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Interview with Jeroen in den Bosch – Field Sales Executive, Quay to Quay – Rotterdam Office

Field Sales Executive, Quay to Quay – Focus on what the client is doing, now and in the future.
Interview with Jeroen in den Bosch – Field Sales Executive, Quay to Quay – Rotterdam Office

Focus on what the client is doing, now and in the future.

Samskip ships tonnes and tonnes of containers throughout the world, and companies can buy space in those containers. Many people in the Samskip Sales department, work hard on selling this
container space. A fun and interesting job, thinks Jeroen in den Bosch (26), who goes by the title ‘Field Sales Executive, Quay to Quay,’ but he himself has a slightly different role. His task is to sell the space on the ships themselves, without the containers. That means his clients are generally transport companies who are seeking to expand or improve their current routes.

So, how do you do that?
‘I often visit potential clients. Either one of my colleagues or I will have developed an interest in a company, and after some research, decide whether they are worth pursuing. I first investigate if we have already had contact with them, and if that is the case, I build further on that information. I also check if I can reach out to relevant people in that company to make an appointment and bring Samskip under their attention. It is also very important to make sure that I know the key data of the company. If I am unprepared, I am wasting both their time and mine, and I will not make a very good impression. I think that I am generally welcome to come and talk with companies because I approach them well-prepared and with no strings attached.’

Does that mean a lot of travel?
‘Of course it does, I am on the road for a few days per week. But I do not live a hotel life. I do spend the night sometimes, but I generally can make it to and from a client in one day. Many of my clients are in Germany for example, and to visit them it often takes just one very long drive —it is not always as adventurous as it sounds.’

When you have secured a seat at the table, is your mind set on closing a deal?
‘Actually, no. I am adamant about that. People might think it works that way, but I firmly believe that would be counterproductive. I do not start off with a presentation about our products, either. I like to just talk to the client and hear what their current structures and future wishes are. Then, it comes down to thinking on my feet and coming up with all the relevant services Samskip could offer them. In doing this, I try to be creative. Sometimes I will even try and see if we can create an option that is tailor-made for their company.

If you focus on the product, you might have good sales in the short term. But in the long run, you are not so interesting to the client. I prefer to see the business we are doing as a partnership between me and the client. If they are happy about it, they might want to expand their business with us in the future.’

Are you always on the hunt for new clients?
‘Of course I am always on the lookout for potential clients. But no, I do not spend all my time on that. I think it is really important to make sure that our current clients are happy with us. So, together with the account managers, I trace the clients I brought in through our company. I want to be sure that the clients know that in the unlikely event of something going wrong, they can always call me.

This tracing is also important for getting information on where there is room for expansion. If I see opportunities for us to offer more services to them, I can contact them again and discuss.

One really fun part of maintaining these contacts is taking my clients for terminal visits. Not only do I like to watch my clients faces when they see the Samskip infrastructure, but I am also always
impressed.’

With this approach to sales, your deals are probably not done quickly, right? How do you feel about that?
‘No, they are not. But that is fine with me. It might even take months or years of keeping each other up-to-date before a client sees Samskip as the best solution for a specific mission. And that could be big, sustainable business for a longer period of time. So, it is worth the investment.’

How did you end up working for Samskip?
‘I have always been interested in logistics, so that is what I studied. In school, my teachers often joked that I should pursue a career in Sales, I was always able to talk my grades a bit up. I can be quite convincing, and they appreciated that. So, working in both sales and logistics has been a natural choice for me.

I had three years of work experience with another company before I moved on to Samskip at the start of 2019. In my previous position I learned a lot, but it got to the point where there was just no
more room for development. So, I started to look around from there. But, my choice to move to Samskip was not made on an impulse. I had several conversations with people within the company. I wanted to be sure that they would offer me a career perspective that suited me. I also wanted to get a feeling of what the atmosphere was like — if I would fit in, if I would like it. That was a big “yes” to all of my questions.

What I really like about this company is that you get a lot of freedom to do what you think is right. We have a system where you track who you have been in contact with and what came out of it. And of course, I talk to my colleagues about the best ways to approach clients or other parts of my job all the time. But in the end, I can make my own decisions and get a lot of trust. And I like that. That makes my job all the more interesting.’