What happened this time ten years ago? Game of Thrones first premiered, Novak Djokovic, won his first Wimbledon title and our Head of Sales, Phil Dring joined us at Solutions Asset Finance.
Phil’s contribution has been invaluable to the SAF team over the past decade, helping us grow and evolve as a business.
From joining us ten years ago as Commercial Support Manager, Phil has gone on to become our Head of Sales and has been instrumental in developing numerous key relationships with suppliers across a range of sectors.
We invited Phil to take a look back at his time at SAF…
Describe your time at SAF in three words.
Where’s it gone?
How did you begin your career with SAF?
I joined the company while it was in its relative infancy, and it was refreshing to work in an environment where there was a real drive to move the company forward. I was brought in to help provide service support to our newly acquired suppliers. Although the first couple of years were challenging, in hindsight I learnt so much and developed a lot under the guidance of the management team.
What has been the stand-out highlight of your time working with SAF?
There are certainly a few deals that stand out. The common theme among them all is that they were difficult to get over the line. Sometimes, finding a funding solution that works for the customer can be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Add to that, the inevitability of various stakeholders being involved in the decision-making process (who don’t always agree) and certain transactions can seem near impossible to complete. However, we always find a way, and it’s getting those deals over the line that provide the high points.
What’s your favourite memory of the past 10 years with SAF?
Going clay pigeon shooting for one of the office wellness events and winning by a country mile!
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself ten years ago?
Embrace everything, make use of other people’s experiences, and always take a positive away from your days’ work.
How has the job (and industry as a whole) changed over the last 10 years?
To a certain extent, the job doesn’t change. Fundamentally, the challenge is always to find a suitable funding solution that benefits all parties in a transaction, while providing first-class support to those companies we partner with.
The public sector, particularly the NHS, continue to see increasing pressure on capital budgets. This combined with growing compliance constraints and convoluted decision-making processes, all add to the frustrations of those working within the NHS, who are actively looking to procure equipment they know will improve efficiency and patient care.
One apparent change I have seen in the past 10 years is that companies are expected to do more than just sell equipment to a customer. They are expected to provide a full package: a ‘solution’ or ‘value proposition’.
Finance options and alternative methods of procurement are very much part of the customers’ expectations now and SAF’s experience and expertise helps to strengthen the supplier’s offering and in turn their customers’ perception of them.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
There’s a point in time after a new partnership with a supplier begins when it’s clear you have that supplier or sales team’s full trust. This typically comes after securing an order that they couldn’t have completed without our support and goes to demonstrate the level of expertise we can bring to discussions with their customers.
It’s particularly rewarding when we reach this point because you know that a) you’ve done a good job for them, and b) the partnership will now really start to kick on.
Predictions for the next ten years? For both the industry and the world as a whole (will we finally be driving around in hover cars?!)
I think it will be a challenging few years for many sectors. Capital expenditure will be closely managed, yet the need to invest to instigate growth remains necessary.
For SAF, and the suppliers we work with, there will be a real opportunity for finance and alternative methods of procurement to become an essential mechanism in securing sales. New economic challenges faced by certain sectors will likely drive innovation with how funding is structured and how we, as an industry, serve the needs of the market.
Also, I’d hope by 2031 they’ll have developed a little pill that reverses the ageing process, as I’ll be no spring chicken by then.
To get in touch with Phil about how he can support you in implementing a bespoke sales solution via a structured finance agreement, drop him a line via firstname.lastname@example.org