Sales Manager Adam Hutson races to the head of the pack.
For 33-year-old Adam Hutson, the road to becoming a material handling sales manager was much more fast-track than steady ascent. Ever since joining Warehouse Equipment and Supply Company (Huntsville, AL) four years ago, it’s been full steam ahead.
Early in his career at the company, Hutson was consistently Warehouse Equipment’s top salesperson. Management took notice, and he was named sales manager after only two and a half years in the material handling industry. While fast, Hutson’s rise was no accident—his work ethic and desire to exceed expectations accelerated it.
Hutson came to Warehouse Equipment with a background in packaging and very limited material handling knowledge. Sensing the importance of product knowledge in this industry, he became obsessed with learning. “I did everything I could. I was constantly starving for knowledge. I read trade magazines, went to vendor training courses and leaned on the more experienced salespeople for help and advice,” he says. Now he is in the position to hand out advice.
He’s usually out of bed by 5:30 a.m. and in the office no later than 7:00. After checking his e-mail and making sure everything has a response, his day goes one of two ways. A few days a week, Hutson is out in the field assisting the sales force with their daily calls. Even after the promotion, making sales calls is still his favorite part of the job. “It’s great to get in front of customers. I thoroughly enjoy that,” he says.
Being out in the field also helps Hutson do one of the hardest parts of his job—motivating struggling salespeople. “At the end of the day, salespeople are judged by what they produce,” he explains. “First and foremost, I try to lead by example. I want to instill a sense of competitiveness in the sales force and try to motivate the guys who aren’t performing up to their full potential.” Hutson is also certain to acknowledge the employees who do come through. “I make it a point to publicly congratulate people who have done well. I want to make sure they understand that their accomplishments have rewards,” he says.
When not in the field, Hutson is in the office, where he is a man of many responsibilities. He handles everything from overseeing purchase-order processing to vendor-side negotiations. “I don’t actually do purchasing, but I definitely do quite a bit of price negotiation with vendors,” he says. Hutson tries to keep a steady pace all day long—even at lunchtime. “I try to spend a couple of days each week in front of customers during lunch,” he says.
It’s this work ethic that helps Hutson succeed, but he knows he couldn’t do it alone. He attributes much of his success to Warehouse Equipment President David Allen, saying, “He’s been in the business a long time and possesses a tremendous wealth of knowledge.” Hutson also credits Allen with allowing him the freedom to make his own decisions, though he always tries to make decisions based on what Allen would think. When he doesn’t, he makes certain there is a good reason. “I make sure I have the information to back it up. Then if it goes down wrong, I will take responsibility for it and fix it,” he says.
In the end, Hutson believes that success comes down to determination. “When you work hard and really and truly go after something, anything is attainable.”