Staff Spotlight – Carl Davenport

In this week’s Staff Spotlight we meet Carl Davenport, UK Land's new business development manager who talks about the resilience of the construction sector and how it will help them get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meet Carl Davenport, the new business development manager for UK Land

Carl is a new addition to the UK Land team, he’s an experienced Business Development Manager who will help grow the business unit and support its clients.

In this week’s Staff Spotlight, Carl tells us about his background, why he made a sector jump, and how the resilience of the construction sector will help them get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

What did you do before working at SafeLane?

I was in the property and estate agency world between 1990 and 2015.  My role centred around sales, PR, and setting up offices.  Primarily I worked in London and Kent.

After 26 years in property I wanted to gain experience of how the sales function works in other sectors.  So, I worked for a fibre technology company in Berkshire.  I left to support a friend of mine as a Business Development Manager for an American software company called Winmo.

But you’ve always been sales focused?

Yes, and very results driven (which is good when you work in sales!) so I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could succeed in a new sector.

Sales isn’t just about driving results and supporting cash flow, it’s also about making connections and building relationships with people.  I love that side of it.  I think it’s essential to focus on a client’s end-to-end experience. 

The sales process doesn’t just stop when a client signs on the dotted line, we’re there to oversee the service throughout and ensure we’re meeting our clients’ expectations.

Why did you decide to apply for a job at SafeLane?

Firstly, I was intrigued by the link to security and defence.  I’ve been to military school and have come from an army family, I like the integrity and straight-talking nature of the business.  It’s not your average sector at all!

Business Development Manager Carl Davenport receiving an award at school

Secondly, a large amount of the clients for UK Land are in the construction sector, so there is a connection to my property background.

But thirdly, and to me the most exciting element was the fact that it is a blank sheet in terms of business development for UK Land.  I’m excited to come in, build my own processes, and shape the business development function.

What is the main message you want to get out to clients and prospective clients?

There are a couple of things here.  One, I want to work with the marketing team to do more to promote some of the amazing clients we’ve had.  For example, we’ve worked recently with Selfridges! 

I want to make more of the amazing client list we have, to showcase the work we’ve done and how solution oriented the team is.

Another thing is talking to people about the SafeLane rebrand in 2018.  I want to reconnect with our clients to help them understand why this process happened and how it has benefited the business and our delivery. 

We really are a market leader in the unexploded ordnance (UXO) space especially with regards to our equipment and experience.  Comms supported the rebrand of course, but there can be a lot of digital noise these days and I always find a phone call is much more personable.

What do you think makes SafeLane stand out in the UXO space?

There are a lot of things that make SafeLane stand out as a market leader.  These include:

  • the fact the company has 30 years of experience
  • the high staff retention rate and professional experience of people in the company
  • how diverse and adaptable the offering is
  • how innovative the company is, especially as it built on existing engineering capabilities to expand into the borehole and ground source heat pumps side of things
  • that we’re an end-to-end service provider which means we can overcome challenges and be more agile than our competitors

There is a lot for me to talk about which is great for business development!

What is the favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is finding opportunities and building rapport with key decision makers.

It’s like a detective game, finding out all the pieces of the jigsaw that lead to good tendering opportunities.  It is almost like putting the pieces together and fishing for success for both business and our clients.

The environment agency is a classic example, there is sub-contract under contract – these projects have so many layers!  I love sifting through and finding the right opportunity at the right moment for SafeLane and the client

Also, I enjoy interacting with people and in light of Covid-19 everyone is quite happy to have a chat.  So at the moment, it’s less of a traditional sales approach and more about checking in with people’s wellbeing and understanding how everyone is being affected.

How do you think Covid-19 will impact the construction space?  Also, how can SafeLane provide support at this time?

Well it’s interesting, the positive is that when everything is quiet on-site we’re not in tight confined spaces with people on projects.  So that in itself is a huge help right now.

The real issue is whether the sites will be shut down or not.  People are just trying to keep sites open.  Right now, it’s hard to say whether sites will stay open or have to close, it seems likely closures will come. 

However, as long as we adhere to social distancing and work with skeleton crews we can keep going in a safe and efficient way and can support any high priority works.

Construction workers are very resilient, they’re adaptable and used to projects being set back and delays occurring.  The work and the projects will still be needed, the government will just need to decide what is essential right now and what can wait. 

Whatever the decision, the sector will keep working as much as is safe to do and try to keep a sense of normality in these unusual times. 

I do think Covid-19 will have an impact from a labour point of view, so it’s really important right now to be communicating and checking in with everyone.

That leads me to what I think we can do.  I think a big part of providing support right now is communication, for everyone.  It’s about checking in and seeing how people are adapting, it isn’t business as usual.  SafeLane will continue to listen to and adhere to government advice and do whatever it can to support its staff, clients, and the wider community.  I’m proud to work for a team like that.

How will you support the success of UK Land in 2020 and beyond?

Well, what brought me to this journey was the fact I built a very successful career in one sector.  I then wanted to apply the cross transferable skills to a new challenge, which means I bring a lot of passion and some out of the box thinking to the table. 

I want to build relationships and create a sales funnel that benefits sales targets and helps our clients stay on time and on budget.

It’s working with the commercial goals to drive success and support clients throughout the process.  My goal is to provide great opportunities that deliver stability to the pipeline.

I want to put the SafeLane name up in lights and look for opportunities that are mutually beneficial for the business and the success of our clients’ projects.