Kloeckner Metals offers a multitude of sales careers at the many branch locations across the United States and beyond. Brian Clare is a sales manager in the Alpharetta Branch office who has been with Kloeckner for 14 years. He started out as a territory manager in Florida, and then in 2008 he accepted a promotion to sales manager and moved up to Georgia. Brian particularly enjoys the level of autonomy that the branch offices are given.
“It’s almost like your own little business,” Brian says. “You have the corporate support when you need it, but it’s really like running a small company.”
Kloeckner gives its sales staff a great deal of ownership and authority. In a rapidly changing market, sales employees need to make tough calls. This requires an understanding of cost workups, the cost of running the business, the cost of operating, and things like that. Sales employees need to be able to think on their toes to get deals to go through.
“At times, a brief conversation can result in a $100,000 decision,” Brian says. “I think that all of the facilities need to have more control like that because it allows us to turn quickly.”
A career in sales at Kloeckner can open up a lot of doors. At the branch level, sales positions familiarize employees with many different aspects of the business. The position is neither mundane nor repetitive. It is not your typical sales job.
“We really get our hands in a lot more than sales here,” Brian says. “We touch on inventory and operational as well. It is very involved.”
This approach gives employees a much deeper understanding of the entire process. Employees learn how the facility runs, and are able to learn about all the various things that go into the process. They learn operations, inventory, and the systems.
“I think it is a great experience because if you want to head down another path within the company when you are at the branch level you really get a taste of everything,” Brian says.
There are two types of sales positions at the branch level. First, there are positions in inside sales. This is a very hands-on position with a variety of different responsibilities. Brian believes that this career avenue provides an excellent opportunity to teach new employees the various ins and outs of the business.
“Our inside sales here in Alpharetta are not just selling,” Brian says. “They are customer service, they are controlling inventory, and they manage the processing.”
Outside sales, on the other hand, requires employees to be able to hit the ground running. Territory managers are out on the road trying to generate profitable volumes of business. They are focusing on contracts and quarterly deals, while day-to-day spot business is handled by inside sales. The territory manager position requires employees to be well-rounded, with the experience and industry knowledge necessary to understand the various realities at the facility level.
“We’ve had guys in the past, and they were life guys on the road and good guys, but they didn’t understand what it took from start to finish getting something through the plant,” Brian says.
Kloeckner has a great record of employees staying with the company for a very long time. Part of this can be attributed to good wages and benefits. Quality management and working with good people also plays an important role. Perhaps the most important factor, however, is that Kloeckner is very supportive of its employees.
“When you are supported and you know that your efforts will not go unnoticed, it helps motivate people, and they like that environment,” Brian says. “I’ve been here 14 years, and I plan on being here another 14 years, God willing.”