In Focus

“Encouraging women to work in technical sales” – Jeannine Dittrich shows the way

“Encouraging women to work in technical sales” – Jeannine Dittrich shows the way

It all started back in 2011 with a job as a lab assistant at Klüber Lubrication: Since January 1st, 2019 Jeannine Dittrich is now an account manager, a member of the automotive field sales team at Klüber Lubrication Deutschland – the first woman to work in this kind of job.

This is 2019. A woman working in an engineering job – does such news still make it to the headlines?
In technical professions, women are still regrettably under-represented. The reactions I got showed me that a woman working as an account manager in an engineering context is anything but a normal sight. If this interview can encourage more women to seek a position in technical field sales, I would be very happy.

Long business trips, staying in hotels… How can field sales work be reconciled with family life?
Our lives can change. In order to make field sales work manageable also to employees taking care of children or other family members, Klüber Lubrication Deutschland has introduced the "Hotspots" concept. A "Hotspot" is a sales area that is not too large geographically. This means shorter business trips and hence better compatibility with family life and the job.

What was your motivation to take up work as an account manager?
My most recent job was in Technical Service. It involved responding to customers' inquiries and providing advice on our products. My expertise in the fields of chemistry and in particular tribology have been essential in my job. As an account manager, I can now work together with customers even more closely. I am with our customers, from determining exactly what they need, to the application of our solution in the application concerned.

What are your new tasks? What are your working days going to look like?
I will be working with our existing customers and show them what can be done.
But I also want to "land" new projects in order to expand our business.
My working days are going to entail meetings with customers, price negotiations and the generation of call reports. 

How did you prepare yourself for the new job?
I have already visited several customers and took part in field sales team meetings while still in my old job. Since I knew which customers I was going to work with, I began studying their performance, issues and tribo-systems already at that stage. I also found my colleague Christopher Gleixner, Account Manager Automotive, to be an experienced mentor who actively supports me.   

What's your recipe for success in the new role?
I do not think there is a definite recipe. What is important is decency, assertiveness and a good deal of empathy. I can only inspire enthusiasm about our products if I am convinced myself.
I am not worried by the prospect of entering new territory and if something does not work out as planned, I will just try again.

Digitalisation has changed customers' behaviour. They obtain information on products and services long before actively contacting a supplier. Through likes, they give away their interests and habits. What does that mean for Sales?
Offline and online sales meanwhile go hand in hand. Sales people need to be active on social media and fully utilise their potential. It is important to carefully maintain and extend one's personal network by joining relevant groups, getting in touch with individual contacts or sharing and liking corporate posts. We must focus on getting customers' attention online, and then convincing them with our know-how offline.
 

About Jeannine Dittrich

Having been trained as a chemical lab assistant and with her work experience from the Technical Service Center, Jeannine Dittrich not only knows all about our lubricants' performance capabilities, but about their chemical composition as well. This makes her a highly competent expert on a par with any customer.
Jeannine Dittrich pursues high-flying goals also in her private life. In her leisure time, you can often meet her making for the tops of the mountains.