A Sales Manager needs sharp ears and good training shoes

Sales Manager Janne Kosola serves Tasowheel’s paper industry customers with an athlete’s mentality and the patience of a gourmet chef.

Janne Kosola has had a busy week. A long tender process finally ended – and not that well. Still, the optimistic sales manager has already spotted the bright side and made a note to self for future.

You don’t always succeed after trying your hardest, but even a setback can turn out well if you take it as an opportunity to learn, Janne reflects.

Recently, Janne and his customers – paper and board manufacturers from all over the world – have been navigating uncertain waters. The order books are full, but the global component and raw material shortage with the escalating costs disrupt businesses. Yet, it was the possibility to stand by customers and solve their challenges that drew Janne to Tasowheel in the first place. He wanted to use his versatile experience in the paper industry to the benefit of the customers.

I have a good and deep insight of the manufacturing process and how to improve it with automation. I can instantly say if there is something wrong with profiling and how to correct it.

For the customer, the insight turns into direct savings in raw materials and energy, as well as to better quality and a more efficient process.

Before onboarding in November, Janne knew from experience that Tasowheel makes good and durable products – “better than those of competitors”. Still, the width of the product selection surprised him.

Our own production is a real strength: we can make different variants of a single device and meet the customer-specific modification needs.

Another surprise related to the rich and diverse job field.

I didn’t expect to have my own spot with sharp borderlines, but it was a positive surprise to get involved in so many different projects, R&D, lifecycle management, marketing – I am even allowed to make coffee, Janne laughs.

He has always loved the variety in the everyday, as sticking to routines would only kill creativity. At Tasowheel, variety is calm and positive, not the constant stormy chaos it could mean in big companies.

There are occasional storms here, too, but we can see the forecast and prepare.

With customers, active listening is the key to avoiding storms and to better understanding.

It is important to listen carefully, even when chatting this and that. Instead of getting fast to the point, I look curiously for any pieces of information that help me better serve the customer.

Another great asset is a good pair of training shoes. Sometimes, customer satisfaction may require more extreme measures – like running ten kilometers. This happened once in Germany, where an athletic customer invited Janne to a running event.

I beat my 10K record pretty easily thanks to good company!

Today, Janne runs even without customer pressure; the fascination for the old hobby was rekindled on another special business trip.

I was visiting a labyrinthine factory and hardly managed to keep up with my colleague in the hundreds of stairs. That’s when I decided to start exercising again.

According to Janne, a good run is the best way to stimulate the brain and entice creativity back.

Running lets your mind go blank first and then fills it with new ideas.

However, not all new ideas are channeled to serve customers but to pamper family. Inspired by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s scientific approach to cooking, Janne loves to combine chemistry, engineering, and gastronomy.

I like to prepare slow food and visually appealing meals. Believe it or not, but food appearance affects how it tastes.

Everyday meals make no exception. Janne’s family loves his cooking but doesn’t always appreciate the long waiting. Even spaghetti bolognese “chez Janne” is not a quick and easy choice like in many households, but it can take up to three days to cook the sauce.