2020-11-20 - Hultafors group

Torbjörn Eriksson wins the B2B Commercial Excellence Director of the Year award

Torbjörn Eriksson, Chief Commercial Officer at Hultafors Group, was awarder the B2B Commercial Excellence Director of the Year award.

The award ceremony took place yesterday, November 19th, 2020, at the Annexet, Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm in connection with The Sales Conference 2020 organized by ProSales, a renowned Swedish research and advisory firm specialized in B2B commercial excellence.

We have asked Torbjörn a few questions to understand what receiving this award means to him and what has led him there.

What does it mean for you to win this award?

Our approach to commercial development has been characterized both by working with internal and external best practice, by making sure what we do is grounded in what works in our business, but also by learning from the best and implementing what is relevant for us. And I do not think that we are perfect yet, but the idea is to set a solid foundation, work with continuous improvement over time and follow the effects as fact based as we can. Hence, receiving this award means that we have gotten external confirmation that this methodology works, and as I understand it, they have really made an effort to deeply understand what we do. I was told that 7000 people around Europe were watching the event, hence that gives some attention for us, but I turned 50 this year, so I do not rely on external recognition to be motivated anymore, I get motivation from the achievements we make as a team. With that said, on a personal note, my family watched the live stream, and my three kids gave me a very special welcome home last night. And it was indeed a very emotional moment to see how proud they were. My 9-year old son Alvin commented: “This must have felt good after losing the family Bowling competition last Saturday!“ You got to love their perspectives.

Why do you think you have been chosen? What sets you apart as a CCO?

Well, I am not 100% sure, I have my flaws like anyone else, but I try to continuously develop my knowledge and skills as a leader. And the reason why I fully do not know, is that it was a completely closed jury process. The jury consisted of very senior Jury Members, like PhDs and CEOs from different companies, supported by a research team, making both interviews and gathering as much facts as they could about the nominees and their work. No one knew who would get the award, until the envelope was opened. I was standing right beside one of the other nominees at that very moment, which in itself got me nervous, since it was a VP from Atlas Copco, a truly great company, hence I was humbled by the competition. I do not fully remember what the motivation of the jury was, but I do remember that customer analysis, documented long-term results and modern leadership were mentioned. I sincerely hope that the latter is perceived within the Group.

Can you tell us a little about your journey to the award: how did you get there?

I think, as a general manager, you need to make sure to have a holistic view on how to run and develop a company. Then again, it is good to have one or more core pillars, some things that you have real deep and broad understanding of. Mine has always been the commercial side, where I have spent a lot of time, not only on operational work, but also to make sure to be up to date on research and evidence on what really makes a commercial operation successful over time.

What is your next step? How will you remain the B2B Commercial Excellence Director of the Year in 2021?

It is not a goal of mine to win more awards, but I think we have an extremely exciting journey in front of us as a company and I am happy to be part of it. And I will just continue to be curious, learn and try to do my best to make sure we succeed as a team.

2020-11-20 - Hultafors group