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DCL Connects with…

Ed Critchley, Sales Director at Comms Alchemy

What was your first sales job?

Selling software, Green Screens and Printers for a company that delivered bespoke software to Builder & Timer Merchants! 

What technological advancements make your job easier now than it did when you first started?

Probably the instant access to information. That is a broad spectrum of technology but the smart-phone, email, the internet all combine to give you access to knowledge that wasn’t there when I first started out.

What makes your company better than your competitors?

Well my new venture is in its infancy, but the beauty of that is the ability to be innovative and flexible with no legacy ways of working. Being able to utilise the very latest technology without having to sweat any assets or investment. 

What will be the biggest challenges you will face in your job over the next 6 months?

It is a cliché but time. There is so much to think about, so many people to talk to, prioritising and quickly qualifying in and out what adds value will be a constant demand. 

What are the biggest recruitment issues you are facing in your sector?

I think people expect more today without earning it. There’s an expectation amongst more and more Sales people, particularly in the corporate sector, to have everything day one without having proven yourself or earned your stripes.

Which part of a CV do you like to look at first?

The last or most recent place of employment and longevity I would say. Though I do quickly look at hobbies and interests I have to say.

What is the strangest question a candidate has asked you in an interview?

“Can I cut short the interview, I didn’t realise this was a field based role”. Bad recruitment agency clearly… (not DCL obviously – Ed)

Top 3 excuses you have heard from sales people who fail to deliver?

1. We don’t invest enough in products
2. Commission plan is all wrong
3. I need more training

Are people leaving education equipped to succeed within this industry?

Well in Sales I think the skills are a lot softer, plus characteristics and personality are such a big factor I don’t think education can do much to shape that. You can’t really study for a career in Sales in my opinion. Understanding business etc yes, Selling, not really.

How is the skill shortage affecting your industry?

There are lots of average/journeymen sales people making a good living but not taking their businesses forward. This leaves a gap though for developing those people, but also companies must invest in and develop their good people or risk losing them.

What are you doing differently to ensure you attract the best talent?

I am a big believer that if sales people feel empowered, are not micro managed to death and feel good about themselves and what they do, generally they will perform. Many places claim to be sales led, and then you have half the company seemingly working against those people. Creating the right positive environment is the key. 

Why do you think people like to work for you?

I don’t have an ego so I never see myself as any more important. I treat everyone from the CEO to the cleaner as the same because in my eyes they’re all people doing a job. My team always know I will look out for them, defend their interests and they can trust me and I hope that buys some loyalty. I think it does.

What do you think your customers say about you?

I think they see me as someone with integrity and principles who will try their best for them. Someone that will take whatever they say seriously.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

I love working with people and the great thing about Sales is you get to meet plenty. Enjoying what you do is highly motivating and I am lucky in that respect – I am looking to have worked with some great people who are not just colleagues but friends.

How do you switch off from work?

Work is always ticking over in my head 24/7, it is a personality flaw. I am a Liverpool season ticket holder, and I have some bizarre interests in history and slightly left field subjects, so I do a bit of writing and radio about them. I am currently working on a documentary script.

What was the last book you read?

The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O’Shea

What was your proudest achievement outside of work?

Well, in terms of one that I can publicly say, probably having a world best-seller author that I admire greatly tuning into listen to me on the radio.

What technology could you not live without?

Apple Watch, OK, seriously – iPhone

If you were prime minister for a day what law would you pass?

Nobody could send any email for a day and speak to each other

Which 5 people would you invite to your “ultimate dinner party”?

Really tough as they would probably fall out. Assuming they need to be alive today:

1. Derren Brown
2. Quentin Tarantino
3. Kenny Dalglish
4. Warren Buffett
5. Jerry Seinfeld

Who would you like to star in the film version of your life?

DiCaprio. Has to be DiCaprio.

What talent do you posses that no one else knew until now?

Probably my writing or radio work, if retaining lots of generally useless information can be classed as a talent!