenging for us is that our clients reach this peak of activity all at the same time. They'll all need a strong plan, thorough execution, and people who can fix bugs or deal with emergencies on time. A lot is happening at once, and we must keep delivering proper strategies and adequate support to everyone. So, after planning, the secret is prioritization.  

How did it go this year? 

We started planning early on, around April and May. The earlier the better if you want to avoid people running around in fire panic mode when Q4 hits. We brought together different teams to give feedback, share best practices, and find ways to improve how we do things next time. There, people who have gone through more peak periods can share tips and tricks with their teammates who joined more recently. For instance, a few weeks ago, a group presented to other teams "How was my first big peak period?"  

How do you foster cross-team collaboration? 

We managers now organize an internal competition where we mix teams up. For two weeks, we run a friendly competition between commercial teams that fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange. It is a simple yet efficient way to foster synergy, bring better results, but also to have some joint fun in a hectic period.

What happens when someone doesn't hit their targets? 

It can happen, and how you deal with it depends on the situation but mostly, my rule is to never point fingers. I want to understand what happened and help the person do better next time. If one loses it to fear of failure, they won't outdo themselves next time but if they feel supported and motivated, the chances that they will are greater. 

What do you like the most about being a manager? 

My team, without a doubt! I built it from scratch, from hiring to setting processes and goals. It was a super challenging and stimulating experience! There is no better feeling than seeing them grow and succeed. When I see them share insightful presentations, for instance, I feel proud but also like I'm part of a bigger purpose. 

Do you have some best practices to share as food for thought for managers reading us?  

As part of knowledge sharing, a group of teammates recently shared their experience about their first Black Friday. What was interesting is that one person focused more on how to handle it on a personal level, sharing how you can keep focusing on your wellbeing when times get more challenging. It was very impactful as I'm sure plenty of teammates could relate. The others then gave tips on how to deliver an impactful pitch to the client, how to negotiate, how to leverage data the right way to deliver added value and insightful reports, and so on. It turned out to be very interesting and useful! We shall have more of these sessions from now onwards. 

Do you want to add something to conclude?  

Even though it gets very busy, Q4 is and will remain my favorite quarter of the year. The things you learn during and after, looking back on what happened... I am always amazed by how much we support each other through challenging times. We prepare, act, and go through it together, building stronger bonds along the way. 

Lorena-Sophie Blickhäuser

Senior Manager, Growth Campaign Management

The Future is Yours.

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