National Account Manager, HVAC/R and Electrical; Fluke
By Joe Nowlan
Curt Andersen’s college degree isn’t exactly the typical academic pursuit you find in the electrical industry: criminal justice.
Not that he necessarily envisioned himself as the next Columbo or Sam Spade.
“Like a typical student I kind of bounced around to different classes to identify what held the most interest. Criminal law happened to catch my attention,” he explained.
After graduating from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he worked with Kingspan Solar, a manufacturer.
“We were essentially the manufacturer rep for them here in the United States. They are European company, based in Ireland,” Curt explained.
While working there, though, he saw an opportunity at Fluke and looked into it. He liked the company even though he had little knowledge then about the overall electrical industry.
“But as I was introduced to the opportunity here at Fluke I learned more and more about the electrical industry,” he said. “Working with various distributors in other channels, I was exposed more and more to electrical reps, to the electrical channel distributors and also sales teams that worked here.”
He started at Fluke in 2011 as a marketing communications coordinator. From marketing communications coordinator he moved to a role as a distributor marketing specialist and eventually up to his current role, channel marketing manager-HVAC and electrical.
“I tend to lean more towards the sales side and supporting the sales team/distributors where marcom is more marketing communications to drive recognition of the brand with customers. I prefer working with the sales team and reps in the channel to help increase mind-share with distributors, and train salespeople to be more effective at selling our product,” he said.
Curt developed the “Virtual Sales Assistant” app for Fluke, which earned a Best of the Best Marketing Award from tED in 2014.
“It is a distributor asset management tool that allows sellers of Fluke products—distributors, manufacturer reps, and our Fluke sales team—to log into a mobile app interface and access product information on the spot,” he explained. “When you talk about the complexity of test and measurement tools, there are a lot of variables that customers look for and distributors are not readily equipped to answer those questions without a tool like the ‘Virtual Sales Assistant.'”
The app has proven to be very popular in part because it can be customized according to an individual’s needs.
“We can customize it so each person is going to see a slightly different experience in the app,” Curt explained. “It allows them to see information that is tailored to them and gives them the ability to sell with that customized information.”
Curt and his wife Marianne have a son, Leo, who will be two this year. They enjoy living in the Northwest even though they joke about its weather.
“Around here in the Northwest you have a two distinct seasons: rainy season and non-rainy season,” he laughed. “With the rain comes snow in the winter which means great skiing conditions. And golfing in the summertime especially on half-day Fridays. Things like that keep you busy outside of work. Otherwise, taking care of a toddler is a full-time job.”
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
Staying curious is a good piece of advice. Stay up to date with the way the customers shop. Customers are going to become more and more savvy shoppers in the electrical channel. It’s important to support the customer in whatever way they look for product information and help them find the best product for the job.
I would also say look at how other people are approaching customers at other distributors and even in other channels. I get the opportunity at Fluke as a manufacturer to see what makes other channels successful or even unsuccessful. Being able to stay on top of best practices outside of what your comfort zone is as a marketer or as a sales person can be really valuable.
Q. You and many in the industry seem genuinely enthusiastic about your work and about the industry overall. Why do you think that is? Check wording on this.
A. You know it’s funny, but it’s the same reason that I like working here. It’s about the people. I sit in the upper northwest corner of the country, and I don’t get to meet with our customers on a daily basis sitting in my cube. However the times I do get to interact with customers, distributors and reps there’s a great sense of pride amongst everyone in the electrical industry. I love that because it allows me to go back and be more effective marketing our products to customers and distributors so ultimately they can be more effective in their day-to-day jobs.
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Tagged with tED