Interview with David
David has already been working at Soloplan for several years now. In the following, he will tell us about how he started working at Soloplan, what his everyday work looks like and what he likes most about it.
Hi David, thank you for taking the time for a short interview. Why don’t you tell us a bit about your start at Soloplan?
Back then, I discovered Soloplan through my school. They were displaying flyers there, and the Allgäu apprenticeship fair also took place at the school I went to. That is where I had my first contact with Soloplan. Not much later, I started my apprenticeship as a management assistant in IT systems at Soloplan. I have been working here for almost exactly eight years now. Back then, I was open for many different career paths. For that reason, I asked the HR department to let me spend half a year of my apprenticeship in the sales department. During that time, I first came into contact with my current job and realised that I enjoyed it and that it was a possible option for the future.
What is your job in the sales department now and what do your tasks look like?
My job title is “Area Sales Manager”. I am responsible for the eastern sales area, which includes eastern Germany and the Czech Republic. Acquiring new customers and supporting existing customers are probably my most important activities. Acquiring new customers mainly means holding presentations in front of potential customers. Supporting existing customers, as the name implies, principally involves consultation after the conclusion of a contract. Our after sales manager supports me with this.
When I am in the back office, I am usually preparing for and following up on field-service activities. For example, that is when I plan my work weeks with all field-service appointments. These appointments require a lot of preparation, since the presentations always need to be fitted to match the customers and potential customers as well as possible. In field service, the appointments I mentioned take place. In this context, what I appreciate greatly is personal contact.
Which qualities does a sales representative at Soloplan need and which six adjectives would you use to describe the sales team?
Above all else, self-motivation is key. Things do not always go perfectly; there are also difficult phases where there are fewer projects to assist with or fewer potential customers to consult. The appointments and projects do not simply appear; you need to work for them. In field service, flexibility and willingness to travel are also a plus. Every now and then, potential customers will ask for a consultation appointment in the same week on short notice. Presentations in front of customers should not be a problem for a sales representative. If you have these qualities, you are perfectly suited for the sales department and will not struggle to enjoy your job. At least, that is how it is for me.
I would describe our sales team as helpful, self-confident, open, collaborative, ambitious and humorous.
What do you like most about your work and specifically about your sales area?
I very much appreciate having the opportunity to get to know so many different personalities and companies and to get to offer them added value. Another positive effect is that this allows Soloplan to grow and more companies learn about our software. Something I enjoy particularly is visiting a company again after some time has passed and seeing how much our software has helped them. I am a great fan of our references, in which we give a report on successful collaborations. However, it is special to me to see in person how a company has developed. It is nice to know you have made a difference in practice. Which is also reflected in our numerous reference reports.
To put it simply, what I enjoy in my sales area is having good appointments. For example, potential customers who are leaning towards switching their software. If you have a few appointments like this in a week, you know that you can make it a very productive week. Another few things I appreciate are how honest the people are, and the beautiful historic towns.
Do you have a special ritual before field-service appointments?
I always drive the same way to my sales area, which is why, after some time, I was able to pin down the service station with the best coffee. Since then, it has actually become more or less a ritual for me to stop there for coffee.
What do you place particular value on during an appointment with a potential customer?
Mutual appreciation is very important to me. Both parties invest valuable time into an appointment like this, which is why I am obligated to prepare for the potential customer to the best of my ability. Due to my time-consuming preparation and the presentation, I also want to experience a certain degree of appreciation. That makes presenting more fun and both parties win. But, of course, I also appreciate small things, for example being welcomed with coffee.
What makes CarLo® special for our customers?
Our users most frequently compliment the user-friendly UI and flexible use. There are many different transport areas, such as partial and full loads, bulk cargo, silo, and many more. For every area, you need different interfaces, order or planning masks. This is not a problem with our software CarLo®. CarLo® is configured in such a way that it is fully adapted to the customer’s requirements, without any programming. This in turn means that adjustments of that type do not necessarily need to be performed by Soloplan, but can be made directly by the customer. The cutting-edge technology allows customers to create their own masks and workflows.
What does your cooperation with our colleagues in Dresden look like?
I view colleagues from Dresden, other branch offices and our headquarters in Kempten as a unit. The communication is the same, except for the fact that you cannot quickly walk over to Dresden, but in this case simply need to pick up the phone or drive there. I also have an office at our branch office in Dresden, since I am in the area frequently. For that reason, I work from Dresden from time to time. For example, if I have appointments in my sales area on Monday and Wednesday, I can work from this office on Tuesday, which is very practical. There, I have a fixed workspace with two monitors, which allows me to be more productive that if I was working from a hotel, just to name an example. Thanks to the steady stream of communication, I maintain very good contact with our colleagues in Dresden.
What does a successful working day look like for you?
Every step forward and every tick on my checklist is a small success for me. For example, if I can start the next step of a project or if a potential customer would like a follow-up presentation, I consider a working day a success.
We wish you many more successful working days in the future. Thank you for the informative interview and the great insights into your work and Soloplan, David.