Tom Sadan, ClimatePartner: “Selling something you genuinely believe in is infinitely easier”
Tom Sadan, Sales Manager at Climate Partner UK
The sales job pitch: tired narrative?
If you type ‘working in sales’ or ‘sales strategy’ or even ‘a career in sales’ into Google, you will get bombarded with article after article on ‘7 cold hard truths about what it’s really like to work in sales’ or ‘What to know about Sales before taking the job’.
Firstly, these are hardly inspiring titles and secondly in essence they only capture one aspect of this role; the one that pertains to monstrous revenue targets and numerous phone calls.
No wonder then that despite sales being one of the most popular career paths for those coming fresh out of university or college, many end up leaving this career and moving elsewhere. This is often largely due to lack of work-life balance, little flexibility, burn out and more recently a lack of purpose.
Finding that missing piece in your sales career
But is there a way that salespeople can stay in their role whilst bringing purpose into their lives?
He was furloughed during the Summer at his previous role as an Events Sales Manager at a 5* hotel so decided to take the plunge and apply for his current role at ClimatePartner; a solution provider that helps companies calculate and reduce carbon emissions, as well as offset unavoidable emissions, enabling them to become climate neutral.
Being in sales in previous jobs prior to this one, would you say your role has changed coming to ClimatePartner?
Yes, it has in most ways. In my previous role, we were one luxury hotel of many who had to fight off competition for every piece of business. However, we were well-known with a great reputation internationally which always helped.
At ClimatePartner, the reputation exists all over mainland Europe, so it’s about translating that to the UK market which is a totally different ‘pitch’ to the one I’d give at the hotel. The biggest difference at ClimatePartner is that there is no other product/service that offers exactly what we do in the UK. So as soon as we speak with UK companies who also have sustainability at their core, we stand out.
Are different sales methods required to bring leads on board in comparison to previous sales roles?
ClimatePartner is less of a ‘hard’ sell. The whole point of ClimatePartner is that companies come to us to enable impactful climate action, and we do so in a number of ways, so the visions always align.
It’s a very simple process here - if a company wants to label themselves, their products or both as ‘climate neutral’, we assist for the entire process, from carbon footprint measurements, to emissions reduction and offsetting, right the way through to communicating climate neutrality to their customers.
Does your monthly / annual sales strategy vary enormously to previous sales roles?
In a sales role, strategy will always revolve around revenue. However at ClimatePartner the vision is crystal clear: we want to see at least one climate neutral product in every shopping basket. So the key aim for us is being as visible as possible, and the revenue will follow.
Have your KPIs changed, in terms of how they define success?
My role now is almost opposite to my previous one in this way. In my old role, we would have happily had only 50 or so events a year that were all ‘exclusive use’ and extremely high revenue.
At ClimatePartner, of course revenue is vital, but we want thousands of new clients a year! The bigger our portfolio of existing clients, the better, because it means more companies are acting now to tackle their carbon footprint. And there really is no time to waste!
Why did you choose to apply for a role with ClimatePartner?
From my days as a volunteer youth leader, ‘repairing the world’ was one of our four core pillars. I have had a strong sense of environmental justice since then, and especially since gaining a qualification in Permaculture and Sustainable Design, I’ve always wanted to move into the ‘Green’ sphere professionally.
When I saw ClimatePartner advertising the new role for the UK team, the chance to join a rapidly expanding company with a purpose that completely aligns with my own values was one I would never have turned down.
Did you need any qualifications to get your current role?
A university degree in any discipline and a minimum of one year B2B sales experience. Aside from this, the interview process was heavily based on whether I would personally be a good fit for the company.
I like to think this will become the norm for all companies moving forward, because with an expansion into a new market, a degree and experience will of course be helpful, but it’s drive and persistence that will ultimately determine your success.
Have you learnt a lot in your new role?
How to make sustainability transparent, credible, and accessible. Greenwashing is an irritating but sadly predictable side effect of the green recovery. So it’s vital for a company like ClimatePartner to be 100% transparent in every aspect of our processes, and maintain this approach with every single one of our clients.
With ClimatePartner helping companies sort out their carbon plans, have you noticed a huge increase in work? If so, why do you think that is?
It genuinely feels like we’re getting busier every day. This has been the most successful year in the company’s history, and I think it is for two related reasons.
The first is that the first lockdown gave lots of companies time to reassess their core values and principles, and I think it is actually irresponsible to ignore the climate crisis when you look at the increasing droughts, floods, bushfires etc. across the world; this meant companies have started to prioritise sustainability.
The second is that the whole world saw pollution levels drop dramatically during lockdown, and this means that the everyday consumer has seen how changes in the way we live can have an absolutely massive impact on climate change. If the consumer demands it, companies must supply it or risk missing out to their competitors; this applies to companies addressing climate action vs those who don’t now more than ever.
What would be your top tip for any sales manager wanting to move over to a purpose driven company?
Don’t wait for a global pandemic to give you a nudge! Selling something you genuinely believe in is infinitely easier, more successful, and more fun than selling something just because it’s your job.
Tom Sadan can be reached on Linkedin.
Learn more about ClimatePartner's work here.