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The task of the Sales Department is to recognise sales opportunities, win over customers and ultimately close the deal. Within Moba, our Sales Managers have the most contact with customers and they have to understand what truly motivates them. Paul de Schouwer joined Moba as a Sales Manager and in 2004 he took over responsibility for the department as Sales Director.
Paul has seen Moba change quite a lot since he joined the company back in 1995. Especially his Sales Department. “Around 20 years ago, all our Sales employees worked at the headquarters in Barneveld. We flew from the Netherlands to China, Brazil, or Russia depending on which customer needed us. We have slowly changed that way of working. Over the years, Moba has become increasingly global with offices all around the world. As a world leader, we have to be where our customers need us to be. That is impossible if everyone from our Sales team is based in the Netherlands. That is why we choose to have our own Sales, Service and Parts department at all of our global offices. This allows us to respond quickly when customers need us and, most importantly, we understand our customers better.”
Our portfolio has increased in recent years. Customers not only want an egg grading or packing machine, they also need a top lidder, case packer and palletisers.
Moba has completely changed over the past 20 years and now has a worldwide presence, but this also presents another challenge according to Paul: “Communication within the department has changed completely. Previously, all our Sales employees were here in Barneveld and we were able to exchange knowledge face-to-face. Now, our Sales team is spread all over the world. That makes it more difficult in terms of communication. Fortunately, the technology that exists today makes this process easier. It is of vital importance that our Sales employees have the latest information about our equipment, technologies and innovations. They need to know every single detail.”
It is no easy task for Paul to ensure that his Sales team stays up-to-date. “Our portfolio has increased in recent years. Customers not only want an egg grading or packing machine, they also need a top lidder, case packer and palletisers. Projects have become larger and more complex. So it is all the more important that all our Sales employees know everything about our latest technologies and innovations. You want to be able to answer all the customers’ questions immediately. Our Sales employees need to have that information at their fingertips.”
Our presence around the globe ensures we are more reliable for our customers. They can really count on us.
A total of 25 Sales employees work at the global Moba offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Japan, Malaysia, United States and Dubai. Some of these are people from the Netherlands working abroad, but mostly they are from that country: a Japanese Sales Manager in Japan, an English Sales Manager in the United Kingdom, an American in the United States and so on. So we not only speak the same language as our customers, we truly understand their needs, culture and the market changes in these countries. That is paramount according to Paul: “Our presence around the globe ensures we are more reliable for our customers. They can really count on us. And we can also think proactively about solutions because we know exactly what is going on in the market.”
There are five Sales Managers still working at the head office in Barneveld. Sales Support, which is responsible for system engineering, layout design and counterparts, is also located in Barneveld. There are about 20 people who are there to support our Sales Managers. They are of vital importance in ensuring that customer requirements are met in full.
Everyone has their own angle and it is important that a Sales Manager empathises with that. That is truly the key to a successful sale.
Closing the deal
How do you convince a potential customer to take this journey in the egg industry together with Moba? According to Paul, it is all about truly listening to the needs of the customer. “You have to understand that every customer is unique. A customer from Germany has different needs than a customer from Africa. And a long-time Moba customer will have different questions when choosing new equipment than a new customer who is searching for his or her first egg grading machine. As a Sales Manager, it is essential to understand the differences between customers and make sure that you speak the same language. I don’t just mean speaking Japanese to someone from Japan; if you are talking to the Head of Engineering you may need to speak more about the technology but someone from the Finance Department has no interest in the technology and wants to know more about profits. Everyone has their own angle and it is important that a Sales Manager empathises with that. That is truly the key to a successful sale.”
That sounds easy enough, but it is certainly not according to Paul: “The trick is to come up with the best solution together with the customer. And that solution is different for every customer. It is therefore essential that our people really know our customers and the market. Without this knowledge, sales will never be a success. We have to get a clear picture of what the customer needs from us and it is up to us to ensure that all these requirements can be achieved. You can’t just tell the customer what he or she should do. It is a journey that we have to take together to reach the best possible outcome.”
If you buy a bicycle and you don’t like it, you can buy another bike a year later. You can’t do that with an egg grading machine. If the equipment can’t meet the customer’s expectations, you have a serious problem. That is why the process prior to the sale is essential.
An egg grading machine is a huge investment so it takes time before a final decision is made. It is an investment for the long haul. Paul explains: “If you buy a bicycle and you don’t like it, you can buy another bike a year later. You can’t do that with an egg grading machine. If the equipment can’t meet the customer’s expectations, you have a serious problem. That is why the process prior to the sale is essential. Customers need equipment that takes their company to the next level. And it is our job to work with the customer so see how Moba can help with that.”
The market, and with it the needs of our customers, is continually changing according to Paul. “Where customers first looked to improve the quality of their product, then wanted higher capacity, it is now noticeable that automation is the new trend. It does not matter which country your company is located in, all our customers have trouble finding enough employees for the work. There is a clear desire to do the same job with less manpower, therefore robotics will become increasingly important. Moba was one step ahead of this movement and our customers can choose among many total solutions in our portfolio. This is where the future will take us: continued machine efficiency with minimal manpower.”
Moba’s ultimate goal is to build a long-term relationship with its customers. Paul: “To achieve that, it is all about the team. Of course, my department has the most contact with customers. They visit their plants and offices and understand the needs of the market. It is important that we make a great first impression. That we deliver everything our customers need. Ensuring our equipment meets all the customer’s expectations is the responsibility of our R&D, Operations and PdM Departments. And following installation, it is the job of our Service Department to ensure that any problems our customers might encounter are fixed. Only if all the departments succeed in making the customer happy will they keep coming back to Moba.”