With more than a decade in the waste and recycling industry under his belt, Jason Banks, sales director for national accounts for Waste Management, has had a tremendous impact on the efficiency and growth in the national accounts business unit.
“[Jason’s] determination to treat every person, customer and situation fairly is one of his strongest qualities. Sometimes it is not always easy to do what is the right choice when there are so many pressures to hit budget, cut costs or meet certain expectations set in our roles,” says Lee Yaworski, territory manager for Waste Management. “Jason has always done what is right and fair, even though the short term might impact cost, profit or compensation a little. Because of this, he has a great reputation with his managers, coworkers, team members and customers.”
A 2016 and 2017 Circle of Excellence (COE) winner and 2017 Corporate Sales Leadership nominee with Waste Management, Banks cut his teeth in the waste and recycling business working with customers in the manufacturing and industrial segment, where he discovered how fascinating this industry can be.
Based in Windsor, Conn., Banks has made a name for himself at one of the largest waste companies in the U.S. He was honored with a 2018 Waste360 40 Under 40 award earlier this year, and he recently chatted with us about his career and selling the waste industry.
Waste360: How did you begin your career in the waste and recycling industry?
Jason Banks: Shortly after graduating college, I came across an opportunity to work for a local waste broker. Oakleaf Waste Management was based out of East Hartford, Conn., at the time, and I accepted a position as an assistant account manager.
I cut my teeth in the waste and recycling business working with customers in the manufacturing and industrial segment. In this role, I developed my hunger for knowledge. I discovered how fascinating this industry can be, and even after 10 years, I continue to learn new things every day. I never thought I would be a garbage man as a kid, but I am thankful for what Waste Management and this business has brought to my life.
Waste360: Describe your role as sales director for national accounts for Waste Management.
Jason Banks: In my current role as sales director for national accounts, I act as a strategic and functional leader of our food and retail sales segment. I coach and manage a team of program managers and national account managers. Our primary goal is to drive program value to all of our national account customers.
As a sales leader, it is my goal to grow existing client partnerships, while also driving new business growth to the enterprise. Utilizing a strategic approach and leveraging Waste Management’s endless resources is the key to success in both of these arenas.
Waste360: What do you consider your biggest achievement?
Jason Banks: Waste Management celebrates its top performing employees each year in what we call the Circle of Excellence. As a COE winner, you and a guest enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to a tropical paradise for five days. Less than 1 percent of the entire sales organization are chosen for this distinguished honor. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a COE winner each of the last two years. I must say that this trip is truly an experience of a lifetime, and it is certainly the greatest achievement of my career.
Waste360: What keeps you motivated in your work now and moving forward?
Jason Banks: What keeps me motivated in my work is the development of my team members. Helping to grow their skillset and being able to play a role in their career development is important to me. In addition to career development, I strive to continuously improve the way we provide program value to our customers. As our industry evolves, and the way we view the concept of waste evolves, it is important that young leaders remain motivated to be at the forefront and help drive our industry to the next level.
Waste360: How do you effectively build and maintain long-term customer relationships?
Jason Banks: Building and maintaining long-term customer relationships is a fairly simple concept to me. Delivering world-class customer service while evaluating the goals and initiatives the customer is working toward allows us to provide a valuable program that will help get them there. The days of the handshake salesman are over, in my opinion. Customers are looking for flawless service delivery and reliability from their knowledgeable account management team.
Waste360: What are some exciting opportunities that you see opening up within the industry?
Jason Banks: The industry as a whole is in the midst of a digital transformation. Whether it be in the truck, at the disposal facility or in the hands of the customer, technological advances in our industry will pave the way for many opportunities. I strongly believe that our industry and its employees will continue to become more efficient through information technology for many years to come. Through this transformation, many new and exciting opportunities will open up.
Waste360: How have you been able to remain a top performer in the market area, far exceeding sales and retention goals?
Jason Banks: I am no longer in the market area, as I have since accepted a new role within our national accounts business unit. However, the main reason as to why I was able to exceed sales and retention goals in the market area is because of my team. I led an amazing team of account managers in New England, and in that role is where I learned how to be a leader opposed to a boss. I will always be grateful for the lessons we were able to learn together.
Waste360: What advice do you have for someone who is looking to make a career for themselves in the waste and recycling industry?
Jason Banks: The best advice I could give would be to put yourself out there. There are so many different career paths within this industry, and I would encourage anyone to branch out and learn as much as they can. You tend to learn the most when you get outside of your comfort zone. Therefore, get uncomfortable and keep an open mind.
Waste360: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
Jason Banks: With two kids under the age of 3, my wife and I have our hands full. I cherish the moments spent with my family and love watching my kids grow. I am an avid golfer and enjoy playing baseball as well. I am a huge Red Sox fan, and on Sundays in the fall, you can catch me on my couch cheering for the New York Giants.