Business is won. Relationships are deserved.

A portrait of Stefan Gillberg, Key Account Manager, Habo

It’s immediately apparent to us that we are talking to a competitive person with an enviable discipline. Stefan has drive, undeniably, but he is also a responsive team player. We talked to him about his passion for building projects, about the role as a KAM and about why the lights in his house go out early in the evenings.

It's no coincidence that you work for a hardware company, selling door handles and fittings – is it?

I have had a passion for building for many years. I enjoy not only the creative part but also the physical work. My wife and I were very involved when we designed and built our house in Fristad 11 years ago. A couple of years ago we also did a complete renovation of our summer house in Falkenberg. For months we spent all our free time there. We are a good team when building together.

As a KAM, I am responsible for a number of customers in the building materials trade. For Habo’s range, I am often in contact with one person at each retailer. Additionally, I have contact with category managers responsible for assortments such as ‘Storage’ and ‘Fittings’. Since acquiring Demerx, I also meet with those responsible for the ‘Bathroom’ sections. The recent acquisition of Pisla, owners of the Muurikka brand, means I will meet buyers from the ‘Garden’ sections as well. More contacts means more work, but it also means much more fun.

My work actually became much more efficient during the pandemic as I was unable to make physical visits to the customers. In the future, I hope to combine short meetings over digital channels AND meet customers physically. Meeting in real life is incredibly important for building relationships.

“Selling a product is not difficult. Managing the business and the relationship over time is all the more difficult. This is where we excel at Habo.”

What are your thoughts on long-term working relationships and teamwork?

I think commitment and drive are the most important qualities for succeeding in creating long-term customer relationships. In the end, I want every customer to be happy. Selling a product is not difficult. Managing the business and the relationship over time is all the more difficult. This is where we excel at Habo.
Habo has thousands of articles. I can’t, of course, know everything about every product, but I have thorough knowledge about the category of products and I always stay updated about the customer’s local market. Knowledge of the products and markets paired with my sales experience is usually a successful combination.

“Learning from each other is one of the Salix Groups’ strengths.”

I would probably say that I am a team player, even though as a competitive person I am also an individualist. I always want to move forward, but strive to engage others and share my recipes for success. If I have succeeded with a concept at a retailer or a chain of retailers,
I always share it with other Habo teams. From time to time I brainstorm ideas with the salespeople at our sister company Thomée. We are good at exchanging experiences with one another. Learning from each other is one of the Salix Groups’ strengths.

"As a result of the acquisitions that the Group has made, I see more opportunities for personal development and an increase in the number of career paths available.”

How do you feed your drive?

Now that our children have grown bigger, my wife and I spend a lot of time training together. We power walk almost every morning and we do gym sessions five times a week. At Habo we have a gym on the premises, so I sometimes work out during the lunch break. I get energy from exercising and I also take care to eat well. Right now, we also dream of taking on a new building project. Full speed during the day means that we are quite tired in the evening. The neighbors in the area sometimes comment on whether the lights have been on at our house after midnight. It rarely happens!

Where are you heading workwise?

I thrive at Habo because I can have a great influence on my position. I am the only limiting factor of what I can achieve. If I want to develop professionally, there is no one to stop me. To the contrary, actually. As a result of the acquisitions that the Group has made, I see more opportunities for personal development and an increase in the number of career paths available. In my experience, my company is really good at identifying individuals who want to move forward, especially when someone has expressed a desire to do so.

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Work at Salix Group.

Committed co-workers are our most important asset. We aim to be an attractive employer with a workplace where you thrive and find space to develop at your own pace. We are always eager and curious to meet new people and make new connections. Feel free to contact our businesses directly if you are interested in seeking new opportunities or contact our CHRO Krister Svantesson at krister.svantesson@salixgroup.se.