AnneKristiinaAnne Kristiina Lawson, Account Manager with Thomson Reuters, Legal
What made you go into the industry sector you work in?
I was recruited by Reuters in 2003 to work in the financial information services sector in London, using my languages and covering the Nordic countries as well as the UK. I have worked with information services and solutions sales since then, and in 2010 made an internal move from financial markets information to our legal information segment, in conjunction with a family relocation to Cheshire.
Why did you choose a sales career?
I progressed to sales from a customer advisor position, followed by a senior customer training role, based at one of the large investment banks in London. It was a natural move as I was already managing customer relations, and the sales aspect was a natural next step for me. I am probably not your typical sales person, I like to think of myself as a sociable introvert rather than your typical sales extrovert but they way I approach things seems to work. I believe in honesty, being customer centric and consultative in approach. My deals are not usually quick wins but long-term commitments on both sides.
How often does your company hold sales or target-setting meetings?
We have weekly team meetings where we go through our pipeline, sales figures, client feedback, etc. On a quarterly basis we have one to ones with our sales manager, and also larger, department wide meetings where we go through any major recent developments, product enhancements, etc. Twice a year we have a sales conference that the whole sales and marketing team attends.
What sets your employer apart from the rest?
Thomson Reuters is a truly global company with a number of market leading brands in all the sectors we operate in, be it editorial, financial and risk, global growth and operations, legal, media, IP and science, or tax and accounting. I am proud to work for such a well known and well respected company, and one of the best things about Thomson Reuters is the flexibility of working pattern, trust in individuals (we are not being hand held by our managers but trusted to work as professionals, the way we work best). Our results speak for themselves, and having this professional freedom and dealing with great brands means Thomson Reuters attracts the very best sales people out there.
Do you feel your company/industrial sector offers sufficient high-earning potential?
Definitely. It is all down to you as an individual of course, whether you make money or not, but the potential is there. If you have what customers need and want, and if you have a trusting relationship with them, you can be very successful, regardless of the markets or economy being against you at times.
What methods do you employ to help your motivation to reach performance goals?
I am good at motivating myself. As I said earlier, I work very independently, from my home office most of the time, and if I wasn’t able to motivate myself, I would be probably watching TV all day as no one is watching over my shoulder to tell me how to go about my daily routine. I am very organised, being a typical virgo, and I book my meetings well in advance and always work a few months ahead of where I want and need to be. I get motivated by customers, meeting and discussing with them really drives me. When I can deliver value to my customers, and make their lives easier by providing them with a solution, I am happy.
What do you see as the main key to successful sales?
Being yourself, being someone your customers can trust and relate to. Someone who understands what their challenges are, what drives them and what they need to achieve their objectives, whatever they may be.
What was the most useful sales training/experience you have had?
I had attended numerous sales courses, mainly internally within Thomson Reuters, and I have taken something away from all of them. The best ones are usually the ones in which you learn about the psychology of selling, what makes people make buying decisions and how you can affect this process as a sales professional.
Who has been your biggest influencer and why?
I look up to strong characters that have succeeded in their career by hard work and personal commitment, be it in sales, marketing, music or sports. I guess my eldest brother Ari Huczkowski is someone who makes me want to perform better, and someone I look up to. He has made himself a great career in my native Finland, working as CEO of Otaniemi Marketing. People say we are very similar in character and I hope one day I will end up as CEO of an organisation as well!
What is the most memorable sale you have ever made?
I worked with two very large global telecoms companies and got a three-year deal signed with them both, replacing the competitor solutions they had relied on until then. This was one of the biggest sales ever made in my team and I got lots of praise for it, both from our happy customers as well as our company management.
What’s the funniest sales situation you can share with SI?
I am not sure if this is funny per se, maybe more on the embarrassing side, but I went to visit a new prospect client for the first time, with a view to try to replace their current information solution with ours. I walked into the meeting room, greeted the senior manager and then got an uncontrollable coughing fit that lasted for minutes. It is safe to say, the meeting did not start in the best possible way but I must have done something right by the end of the meetings because, this client, not only left the competitor but signed a three-year information solution agreement with us a few months later.
What is the best part and worst part of your job?
The best part, by far, is meeting with my customers across the region. This is what motivates me and makes the job meaningful. The worst part is driving sometimes far too many miles a month on rainy motorways to get to the client meetings, getting stuck in traffic jams and occasionally I miss the social aspect of working in an office environment. However, you can’t have everything and I think the flexibility and freedom I have more than make up for the lack of banter in the office with colleagues. I suppose, in the ideal world, you could have both.
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