With an early desire to enter the world of the advertising agency, I thought a spell at the sharp end of sales would stand me in good stead for a future in marketing and I wasn’t wrong. Two years working as a sales executive for an international business equipment company provided a valuable perspective of what it’s really like at the sales end of the spectrum and the challenges facing salespeople. I witnessed first-hand the difficulties of getting in front of the people with budget, authority and need to buy business equipment, making appointments, preparing proposals, presenting company and products and persuading cynical buyers and purchasing officers that your products were really the bees knees. Cold calling was still alive and kicking in those days. I must have done something right, going from raw trainee to top UK salesperson in two years, but it was a hard slog.
Next into my dream career working as a lowly researcher and junior account planner for a large regional advertising agency where I worked on major accounts such as Austin Rover, GKN, Midshires Building Society, Pirelli and others. Here I learned of the importance of planning and the 3 Ms. Market. Message. Media. If you get those three right, you are 90% there, the other 10% is probably luck. Five years at the agency gave me confidence to put myself forward into account handling, and I joined what was then the Midlands’ most creative ‘hot shop’ where creativity was king and I learned from two of the most inspirational creative people about the importance of positioning, propositions, winning headlines and writing seductive copy. I worked on most of the agency’s accounts including two major housebuilders Lovell and McLean, Yale Materials Handling, TI Tower Housewares, TI Reynolds (world leading cycle tube), Actina camera lenses, BRMB radio, Davenports Brewery, Stoddard domestic and commercial carpets.
Following a stint at a Bristol agency, I took the step to go self-employed and worked with some leading players in manufacturing, materials handling and building products in both consultancy, creative and services provider roles.
- Setting up UK distributor network for an Italian manufacturer of lift trucks and launching same into UK markets.
- Created unique dealer promotional campaign for Yale Materials Handling (The Real Yale Campaign) which contributed to a 20%+ increase in sales revenue, acquisition of new distributors and increased awareness of the Yale name amongst prime target audiences. The campaign was designed to encourage ‘buy-in’ from dealers and assist in ‘selling out’.
- Creation of in-pub promotion to encourage up-take and sales of ‘ancillary’ services such as quizzes, theme nights, bar snacks, team games etc. through the creative theme more to the pint!
- Successfully launched a Swedish manufacturer of aluminium cladding into UK market through creation of a nationwide design competition aimed at 3rd year architectural students (taken into the curriculum by 30% of architectural schools, with over 100 entries), entries judged by an esteemed panel of architects and editors which achieved valuable national press and trade journal coverage.
I have worked with business start-ups, SMEs and world-leaders in the manufacturing and engineered products space – predominantly in material handling products such as lift trucks, industrial manipulators, AGVs and robots. I have considerable experience working with leading manufacturers of architectural and building products such as doors and windows, security doors, hard and soft flooring, architectural cladding, steelwork and fabrications, and eco-building products, so understand the complexities of the architectural, specification, contractor and developer market.
Another area of interest and experience is working with many trade federations and membership organisations which have their own unique set of challenges, not least retaining members, attracting new ones, selling services and events and communicating to a wider external audience. Working with leading industry names of BWF, BMF, OFTEC, TRADA, FPA, CPI, SEA and PDA gives me a strong perspective on how to successfully market these trade bodies.
Latterly I have worked with some exciting start-up companies in the on-line retail and B2C sectors, where successful campaigns have been created and really nice creative work produced in new branding, website design and build, customer promotion campaigns, digital marketing and social media.
So, that’s me. My core strength is the ability to quickly assimilate and understand a company’s products and services, position in the marketplace, target audiences and their needs, and create a compelling proposition to win more customers, find new ones, engage successfully with existing customers, and improve the sales and business development process.
I will work with directors and senior executives, business start-ups, middle management and sales teams to improve the way you communicate with your market.