Contributor: Cook Compression
Name: Andrea Bianchi
Company Role: Strategic Account Manager, EU Sales
Based out of: Italy
Number of Years with Cook Compression: 5
What three words would you use to describe your role?
Listen, elaborate, negotiate.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are the values that drive you?
I feel the importance of staying close to our customers and satisfying or even anticipating their needs. Our competitors are always just around the corner trying to catch opportunities, so for me it is “out of the bed and run”. I love great, strategic projects and challenges. The values driving me are integrity, loyalty and commitment.
What is your approach to helping customers?
The compression market has always been conservative, whether in using new products or a new supplier. Consequently, any proposal must be grounded in the customer’s needs. Listening to the customer is already half the sales process, but it’s not enough; your proposal needs to align with the customer’s targets, strategy and policy.
The best way to catch the customer’s attention, from my experience, is to make sure they trust you. This involves a process where you tailor the right presentation and, after understanding what the customer’s expectations are, offer. Part of the work is relationship building; you can get some good hints directly from customers if you do this right. Exchanging ideas and views with our engineers, internal sales and others involved is another important step, because a failure in performance or reliability or an inadequate proposal could bring your business development to a stop.
How did you get your start in the industry?
As an aeronautic engineer, I was honored by the University of Pisa (Italy) with a research contract to complete my study on fatigue phenomenon of airplane fuselages. After a short parenthesis in the heavy machinery industry, I started, in 1999, my journey in the reciprocating compressor market. I covered different technical roles with increasing responsibility until I became a global engineering manager. Then, in 2009, I shifted to the commercial side with roles in Marketing (I finished my Executive Master in Strategic and Operative Marketing in June 2013) and Sales, while also increasing my knowledge of turbomachinery.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I have had several big achievements with Cook Compression, but there was one event before I joined Cook that was a milestone in my career and started my passion for sales. We were at the end of a long negotiation with a national oil and gas company in Asia, for 12 of the biggest CNG units ever manufactured. I was an engineering manager at the time, and the customer asked that the technical lead for the project visit and answer questions before they signed the contract. In 30 hours, I flew from Florence to Bangkok – having around four hours to answer questions, complete the negotiation and get the signatures on the contract – and returned to Italy. I spent the 12-hour flight to Bangkok studying the 150 pages of contractual terms, after being debriefed by my vice president and the key account manager the day before. It was quite an energy-consuming experience but definitely a rewarding one.
What does a typical day look like for you? What are you currently working on?
My typical day is checking the to-do list, reading the latest news on competitors and customers, working on strategy, then focusing on the daily work by following a top to bottom priority agenda. Of course, if I am visiting customers, there is no “typical”. Right now, I am very focused on the opening of our Sicilian service shop, and I would like to finalize several negotiations and agreements before the end of the year.
What do you like about working at Cook Compression?
I like the commitment and passion the Ellesmere Port team puts into their jobs; it reflects my attitude at work and I enjoy this so much.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
My wife and daughter are my biggest treasure, so I try to spend as much time as possible with them. My wife shares with me a passion for walking, trekking, snorkeling, reading, cooking and supporting our favorite football team (Juventus). With my daughter I visit museums, historical places and (not very often) play tennis. I also like driving my car and touring.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
Let me close this interview with a joke: Is Cristiano Ronaldo an option?