The drive for decarbonised heating is transforming the commercial heating sector and creating new opportunities for sales engineers and sales managers. So, if you’re looking to future proof and develop your sales career, should you be looking for roles with heat pump manufacturers, traditional gas boiler brands or companies that are developing quickly in other technologies such as gas fired water heaters?
From all the hype in the media it would be easy to think that gas boilers have had their day. In fact, if you’re selling in the commercial heating market at the moment, you’ll notice that most projects specify heat pumps. The specification often changes though, as price sensitive contractors opt to revert to boilers and shave off some cost.
Increasingly, our sales contacts are telling us that the heat pump specification is sticking more often at contractor level, but the boiler is still putting up a good fight. Any death is likely to be slow and painful.
What does this mean for your sales target? It very much depends on the market in which you operate. For new build projects, heat pumps are likely to come out on top, whereas they are generally less suitable for older properties, particularly ones that are not well insulated or don’t have the space needed to accommodate a heat pump.
Commercial heating sales specialists will be aware of the hot water debate. Good old gas boilers may not be ideal for projects where decarbonisation is key but there is no getting away from the fact that they are ultra-efficient when it comes to heating water. Current heat pump technology just doesn’t compare.
This has created a growing market for specialist hot water providers that can work alongside heat pump manufacturers to provide a complete solution. This also avoids the legionella issues that arise from heat pumps, which are so far unable to raise water temperatures to the safe levels needed for compliance. That said, heat pumps are evolving all the time and are likely to become ever more sophisticated as they strive to overcome issues such as this.
If there is a job with a heat pump or hot water manufacturer that excites you and offers new challenges, it could give you an inroad into a growing area where your career will flourish. Companies that are at the forefront of innovation can offer plenty of potential for job satisfaction. On the other hand, as an experienced boiler sales engineer you may be able to mop up contracts for buildings that are unsuitable for the latest technology or where price is still the overriding factor. When you’re looking at new sales roles, our advice is to consider the whole picture rather than simply focusing on where the markets might be heading.
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