In Focus: Hanna Balouka, IMES France

Hanna Balouka is Head of Sales and Accounts Management for IMES France. We caught up with her for our In Focus series, which highlights the work of inspirational women from across the sector.

Hi Hanna, great to catch up! Could you tell us more about your role

I am in charge of implementing and deploying the sales strategy, managing the sales team and expanding our business by offering new services to our existing customers but also by finding new customers who are looking to retain, secure or enhance their media content.

I work with different sectors, dealing with broadcasters, content providers, corporate brands and public sector institutions, which allows me to be in contact with people from different sectors and learn a lot.

What does a day in your working life look like and has this changed dramatically as a result of Covid-19?

I spend most of my time meeting with clients and new leads to present the company and discuss their evolutions and challenges to offer them the best service that fits their needs.

The rest of the time, I deploy the sales strategy, manage and help the sales team, answer to RFP, get informed about the market and the competition and get trained on the new technologies

Covid 19 has really changed our working methods, effectively, we now meet customers and leads virtually (via Zoom, Google meet…), we manage teams remotely and we participate in online events.

What I also noticed is that everyone is much more available, has more time to discuss and becomes more conscious of the need to protect their heritage and their new productions. Indeed, our clients had a lot of needs during this period due to the fact that it was more difficult to produce new content and therefore had to reuse their old productions.

Internally, we were able to work together successfully as a team with our colleagues around the world.

How did you begin your career and what inspired you to look at jobs within the broadcast technology sector?

I first studied psychology and development in Canada, then finance, and 3 years ago I completed a Master’s degree in Management & Business Strategy in a business school.

I have always been interested in the audiovisual industry and I applied 9 years ago to a company in this sector in which I have worked so far.

I first joined the team as an account manager before moving into a sales role. This led me to become Sales Director five years ago, responsible for sales development, the development of our new services and our customers.

I like this sector very much because it is constantly evolving and we have to constantly adapt, be creative and develop new technologies to meet the needs of our customers.

The services and needs having evolved, I really don’t feel like I’ve been doing the same job for the past 9 years.

How do you think the industry will change as a result of Covid-19?

In France, there are a lot of small and medium producers and we are seeing an increasing concentration and consolidation of these producers since Covid.In addition, the industry is looking to develop new sources of revenue by increasing distribution on streaming platforms and social networks and by quickly producing more content.

This will require the reuse of their existing media, the centralization and rapid access of their media, as well as the indexing and localization of their content (through AI &ML).

What are you main challenges over the coming year?

My main challenges for 2021 will be structuring and building a strong sales team to address our customers’ needs and expand in Europe.

Thanks to Hanna for sharing more about her experiences. Don’t forget to visit our news section to read more inspirational stories from women working in broadcasting.