Sales is the first step in the commercial track of the Outperformer programme – usually as an Account Manager handling a large portfolio of customers; working on various separate construction projects, both large and small. 70% of Hilti’s global workforce are involved in direct sales, so understanding how this works is crucial for future development.
In central London, things often work a little differently…Firstly, we don’t drive, we walk! Who needs traffic when you have the Tube? Secondly, we work on Projects, not Accounts. This means we hold a small portfolio of very high value construction projects (high rise buildings, tunnels, hospitals etc.) and coordinate sales from the job site level between all the different contractors working on a build. We work a bottom-up sales approach from the job site, as opposed to a top-down approach from the customer account. This involves a lot of coordination with Account Managers and support staff in the regional hub of Manchester.
My project is the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel – a “super sewer” which is being constructed under the river Thames. Why is this happening? London is an old city with a long tradition of amazing engineering. However, it wasn’t always as pleasant to take a walk along the Thames… It’s a fact of life – what goes in must come out! Every city needs to dispose of waste, and in the early 1800s, the river Thames was an open sewer. This culminated in the “Great Stink” of 1858, when even the Members of Parliament were unable to ignore the stench as they sat in debate at Westminster. In response, one of the great engineers of the day, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, built the Victorian sewer system which London still uses today.
So why the Tideway Tunnel now? With great foresight, Sir Bazalgette built the existing sewer system with capacity to serve 4 million people, at a time when London’s population stood at 2 million. Fast forward to 2017, and the population of London is far over 8 million inhabitants. This means the existing system if far past capacity, and when it rains, water levels rise and dump excess sewage right into the river Thames! To avoid the return of the “Great Stink”, and reconnect Londoners with their iconic river, the Tideway Tunnel will stretch 25km along the part of the Thames and collect excess waste for treatment in Europe’s largest processing facility. This project will safeguard London’s odour-free future for the next 100 years or so.
Being part of a construction project which will become part of the story of London is one of most rewarding parts of my Sales rotation. This is one of my favourite things about Hilti – we make real products, for a real world, which shape the built environment around us. I don’t think I will ever look at a construction site in the same way again!