Let’s meet Robin Michiels, our new sales and business developer. His experience gained at ABB, Fabricom and Elia enables him to further develop Hammer-IMS sales operations across Europe. Welcome Robin! He introduces himself in the interview below.
Just recently, Robin Michiels joined Hammer-IMS as sales & business developer. The company is growing steadily and he is taking part in reaching out commercially across Europe. This fits in the expansion plans as Hammer-IMS is being embraced by producers of nonwovens, plastic sheets and film, etc.
You personally know Nele and the founders Tom and Noël. How did you end up working in their company?
A number of years back I got to know Nele, Tom and Noël in Leuven, while they were studying at KU Leuven. As we share a technical interest and background in electronics and automation technology, it was nice to see the evolution from doctoral research to the company Hammer-IMS. Noël and Tom must have noticed my genuine interest from the sideline, as they informed me about the job vacancy. After a number of meetings, we agreed for me to come onboard and strengthen the sales team.
What do you think about the innovative M-Ray technology?
In my view, the M-Ray technology is a turning point in the way producers measure the thickness and basis-weight of non-metallic fabrics, sheets and films. I received clear explanations about the technical concept behind the M-Rays, and figured out more details concerning solution configurations and how software and hardware work together. It is amazing to see how Hammer-IMS assists manufacturers in phasing out their nuclear and radioactive measurement systems. The prospects for the company are looking good, and I hope that I can contribute to further developing Hammer-IMS sales operations across Europe, and beyond as I saw a system being shipped to the US.
What do you find particularly appealing in the sales context of your job at Hammer-IMS?
With regard to sales I want to sense how far you can go with the new M-Ray technology. That helps to quickly judge the potential added value for specific applications of prospects. As the M-Ray technology is fairly new, part of the sales job is preaching to further increase market awareness. I see it as a challenge to find prospects, reach out and convince them of what they can potentially achieve with our quality control solutions. In many cases it concerns replacement solutions for their nuclear or radioactive measurement equipment. It is all about finding a good match between our offering and their quality needs on the production floor. In the process I like to meet new people at prospects and customers and team up with them toward economically viable solutions that match their tight quality requirements.
Does your role at Hammer-IMS follow naturally from your previous working experiences?
Previously I have gained experience at ABB, Fabricom and Elia. The central thread in my career so far is project management, which involves driving and motivating (technical) teams from a to z. Over the years I have also been active in technical sales support and have been asked to take on a sales position at several occasions. With my experience so far, I feel that now the time is right to make the shift and become a sales person. As a first step, I am currently learning about the M-Ray technology as well as the target markets and how they are organized in production. That is needed in the high-tech environment at Hammer-IMS, where sales is technology and engineering driven to a certain extent.
How does your work fit in strengthening the sales team?
In the first place I am hired to sell Hammer-IMS solutions to end customers across Europe. At this stage I do a lot of prospecting and telephone calls to arrange meetings and develop business relationships. My current international network in addition to the contact list gathered by Hammer-IMS form a solid basis. I strongly believe that good personal contacts with end-users is key in developing sales. Therefor, we are currently putting a lot of effort in actually visiting potential customers instead of establishing digital relationships.
Next to sales, I am developing business in the longer run with end users, checking their interest in new products we are currently roadmapping. I read trade magazines and news portals, and I follow technology and industry trends to get a deeper view on new business opportunities in existing and new markets. It is clear that the nonwovens industry sector is gaining importance and that producers’ quality standards in this segment are becoming stricter. That will enable me to better target my sales efforts and discuss insights with my colleagues in product development.