Posted on 11.2.2021

Jasper Jonk: I like to be the trusted advisor

Business Development Manager Jasper Jonk

Our Business Development Manager Jasper started his career as a consultant in an IT company. When he decided to move to Finland, he had yet no idea that UpCloud was at the same time looking for a Dutch speaker salesperson with an IT background. As Jasper himself puts it, it was a match made in heaven.

When did you discover your passion for sales?

I worked as an IT engineer, consultant and project manager in my previous company. These diverse roles included a lot of interaction with inbound sales when our existing customers needed more services or wanted to work on bigger projects together. I came to sales naturally and wanted to do more with it. 

As a Business Development Manager, what is the relationship between you and the user?

My role is quite broad. I am responsible for the Benelux area of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, helping out both new and existing users in the region. I’m trying to be a translator between the Support Team and the user and also offer support to our Dutch-speaking users. I help them get to know UpCloud, settle in, and provide them with technical knowledge or advice. It’s all part of the job. 

English is the language of the Internet and IT services, why is it necessary to have support in local languages?

Of course almost everyone speaks English nowadays. The number of either bi-lingual or people with very good English in the Benelux area is relatively high compared to the rest of Europe. Nevertheless, being able to talk in your native language about the problems and challenges you face brings more trust and understanding to the communication. It moves the support to the next level.

In the Netherlands, many Dutch companies offer their services only in the Netherlands, happy with catering to the regional market. UpCloud can cater the international market and still provide the regional benefits.

What does a user need to know when they consider moving to UpCloud?

It’s possible to set some functions up easily without having to pay for them as a service. Many users don’t realise it. They order as many cloud services as possible, but convenience comes at a cost which grows over time. Some of our competitors offer as many readymade cloud services as possible, with a ‘premium’ price tag. UpCloud provides the essential services, and additional features are easy to set up with our tutorials.

The user should also realise that we’re a Finnish company. As a part of the EU, we comply with the GDPR and the local legislation concerning, for example, privacy and data security. That can be crucial for some users and is one of the reasons we see users moving away from the bigger American companies to their European alternatives. 

How do you think the role of sales will change in the near future?

I think the focus will be more and more on the customer. A salesperson has quite a negative ring to it. They’re often seen as yet another person trying to sell a solution for problems the user doesn’t have. However, these days, it’s more about getting to know the user and seeing if they even have a problem. And if yes, do they want to talk about it? We are aware that our solution might not suit everyone.

If you buy something that you don’t actually need, just because the salesperson is pushing too much, you’ll end up unhappy. If I’m not bringing the right solution to the user, I can at least be their guide. I can recommend where to look or who to ask. People will remember it and come back when they need our solution. 

Are there differences between Dutch and Finnish company culture?

I have been working in different Dutch companies, and each of them had a different culture. It varied from having to be at the office at all times to very open and flexible conditions, including working from home. It’s the same in Finland. Work schedule in UpCloud is relatively free, and a lot of responsibility is pushed towards the employee. UpCloud sees us as experts and lets us work as we want.

Finnish and Dutch people are both very helpful to each other at work, even though they are not the biggest fans of small talks. In the Netherlands, people leave talking to coffee breaks or lunch, and it’s the same in Finland.

What were the biggest challenges of relocating to work in Finland?

The most difficult part of the adaptation is learning the language. I worked in international companies before, and even though English was the official language, in the informal talks, people were speaking Dutch. If people talk to each other in Finnish, I can’t just tune in and listen along or join the conversation. That can be sometimes annoying, but it also has its benefits – if it doesn’t concern me, I don’t get distracted. And I’m constantly learning the language.

What do you like the most about your work?

I’m glad that I’m not expected to be the pushy sales guy making a hundred calls a day. Instead, I’m trying to help, and if I help between 5 and 10 people a day, that’s a great feeling. I can impact thousands of people by talking to just one person. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big corporation with hundreds of servers and millions of customers or a small entrepreneur with a single website and five customers. Thanks to my advice, they may be able to move up and offer better service. 

How did your daily job change during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Actually not that much. My team is used to working remotely, as we need to be in touch with our colleagues from our offices in the USA, UK and Singapore. We are also contacting most of our users remotely. The actual work hasn’t changed, but the work environment did. I miss discussing things at the office, having a quick chat with a guy sitting next to me. For me, video calls or text messaging cannot make up for that.

What do you like to do outside of work?

A big advantage of living in Finland is a lot of nature everywhere. I enjoy walking around the river bank calling with family or friends, running with my girlfriend or walking our dogs. When I’m video calling with people back in the Netherlands, they are surprised that they can’t see anyone around during my walk. In the Netherlands you’re never alone, there are crowds everywhere. In Finland, on the other hand, you can experience total silence. Once I woke up during a holiday in our summer cottage with a thought that I became deaf. A bit scary but very nice!

Would you like to work with Jasper? See our open positions

Barbora Mervaala

Social Media and Content Specialist at UpCloud. Passionate about writing stories about inspiring people and companies.

  1. Thanks for sharing relevant information. An effective business leader is always a good listener.Consistent effort and well-planned approach can be really helpful.To become successful at networking  , you need to be building deep referral relationships.

  2. Hey, I’m also a Dutch-speaking developer who has been living in Finland for the last 13 years! It still feels strange to go running through the forest for several hours and not see anybody.


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