David Sorrentino

Aptis Business Development Manager, Europe

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  • LocationIxelles, Belgium

Skills

 

  • Advertising
  • Marketing PR
  • Account Management
  • Brand Management
  • Business Development
  • Client Services
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Communications
  • Media Relations
  • Relationship Management
  • Copywriting

Work history

Currently

Aptis Business Development Manager & Europe

The British Council

Mar 2013
  • Led strategic direction for the regional exams business I developed and led the regional strategy for Aptis – a new product, new markets and a new business model (B2B) for many of the 30+ country teams I managed vertically. --Covering two regions that included stretched from western Europe to Central Asia, the strategy established performance indicators, priority markets and marketing and sales tactics to achieve targets. I also was a member of the senior regional exams strategy group and a Global Board to ensure a work I was leading fit into the overall long term plans at the regional and corporate level. As a result, in my first 2 years I took the business from a few niche countries with £90k annual income to £516k representing the highest growth percentage for an Aptis region globally. Led staff through adoption of the strategy to achieve buy-in and monitor results Having set the strategic direction, I led implementation across 30+ diverse and time-constrained country teams, none of whom directly reported to me. This meant building understanding of and buy-in for the product, business development strategy and marketing action plan. I therefore garnered support from colleagues across the region through a campaign of regular and open communication. --I initiated and led face-to-face strategic reviews in nearly 20 countries in the first year, quickly developing support for the strategy and the product overall. I also I designed and led a B2B sales training programme as many local teams were unfamiliar with B2B selling having traditionally been focused on B2C products. Success was shown in hard numbers (a rapid rise in the collective value of the country opportunity pipelines from near zero to well over £1M and a 348% rise in year-on-year income) as well as regular participation in communications channels like the newly established monthly network updates and annual discussions of marketing tactical plans (with feedback data showing overall satisfaction of more than 80%). Cross-organisational team management I led business planning and development by designing an efficient system to streamline our financial and target planning and management, as well as by direct intervention in large opportunities. Starting from scratch with this new business, I created a streamlined system to gather data, plan budgets and set targets. --For example, I developed a yearly series of tactical planning meetings to hone marketing action plans to achieve targets, plan budgets and establish accountability for both. I developed a standard Strategy and Market Analysis tool to create uniform system for tracking both tactical actions and budget spend across countries. This system is now a new standard in the planning cycle across exams teams, allowing clearer targets and budgets, as well as more robust and structured plans in each country. --Once the plans were created it was necessary to monitor the health and growth of our business and report it corporately. I therefore led all country teams through the development of an opportunity pipeline tracking system. For this I volunteered my region to be at the forefront of a corporate Salesforce rollout and led selected country teams through the adoption of this system. For all other teams I subsequently developed a bespoke system to track pipeline data using Google docs. This has allowed me to more closely monitor the health of the Aptis businesses and is instrumental in setting targets for forthcoming financial years. Developing best sales practice and telling our story To help country teams best make our case when working with potential clients or partners I led higher level sales negotiations and delivered presentations at large promotional events, while providing materials to guide country teams when marketing and selling the Aptis test. --For example, I led discussions with the Albanian Ministry of Education to establish our products for exclusive use by nearly all Albanian secondary school students. I developed and delivered the presentations, providing best practice examples as needed, and managed the relationship thereafter. This has led to an agreement which will mean roughly 35,000 test candidates per year from across Albania. --I recognised that there was low recognition of the British Council and the need for English by companies. I therefore developed a plan for the EU and WE regions to curate PR-worthy stories of our work and communicate these through the best channels to our external markets. Doing so would raise our British Council brand and the importance of English amongst companies. This plan has now been adopted with both my regions and is being implemented by regional communications teams. --Finally, I observed that our teams lacked hard data on the importance of English testing to support marketing and sales discussions with clients. I therefore envisaged, designed and led a research project with Euromonitor to identify the precise impact of English on a company’s bottom line. This research has subsequently been used in press releases, marketing presentations, sales discussions and I have subsequently used this to design a regional Digital campaign currently being rolled out across social media channels.

