Why I Work In… is a new monthly feature, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, where we ask people about their jobs and the industry they work in. Tristan Jackson, of Slaithwaite-based Salamander Fabrications, answers our questions.
Tell us a little bit about Salamander Fabrications.
We are a family-owned sheet metal fabrication business formed in 1968 by the late Brian Haskell. In 2008, his son Michael took sole control and has continued to drive the business forward with a 60+ strong workforce at our original site in Slaithwaite. The company started life providing mobile catering units for the emergency services but soon diversified into sub-contract sheet metal.
And what’s your role there – how would you describe your job to an alien?
My role is sales manager — which means I am responsible for overseeing projects coming in from both existing and new customers. I lead a team of account managers, as we develop relationships in various sectors including transport, construction, food processing, and vending. As we are solely sub-contractors, this provides a broad spectrum of work and guarantees that no two weeks are the same — which is both challenging and exciting.
How long have you worked in this sector?
I have enjoyed working in this sector for 20 years — that’s half my life!
What skills make someone a good sales manager?
There are a multitude of skills required for my role — the ability to read technical drawings, a vast product knowledge, organisation, strategy planning, and time management to name a few — but I think the key skills you require to work in a sales function are based around communication and relationship building.
What’s your advice for people looking to get into sales?
Find a company or product you believe in. It’s important to have faith in what you are taking to market — whether that’s a product or a service. I think, ultimately, most people work in sales without even knowing as we’re all constantly selling our own capabilities in one way or another.
If you could describe your job in only three words, which would you choose?
Fast, demanding and varied.
What do you most love about your job?
For me, it’s about bringing new customers onboard. It’s very satisfying when you invest time into working with someone new and the orders start coming in. You know your efforts have been worth it.
What word would your colleagues use to describe you?
Where do you hope your career may take you?
I feel the sky is the limit for Salamander! It’s very much a forward-thinking business which is constantly looking at next steps — whether that’s investment in people, technology, or machinery.
We have set a target to double the sales figures over the next five years. I see my team growing in numbers over time too and maybe even splitting into different sectors — I hope to carry on leading colleagues in this expansion.
If someone is reading this and thinks, I’d love to work at Salamander what should they do?
They’re in luck as we’re always on the lookout for new and emerging talent in all departments! I recommend polishing up your CV and sending it to Lydia Yorke, our HR and recruitment manager.