PFK Electronics: The art of dealing with ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’

PFK Electronics

#TT1002016 Winner of the Da Vinci Award for Excellence in the Management of People

Category for large enterprises

The art of dealing with ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’

When it comes to salespeople, there are acquisition salespeople or “hunters” and then there are retention salespeople or “farmers”. Understanding the differences and, more importantly, mobilising them advantageously, is a critical success factor for PFK Electronics, South Africa’s biggest manufacturer of advanced automotive technology. PFK uses its sales force to identify and nurture partnerships around the world as it is a partner-centric business.

“Our Global partners are key to our business strategy and a key to the PFK end customer. Nurturing these partnerships is incredibly important for our success. That is why it is critical that we appoint the right sales profile to look after our partners and customers, tailored to the sales lifecycle and market they find themselves in,” says Marco Valente, Managing Director of Sales & Marketing.

“Choosing the right people for the job – whether in sales, R&D or the assembly line – is a key part of PFK’s strategy to grow into a multibillion-rand business in the next five years,” says Valente.

“No one gets it right all the time. We’ve all made hiring mistakes, but the important thing is to understand upfront what and who it is that you want and need. Once your talent engine within your business understands exactly what they are looking for by using the various talent profiling tools we’ve developed, it makes for a mutually rewarding relationship for both the employee and employer,” he says.

From semi-skilled to skilled

“We invest greatly in skills, specifically in turning semi-skilled employees into skilled employees and giving them a career path. We also pay attention to the wellbeing of employees and support the health of their families.” Recent health and wellness initiatives include factory floor talks on early screening for cancer and many other health and wellbeing related topics, in addition to the availability of qualified nurses to assist with healthcare matters.

Valente believes that while it will always matter what salaries companies pay and what benefits they offer, company culture is crucial too.

“In our company, we like to encourage debate and there is no such thing as a stupid question. The company structure is very flat and I would describe the leadership style as open and passionately communicative with the goal to challenge and grow our people to meet their career aspirations.”

About PFK

Since opening its doors in Durban in 1985, it has grown into the largest automotive electronics manufacturing company in South Africa, with solutions that include vehicle alarm and immobiliser systems, stolen vehicle recovery, driver behaviour profiling, insurance telematics, fleet management telematics, video telematics and, under the PFK Shurlok banner, Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) approved plastics, instrument clusters, harnesses, among others, as a first and second tier OEM supplier.