Problem-solving mindset at the core of sales work

Jujo sells specialty papers globally, and our sales operates in Kauttua in the same premises as our paper mill. Our sales team consists of sales managers and market supervisors. Each sales manager is responsible for his/her own market area and customer base. The sales work is done either directly with the customers or with the help of local agents.

Markku Kukkonen is one of our sales managers. He is responsible for customers from Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands and Morocco, for instance.

”I have made the majority of my career within the paper industry. I have taken on new work tasks with an open mind and been able to see the paper industry diversely. I have operated internationally with sales and marketing tasks within the paper industry in several different product segments both in Finland and abroad. I graduated from the university with a degree in biology and continued my studies by executing a degree within the international forest industry. Since finishing my studies, I have worked with sales tasks in the paper industry for more than 20 years.

My workdays consist of communicating with customers and coordinating and supporting our market supervisors and agent operations. In practice the workdays include both company internal meetings and customer meetings. My business trips mainly consist of customer visits. I believe the most important skills in the sales work are the ability to make initiatives and offer solutions. Emotional intelligence has also been useful in changing situations. Good motivation and the right attitude to learn new things take you far. For me, the right attitude was helpful when I learned to speak Spanish during my secondment in Spain.

The major part of Jujo’s sales goes for export markets, so language skills are needed. Apart from Spanish, I speak German and English with my customers. This way, my language skills do not fade. The core of sales work is, according to my opinion, the same regardless of line of business or product: the customer has a need to which I must find the best solution. To be able to offer the best insight, it is important to know the customer’s value chain.

The biggest change in the work of the early years of my career compared with my work today is in the ways work is done. Digitalization has made work and customer service more efficient. The number of face-to-face customer meetings has decreased, but their significance has not disappeared, quite the opposite.

Even though Jujo is not the biggest producer of thermal paper on the market, we have the spirit of a global company as we are part of the Japanese Nippon Paper Group. Hence, Finnish and Japanese operation modes are easily combined at Jujo. The paper production has long traditions in Kauttua, and our operations are very international today.

Thermal paper is still a rising segment. The global consumption of thermal paper is still growing unlike that of many other paper types. Naturally, the changes in demand and consumption vary between end user applications and countries. Paper is produced mainly from renewable raw materials, which is a benefit compared to many other materials. In Finland, the forests are maintained sustainably. This is important not only because they are a source of renewable raw materials, but also because the forests are the world’s lungs. The Finnish forestry know-how is outstanding, which enables continual development of the fiber refining industry and helps to maintain the global carbon balance. I believe that paper is the material of the future and that we will still witness several new end applications. I find it interesting to follow what new opportunities nanotechnology, among others, brings when it comes to wood fiber use as raw material.”

"I believe the most important skills in the sales work are the ability to make initiatives and offer solutions," Markku says.

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