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Welcome to Plastic Pallet People, our new profile feature, where we find out what makes the individuals in our fabulous team tick. To kick off the series, we chatted with our Sales Executive Abi Burkhardt.
Hey Abi, before we get started, what’s your favourite fuel?
Caramel latte. Nothing beats it! It’s probably the only hot drink I finish. I’m known as ‘half-cup’ in the office because I never finish a regular cuppa!
Haha, ok half-cup! When did you join goplasticpallets.com?
I started in April last year (2022).
Tell me a bit about your role – what is your day-to-day like?
Every week, we kick off with our Monday morning sales meeting. It’s the perfect opportunity to share any team news, discuss availability and highlight what we are working on. It keeps you abreast of what’s happening in the wider team and focuses you on the week ahead.
My day-to-day usually has a set pattern. In the mornings, I focus on high-priority calls, plus answering any new enquiries and urgent emails. The rest of the day, I work through my list of follow-ups and clear the less urgent items. Throughout the day, I constantly re-prioritise, so the most urgent calls and enquiries get dealt with first. The calls I make are to potential new business leads and the existing customers I look after.
How many customers do you look after?
When I joined the team, I took over an existing list of customers – and this has grown as I have become more experienced. So now, in total, I look after around 850 customers. I rotate the calls to keep in regular contact with them all.
Is this your first sales role?
I’ve worked in sales roles for a few years now, including car sales, which is hugely competitive, and also in signage.
What attracted you to working in logistics? Why goplasticpallets.com?
“When I applied for the role at goplasticpallets.com, I hadn’t worked in logistics before, but I was looking for my next move in sales. I was impressed by the company’s ethos, and it seemed like an interesting role. I was working in signage at the time, so it wasn’t too dissimilar in terms of finding the right product for customers. It’s just a different kind of product with more specification and applications.
Also, goplasticpallets.com is an established business with a great website, which helps enormously when trying to sell a product to new customers. I also liked that the company has a sustainability ethic and appeared to have a positive work culture, which has shown to be true from my experience so far. So even before I joined, I could sense the tools were there for me to potentially do well.
Have you always worked in Sales?
No. I joined the Army when I left school at age 16. I served for three years as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery. Upon leaving, I became a personal trainer. Then, I decided I needed an adventure and to do something different, so I moved to New Zealand to become a Ski Instructor.
When I returned to the UK, my parents sat me down and gave me a pep talk about getting another ‘career job’. That’s how I started working in sales. It’s an environment that suits me and I haven’t looked back.
Wow, that’s quite a career journey already! What was it like being in the Army?
Being in the Army was a fantastic experience. I especially liked the camaraderie with the people I lived with. There was a great sense of looking out for each other. I least liked the ridiculously early mornings. I don’t miss those! Overall, the Army taught me about the importance of teamwork. I think that’s what I bring to the table now – I’m a team player.
What’s the best thing about your current job?
I’ve never had a good boss in all my civilian roles. I didn’t fully realise that until I started working at goplasticpallets.com. My manager and the whole team are super supportive. I guess one of the things I love most about my role is nailing a big order, especially if you’ve been working on that for a long time.
Is there anything particular about goplasticpallets.com that makes it easier for you to convince customers to make a purchase?
Having the most extensive stock in the UK certainly helps. We are an established company – known for our professionalism – and we have a fantastic reputation across the industry.
Also, we have lunch-and-learn sessions each month. It is a great chance for the whole team to come together, from sales to purchasing to admin. We are updated on the company’s ambitious growth plans before enjoying a session that covers a specific product, or new range, where we learn all about them – whilst enjoying a free lunch! It equips us with a good knowledge base for talking to customers, so we can really guide and help them.
What is your team like?
They’re great. There are seven of us. The boss is great. We all get along, and as a team player myself, I’m super happy to be working with people who will go out of their way to help you.
What is your most significant achievement so far?
I’ve learned so much in a short space of time. I feel I’ve grown into the role. I now have some big accounts, know the product range better, and I feel like I’ve got my feet settled.”
What are your aspirations?
To keep learning and take on bigger accounts. I’m ambitious. I want to work my way up to a managerial role.
What’s the culture like?
There’s a good culture here. We are supported by management to do a good job. As previously mentioned, the lunch-and-learn sessions give us great insights. It’s a pro-learning culture, which I like.
Logistics is a male-dominated environment; how is that for you?
To be honest, I prefer it. I find it easier to get on with guys. I guess that is because I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries. That said, it would be great to see more women in the industry, especially in higher managerial positions.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have a two-year-old son, so spending time together as a family is hugely important to me. We have a trip planned to Disneyland in Florida this year. My parents took me twice when I was growing up – once as a toddler and again as a teenager. It was amazing. I want my son to have the same experience. My husband and 14-year-old stepdaughter haven’t been to Disneyland before. I’m so excited we are all going together.
My other passion is gaming. I love it. I’m a big gamer. My favourite is the new Harry Potter game. When I’m not doing stuff with my family, that’s how I spend my free time.
What three words describe you best, and what stand-out characteristic should headline your bio?
Loud. Fun. Happy. Stand-out characteristic: team player.
Thank you, Abi. It’s been interesting to hear your story and a pleasure chatting with you!