Hi, Marvin! You work in sales – but you also carry a programming background! What kind of advantages does that give you in your job?
“My education was more about programming, and knowing how things work on the development side is convenient when you’re working in sales. Back in the days I even developed a radio app, letting anyone listen to live streams from different radio channels. I think it’s still somewhere in the Google Play store. I liked it, but it wasn’t satisfying enough, so I eventually switched to ‘the soft side’. I like to work with people, seeing them develop and grow. That’s what I like the most. I also believe it’s really important to know why you wake up every morning. It’s about having a purpose. And working with people is mine.”
Love that you have such a crystal clear purpose in your head! So what’s your company like, what are you working on right now?
“We’re making a software solution for accountants. It's a portal where the accounting offices and their customers can approve and share documents with one another. That way, both get more time to focus on what we call ‘what really matters’. And that's what Visma is about – connecting people with each other.”
“Our job isn’t about doing hard sales and closing deals, but rather being a trusted advisor, building long-term commitment and strong relationships to our customers”
And if we take that one step further, how do you think that technology affects society?
“Nowadays technology is of course everywhere. Take grocery shopping as an example – I just tick whatever fruits I want in my app and they’ll deliver it within 10 minutes. When travelling, you just check in, beep your phone and walk by – you can go anywhere without limits or borders. I think in general terms, technology connects us all. It's a good era to live in. I believe the future holds more sharing economy and even easier ways to make transactions. I mean, we already see technologies like blockchain stepping up. The shared component within technology is going to be even more important because everything needs to be connected with each other.”
As a sales manager you’re the one bringing our products out to the customer. What kind of feedback do you get from them – what do they usually think?
“They say our solutions are easy to use. They really like the convenient part, but security is also really important nowadays. It's not the kind of feedback you get instantly, but something they realise after a couple of years because they haven’t had any issues with it. Our job isn’t about doing hard sales and closing deals, but rather being a trusted advisor, building long-term commitment and strong relationships with our customers. We have a bunch of customers who have been with us from day one, that’s a compliment we get year by year. I really like this way of working, having a customer-stable environment. It’s beneficial for both sides.”
How would you describe working in a small company that is also a part of something bigger?
“I see Visma as the big sister or brother that really helps us out. For example, how Visma works with cyber security, that’s something Espen can elaborate about. He's the Head of Security, and always encourages us to train hard, but to fight easy. So at any moment, at any time, we have to be prepared. On the security side I think Visma as a whole has made a giant leap, which is beneficial for all the companies. We share all incidents openly, instead of just wiping it under the rock. I like that strategy, because one day it will float to the surface anyway. That gives me comfort at night.”
How would you describe the culture at Visma?
“The culture’s open. You can talk to anyone if you need help or support. It's not a hierarchy or anything like that. And it's about developing, not only ourselves but also our teams and company. It feels like everyone’s at the same level. People are treated equally here. I’d say we work hard and play hard. We go out for drinks with each other after work, and I feel like we’re more of a community than a place to ‘just’ work.”
You also just had a baby – congratulations! How do you think that technology affects our children’s future of society?
“Thank you! Everything’s becoming so digital now, so he doesn’t really know anything else than the digital world. I suppose every job is going to be a somewhat tech job in the future, and my son will explore even more possibilities with technology than what we can imagine today. He’ll have his own dreams, of course, but I think tech is an industry it makes sense to go into. On our part, we have to develop products for the future. I think it's the next phase to think about sustainability within IT. We're already shifting from the offline world to the online, which obviously helps, but we also have to consider costs and needs, data centres and so on. Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.”
Talking about the future – where do you see yourself, and Visma, in the upcoming years?
“Hopefully, I’ll still be here at Visma, building and improving our products. We still have room to grow. So we're in a good flow there. And maybe one day I’ll be a managing director with my own company. But I'm still young, so I need to take it step by step. It’s important not only to live for the dreams, but to enjoy the journey as well. As for Visma, I think there’s still a lot of growth potential because so many things are yet to be digitised. I think Visma will acquire more companies and help them grow further, but that we will also grow the companies we already have. All I can see is growth around me – so I think this is a good place to be at the moment.”