Kevin Crowe celebrates 40 years at OGL
A huge congratulations to Kevin Crowe who reached his 40-year anniversary earlier this month. As a special celebration of such a significant milestone, the Directors took Kev, and other long serving staff, out for lunch this week but here is Kev’s story…
“Neil Morris is responsible for me joining the Company. On a Saturday night in February 1983 he plied me with drink and suggested a great career change would be selling computer systems instead of photocopiers. I attended a formal interview on the Monday evening, met Paul Byrne the following evening and was offered the job on the spot. There was no hanging around – I started on the following Monday and I’ve loved (nearly) every minute of it since then.
“Neil trained me and I was initially selling third-party accounting and stock control software on Xerox hardware which ran dual 8” floppy disks. Later on, we sold the early Olivetti PCs, also running third-party software. However, Phil Hawkes had joined the Company just before me, so the longer-term plan was to market our own software.
“It’s been an amazing 40 years with so many highlights. One from the early days being we sold six systems as a result of an exhibition we held at The Lord Hill Hotel in Shrewsbury. All of the business in that era was created by cold calling on patch and there’s no better feeling than making a sale after you knocked on the door a few weeks or months before. A notable customer created by this method was Plastics Plus. Neil and I were cold calling on companies in Wolverhampton when we were welcomed into the office (not always the case!) by the father and son owners, resulting in a deal just a few weeks later.
“Many of the sales had huge benefits in terms of revenue, but they also enhanced our reputation in particular markets, making it easier to get further sales. A great example was Hayley Group, a multi-branch bearings stockist with a Halesowen Head Office. The FD there facilitated dozens of potential customer visits for me, whereby he raved about how good we were, normally resulting in another deal. It did help that he was a fellow West Bromwich Albion fan!
“Other memorable deals were FSW, BAPP, U Group and Beaumanor. Plus, THS Tools Group who really cemented our reputation in buying groups.
“Of real satisfaction to me now, is that we’re building a great sales team to ensure the long term future of OGL Software. Profit4 is such an excellent product, getting better as the months go by, and I just wish I’d had it decades ago!
“Profit4 has enabled us to sell in a totally different way. Pre Covid, I never would have thought we could sell a system exclusively online. However, the lockdown changed all that and it’s now our standard and preferred method. Much better than leaving at 5.00am to drive to the North East!
“I’d like to finish with a personal thank you to all my colleagues within the business. A successful sale is totally reliant on great software and professional installation, training and project management, all followed by excellent after-sale support. Many of you have gone above and beyond for me over the years, so a heartfelt ‘thank you’.”
Kev’s manager, Claire Jones had this to say: “Congratulations Kevin on your 40th anniversary with the company. I have known you for just over half that time and what a pleasure it is, and has been, working with you; your smile and positive energy is infectious, and I can’t talk highly enough about your significant contribution to the success of the Software company, the sales teams and supporting me personally. We are all incredibly proud of your achievement and join the whole company in celebrating you, and your anniversary – we love you Kev!”
Neil Morris, Director commented: “Kevin has been the most successful new business salesperson in the history of the Company. There are no other candidates who come close to such an accolade. How refreshing in a world of sales ‘job hoppers’ to have such a hard-working, dedicated and loyal member of the team. Over his 40 years, Kevin has seen the highs and lows of the fortunes of the business, yet through it all he’s remained positive, enthusiastic and absolutely focused on the cause – selling systems to new customers.
“In the early years I spent significant time with Kevin. We had such an enjoyable time knocking on doors, carrying out appointments and demonstrations, presenting at exhibitions, yet always finding time for a bacon sandwich at a transport café (we knew them all) or a pancake at a Little Chef!
“We had a great affinity for Shropshire and we were highly successful there, particularly in Shrewsbury. I don’t know why we chose the song, but we had a routine whereby if we’d got an order, on the way home in the car we’d slot in the music tape cassette and sing along to the Roxy Music version of Jealous Guy. The cassette tape got worn out and is long gone, but I’m sure Kevin will oblige if you ask him for a rendition.
“Newcomers to the business may not know that several years ago we were the UK’s number one in Surface Treatment Software (developed by Andrew Davies) and, alongside his stockist/distributor deals, Kevin signed some significant orders in this marketplace. This niche market included platers, polishers, anodisers, powder coaters and heat treatment companies. Many of the offices in these places were in the factory and often dirty and for simplicity they usually had long life sterilised milk in a tall bottle, which was often sniffed at with the statement ‘I think this is OK’. And so became Kevin’s and my lifelong love of black coffee!
“Those of you who have worked with Kevin will know that he isn’t just a totally professional salesman who sets a great example to other members of the team, but he’s also a lovely man and wonderful ambassador for the Company. I am proud to have him as a colleague and a friend.
“Kevin – thank you so much for your outstanding contribution to the success of our Company.”