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Our O.E. Key Account Manager, Daniele Calvagno, shares his experience #GrowWithSaleri

April 18, 2019

I am one of four O.E. Key Account Managers at SIL. I joined the company back in October 2015, after various jobs in Italy and abroad.
I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Catania and began working at a food services company in my city.
I was then headhunted by a German company working in the energy sector, specifically in designing thermodynamic solar power collectors (using Fresnel optic technology). In Germany, I worked in the technical office on development engineering and simulations.
My return to Italy involved two firsts: it was my first time working in the automotive industry (for Bosch in Cremona) and my first experience in the commercial area: specifically in sales.
I was there for three years, developing various skills that helped me in my move to Saleri, where I continued to work in the sales area.
When I arrived at SIL, the climate was just right to allow me to put all the job experience I had gained in Germany (a strategic market for SIL) into practice and to develop the relational skills that rounded off my professional formation.
A Key Account Manager bridges the gap between customer and company. You need to have a background in mechanics, have developed contractual and relational skills and understand how to reassure customers regarding technical or logistics or manufacturing-related matters, while having the authority to firmly assert the company’s point of view when certain customer requests become too demanding. Or rather, unrealistic.
In other words, to do a good job, you have to be familiar with a vast range of manufacturing processes and the company’s logistics chain.
Just as in real life, hearing “no” can help you grow and, similarly, in company-customer relations, trust and credibility are founded on an honest and cooperative exchange. This means being flexible but also thorough, while respecting method and procedures.
A Key Account Manager knows the quality of an answer relies on the quality of the question asked by the customer. Company and customer need to learn from one another. And SIL has long since learned to always focus on customers, to fully meet their needs.
Our corporate processes are modelled on - I’d even go as far as saying - synchronised to requests from the automotive industry’s main global players. And they have learned to trust us.
Specifically, my job with customers - the same goes for the company’s other three Key Account Managers - involves establishing and maintaining excellent business relations, first and foremost, with car manufacturer buyers.
There are no general rules of conduct. We have to know how to adapt, to be flexible: that’s one of SIL’s main strengths. Daimler has different needs to BMW. A buyer from McLaren thinks differently to one from a German manufacturer. And the list goes on...
Moreover, part of our job is to establish relations with other roles at the customer company - technicians, project managers and those working in logistics and quality - especially in the case of new projects, and this triggers a copious in-flood of new contacts at all levels.
SIL is experiencing a significant growth stage and every single person working at the company faces new and increasing responsibilities every day.
You never stop learning how to do your job better. But what I’ve noticed at SIL is that this is not just a dogma, it’s a shared belief: good practice that comes naturally to us.
My division is made up of a total of nine people: professionalism on the job is a lifestyle, not a uniform you put on and take off.

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