The pandemic has shown what sales and distribution look like when sales people have to stay outside and customers are not (physically) allowed in. It will - hopefully - soon be a thing of the past. Even if the view into the future is still blurred, one thing is clear at Online Sales Power 21: Many things will be different. Lastingly different. Sales Power itself was also different, as Uwe Tännler and Paul David Becker emphasised in their welcoming address to the participants. They were surprised that 80 percent of all conferences currently take place online. The fact that Covid-19 is accelerating digitalization enormously was also emphasized by Prof. Dr. Markus Schögel, who moderated the conference and left no doubt that radical and sustainable changes in sales and distribution are imminent.
The form of selling has changed during the pandemic, as Dr. Martin Baumüller from Geberit emphasized in his presentation. Physical sales will not simply disappear, but digital sales will catch up even more. This is because customers have built up trust in online purchasing and experienced its advantages over a longer period of time. This was also the opinion of the participants of Online Sales Power, as a survey showed: Only 30 percent were of the opinion that sales in the future will be primarily physical - in contrast to 70 percent who are convinced that they will be primarily digital. Accordingly, optimal customer service should not just be a project but become an attitude, as speaker and success author Sabine Hübner emphasized.
The shift of interaction channels towards remote selling, hybrid selling and multi-channel was the topic of Prof. Dr. Christian Schmitz from the Ruhr University Bochum. Field staff will still be needed, because not all customers sit at a PC or are very familiar with the technology.
Platforms have become important, stresses Klaus Hengstmann. CRM systems are becoming increasingly important for sales. Marketing/sales automation, social media, sales engagement/listening will strongly influence sales in the future. Samuel Vonrüti from Project Vitra is convinced that the pandemic has accelerated the question of how and where we work, keyword home office. And Dr. Stefan Fraude from Digitec Galaxus sees lasting effects of the pandemic in the increased use of eCommerce channels.
What remains of Sales Power 21
The positive impression that although no handshake is possible at an online conference, a lot is learned and experienced: Old-school sales will not simply disappear, but there will be new tools, channels and processes that salespeople of the future will have to integrate into their job description. Sales Power 21 itself was a good exercise for this, because online interaction brings technical know-how and routine.
The online platform of the event offered a variety of opportunities to maintain contacts. The professional studio and the presentations, which alternately highlighted the speakers and the content of the talks, were very positive.
The next Swiss Marketing Forum events, the Sales Excellence Award in November and the Marketing Day on 19 August, will again take place face-to-face.