As a Sales, Operations and Strategy Manager, John Huddleston has been in Sales his whole life and under the umbrella of Essity for most of that. His role at Essity came into existence following the integration of the incontinence and medical businesses. Previously, before the integration, both businesses had evolved at different rates with differing support mechanisms in place. We chatted to him about how the role he has today empowers him to drive the business forward and think differently.
- The purpose of my role is twofold: the first part is all about working with the Commercial Director, National Sales Managers and Marketing Manager to create the strategy of Health and Medical Solutions (HMS) UK, and the other part is to manage the functions that support the sales teams. Public Affairs & Market Access, Contracts & Pricing, Concierge, Business Intelligence, Quality & Compliance and Sales Support are a few of the different hats that I need to wear in my job. In short, we help create the National Strategy and then support in its operational delivery.
When he came out of University, John didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do, but thought he should get into Sales. He got his first big break in 2003 as a Sales Graduate in Bristol for DePuy Castings, which was later acquired by BSN medical and then finally bought by Essity in 2016.
- I’ve grown my entire career under the banner of Essity essentially. Looking back, I would have never imagined I would have been fortunate enough to gain the level of experience and personal development that I have at just one company!
John started his career as an Account Manager within the hospital team, where he developed his skills and experience before securing his first opportunity in Sales Management in 2009. Over the next 5 years, he grew the team from 5 to 12 people and grew profits substantially too.
In 2016 he became the National Sales Manager for the Wound and Vascular Care Team before becoming Head of Sales in 2017 responsible for Orthopedics, Wound Care and Compression Therapy. From there he became part of the integration team focusing on bringing the two sides of Essity together (Incontinence and Medical businesses). He focused on the strategic part that he enjoyed and has been involved in various Commercial Excellence projects.
- The role I have today empowers me to drive the business forward and think differently. Over the years, we’ve created roles to help with coaching, Key Account Management and Strategic Selling so I feel like I help make a difference now. When Covid hit, I got the opportunity to work in a task force for blended selling. We looked at how we would still work with customers during a pandemic, and we actually won a prize for that. It’s challenging but it’s really interesting.
- A day in my work is dependent on what’s going on in the company: Either working with Public Affairs and Market Access to understand what we’re doing longer term to create opportunities and shape the market, or something shorter term in one of the more operational functions. Within my team now there are 37 people and 9 people reporting directly to me, so looking after and supporting them is crucial. I work closely with our Commercial Director and the Leadership Team to support in the development and delivery of our strategic plan.