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Sales Manager

Shota Manabe

- You joined the company as a new graduate. What made you want to work for Celsys?

At the time I was looking for a job, it was the transition period from feature phones to smartphones, and I had an intuition that services for smartphones would grow exponentially in the future. So, Celsys, which provided e-book solutions for feature phones and smartphones, caught my attention and I applied. Another reason for applying was my love for manga.

- After that, you were assigned to the sales department. What kind of work does the Sales Department do?
The Sales Department consists of a sales team that focuses directly on sales and other staff who are in charge of work to do with things like content production, public relations, and accounting. The sales team specifically is mainly engaged in sales of the e-Book Solution “Clip Studio Reader” and proposing collaborations with corporate customers for the illustration, manga, and animation production application “Clip Studio Paint”.

The sales team is not very big, but it is a diverse team made up of people from a range of ages and backgrounds. The atmosphere of the team as a whole is more like that of a group of friends than competitors; it is easy to give your opinion and talk to others about anything. We work together as a team, rather than competing with each other for contracts.

- Right now, you are in the position of manager, but we heard that you were the youngest member of the company to be appointed as manager after joining as a new graduate. Can you tell us how you got there?
I don't know if I was the youngest, but I had the impression that I was put in charge of a variety of tasks early on. When I first joined the company, I had no IT knowledge. However, the colleague who trained me was in charge of not only solution sales, but also a long list of tasks including launching new services and sales admin. I gained a lot of experience by working with him.

He was a very caring colleague who had a lot of knowledge and know-how, but I was particularly impressed by the fact that he always put the customer first in everything he did. I feel that it was a very good experience, not only in terms of business, but also in teaching me the importance of thinking from the perspective of others, which is crucial as a salesperson.

Thanks to this, I acquired knowledge about business and negotiation skills pretty early on. By my third year in the company, I was put in charge of a major client. After that, I was in charge of various projects, and when the timing was right, I took on the position of manager.

- What do you focus on in your work as a manager?
Now that I am a manager, I have fewer opportunities to directly interact with customers, but I tell my sales team members to make proposals with the customer's perspective in mind. As for myself, I try to take a break and listen to my team members even when I am busy.

- What do you find most challenging and motivating in your work?
It feels rewarding when a service we were involved in is launched and when we see people enjoying it. Although it is basically B2B work, it is encouraging to hear from customers that our services are well received, and to imagine that our services are being used and enjoyed by millions of users.

On a personal note, I love manga, so I secretly look forward to opportunities where I get to visit editorial departments at publishing companies and meet the authors of the manga I read.

There are also lateral relationships in the industry, so there are plenty of opportunities to exchange information and communicate even outside of projects, and I find it interesting to be able to meet a wide variety of people.From there, we get to launch projects for creators that don’t involve e-books and... things grow from there. This may be because Celsys provides total support for creators, which leads to a wide range of proposals and opportunities for them.

- What would you say are the best qualities of Celsys and its products?
At Celsys, we have four appraisals a year, with possibilities for raises based on performance. I think it's appealing because you can get recognition regardless of your age, gender, or background, so there are many opportunities to demonstrate your skills.

I also think that the company offers a lot of freedom and flexibility. Each individual is respected and appreciated, so the workplace feels comfortable. In addition to a high degree of freedom in terms of work system, clothing, and hairstyle, I feel that the company knows how to be flexible enough to proactively adapt to different situations, such as the early adoption of telework in response to the pandemic.

In terms of products, as a development company, we are close to the development team, and I feel that one of our strengths is that we can quickly respond to all sorts of demands from customers. In addition, I don’t believe that there are many other companies that have specialized in-house verification teams that verify each device type one-by-one. As a sales representative, I can confidently say to our customers that we are dealing with high-quality products.

Also, as I mentioned a little earlier, we are a company that provides total support for creators, so I like the fact that we can make a wide range of innovative pitches to meet the needs of our customers. In recent years, publishers and e-book distributors alike have begun to have their own original labels, so I feel that our ability to respond to a wide range of requests, including solutions for authors, is one of our strengths.

- How do you spend your time outside of work?
These days, I spend most of my time having fun with my children. There is little overtime work and it is easy to take paid vacations, so I feel that it is easy to make plans for my private life. I don't have to cancel plans that I made with my family on holidays and disappoint them by saying “I can't, I have to work today...”. During Golden Week and other holidays, in addition to the regular holidays, there are also recommended days for paid holidays, so it is easy to take long vacations and go back to your hometown when you need to. We get five days extra for summer vacation, so I tend to take it all at once, but others take it at their own pace and timing.

- What will you be working on in future and what are your aims?
From now on, we would like to provide services that expand the opportunities for creators by combining the best aspects of both the e-book and creator-support areas. In addition to continuously improving our existing services, we would like to focus on researching new things that only a digital platform like ours can offer and developing solutions that utilize the latest technologies.

*Stated information as at the date the contents being made.

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*Link is in Japanese