Exclusive Interview with Aaron Hewit
We spoke with Aaron Hewit (Jock), our NEW UK Sales Manager, to discuss his background and expertise. We also uncover how Aaron's experience in military and police units will not only diversify the KME displays offerings, but provide a unique perspective on where to improve technology, particularly on the battlefield.
1- Welcome to KME, please can you tell us a bit about you and your background.
Thanks, it’s great to be on board! The standout points would be that I served for 13 years in the Royal Marines where I was able to travel the world and see some amazing (and sometimes very dangerous) places. I was fortunate to have worked with some of the more specialised units within the Armed Forces including UKSF. During my military career I was part of a generation that saw a great deal of technological advancement, particularly around communications equipment so I have a good understanding of the benefits in embracing change and the improvements technology can bring to the battlefield. Following that I spent about 7 years in a variety of sales and relationship management roles within the corporate sector before deciding to join the police which I’ve been doing for the past 6 years as an Armed Response Officer in London.
2- As the new UK Sales manager, what is your main focus going to be first few months.
My primary focus will be on engaging with clients who already know our business and integrating myself into their strategy and planning. I have a lot to learn both about the technology we’re working on here at KME and about the challenges facing the businesses we work with already so I want to get up to speed as quickly as I can to help address those challenges head on. I will also be looking to engage with new customers where our innovation and technology offerings may be a benefit.
3- Do you plan to work directly with the military and police units?
Ideally yes, my main focus will be on the military arm of the business as this is central to our longer term strategy, however given the fact I’ve spent the past 6 years employed within the Police Service I will also be exploring any potential opportunities there. The technology that KME is developing has potential in a number of sectors so it would be remiss of me not to be open to discussions with the right decision makers in those fields. Understandably though, many of our clients will work on behalf of the military or police so I’m not expecting to be visiting Army Camps and Naval Bases all the time, a great deal of time will be spent speaking to the development arm of Defence, wherever they are based in the country.
4- Are you going to be working with KMEs Innovation team
Absolutely, it’s one of the best parts of this role. I am here to represent KME and our technology to our current and future clients but a significant part of my role will be working closely with the Innovation Team to feedback the challenges our clients are facing and work with the team to find solutions. This is so much more than a general sales role. I am seen as part of that team that makes amazing things happen for our clients, there are not many other companies you can have that level of interaction.
5- What are you looking forward to about the role
That’s a pretty big question. I think, as clichéd as it is, the challenge is one of the things I’m looking forward to most about this role. I’ve come back to the Defence Industry after a short hiatus with the Police and the advancement in technology even in the past few years has been quite staggering. To be in the fortunate position of being able to guide and influence that ongoing advancement is hugely exciting. There is a lot of work to do though, the Innovation Team are constantly finding new and improved ways of giving our Armed Forces the advantage on the battlefield on all levels land, Air and Sea. I need to be constantly on point, making sure the right people know about what we are doing and how we can help them. That’s going to be a challenge, but one I’m very excited about.
6- Given your background and experiences as a Royal Marine’s Commando and an armed police officer, what areas of technology are you looking to improve?
Another really good question, as previously mentioned, we have seen technology advance, particularly on the battlefield, exponentially over the past decade or so, programmes like Future Commando and mobility projects as well as new Air Platforms as they are all coming to fruition so for me it’s about finding those areas where we can engage and open opportunities with clients who may not have considered our products in the past but would see huge benefit in speaking to us now. At a more basic level, the use of personal screens for combat soldiers is an area that I think we will see huge leaps in the next few years. I’m committed to finding solutions to the problems facing a front line soldier in being able to access, quickly and effectively the information they need to be as effective as possible on the battlefield.
7- Outside of the military and police, where have you gained your skills in sales and relationship management?
I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some amazing businesses during my time in sales. When I left the Royal Marines, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and through a military connection took my first steps on the sales ladder working with Land Rover. I moved house from Scotland to Kent and again, was fortunate to work for some really interesting companies in London, all of which added to my sales portfolio in various forms. The most rewarding roles for me were where I had to sit down and speak to clients, understand their problems and offer strategies to fix them. Seeing a client go from an initial fact find to seeing them successfully fix the problem they had is always better than commission, but the commission helps.
8- What would you say is the most important part of the strong working relationship with a customer?
For me, the most important part of a strong working relationship is communication and backing up what you said you would do. If a client gives you information about whatever it is that they are trying to fix, use that information and find a solution. I’ve found it’s all too easy to avoid the difficult or testing questions in a client meeting but it’s only by asking them that you can find the real root of the issue. Once you have it, and only then, can you start to work with that client to establish exactly what’s needed.
9- What is your long term plan for the next 12-18months?
Well, it is going to be a busy 12-18 months whatever happens, there’s a lot going on and our Innovation Team are constantly coming up with ground breaking new ideas and concepts that need to be developed and then shown to clients, so there’s plenty to keep me busy but beyond all that I am really keen to find and engage with clients who, for whatever reason, haven’t yet come onto our radar. The military spectrum is expanding at an exponential rate and it is my job to be out there hunting for the people who most need our help, it might be you? If it is, let’s talk.
10- Do you prefer Aaron or Jock?
Ha! Thanks for asking, there is a story behind this, if you’ll humour me for a second. So, my name is Aaron (Air on), as my Mum always said “as in cupboard” (say it in a Scottish accent and it might help with the understanding) but having served most of my time in the Royal Marines in England everyone called me Aaron (Arran) (like the sweater) so very early on in my career I took on the name Jock, and it’s just stuck. Now the only people to use my actual name consistently are my Mum (obviously) and my Wife. Invariably, I try and introduce myself as Aaron in client meetings but just as inevitably once the ice is broken, I revert to Jock and everyone happy as they don’t have to remember my “difficult to remember how to pronounce” name. So, to answer the question, I prefer Jock but understand not everyone is comfortable with it and so Aaron is just fine as well.