Behind the Scenes of BELLIN: André Scheffknecht
A perfect match
BELLIN has set itself the task of moving treasury forward for its clients, delivering expertise and innovation to empower treasury departments to rise to the challenges they face. In the series of “Behind the Scenes” blog posts, we take a look at the people who have dedicated themselves to this philosophy. Today, we meet André Scheffknecht, our CSO, whose recent appointment has been a valuable addition to BELLIN’s management team.
If you were to describe André Scheffknecht in one word, it would be “decisive.” He seizes opportunities with both hands and exhibits a keen sense of human nature, which in many respects makes him lighter on his feet than others and drives his success. While still studying at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, he founded a service company specializing in appliance fulfillment. How did this come about? He met a hardware manufacturer from Taiwan at a trade fair who offered him the chance to be the sales agent for his products in Europe. André grabbed the opportunity and established his company as a reliable solutions provider for software manufacturers and their customers.
There have been various junctures in André’s life when the course for his future has been set. He recalls one such moment from his childhood clearly: “I was sitting with my parents at breakfast and happened to pick up a brochure for a school. I knew I wanted to go there.” He grew up in an entrepreneurial family in Markdorf near Lake Constance and enjoyed his education at the nearby prestigious boarding school, Schloss Salem. The school imposed strict rules and required all students to take on responsibilities. It also offered a plethora of learning opportunities and experiences and gave everyone the freedom to take advantage of them. André demonstrated an ability to organize his life effectively and allowed himself the room to experiment. He therefore encountered a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts at an early age. He learned to make a rapid and accurate assessment of each individual and to build relationships on a personal basis.
At home anywhere in the world
André is convinced that sales is fundamentally about people. That’s why he feels so comfortable with the task and why he makes headway so quickly. It is also why he jumped at the opportunity when a software company came knocking and offered him the chance to head up worldwide sales. Up to this point, André’s activities had mainly covered Western Europe. He relished the challenge of moving into new markets and being exposed to new cultures and people. He looked for a managing director for his own company and got cracking: he learned business etiquette in the Middle East, Asia and North America, ran start-ups and held a position of responsibility on the management board at a company. At only 42, he has already racked up 18 years’ experience in sales and marketing.
Trust – the secret to success
André is guided by the principle that “sales is based on people and a relationship between them.” In his experience, “sales relies on trust, and you build trust by understanding your client.” He believes the client’s trust is the most valuable asset of a business, particularly in treasury. The software processes highly sensitive data and a company’s decision to implement a treasury management system demonstrates its commitment to a long-term partnership. The TMS provider must therefore follow through on its promises to the client and a stable long-term relationship must be fostered.
A shared ethos: attuned to the client’s needs
BELLIN’s approach to dealing with its clients was decisive in André’s decision to take up the newly created position of Chief Sales Officer with the company. He knows that companies who change their TMS provider do so rarely because they are dissatisfied with the technology; they usually switch because they feel undervalued as customers. A single conversation with Martin Bellin – in which they discussed the relationship the company has with its clients – convinced him that he and BELLIN were a perfect match for each other.
Strategy I for the future: global expansion
How does André want to develop BELLIN sales going forward? “For the future, we will focus on two strategies: targeted expansion and even closer collaboration with our existing clients,” he explains. He detects good opportunities for growth in the Asian and North American markets due to the high level of technical performance, down-to-earth approach, reliability and deep-rooted service philosophy offered by BELLIN. The BELLIN Partner Program will also boost the number of customers globally: André and Axel Goedecke are working in conjunction with partners on the ground to develop targeted offerings to meet local treasury needs around the world.
Strategy II for the future: diversified services and solutions
André wants to tap into sales potential with existing clients. “BELLIN can be extremely proud of its outstanding communication with clients. We can leverage this even more: listen better, develop according to their needs, grow with them,” he explains. André expects the two strategies to yield cross-synergies. Existing clients will benefit from the experiences and demands of the extended global client base. And new clients across the world – bolstered by the knowledge that they are joining an army of longstanding BELLIN clients – can rely on the highest standards of ongoing technological development and exceptional service. Another perfect match!
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