March 3, 2020

Sales engineers at Adven: Interesting responsibilities right from the start of our careers

At Adven, sales engineers are offered the opportunity to take an ample amount of responsibility early on in their career and to be closely involved in sales projects throughout the process. Since Adven sells energy and water solutions as a service, there often is no ready-made solution to customers’ challenges. The solution is built together with the customer, based on their specific situation. Farid Mountassir and Veli Malinen want to become sales managers, and as sales engineers they are learning the ropes for their future role.

Sales Engineers, Farid Mountassir and Veli Malinen

Sales engineers Farid Mountassir and Veli Malinen work on Adven’s Finnish sales team, which comprises the sales director, five sales managers, sales engineers and an assistant. It is Mountassir’s and Malinen’s job to initiate the sales process.

“We contact potential customers, create an overall picture of the customer’s situation together with the sales managers and try to find out how Adven could help them. Once we get on the same page with the customer, the concept development team continues with developing the ideal solution for the customer,” Mountassir and Malinen say.

There are not necessarily any ready-made models based on which the customer solution could be put together. In solution sales, the right option must always be sought on a case-by-case basis. The concept development team in charge of technical concept works closely together with the sales team throughout the sales project. Sales projects are long, lasting from six months to several years and it takes a real team play to get the puzzles together.

Interest in the subject and a desire to learn

Both Mountassir and Malinen have a Master’s Degree of Science in Engineering.

“An education in the field of energy, for example process engineering or energy technology, is an excellent foundation. Sales work involves a lot of conversation about technical matters, and it’s difficult to sell different solutions if you don’t understand them,” Mountassir says.

However, a master’s degree in energy technology or a strict technological orientation is not an absolute must. What matters most is an interest in the subject and the continuous desire to learn more. In the actual sales work, salespeople are not expected to know every technical detail, as the planning and conceptualization of the technical solutions is the responsibility of the concept development team.

The ability and desire to learn are important also because sales work always involves considering the customer’s production processes as a whole. At the start of the collaboration, the sales team locates the bottlenecks in both energy production and in materials or water processing where we can bring added value through energy efficiency or closed cycles. Adven’s customer base is diverse, as the solutions can be applied across a wide array of industries. Each customer case is unique, so there is little risk of boredom setting in.

“People skills play an important role, as the majority of the work is done together with customers. Salespeople need to get along with everyone, from small-town municipal councils to the production directors of large listed companies,” Malinen says.

Sales manager as a career goal

Once the sales process has been initiated, the sales managers take it from there. They will be assisted by the sales engineers who will also participate in negotiations as the process goes ahead.

“As experience builds up, the level of responsibility also increases. We start with smaller cases and move on to more demanding ones. Responsibilities grow over time and we get to independently head smaller projects from start to finish. Another great aspect of this work is that we can also participate in many other areas, such as acquisitions. My ambition is to become a sales manager and I’m building up a wealth of experience to help me get there,” Mountassir says.

“It feels great to see your own sales case lead to the closing. I still remember my first sales case from last spring: it was an agreement with the local district heating company, where we are responsible for the bio-boiler plant investment and operation of the plant. I was in charge of the process from start to finish,” Malinen says.

Interested in a career as a sales engineer at Adven?

Read also: Sales work at Adven equals creating value for the customer and challenging oneself

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Adven is the leading provider of energy and water services across the Nordic and Baltic countries.