A behind the scenes look at the Sales department

Advising customers in plant-based assortiment

With or without added iron? Peanut-free, lactose-free? Low-fat content? What is the ideal weight of a burger? Hospital, institution, prison, school and company canteen; a product has to be widely applicable, albeit with specific requirements. The briefing is clear and you are aware of the product requirements, so a ready-made product is not enough. You want a customised product with guaranteed good quality and reliable deliveries.

At Schouten, we ensure that customers and products are suitably matched. Gijs Klaassen has worked at Schouten as International Sales Manager since December 2019. “My role is to function as the link between internal and external. The sales department is responsible for contacts with the customer. And internally, together with the project managers, we ensure that customer projects run smoothly and according to schedule.”

Our objective? To safeguard the customer’s interests but also to explain to the customer how we envisage collaborating with them at Schouten.

Gijs Klaassen – International Sales Manager Schouten

We do everything in our power to take the burden off our customers’ shoulders

“I think it’s great to work for a family business with such a high level of commitment to a close and honest collaboration with the customer. It is also fantastic to show innovations to your customer and to conquer the market together. It is always an honour to get to know a potential new customer and to discuss what a possible collaboration may look like. The customer may opt for an existing product, or we can develop a tailor-made product together with them.”

Product development

“I am very excited that out R&D team has grown. In fact, our ‘Tailor-Made’ R&D Team works full-time on customer-specific requests. Its aim is to develop the best burger or the juiciest sausage, that fully meets the requirements of our customers.”

Picking up trends within the various channels

“I monitor the market, keep my knowledge up-to-date and identify trends and market opportunities to suit our clients, so that we can grow together. I am encouraged in this by Marketing, and our ‘Research & Innovation’ R&D Team ensures that I am always able to offer our customers suitable innovations.”

I guarantee long-term collaboration and seize opportunities for new concepts and developments.

GIJS KLAASSEN – INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER SCHOUTEN

Best price/quality ratio

“I always try to radiate the warmth of our company and conduct myself in accordance with our norms and values. I ask for feedback to find out how this is perceived and will make adjustments and improvements where necessary. This way I always safeguard the quality requirements of both Schouten and the customer.”

The pivot between the customer and our own team

“An important challenge to me is to continuously present ourselves as pioneers and innovators. This can only be achieved because we work together as a company, both internally and with the customer. This is necessary in order to accelerate together with the customer. The market is out there, but together we have to give it our all to continue growing!”

“That’s why I like short communication lines between our customers’ various departments and Schouten. Everything runs faster and smoother when the communication lines are clear. My role is to ensure that they are and will continue to be. In order to do this properly, you have to know what is going on in our own departments, that’s why I try and pop in or phone them regularly. Fortunately, I can also keep abreast of the general information that is shared by management or other departments.”

Norms and values change from country to country

“Do I come across a lot of cultural differences? It depends on the country. Norms and values are important, of course, for knowing how and when you communicate with a customer. What is appropriate and what is appreciated? This often differs from one company to another. However, I usually find my feet fairly quickly.”

I would be delighted if the customer sees us as a partner for mutual long-term success.

GIJS KLAASSEN – INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER SCHOUTEN

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