2013

Marketing, Communicatoins Manager and Europe

The British Council

Aug 2008 - Mar 2013
  • Led marketing and business development for the regional Arts SBU, creating a strategy to raise partner and co-funding income and improve audience reach: -- I introduced new planning methods to focus activities on those with potential for audience and income generation and developed new ways of working to respond to 2015 targets. --Several European Commission cofounding bids totalling nearly £250,000 are now under consideration and there is a clearer structure and market focus for planned activities. --To underpin our work I developed a regional market segmentation research project to articulate our arts audience segments and how to best target them. This has proven so effective it has been subsequently taken forward by the corporate Marketing and Arts teams as a global research project now being delivered. As my skills in business development and strategic communications were recognised by my line manager, I was seconded to Rome¬ to lead the Italy team’s 65th anniversary year campaign to raise the profile the British Council English, exams and programme work: --Based on the agreed business targets I developed a strategy and project plan with an agreed £100,000 budget and monitoring and evaluation measurements (i.e. student enrolment/exams numbers). --I communicated the objectives, benefits, requirements and standards (i.e., procedures for event promotion and evaluation) to country staff, achieving strong cross-team support despite often divided and siloed teams. --Targets were met or exceeded for sponsorship income (i.e., Jaguar, Diageo), budget (finished within £100 of plan), reach/engagement (i.e. 2,000 face-to-face) and new student and candidate enrolment (year-on-year increase despite premises move). The culminating new Rome premises opening event was praised by senior figures both inside the British Council (i.e., the British Council Chair) and outside (i.e., the UK Ambassador): “Everyone enjoyed the event immensely and all were very complimentary about their collaboration with the British Council across all our areas of work – teaching, exams, customer services, programmes…One of the best comments I heard was ‘the British Council has made many, many new friends in Rome tonight.’” – British Council Italy Country Director Developed and led the marketing and income generation strategy for one of our largest English projects, Language Rich Europe, a £450,000, European Commission-funded project with 30+ partners (including EUNIC) and with a team totalling 100+ diverse internal and external professionals dispersed across 24 countries: --As English is a top priority in our region, I developed a strong knowledge of our English SBU strategy and products as well as our corporate partnership strategy to maximise effectiveness when developing and negotiating our offer with partners. --Following market research I targeted three companies working in education and publishing – Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Rosetta Stone. --Through building relationships with key personnel from these companies, I developed and presented of our offer, negotiated the contract and provided on-going service and communication as the project has been implemented. As a result, the project secured cash income of £105,000 and in-kind contribution worth £40,000 from these companies – a 30% addition to existing project funding.

2009

Founding President & CEO

Science Research Funding International

Jun 2007 - Jul 2009
  • A new non-profit organisation seeking to enhance international partnership in science research between European and American academic, business and governmental institutions I conceptualised, founded and led this consultancy in Brussels which employed 7 people (4 in Europe, 3 in the United States) and went from idea to plan to fully functional operation in just 2.5 months and attained clients in only 3 months. My idea for this business grew out of an observation I had while working at the National Institutes of Health: many non-American researchers had little knowledge of and access to its funding and collaborative opportunities despite excellence in research; the NIH did not have the appropriate tools or remit to answer this need. I responded to this by: --Determining, through market research, that there was no other group filling this very important gap in the market. --Subsequently resigning from my position to found this new organisation in Brussels. --Forming a team by identifying and reaching out to scientists, education specialists, managers and experts – including my former manager at the NIH – and convincing them of the merits of my business concept. --Creating the business strategy, marketing plan, brand/visual identity and promotional materials (offline and digital). --Developing a system of working across the dispersed team and tracking key contacts. --Initiating and managing relationships with key organisations and researchers, including “elevator pitches” for initial contact, formal presentations, networking at major international meetings and connecting with my already existing network of contacts to find interested partners. Through these efforts this organisation was quickly operational and established in the area of research funding in Europe. For example, through my relationship building activities, three months into the life of organisation I was invited by a Portuguese agency to a US-Portugal research conference in Lisbon. At this event I delivered a talk and made face-to-face contact with potential clients, presenting to them our marketing materials. As a result, an academic organisation became aware of and interested in our services. Through on-going negotiations we eventually reached an agreement, signed a service contract with them and co-developed a research proposal with this group.

