Meet Florence Marcel-Cellière, Group Senior Manager of Supplier Digital Partnerships at Rexel. In this interview, she explains her role in the Digital Marketing field, the need for digital tranformation, and how her international background has impacted her personally and professionally.
Interviewed by Irene Reyes Suero
You have a degree in European management and a Masters in international marketing, as well as a digital marketing certificate. What inspired you to go into the marketing field?
To be more accurate, I did a master’s degree in International Marketing at the Grenoble Ecole de Management, which is a business school. Then, I decided to spend a year in Germany studying European Management. After a few years, I decided to expand my knowledge in marketing, so I went back to school to study Digital Marketing, and got a certificate in this field from ESCP, Paris Business School.
I believe that Marketing is one of the most exciting sectors because there are so many opportunities, from marketing strategy to marketing study, data, operational marketing, and more. Also, you can work in a very collaborative environment and thrive in an international atmosphere, which I love. Therefore, I think marketing allows you to develop numerous skills, both soft and hard. From creative thinking, commercial awareness and critical thinking to communication, marketing gives you the chance to develop interpersonal skills. To this day, I am still excited to be flourishing in the marketing sector, and the foundation of this is that I am passionate about understanding the customers' behaviour and providing the best customer experience for them.
To this day, I am still excited to be flourishing in the marketing sector. The foundation of all this is that I am passionate about understanding the customers' behaviour and providing the best customer experience for them.
Currently you are Group Senior Manager for Supplier Digital Partnerships at Rexel. Could you tell us more about what your daily job looks like and what aspect you enjoy most?
I would say it's a unique role that can't be found in every organisation. Rexel is one of the top worldwide leaders and distributors of energy solutions for professionals. Something people are unaware of is that the top two leaders in this field are European and French, which we are very proud of. My role within Rexel is to promote the brands, services, and products of our preferred partners. These are our suppliers, such as Schneider, ABB, LEDVANCE, and Hager, to name a few. With them, my key goal is to build digital roadmaps and activate digital marketing tools to promote the brand and our products in the countries Rexel serves, with the aim of improving customer experience. To give you some examples, we can create banners, email campaigns, configurators or simplified carts to help customers buy more easily the products they need. These are some of the many digital marketing tools we develop with suppliers to grow digital sales. Also, I have created a co-marketing community with category managers, marketing individuals, and digital people to share best practices, success stories, and guidelines on how to improve and become the partner of choice of our preferred suppliers. It is a fascinating job that requires a lot of skills and interaction working with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
As part of your role, you work with suppliers to support Rexel’s aim to reach 50% of digital sales by the end of 2027. Why this 50% target and do you see as the main advantages for companies like Rexel in embedding technologies across their business?
At Rexel, most of us share this goal of 50% of digital sales by 2027. The fact that it's digital is not a choice. Digital transformation is happening in all sectors, especially the energy world; we need to provide more efficient and sustainable solutions to our customers. This totally resonates with Rexel’s purpose: “Electrifying solutions that make a sustainable future possible”. Digital covers many different topics, but it is not being digital for the sake of being digital. First, it increases customer experience, and it helps them be more efficient and sustainable. For instance, small contractors and electricians look to place orders quickly. We developed a simplified process to support them in ensuring they have the complete order and everything they need for their projects. We also provide them with some solutions for cross-sale product recommendations. At the end of the day, we are helping them to complete the order with better offers. On a larger scale, if you look at industrial customers, manufacturers, for example, they are looking more for complete product data because they need very technical products, so this is where our product detail page comes in. We focus on providing best in class product data to give the customer all the information they need.
Another example would be a commercial customer, so they would need more EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) solutions, which are procurement solutions. It is vital to develop digital solutions to meet customers' needs. For example, we have developed AI solutions to better understand customer behaviour so we can offer them solutions and products that totally fit their needs.
At Rexel, most of us share this goal of 50% of digital sales by 2027. The fact that it's digital is not a choice. Digital transformation is happening in all sectors, especially the energy world; we need to provide more efficient and sustainable solutions to our customers.
You have a very international background having studied your Bachelors in Germany and worked in the United States. How do you think these experiences have impacted you as a person, and perhaps even your leadership style?
I have continuously evolved in a very international environment. It makes you understand differences and accept that they can create a more innovative and exciting environment. I read an article from Hubert Joly, a professor at Harvard Business School and the former CEO of Best Buy. He says leaders should be more caring. He mentions in the article the different values that a leader, or a carer, should have: authenticity, vulnerability, humility, empathy, and humanity. They are the values that matter most to me that I try to apply most in my ‘careship.’
Authenticity, vulnerability, humility, empathy, and humanity. They are the values that matter most to me that I try to apply most in my careship.
While in the US you worked for Rexel for four years, first as a Business Development Director and then as a Marketing Director. Could you tell us more about your experience working in the US? What differences did you notice with working in Europe?
I had the amazing opportunity to experience working in the US with Rexel for five years. I noticed they have a different approach to working, compared to France. The big difference is that American people are generally very goal-oriented. They are very positive, and energetic. I don't want to generalise, but this is what I noticed and experienced with Rexel. They are also risk-takers. You learn by experience. It is fantastic if you succeed, but it is also great if you fail - you will learn a lot from that. Another difference is that meetings are very structured, towards achieving these goals; they leave more place for execution. I learnt a lot from the US style of working, and I now try to mix this with French methods - it is fantastic to take the best from the US and the best from Europe and France.
I had some difficulties readjusting when I came back to Europe. In our culture, we like to argue and discuss a lot. The topics of the meeting and the goals are constantly changing. There is a lot of discussion before a decision is made because we want to analyse everything and ensure we don't take too many risks. On the contrary, in the US it is less talk, more action. I am trying to continue to apply the enthusiasm, energy, and the "it is okay to fail" mindset to my work now. All in all, it is one of the most exciting experiences I've had outside of France. I learnt a lot, professionally and personally.
You joined WIL’s Talent Pool Programme in March 2023. What do you expect to get out of this experience at the end of the 12 months?
I am very grateful to have joined this programme. At first, I was not sure if it was really for me. I was looking at all the young women; I am closer to my fifties than my thirties so I thought I would feel out of place. However, I am expecting to get inspired by these strong leaders and share with my peers how to grow self-confidence and clarify goals, both professionally and personally. When I came back from the US, I I had to readjust, and I was confused about my future and about what my next big step would be. Now, this programme is helping me gain self-confidence and grow my leadership.
To finish, what advice would you give to young girls who want to hold leadership positions in the future?
What is most important is to believe in yourself. I think it is okay to have ups and downs; just ask for help, dare, and be yourself. Do not try to be someone else. If you want to join a company that offers many opportunities for women who wish to thrive, join Rexel. It is a company where, as a woman, I feel good, energised, and where people trust me.
What is most important is to believe in yourself. I think it is okay to have ups and downs; just ask for help, dare, and be yourself. Do not try to be someone else.
Video edited by Claudia Heard