The new Esade Alumni Sales Club kicked off with a session entitled “COVID-19: The Great Sales Reset. Learn About New Approaches to Selling”. An exceptional panel, featuring key figures from industries that have had to redefine their relationship with customers, discussed the keys to rethinking a company’s sales approach.
COVID-19 has brought about a moment of historic change. The pandemic has set off alarm bells in most industries, triggering profound changes in personal interactions and reshaping buyer-seller relationships and the execution of sales models. It’s time to stop and take a look at the organisations that are leading this sales revolution. Hence the Sales Club’s decision to hold a session on new sales approaches featuring Laura Ros (Lic&MBA ‘94 / AMP ‘16), General Manager of Volkswagen Spain; Jordi Urbea, Senior Vice President of Ogilvy Spain and CEO of Ogilvy Barcelona; and Ignacio Ripol, Regional Sales Director at Allianz.
A sales-oriented forum
The Esade Alumni Sales Club aims to provide professionals involved in sales management with the ultimate service: a venue where they can discuss sales-related issues, enrich their approaches, and obtain relevant information for strategic and operational decision-making. “We need all your support, but we also want to hear your concerns so that we can respond to them,” said Raimon Mirosa (EMBA ‘06), President of the Esade Alumni Sales Club, during his introductory remarks.
Mirosa explained that the club’s objectives are to enrich approaches, update members’ knowledge, and share relevant information for strategic and operational decision-making. The club also aims to create social venues to facilitate networking for anyone working in sales, regardless of sector or segment. Sales is a function that interacts with every part of an organisation; it has an impact on – and is impacted by – many other areas. Moreover, all sectors need to market their products and services. Therefore, the Sales Club will strive to create synergies with other Esade Alumni clubs
How relationships with customers have changed
In her presentation, Laura Ros (Lic&MBA ‘94 / AMP ‘16), General Manager of Volkswagen Spain, noted that the sales function is undergoing a very important transformation process – which has been accelerated by the pandemic – towards a more customer-centric approach and the digitalisation of relationships with customers. “Selling is about building trust-based relationships with our customers,” she commented. “At Volkswagen, we have concentrated on planting seeds and building, with a focus on the services offered around a product and making life easier for our customers.” This requires equipping the sales network with the best tools, processes and training, but also with flexibility. “The sales team transmits the brand’s culture to the end customer. They have to live this culture on a daily basis,” she added.
Jordi Urbea, Senior Vice President of Ogilvy Spain and CEO of Ogilvy Barcelona, argued that brands should never remain quiet. During the state of emergency, Ogilvy persuaded companies to start communicating to their customers that they had not stopped their activity and trying to align themselves with people’s sensibilities at that time. “As an agency, we grew because the digital sector expanded, thanks to the digitalisation process that many companies underwent,” he commented. “It has been a year of listening and major mindset changes. Now we are more interested in the concerns of companies. We are more empathetic. And consumers are more important players than ever before, so the challenge for brands is to think about what they are really going to offer them.”
Ignacio Ripol, Regional Sales Director at Allianz, explained that his obsession with digitalisation has now become valuable, enabling close, fluid contact with customers. “We are satisfied with this year,” he said. “It has been an opportunity for the company.” He also underscored the need for new mindsets: “Fast service and greater awareness of climate change must be priorities for all of us in this sector.”