According to the LinkedIn Hiring Rate platform, sales management and business planning will be some of the skills most requested by the market in the post-emergency phase. How will the figure of the sales manager change in this new phase?
We talked about it with Annamaria Cofano, Management Consultant specialized in Marketing, Sales and Retail Management, management consultant at the WeDoLab studio and teacher of the Sales Management course at the MBA Part-time (Evening).
“We are slowly resuming our usual activities after more than two months of lockdown in which time and space have stopped throughout Italy and in most of the world. An unpredictable scenario, which no economist or politician or scientist could have forecast, in which the production and commercial activities have frozen.
In my consultancy activity – my WeDoLab studio deals with consultancy and temporary management in Marketing, Retail and Sales – I found myself in front of entrepreneurs, commercial managers, key account managers, astonished sellers, stuck in their spirit for the first time initiative. What happened to customer appointments, orders, shipments, even disputes? Everything stopped.
But a week of paralysis was enough to give a boost to those used to getting up and going back on track. Video-meeting, scenario analysis, review of commercial plans – plan A and plan B, rethinking of distribution channels, reformulation of the product and service offerings, use of the most varied technologies to work in smart-working. Without giving up, but reacting to a completely different context from the previous one, and without warning. An evolution that had been hoped for years and that took place in a few weeks.
The emerging trends in Sales Management, those that make the sales function modern and ready to face the challenges of an increasingly competitive market, have suddenly materialized: the increasingly advanced use of technology to speed up processes, provide more timely information to sales and customers, collect data on prospects in order to implement CRM activities, create additional opportunities for dialogue with customers.
And again, ethics as an asset of the relationship, thanks to ever greater transparency in information in placing the customer-seller on the same level, in order to develop win-win negotiations; the flexibility that allows you to adapt to changing contexts and situations, just as the international market is changing, which is constantly changing under the pressure of the different macroeconomic dynamics of the countries, but also of the technologies and resources available; the management of multichannel, of the complexity deriving from the multiplication of distribution channels which, however, represents an opportunity for those who have the ability and readiness to adopt them; the concept of retail, which never as in this emergency has demonstrated the need to quickly reinvent itself from pure physical space to virtual space. And last but not least, the increasing need for integration between marketing and sales, which in changing contexts allows us to study together a menu of integrated activities to overcome together the challenges of the market, which are hard won alone.
The lockdown put the Sales Manager in the face of the most important revolution he has ever faced. Rethinking commercial strategies, reviewing ways of interconnecting with customers, finding new ways to sell without physical interaction, studying the daily evolution of the context to identify new outlet markets, opening up new sales channels hitherto considered an optional, quickly train their sellers so that they are not caught unprepared.
The ability to analyze the context, the speed of adaptation, the ability to use technological tools, the management of multichannel services have been and will be the key to the success of the Sales Managers in the current market”.
Author: Annamaria Cofano