Sales Roles in the UK Nuclear Industry

When we talk about sales we are considering, sales management, account management and business development management (BDM). We understand that there is much debate about the differences between being a salesman and a business development manager - you can find a fantastic blog post from Martyn Hillier, BDM of Tunafish Media which goes a bit further into this. However, to keep things simple we'll consider "Sales Roles" to include all of the above. In reality you will find the job titles are interchangeable depending upon the company doing the recruiting.

Nuclear Sales

Okay firstly you may be asking why are sales needed within the UK Nuclear Industry? In fact there are many sales jobs within the industry which revolve around four categories:

  • Sales / Business Development Management;

  • Account / Product Management

  • Tender Management;

  • Administration Support

These categories of roles all revolve around the sales process of successfully winning work within the UK Nuclear Industry. The sales process in the nuclear industry can be a lengthy affair, years in some instances.

Business Development

Prior to actually tendering for work most companies employ a Sales Manager or Business Development Manager to engage with potential customers and network with with potential collaborators and competitors within the market. The day-to-day activities attributable to these roles is dependant upon the size, capability and tier of the company you will be working for.

You will need to be an energetic highly motivated person who enjoys building and developing relationships with potentially very professional, senior and influential people in the industry. You will need to be able to drive and in a lot of cases will spend much of the time travelling up and down the country and potentially overseas.

Account Management / Product Management

Once the initial contact has been made, an opportunity for further discussion agreed and arranged the BDM can hand over to the Account or Product Manager. An Account Manager is responsible for the specific relationship with a customer (e.g. Sellafield) or sector (e.g. Decommissioning) and manages all relationships within the 'account' once an opportunity has been identified. Conversely a Product Manager is responsible for a specific product (e.g. hydraulic manipulator) or function (e.g. mechanical handling) and manages the 'product' horizontally across all of the different accounts within a business.

As with the Account / Product Manager you will need to be a motivated, driven individual who is good at developing relationships but to build on this you will need to have a much more in depth knowledge of your 'account' or 'product' to be able to sell the benefits to the customer influencing them to consider working with you.

Tender Management

Once an ITT is received it is then over to a Tendering / Proposal Manager to pull the offer together which is proposed to the customer. Dependant upon the size of tender this could be anything from a £200 bracket with a response time of 1 day, to a £30,000 'tool' with a response turn around of 3 weeks to a £10m encapsulation plant with a response return required within 3 months or £1b full solution EPC (Engineer, Procure, Construct) contract with a tender period of 12 months+.

The roles within the tendering team can therefore massively vary dependant on the project being tendered for. The role of the Tendering Manager is to bring together the correct group of people to pull together the winning offer to the customer whilst respecting the price to tender budget laid out by upper management. The role of the tendering manager in larger organisation can be very similar to the role of a project manager.

Tender Co-ordination

To support all of the above there is much work that is needed to be done in the background to ensure things run smoothly. This involves travel arrangements, organisation of brochures and marketing materials, administration of customer relationship databases, organising of senior management approval meetings and any one of the million-and-one tasks and challenges encountered during the day.

To get yourself a role as a sales / tendering co-ordinator / assistant you will need to have a base skill level of working with all of the major computer software (MS Office, Outlook) and the ability to quickly learn and adapt to company specific systems and processes (e.g. CRM). You will need to be organised and helpful with the ability to multi task. Vetting requirements are applicable here dependant upon the work that you will be dealing with.

Now you have a good understanding of the different roles available in sales within the UK Nuclear Industry you can continue by looking at jobs or training within the other sections of the site.

Nuclear BDM

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