Sigve Nordrum, our EVP of Animal Health and Nutrition, is responsible for the sales, marketing and R&D for the pet and aquaculture markets around the world. He’s also the happy owner of the two lovely dogs in the picture.
Sigve has been one of our most experienced leaders for quite some time now, being part of Aker BioMarine's story since 2007. These are his thoughts on how to be an effective leader.
The next are 5 essential things Sigve believes you would need to succeed not only in the pet food industry field but in any field, for that matter.
It’s extremely important to understand your place in the market, where you are now, and what are the growth possibilities. This actually applies to every industry, and what we did, at Aker BioMarine, is to invest in deep market research that would help us understand all of these.
Another way to stay informed and gain a deeper understanding of the overall market is by attending industry events. If I have an opportunity, I always come to conferences such as Interzoo or Petfood Forum and just “listen” to the markets.
Now, the best hands-on method is to visit customers and hear their challenges in the pet food production and distribution processes. I do that quite often, and sometimes it not only gives me precious information but also guides me toward the right way I can help the customer. For example, one time, right after a customer visit, we decided to organize technical training for the team of one of our biggest Scandinavian customers.
It’s also highly important to find ways to get inspired. For me, Aker BioMarine's mission in general is a real inspiration and, of course, the most important one is that all our ingredients come from a sustainable source - the Antarctic Krill. The fact that we can help the planet and the oceans thrive it’s outstanding.
I recommend reading this interview I had with Martita Mestey about the growing challenge of food insecurity and how to use the oceans more sustainably.
Our team also inspires me every single day. I love we can all work closely together, share our experiences and learn from each other. I believe teamwork can only bring great results.
I am also inspired by the actual results of the QRILL Pet products on my dogs. I have two dogs that have been eating pet food and supplements with krill for many years, and I can see with my own eyes the change in them. They are full of energy, with shiny coats, and their overall appearance is healthy.
The fact that I can see for myself the benefits our products have on my pets is the best inspiration you can ask for as a leader.
I think the best way to inspire your employees is to trust them. And I trust my team completely. This means they can make decisions without involving me. Every day I do my best to empower them to make decisions on their own, without “micromanaging” them.
They are closer to the customers than I am, which means they can consider their needs better than I can.
There is also another great side effect you can get when you apply this inspiration method. If you trust your team they will trust you back.
"If you trust your team they will trust you back. "
At Aker BioMarine, we do a lot of experiments and we dare to take chances. For example, to increase brand awareness and promote the sport of dog mushing, we created our own QRILL Pet Mushing Team.
There have been also moments when our customers reached out and challenged us to do some new experiments, and not only on the production side.
So, one of our first and biggest customers convinced us to be part of their marketing strategy and marketing activities. We said yes and that was only the beginning - now we practice account-based marketing with almost all our customers.
If you want to sell internationally, you need to think strategically. And that is what we do here at Aker BioMarine and QRILL Pet. Understanding the pet food market in detail can also help our Human and Aquaculture departments.
Many aspects from the Human side of our business apply to QRILL Pet too, for example, the humanization trend “What is good for me, it's good for my pet”. Many pet owners, myself included, know how important is to have a healthy diet so I also want that for my dogs. I always buy the best pet food for them with ingredients that have proven health benefits.
Another benefit of knowing in detail your markets? Well, you understand that you can’t use the same sales or marketing tactics or even use the same channels for your product everywhere.
For example, recently, we got a big Chinese customer, who produces not only for his pet food brand but also for many other brands. So now, through this customer, we can build brand awareness in the Chinese market in general.