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A Day in the Life of…Beth Harrison

16 May 2017  |  People  |  News

What is your name and job title?

Beth Harrison, Head of Sales

How do you typically start the day?

I can have two very different starts to my day, depending on whether I have my 6-year-old son at home. When my son is at home, we wake up early at about 5.30am and we eat breakfast together. It’s really important for me to spend this time with him, and I’m grateful that I can work flexible hours that enable me to do this. After breakfast we get ready for the day ahead, and I drop him off to morning club at school. I then take the train into our London office – the great thing about coming in a little later means that the train is quiet so I’m guaranteed to get a seat. This allows me to catch up on emails or complete specific tasks such as proof-reading marketing documents or writing a piece for a tender submission.

When I don’t have the school run, I still get up early but usually skip breakfast at home. I leave early for the train and get into the office at around 7.30am. I take advantage of the free breakfast provided at work and catch up with colleagues in our kitchen. 

What does a typical day look like?

There is no such thing as a typical day which is why I love this industry so much. We meet as a sales team at least once a week to review leads, prospects and workload. Things change quickly in our industry so it’s important I make myself available to the team as much as possible to track any developments throughout the week too. I also dedicate time engaging with our existing or prospective clients and external professional teams to listen and present solutions and ideas of how we could work together.  We value all of our relationships internally and externally from suppliers to clients and professional partners.

What are your main duties?

I have overall responsibility for hitting the annual sales target. I work with our MD, Jon, and the board to define the target and then it’s my job to make sure we meet it.

Last year was a transitional year, and we started with a more streamlined team. After winning some key major accounts by year end, we’ve now more than doubled the headcount so we can deliver excellence to our existing corporate clients whilst also developing the strategy to win new business. 

I’m so proud of our team; it’s a new and dynamic team but between them, they’ve got a wealth of experience – over 80 years of combined experience in the industry.

It’s my responsibility to teach them the Sketch way and support them with getting to know our various routes to market. Everyone seems to be settling in well! Two of our new starters even got involved in our annual charity event, the Sketch ‘Lip Sync Challenge’ in their first week – it was brilliant to see the team bonding and coming together. 

What are your clients like to work with?

We spend a lot of time developing strong relationships with our clients. We are a service industry and for Sketch this process always starts with understanding our client’s business needs. The furniture industry hasn’t always had the best reputation, but Sketch is a business built on being open and honest with clients from the outset and delivering our promises. Because of this approach, we know our clients very well and have extremely strong connections with them built on trust. It’s all about the people for us.

What are the sketch team like to work with?

I’ve worked in this industry for 20 years now; I’ve worked for design and build companies, different furniture consultancies, dealerships and manufacturers so I have really broad experience and I’ve worked with lots of different people. In terms of working with a team where everyone has joint input, everyone’s contribution is key and everyone’s role is valid – I can honestly say that I’ve never worked with a better team. 

What’s your favourite part of the day? 

When we have a Sketch picnic in the office, it’s really fun. It’s something we do quite often for lunch and it really brings everyone together.

I also love the energy of the sales team and witnessing the development through the sales process; nurturing a lead through to winning the project – it’s so satisfying to see people achieve what they set out to do. Of course, celebrating the big wins is always fantastic, and gives us all a good excuse to get together and thank the wider Sketch team for their contribution. Just the experience of everyone celebrating together and feeling that morale boost for the company is one of the best parts of my job.

What’s your biggest frustration?

I sometimes have that feeling of never being in the right place at the right time – there’s always so much going on! But we can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s why I have a great team to depend on.

How do you unwind after a long day at work?

Well you can’t be a true Sketcher without enjoying good food and drink, the only things I don’t like are vodka and whisky – everything else helps…!
My new hobby is climbing, I recently became qualified and I’m really enjoying it. My son and I like to be active; over the recent Bank Holiday weekend we went out on our bikes, visited the park, and went swimming, ice skating and bowling – he had a lot of fun, he is such good company and I love to spend as much time as possible with him. 

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