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How Vanessa Raab, Sales Manager for vehicle integration handles the balancing act between customers and colleagues

Professional success yes, but the question is: is there a special knack to it? A great many young people aspire to a career with technical or managerial responsibility. But how is it possible to achieve this aim? What is the decisive factor for bringing about the kind of results that will win you kudos for your efforts? The answer is clear: the one thing that will open doors and keep them open is displaying enthusiasm and pleasure in what you do and the decisions you make.

A feeling for customers and colleagues

For Vanessa Raab, sales manager in EDAG's Vehicle Integration Technical Sales Department, enjoyment of work has always been a priority. "After 10 years in wholesale and international trade, I wanted a to do something different, so decided to change direction and concentrate more on the industrial sector. The production and processing of goods along with a high degree of mechanisation and automation are things which have always fascinated me. And in Germany, this description fits than the automotive industry more than any other. On the internet, I then found a job advertisement for a sales assistant at EDAG in Ingolstadt.

Just two and a half years later, Raab was sales manager in the Vehicle Integration department, working for EDAG's customer Audi. Her job involves extending the network of business contacts at Audi, and keeping in touch with the customer throughout the project. "As a sales representative, I always have an eye on the requirements of our customer. In other words, identifying areas in which our EDAG skills might be useful to the customer. If we do not already have direct contacts in these areas, it is my job to establish them. As a rule, this involves an initial meeting to discuss and compare customer requirements and the services we offer. If this meeting goes well, we are placed on a bidders list, which means we are taken into consideration when future projects are being awarded. After carrying out an internal check to see whether we have the resources to handle the project, we draw up a quotation."

A combination of negotiating skills and empathy are essential to her work, as it is often necessary to find a solution that will suit all parties - the customer, the technical department and the executive board. Vanessa Raab explains "This is why I am always available throughout the project, so that people can contact me regarding possible adjustments. But I also always intervene in the event of communication problems or misunderstandings." For Vanessa Raab, there is no doubt as to why she enjoys balancing out the internal and external environments so much: "I love trying to see the different parties' points of view and acting as an intermediary. But at the end of the day, what counts is the team's and our customer's long-term satisfaction with EDAG.

Team spirit powered by corporate culture

The reasons why Vanessa Raab is so enthusiastic about her work are not just the interesting tasks but also the strong team spirit EDAG. "Even though I haven't been with the company very long, I have a very strong sense of belonging. One of the reasons for this is the long tradition of a familiar corporate culture. I know that I can rely on my colleagues 100 %, and that they will help and advise me if I experience any difficulties. This team spirit is characteristic of EDAG. Nobody is interested in how old you are, where you come from, or what gender you are, the only thing that really counts is your passion for automobiles."

As Raab sees it, the fact that women are still such a rarity in the industry can be explained as follows: "When it comes to ability, women are no less capable than men. Engineering and cars are not gender-specific matters. I believe that there are mainly historical reasons for there still being so few women in technical and scientific professions. In the early stages of industrialisation, the tendency was for men to work in factories and technical professions, while many women went into social professions, or stayed at home and looked after their children. However, this outmoded way of doing things needs to be set right, and this is something we have been working on for many years. Today, we can see a positive development in the proportion of women in the workforce here: take my career, for example."

Success at EDAG is not an individual's performance, nor is it a question of gender. What it is is the result of enthusiasm for technology, the desire to set cars and people in motion, and the ability to re-define mobility.