Readtime: 7 minutes


Martina on a job beyond clichés and pigeonholes

Dec 11, 2023 10:39:02 AM

Everyone knows it: The pigeonhole into which you are unintentionally put. People who work in sales, for example, usually have a huge workload, an even bigger mouth and gigantic Excel spreadsheets in their repertoire. This description actually applies to a good friend of mine who works in sales. But is there another way to be successful? Fortunately, I was able to pass the question on to my colleague Martina. As a Senior Solution Architect, she is an expert in selling solutions from the SAP world. You can find out here whether and which sales cliché she fulfills and what really matters in SAP presales.
Jochen: Hello Martina, I'm delighted that you've taken the time to talk to us today about SAP Presales.

Martina: Hi Jochen. Of course!

Jochen: Would you like to say a few words about your SAP career so that readers can put you in context?

Martina: I'm part of the SAP Presales team and my current focus is on acquiring new customers. I've been with All for One for more than six years and have been working in the SAP environment since 2012. My SAP career started directly in Presales as a Presales Coordinator and Solution Architect and I still have this role today. Before that, I spent many years at various non-SAP companies as an ERP consultant and presaler.

Martina, Senior Solution Architect in SAP Presales

Jochen: Can you describe a typical working day for you?

Martina: To be honest, there's really no such thing as a "typical working day" (laughs). Every day is organized differently and depends on the status of my current cases. That's exactly what makes my job so interesting, by the way. I learn something new every day.

Jochen: Okay, but there will still be a few routines, right?

Martina: Of course. I usually start by checking my emails and the team chat, then I plan my day according to the calendar. We have a team call once a week. That's where we catch up on current projects. We also use the call to agree how we can support each other if necessary. The rest of the process then depends entirely on the status of our own cases: I process or coordinate calls, organize workshops, prepare or conduct presentations. All of this is usually done in close technical and strategic coordination with colleagues from sales, consulting and other specialist departments who are involved in the respective presales project.

"The personal component for joint projects is incredibly important."

Jochen: Let's talk about one of your presales projects. Is there one that you still like to think back on today?

Martina: Well ... there are a few projects ... off the top of my head, I can think of one I completed at the beginning of 2022. We had a very good dialogue with the prospective customer right from the start, as well as with the selection consultancy that supported the company in selecting the system - you have to deal with them a lot in presales too ...

Jochen: So consultants advise customers who are advised by consultants - sounds good!

Martina: Yes, that's also part of it sometimes ;-) Thanks to the early, intensive and sustained contact with the interested party, the requirements and expectations in this project could be comprehensively harmonised and specifically addressed in the presentations and workshops. All these coordination meetings are very much about getting to know each other and building trust. A prospective customer wants to know whether All for One is the right partner for them. Ultimately, decisions are always based on gut instinct and the personal component is incredibly important for joint projects.

Jochen: It's certainly not always a no-brainer. Do you have a strategy for difficult customer meetings?

Martina: Stay objective. From my point of view, it always comes down to entering into dialogue as early and openly as possible. Understanding what really drives the other person or what they are afraid of and worried about. Also important: try not to take criticism or difficult behaviour personally. For me, open and honest communication is one of the most important elements of presales. And yes, it is part of the process to cancel a case if fundamental topics and ideas simply cannot be agreed.


Jochen: I've learnt that there are different types of salespeople: the rank plotters, the networkers, the unorthodox, the solution seekers, the smart ones (more on this here). Do you see yourself in one of these "pigeonholes"?

Martina: I would definitely say "the smart ones". And then you can add "solution seeker" to that. Basically, it's important to have parts of all the characteristics and to use the one that best serves the current situation in each individual case. Solution-orientation and a willingness to communicate directly and openly are very important.

Listening, enquiring, questioning and always being prepared to deal with new topics and learn new things. In my view, all of this is absolutely part of the job.

Jochen: Where there are pigeonholes, clichés for sales staff can't be far away. Talking until the doctor comes, fighting Excel battles for hours on end, working according to a standardised scheme (more on this here) ... do you fulfil a typical salesperson cliché? 

Martina: Well, I've already said something about "scheme F". That doesn't exist with us. And I can't claim the other clichés for myself or my colleagues either. In fact, that wouldn't help either. Just hour-long Excel battles ... yes, they do happen from time to time (laughs). I've also worked on tenders with 
 6,000 lines and create very extensive calculations. And to be honest, that's always fun too.

Jochen: Let's talk about your team: What buzzwords come to mind?

Martina: Cohesion, mutual support, openness, honesty, team spirit. We are always there for each other.  We cover for each other if someone is ill. I can call my colleagues at any time if I need to be pulled out of a mental rut, for example, or if something isn't working in the system.


Jochen: Sounds good! And how do you perceive the All for One Group as an employer overall?

Martina: I find All for One to be more employee-friendly than average. To name a few examples: There are 31 days' holiday, the opportunity to work from home, Wellpass and a job bike. I also have the option of working part-time without any problems. The fact that I have a 4-day week is not only accepted on paper, but also in the assignment of tasks. And if I do end up working five days, I can easily make up the time. This is still far from being the norm everywhere - especially in my working environment.

Jochen: I can only confirm your experience with the 4-day week. I think it's great that it's not a big issue for us. But are there also things where you see room for improvement?

Martina: A modern mobility scheme that also offers charging stations at all locations, for example, would be nice. I would also love to see a broad and balanced range of lunch options, like we already have at the Munich site. And last but not least, I would like to see a motivation boost for all employees to come to the office more often again.

Jochen: Makes sense! Especially in view of our values, which also depend on togetherness. Speaking of values: is there one that is particularly close to your heart?

Martina: 1000% Respectful Communication! In my view, this is the basis for achieving success together as a team and with prospective and existing customers, but also with partners, and also for dealing with difficult prospective customers. 

Jochen: Thank you very much for the exciting insights, Martina!


Do you have questions for Martina? Then simply connect with her on LinkedIn ;-)


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