Verizon is one of the world’s largest companies in the IT and communications sector, connecting people, companies, and communities with its powerful technology solutions. Its innovations have the ability to change the world and it is constantly making investments into superior wireless, fibre optic, and global IP networks.

In 2013, Verizon appointed Pieter Holst as area vice president of enterprise sales (Verizon Enterprise Solutions) for the company’s operations across the Benelux region—Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. With extensive regional experience, an understanding of the local customer base, and a background in IT and communications, Pieter was well equipped to succeed in the role. The CEO Magazine sat down with Pieter to talk about the company’s plans for growth, how technology can empower individuals, and Verizon’s strategic supplier relationships.

The CEO Magazine: You have been with Verizon since 2011 and have a solid background within the IT sector. What opportunities did you see for yourself and the company when you took on the position of area vice president for Benelux?

Pieter: My aim upon joining Verizon was to continue to develop my own sales and management skills, and heading up Verizon’s local Benelux operations was the perfect platform to enable me to do this. Working with such a prominent global brand in the communications industry, I was eager to help grow its presence in the Benelux region and contribute to its overall global financial success. Since I took on my position, I have been able to mature and grow our market position here, and I have the pleasure of working with some tremendous customers—helping them deliver on their local and global strategies.

What sorts of changes did you implement when you first took on the role to really mature and grow the Benelux market?

Verizon already had foundations within the Benelux market, and my aim was to strengthen these even further. I was keen to refocus the sales team and implemented a more aligned and targeted operating model. This is completely focused around our customers with the emphasis on delivering the highest level of service for them. This has enabled us to be more focused on our customers’ needs than ever before and has been instrumental in developing stronger, more strategic relationships across the customer ecosystem. We want to build ongoing strategic relationships which help and benefit our customers instead of merely being a point-to-point transactional company that only interacts with its customers on an ad hoc basis.

What have been the benefits to your customers since rolling out this strategy?

We have established stronger and closer working relationships with our customers and this has increased customer loyalty and, ultimately, sales. We are seen as a strategic adviser by many of our customers and not just a supplier of technology.