Get to know: Youssef El-Arif

Belkin's recently-installed channel chief Youssef El-Arif is just getting adjusted to life at the accessories vendor, which makes him a perfect ‘Get To Know' candidate...

Tags: Belkin International IncorporationPartnerUnited Arab Emirates
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Get to know: Youssef El-Arif Youssef El-Arif, National Account Manager MEA, Belkin.
By  Andrew Seymour Published  August 14, 2009 Channel Middle East Logo

What's your career history in the industry to date?
My career began in September 2000 when I moved to Benin Republic where I spent almost three years in the automotive industry. I then joined an IT distributor in Nigeria where again I spent three years. I moved to Dubai in 2006 when I got an opportunity with a leading IT brand to cover West and Central Africa. I worked with them for three years before I joined Belkin just over four months ago.

What are your top priorities for the next 12 months?
To maintain and build relationships with partners, introduce as many Belkin products as possible to the region and increase market share. We also aim to be profitable, expand the brand's presence regionally and improve brand awareness among the channel partners and the consumer.

What is the most valuable business lesson you've learnt?
Whatever your job and whatever it is that you are selling, it is essential to have a good reputation and a trusted relationship with people or your business can never last. Relationships are what drive a business above anything else.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?
The market is so dynamic and competitive. Every day we face new challenges which keep us on our toes, up-to-date and proactive. Also, in this region specifically, we are not always the first to receive the latest technology. Fortunately, there is a huge potential for business and new ideas that are far away from saturation. These challenges force us to be even more creative!

What is the best deal you have ever closed?
I would consider developing new accounts in new regions as a good deal. Building relationships with partners would be a better deal. Making a good sale would be an amazing deal. Increasing market share would be a winning deal. Being profitable is a perfect deal! I put a great deal of ‘myself' into what I do so really the best deal I ever made was joining Belkin!

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?
There are ups and downs here just like other industries and markets. I look at it in a positive way by seeing where there is growth and potential in spite of the obstacles. Disliking the market that we do business in can limit our ability to grow and improve. So I love it!

Which individual in the IT industry do you most admire?
Rather than an IT figure, accessories and peripherals are what I admire the most because the market for these products is so diverse. Customers are from different ages, genders and cultures, so they make their purchases for different reasons. Therefore our target is everyone.

What is the proudest moment of your career and how would you describe your style?
I feel extremely proud at the end of every quarter when I look at the results. Ultimately I feel proud if I am looking at positive figures of course! Currently, I am managing the channel rather than people which is a different kind of management. However, in general, I am a bit of a consultative as well.

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