| 22.06.2021

Professor of Practice Paul Viio focuses on sales that creates value for customers

When Paul Viio, Professor of Practice at Hanken since 15.3.2021, six year ago started to do online courses in the USA, he felt that the field was light years ahead there compared to Finland. However, during the last year, huge steps towards digitalisation has been taken in Finland – sometimes even bigger than necessary.

“I like online teaching since it’s possible also for those who cannot be present in the class to attend. However, today Teams and Zoom are used also for purposes where the phone or the e-mail might work better.”

Viio gives the interview at Hanken in Helsinki. He spends much of his time training executives in the field of sales and sales management – something that he has 25 years of international experience of. In addition, Viio is a member of several boards. During the coming two years, he will continue to teach courses in the field of sales at the master’s level at Hanken. His core message is the same for both executives and students.

”I teach how to work in a customer oriented manner. Companies should consider the customers’ and the market’s needs and desires – not just produce and push their products and services to the market. In Western Europe and in North America, it is often not possible to compete with the production costs. Profitable and meaningful business should instead create value for the customer.”

Hybrid teaching is welcome to stay

In his online trainings for executives, Viio often uses two cameras – one directed towards himself, and the other towards a whiteboard. He can then provide visual materials for those who learn better through visual clarifications instead of listening and watching PowerPoint presentations.

Viio prefers to have an assistant with him when doing trainings, also for assigning the participants to breakout rooms for shorter or longer discussions during a training or a course.

“In this way I can focus on what I deliver.”

Viio wants to combine in class and online teaching also in the future,  so the participants would be able to interact – to ask questions and to discuss. However, he also appreciates the possibility to be able to record the lectures in advance.

“Then one can edit parts that can disturb the participant’s concentration. For example, coughing might turn the attention away from what they should focus on.”

PhD from Hanken

Viio received his doctorate from Hanken in 2011. It took him a total of four years to earn his doctoral degree. As his supervisors, he had the professors Christian Grönroos and Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen. During the interview it becomes clear that Viio appreciates both of them enormously.

“They have both contributed to making Hanken internationally known in marketing research. Grönroos is a pioneer in service marketing research. I have nevertheless heard him say that young scientists should in his view take the research in the field into new directions – not be content with what he has already done. Truly humble and very accommodating – this is the kind of attitude that I appreciate."

As Professor of Practice, Viio will, in addition to teaching, also conduct research that brings Hanken together with the business community.

“I always have representatives from companies as guest lectures in my courses – in that way the students get more insights into how things are handled in practice. However, companies are also interested in research results. They want inspiration for knowing what to do tomorrow or during the next quarter and thus, they are not interested in too much theory.”

The Professor of Practice institution is according to Viio valuable when it comes to strengthening the networks between academia and business.

“In the future, I would like to see more international names among the Professors of Practice at Hanken.”


Paul Viio:

Family: married, two daughters aged five years and four months.

Hobbies: sports, including cross-country skiing in the winter and roller skiing in the summer.

Will do in the summer: "We do not yet know if we will be in a cottage or abroad, but at least not in the city."


Photo: Niklas Gerkman