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Employee Interview


Ivor Hidding,

Sales & Account Manager at Winclove

Ivor is one of Winclove’s “old hands” and has been with the company for over 12.5 years. We talked to him about his experiences with Winclove, probiotics and clients.

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 Ivor Hidding


12,5 years at Winclove, how did it begin?

Before I joined Winclove 12.5 years ago, I first applied as “product manager”. However at that time another person got this specific job. A few months later Marco contacted me again. He had the impression a more commercial role would suit me better and asked me if I would be interested in creating a network in the hospital segment and see what was required for selling into hospitals. We were running the first clinical trial in those days (which was still running at that time) and the substantiation for our formulations consisted of no more than literature sources and in vitro data. However, after 1,5 years we figured out that the time wasn’t yet ripe to expand to hospitals. There was interest in probiotics among care professionals then however doctors really wanted to see clinical trial results. Doctors turned us away, telling us to come back when we could present better substantiation, and that’s what we did. 

I then continued in Sales Support and after a while was promoted to technical account manager, and gradually shifted my focus to the commercial side of things. Fortunately, I no longer have to do sales all by myself, with three wonderful colleagues to share the workload. And the team is still growing!




Have questions from clients changed over the years?

Not all that much, actually! 12.5 years ago, we were already unique in that our probiotics are stable and can be stored at room temperature. Questions about dosing, shelf life and stability still regularly come in.  Due to the ever-tightening regulations for the probiotics market, and also because we have been GMP certified for a number of years now, which requires certain quality checks, we have been getting more demands related to laws and regulations, registration and quality.


And the type of clients – also still the same?

No, our client portfolio is really quite different from 12.5 years ago. In those days, we still sold formulations to animal feed manufacturers, for instance. Now, we have more pharmaceutical and pharma-related customers in our portfolio, the reason being that the clinical substantiation of our formulations (Ecologic range) has allowed us to take up a completely different position. With our indication-specific probiotics, we’re now attracting the attention of pharmaceutical companies. 

With our indication-specific probiotics, we’re now attracting the attention of pharmaceutical companies. 


What do you enjoy about helping clients?

It fires me up if we can find the answers to people’s questions – they have a problem or question, and we can help them out.  It gives you a sense of validation and I find that very motivating. The relationship of trust you create with clients is also special and important.





Our Dutch way of communicating can come across as rather direct sometimes 



Do you ever have to deal with difficult clients?

Haha, well, cultural differences are something to watch out for. Our Dutch way of communicating can come across as rather direct and sometimes even rude to other nationalities. Unfortunately, we do run up against the odd miscommunication, which isn’t helped by the considerable (physical) distance that separates us from clients. Unforeseen expectations that people sometimes have – for instance about an agreement – can also be challenging sometimes.  Once on a trade fair, for example, an Arab client wanted to do a deal right there in our booth. But that’s not our way of doing business. We like to select the best client for a formula, to ensure both the client and Winclove can make the most of our collaboration. 

And although there might have been an opportunity for mutual benefit, we unfortunately couldn’t help but disappoint this particular gentleman by declining a quick deal. 



Do you use probiotics yourself?

I certainly do, Ecologic Barrier, just like many other Winclove employees. A Barrier a day keeps the doctor away! Haha, no, I don’t use it for anything in particular. It just helps me feel good. No more rumbly tummy for me.



What are the Sales team’s plans for the future?

We want to obtain a deeper insight into our clients, find out what would be potentially interesting formulas for a client and bring that to their attention, instead of the other way round. We also want to get hands-on with existing accounts, i.e. create account plans and align expectations. What does a client expect from us and how can we be of service to them, but also what can we expect from the client – what is their objective? We want to get to know our clients even better to be able to anticipate their (market) needs to the best of our ability.




Employee interview Winclove

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