Legacy Habitat Management is perhaps the most unusual company Huthwaite has ever worked with. It is one of a rare breed of specialist companies responding to growing pressure on private and public sector organisations to manage their environmental responsibilities.
Founders Matt Dixon and Ian Henderson have impeccable environmental credentials. Matt has 13 years’ practical experience here in Britain and Ian was a project co-ordinator for “Project Protection des Gorilles” in the Republic of Congo before moving on to become the Smithsonian Institute’s field project manager for Biodiversity Studies in the Republic of Gabon.
Their work falls into three main areas: mitigation and protection; conservation management; and the control of invasive species. When human needs conflict with wildlife protection, Matt and Ian are there to devise a mutually acceptable solution. Assisting conservationists with the management of their woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and moorlands is also part of their remit, as is the removal of any undesirable species that threaten to take over the natural habitat.
Legacy Habitat Management has established a reputation for delivering environmental solutions that work - from initial design and planning through project management to implementation. Their client list is already impressive (they currently work with English Nature, The Peak District National Park Authority, Severn Trent Water, Onyx UK Ltd, SLR Consulting and Jackson Civil Engineering) but they have ambitious plans to become the number-one provider of mitigation services in the UK.
With their goal in mind, a reorganisation of responsibilities ensued, with Ian taking the job of operations director while Matt stepped into the role of sales and marketing director. Recognising that his experience in sales was limited, Matt turned to Sheffield Business Link for advice. They recommended Huthwaite. Matt wasted no time in enrolling on one of Huthwaite’s Open SPIN® Selling programmes to develop his personal selling skills and to gain greater insights into the customer decision-making process.
“It wasn’t at all the dry experience I was expecting,” reflected Matt. “The course was very challenging, especially the role-playing exercises. The focus on developing client relationships through exploring their needs and trying to see things from their viewpoint was very useful. I found the buying cycle model very appropriate for our business, as many of our sales are long-cycle and there is a real need to be proactive throughout the process if we are to win the business.”
“Attending a Huthwaite open programme was obviously the best option for us,” he continued, “given we haven’t the staff numbers to run a tailor-made programme for ourselves just yet. Mixing with people from other organisations was helpful too, and the trainer made the course content relevant to all of us. I was very impressed.”
“Since attending the SPIN® programme, I can already see real changes in my behaviour. I’ve been working hard to integrate the skills I learned into my client calls and am much better at exploring customer needs and listening to what customers are telling me. As a consequence, we have already picked up some business we might have missed before.” Speaking about the challenges faced by Legacy Habitat Management, Guy Aston of Huthwaite commented:
“While Legacy Habitat Management is very unusual in terms of the market it serves, the problems it faces in sales and marketing are typical of any small organisation with big ambitions. The strengths of the founders lie in technical expertise and delivery of the product or service, but they lacked knowledge and skills in both selling and marketing. Unlike larger organisations, they can’t afford to recruit specialists in either area, so they need to develop their own expertise to carry them through the next stages of growth.”
“It’s also difficult for them to invest in training, both in terms of financial outlay and the time lost while a key staff member is away from their job at training events. Our open programmes are ideal for businesses like Matt and Ian’s because they’re delivered in small chunks and offer measurable behaviour change.”