Interview Team Sales

Harald Toll, Business Development @ plasmo!

Only a few know plasmo as long and as well as Harald. He joined the company as a young employee in 2003, the year it was founded. Since he was a newcomer to the industry, he completed his commercial training within this new field.  In addition to his sales tasks, he was initially involved a lot in commissioning and service assignments at our customers and thus learned about our systems, the industry and the field of quality assurance within automated production from the ground up. Open, curious and fearless, he soaked up all the knowledge in the field of welding process monitoring.


How and why did you join plasmo?

Long Story short. After four years in the transportation and logistics industry, I was looking for a job that better suited me and that I identified with. The job search lasted half a year before I was asked by a close acquaintance and family friend if I could imagine taking on sales and marketing support as well as office organization tasks in his company. At that time, Trbola Engineering represented the sales and marketing department of plasmo Industrietechnik GmbH Vienna.

Plasmo was a very young company working in the field of sensor- and camera-based quality assurance and diagnostic systems around laser welding in automated processes. This sounded very exciting to me and without giving it much thought, I said yes. Very quickly I realized that my decision was the right one.

How did your path take you to your current position?

Initially, I took on office tasks. In the course of this work, I got an insight into the activities of a sales representative at plasmo. My interest was very quickly aroused to dive deeper into this field. The friendly contact and the pleasant discussion atmosphere with customers impressed me very much and increased the desire to become part of this community.

I initially accompanied a few projects as an assistant. Very quickly I internalized the processes and gained a technical understanding of the functionality and further development of our products.

After this so called “apprenticeship” and first independent positive results I was enabled to start as Sales Engineer in our company. I performed this job for 5 years with growing success. In addition to live demonstrations at the customer’s site, I performed many start-ups and trainings of our solutions. In the course of these tasks, I developed into a Product Specialist for one of the plasmo core products, and in the course of these activities I steadily gained confidence in my field.

For four more years I was both the commercial and technical contact person for our customers. During this time I was the interface between the customers and the project management and took over important setting tasks of the systems myself.

Due to the growth of the company and the resulting adapted company structure, as well as the experience gained in the meantime, it was purposeful to expand my activities in the area of strategic orientation and support of important and large customers (OEMs) as Key Account Manager.

About 4 years ago, the necessity arose to support our teams in the USA and China in more depth, both in terms of sales and technology. I gladly accepted these tasks. It was very interesting for me to be in regular contact and exchange with the different cultures both remotely and on site. Since we already have a stable and well-trained team in Europe, I felt that I could provide even more support, build up and pass on my experience in these markets, which are still very young for us, as a Global Business Development Engineer.

On the sales side, I have been responsible for the E-Mobility area for a good year. This is one of our strongest markets in terms of sales, with the highest medium- and long-term potential in my view. As Global Business Development for E-Mobility and Key Account Manager, I am also allowed to continue supporting our intercontinental locations in this particular area. Even if it is currently very difficult to implement with local support.


What qualities should you have for a job in your field? 
    • Technical understanding and conviction of the product
    • Knowledge of human nature
    • Willingness to help
    • Empathy
    • The ability to think outside the box
    • Willingness to perform
    • Friendliness
    • Persuasiveness
    • Persistence
    • Patience/perseverance
    • Ability to assert oneself
    • Ambition
    • Determination
    • Closure strength


Were there any professional experiences or setbacks that you consider great learning in hindsight?
    • The interaction with people
    • The variety of applications, markets and tasks
    • The possibility to contribute to the further development of the products
    • Traveling and getting to know different cultures
    • The opportunity to celebrate successes/sales closings
    • To experience the satisfaction of the customer


Were there any professional experiences or setbacks that you consider great learning in hindsight?

Of course! In almost 18 years, so some positive and negative situations arise that have shaped me. It’s up to you whether and how you use these situations for yourself, and use them as an opportunity to develop further. Of course, it can also be due to my age, but I think I have steadily developed in a positive direction both professionally and personally, also due to some special professional situations. I can’t highlight any specific individual situations. It’s probably “the big picture.”

Someone once told me at the beginning of my career “that we salespeople probably won’t go to heaven.” I have to say, this statement bothered me back then and I didn’t want to let it stand like that. I learned at plasmo that this is not absolutely necessary. Quite the contrary. Our company is built on long-term cooperation and partnerships. This can “only” come about through honesty and helpfulness. I have learned at plasmo that if I, as a sales representative, have a good product, I can be honest and sincere and thus set the foundation for long-term partnerships. I am convinced that this is also the main key to my success.


What is your daily work routine like?

My working day is very varied. I can organize it myself, depending on the current situation. Of course, there are fixed deadlines, and a lot of them! That’s good! But I can adjust my daily routine individually so that I can work through what I have planned well and the many travel activities are not an obstacle. That also applies to my private life. I think that’s also one of the reasons why I value my job so much.


How do you clear your head?

Spending time together with my son grounds me the fastest and helps me a lot. Having real friends doesn’t hurt either ;).


How do you manage to balance family and your travel-intensive job?

I think the support of the family is the most important thing.


Do you have a role model or a motto for your career?

Nothing is impossible!


How has the industry landscape changed in your field?

Enormously! The tasks have become much more complex and our customers’ expectations have grown as well. However, as a result, we have grown as well. Despite the growing challenges, we have managed to not only meet the market, but technologically dominate the market. The growing complexity and speed, the requirements and processes have forced us to act. We have managed to do this in our field.


Where do you see plasmo in the market compared to 2003 when you started?

We have become better known and have certainly become one of the main players in the market. Unfortunately, in my view, we have not made sufficient use of our strengths. We could have grabbed more of the market share earlier. The current internal structures and approaches are now geared to this. I am very pleased about this and I am glad to be part of this development. I firmly believe that we are capable of becoming THE market leader.


What would you not do again, what would you definitely do again and again?

I would not go against my convictions again. I would always fight to explain my convictions, which come from my experience and intuition, to my counterpart. I never get tired of that.


Thank you, Harald!