2007

Independent Consultant European Strategist

Mckenna Long and Aldridge

Mar 2007 - Jun 2007
  • A US-based consultancy focused on helping organisations and companies bring research innovations to market and achieve high level partnership with government agencies As a result of successful work done with the NIH, I was invited to be a lead European consultant for this major Washington, DC-based consultancy. Based in Brussels, I formed strategic partnerships with key science and education institutions in Europe and successfully helped MLA achieve new clients. This required me to: --Conceptualise, implement and manage the European outreach and communications strategy of the MLA Public Health Preparedness team. --Represent MLA at major international conferences to achieve closer ties with representatives from European and US government agencies, organisations and researchers. --Monitor relevant current events and identify opportunities for cooperation leading to increased understanding of the external environment and a larger network for MLA and its clients. As a result of these efforts I quickly built relationships with a network of high-level contacts within research organisations and EU institutions. For example, I communicated MLA’s offer to a key contact from a Finnish technology company over several meetings by focusing on the elements of MLA’s expertise that could bring this company’s innovation to market. From this I organised and led a meeting in Brussels with senior MLA executives to facilitate a working agreement. This ultimately resulted in a new contract with MLA.

2007

Regional Programme Officer (europe & Middle East

Office of Global Research, Niaid/nih, US DHHS

Mar 2003 - Jun 2007
  • A US-based consultancy focused on helping organisations and companies bring research innovations to market and achieve high level partnership with government agencies As a result of successful work done with the NIH, I was invited to be a lead European consultant for this major Washington, DC-based consultancy. Based in Brussels, I formed strategic partnerships with key science and education institutions in Europe and successfully helped MLA achieve new clients. This required me to: --Conceptualise, implement and manage the European outreach and communications strategy of the MLA Public Health Preparedness team. --Represent MLA at major international conferences to achieve closer ties with representatives from European and US government agencies, organisations and researchers. --Monitor relevant current events and identify opportunities for cooperation leading to increased understanding of the external environment and a larger network for MLA and its clients. As a result of these efforts I quickly built relationships with a network of high-level contacts within research organisations and EU institutions. For example, I communicated MLA’s offer to a key contact from a Finnish technology company over several meetings by focusing on the elements of MLA’s expertise that could bring this company’s innovation to market. From this I organised and led a meeting in Brussels with senior MLA executives to facilitate a working agreement. This ultimately resulted in a new contract with MLA. A newly created office within a large US government research funding organisation (National Institutes of Health) with an annual budget of $29billion I managed external relationships and promoted the NIAID/NIH portfolio of international research programmes with counterparts from Europe and the Middle East – including governmental, nongovernmental and multilateral representatives. This resulted in many successful research partnerships with these groups. Achieving this required me to: --Create and deliver outreach campaigns --Manage budgets and teams through campaign implementation --Represent the NIH in public forums by giving presentations (i.e., at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, workshops in the Baltics, Romania and Italy) or leading the proceedings as chair (i.e., at an NIH-Nordic workshop) In this last example, I developed and delivered an NIH-Nordic conference which took place in Helsinki, Finland after building a relationship with Finnish Embassy representatives. I was able to expand this activity to involve several partners from other agencies including the US Department of State, the American Embassy in Helsinki and a Finnish research agency. This conference was a clear success with overwhelmingly positive feedback, several newly formed research collaborations and a request from the US State Department for a follow up meeting in the Baltics. This and other similar efforts led to the creation of several new partnering agreements, science and technology contracts, public private partnership coordination groups and jointly created research projects. Internally, I created and managed the first institute-wide system to track and report our international activities. I achieved this by researching users’ needs, developing a work plan and leading a communications campaign to inform and achieve buy-in for this new system from colleagues across the institute.

Education

2010

Marketing

Chartered Institute of Marketing

Aug 2009 - Aug 2010

    2001

    International Politics

    University of Edinburgh

    Aug 2000 - Dec 2001

      1998

      Political Science and Economics

      University of Vermont

      Jul 1994 - May 1998