Interview: Ronan Whelan, SIRO

27 Jul 2017 | 09.16 am

Interview: Ronan Whelan, SIRO

Astute hiring has been key to the broadband provider's success

27 Jul 2017 | 09.16 am

Ronan Whelan (pictured) is Commercial Director of SIRO, the joint venture between ESB and Vodafone that’s rolling out a new national fibre broadband infrastructure. He took up the SIRO role in 2015, joining from Laya Healthcare, where he was Head of Sales for two years. 


What was your most memorable job?
I’ve had some interesting roles, from learning the sales game the hard way in Golden Pages to running business sales in O2, which was brilliant as the company grew aggressively and we developed a great sales force. Working with SIRO is the highlight so far — it’s rare that you work in a role that has the potential to transform Ireland Inc.

What do you enjoy about sales?
I like being involved in the big deals that can change the direction and trajectory of your company’s growth. I also enjoy working out the strategy to potentially secure the win, and convincing customers that you are the right choice. Sales people can always recollect the big game changer wins that they’ve had in their career, and the losses that kept you up at night.

What makes a good high-performance salesperson?
• Hard work: there is no substitute.
• Great listening skills: hearing what the customer is truly looking for and mapping your solutions to it.
• Resilience: everyone gets knock-backs, and the best respond positively and learn from it.
• Moving forward: it’s easy to become a dinosaur in sales, so ongoing personal development is essential to keep on top of your game.

How have you improved the SIRO sales organisation?
The first step was to get the right people into the key roles and create the right environment for a people to excel in a challenger company. I see a key part of my role as clearing the road of internal obstacles to allow the team do what they do best.

How have customers changed over the past few years?
For customers, the ability to research, evaluate and purchase products and services online using technology has transformed the buying experience. This presents the sales functions with a long-term challenge to remain relevant.

What impact is technology having on the sales process?
Mobile, social, big data, and cloud technologies are revamping the sales process. Many sales roles remain on the path of routine, time-consuming tasks. The solutions are there to reduce these tasks, giving sales people more time to focus on building relationships and winning customers. From a personal perspective, mobility has been the biggest change. Work is no longer a place you go to but something you do.

What makes a good sales leader?
The great sales leaders think big and look to achieve great things. A sales team wants to gravitate towards a person who has clear vision and strategy for achieving big goals. Hiring the best people who can create great relationships internally and externally is important too. It’s a team sport and without the right team you can’t move sales performance forward.

I worked for a couple of years in healthcare insurance and working outside of my ‘subject matter’ comfort zone forced me to sharpen my key skills whilst adapting to different ways of working and industry norms.



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