‘Every day’s a school day in this industry’

Mark Proudfoot

MARK Proudfoot has been appointed head of sales at Molson Young Plant Sales and is on a mission to increase the Doune-headquartered firm’s market share.

An experienced construction professional, Mark has previously worked for the likes of Leada Acrow, Mitie, Harsco Corporation, GAP Group and, most recently, Nationwide Platforms.

He took on the new role at the beginning of January and told Project Plant his early impressions have been positive. “The business is going through such an evolution,” Mark explained. “It is a well known business within the Scottish market. My early impressions are that it’s a very well-run company. Support through investment and expansion is second to none; we are prepared to look at the future through expansion, so it’s a very forward thinking group of businesses.

“With the way the business was evolving, the time was right for someone with a proven sales background to come in and take it to the next level.”

Mark is leading a seven-strong sales team, selling machines from established construction brands including Kubota, Kobelco, Bomag, Thwaites and recent additions to the recycling equipment range including Sennebogen and Terex Ecotec.

He described the current state of the equipment market in Scotland as “quite challenging”, but is confident the quality of the products will shine through.

“Brexit’s not helping,” Mark added. “When I’m out seeing customers, Brexit is being mentioned but I think once that nervousness disappears – whether it’s a deal or no deal – the world will still revolve. The stars will come out, the sun will shine and business will continue to happen. We want to take our current market share and expand on that. We’re looking at different areas. I’ve got my first sales meeting next week; the guys are going to be challenged on expanding their customer spread. They’ll be looking at who we can go and pursue in the market and promote a quality product with an exceptional service and back-up. We’re also looking to grow into different markets.

“The thing that’s interested me is residual values. There are manufacturers out there that are less expensive; we accept that. But the residual values that come on the back of our product ranges are generally higher so the customers will realise there is a genuine benefit.

“Kobelco promote themselves on a fuel saving, so again there’s a big added value element to the customer and environment.”

When asked about the competitiveness of the market at present, Mark responded, “It’s highly charged, highly competitive. We get pricing schedules through and we’re up against many competitors on a day-by-day basis. It’s just making sure that we choose our price point accurately and give the customer the best that they can get at that rate. We’re not the cheapest, we’re not the most expensive, but we provide quality products and support. The big thing is support and service; if something goes wrong, it’s the way you react and how quickly you can resolve it.

“Customers want the very best they can get and we want to deliver what is promised, using our team of fully trained, knowledgeable and friendly service engineers.”

In the previous issue of Project Plant, we reported on the opening of Molson Young’s new northern depot in Tore, just north of Inverness. Whilst it’s also early days for that facility, Mark said the new base is already providing plenty of encouragement.

“I was up there yesterday and it’s a fantastic location,” he added. “Angus (Innes) is doing a great job there. We’re promoting the business the right way. We’re not cannibalising any markets, we’re just looking for customers that will allow us to grow. It’s a real shot in the arm for the business and gives us another dot on the map.”

Turning his attention back to challenges and opportunities, Mark stressed his ambition to work with customers to understand their requirements and become the “go-to” business for all their equipment needs. “Working as a trusted advisor is the way we intend to work with our large and loyal customer base,” he said. “Every day is a school day. We need to learn, we need to evolve, we need to continue to do the things that our customers want. We want to be the business that take customers on a mutually beneficial journey so that when their machine gets renewed in three or four years time, we’re there to do the next deal. Repeat business is key for us.”