What does the Sales & Marketing Director at Mr Binman do?
Well, when I keep costs down and sales up it seems to keep the shareholders relatively happy. So I try to do that mostly!
We have a mixed type customer base – currently 37,000 household residential customers and 3,000 commercial businesses – and I lead all our sales and marketing activities to ensure that we are delivering on our promises to these customers. I would decide on our new campaigns and how those campaigns will generate leads for our sales team. We have invested a lot into sports sponsorships in the last few years to build recognition and equity in our brand and I would develop our marketing activities around these sponsorships with the rights holders.
What were your key career moves to get your current role?
I have had a very varied career even though I haven’t worked for too many different businesses. I worked my way up in different departments and developed invaluable experience along the way. I have worked in roles within administration, internal sales and logistics planning before progressing into a general manager role where growth in new markets was my main objective. This is where I really caught the marketing bug and especially directly linking marketing activities to sales made which is something we look at daily in Mr Binman now.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Wheelie-bins and waste - we are not exactly a “sexy” industry. So we need to be extra innovative to be seen and remembered. Our customers are busy so we measure our customer effort score regularly to come up with ways to simplify our service and processes. The challenge we have set ourselves is to give customers a “frictionless” experience with us. No one wants hassle from a service provider. The easier we are to deal with, the happier the customer will be and more likely they are to recommend us to friends and family.
What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
You can’t be afraid in our line of work. Is that a skill? Now, I don’t mean an irrational fearlessness which puts everything at risk. What I mean is that you can never learn anything about your industry, your customers or your even own best attributes if you are afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Be willing to test, be willing to try new things. If they work –great! If they don’t work, you have learned for the next time. Marketing innovates and customers always want more so just because you are currently on the right track now doesn’t give you an excuse to sit on the track and get run over by someone else. Having a clear vision of your customer and how they want to consume your service not only today but in two or three years time leads to having good focus and planning, which are important skills in any role really.
Describe a typical working day.
I would usually start early and get the sales metrics consumed over a bowl of cereal. I can digest them on the drive to work then and plan out any changes that may be required. I do travel a bit from time to time for meetings or having site visits with clients. Now, these meetings would vary in my role. They range from going to the head offices of some of our blue-chip clients for a coffee and catch up, to heading into a waste yard or building site in full hi-viz gear, estimating tonnes of waste so that we can tender for a contract.
I don’t do long internal meetings and we have a small team who are all used to my direct approach so we don’t spend hours around Powerpoint slides. I see my role as facilitating others in coming up with good ideas and encouraging them to test ideas to serve our customers better.
Our business is similar to a bus operator who is reliant on passengers’ “bums on seats” to become profitable - but we collect bins rather than passengers – the more bins on the route, the more profitable it is. There is a lot of technology in our industry now so I review this data to ensure we are maximising our fleet to collect as many bins as possible.
What do you love most about your role?
I really like working on the sponsorships we are involved with. We are a partner with Munster Rugby for two seasons now and we get great traction from our “SinBin” in Thomond Park. This has been likened to a “child’s bold chair” and can’t be missed as it is bright yellow on the touchline. The players hate it but the fans get a great kick out of it. It even has its own Twitter account!
I have a great team who believe in a customer-first philosophy so that makes it easier to get new projects and campaigns operational quickly which is something I like.
I really enjoy organising the logistics around a special clean-up event we are one of the sponsors of every year in Limeric,k which is called Team Limerick Cleanup. This gets 18,000 volunteers out on Good Friday picking up litter, cleaning up Limerick City and County and generally showing pride in their community. Great event with high stress levels for us but it is worth it when we get all the litter collected by the end of the day from all over Limerick City & County.
Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
I see my role is to facilitate others to develop themselves and grow with us to feel comfortable suggesting new ideas, new approaches and help us continually improve.
I am currently up-skilling myself in digital marketing and I believe that there is even still value within this space for innovative campaigns. I think we have some interesting marketing activities in the pipeline to test in this regard. I have an entrepreneurial spirit too and recently founded a business in the mobile technology field which specialises in removing the need to queue in venues.
To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
I read quite a bit and I like Mark Earls, Byron Sharp for their work. I tend to go back to leaders of the marketing tribe such as Seth Godin. I enjoy reading and listening to Seth because the clarity of his analysis and advice is unique in my view. I also watch how the larger brands in the world such as Nike are trying to re-launch themselves to a new generation with staying relevant being a key part of that. I think that is something that all businesses in utilities sector need to focus on because relevance to the consumers of the future is critical for us to connect with them.