The current recessive environment in Europe has its own advantages. It has been a true test of organizations’ capabilities often revealing otherwise hidden inefficiencies. The tough situation forces them to reevaluate what they are doing and be more innovative. Yet many organizations have been downsizing and implementing conservative do-more-with-less strategies. The concern is, however, how fast can they react when the time to grow comes and the recession is over?

Companies in Europe must be ready to seize new opportunities

The solution can be simply shifting focus to sales. The key is to examine each value chain and discover the hidden gems: What are the company’s success stories? What is working and creating value? Success stories ought to be replicated.

Identifying the right business partners possessing strengths the company can leverage on would make these efforts reality. The approach is to set up diverse work groups involving key partners in order to define growth objectives and the implementation plans. Whether you would like to focus on sales with higher growth margins, improve quality offered to consumers, implement new commercial market strategies or something different, your goal needs to be clear and your business partners must feel engaged. Setting them a good example to follow will motivate them to achieve better results.

Recent example illustrates the approach well. Rikard Coro was working on an initiative to revamp performance of power equipment industry in Europe. “I had the opportunity to work with a few power equipment distributors in the Eastern Europe. These organizations had very structured and result-oriented approaches in their respective markets. My goal was to find the hidden gems that could be replicated in other countries. The struggles these companies were facing were caused by lack of motivation in a very difficult and recessive market environment combined with other internal roadblocks.
” The 3 best performing distributors established The E-Force Group. The organizations would initially learn from each other and later define new targets to boost their sales performance.

“Something extraordinary happened – the synergy effect. The distributors’ overall motivation improved in the group setting and the organizations created value together. They visited each other’s markets and learnt the best practices. Later they established next steps for applying the new acquired knowledge. Most importantly the organizations were proud to show the positive results coming from the project partnership with the OEM.
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It has been a clear win-win situation for everyone.

Implementation of this collaborative approach brought following results to the companies involved:

– Enhanced motivation

– Improved priority management driven by clear goals and objectives

– Collaborative learning within the business’ reality

– Raised the performance bar by establishing positive competition between partners

– Better alignment with OEM/Brand enhanced the quality of customer experience.

Main Learnings:

Identifying the right business partners possessing strengths the company can leverage on can make efforts reality. Setting them a good example to follow will motivate them to achieve better results.

Be clear on what you want. Whether you would like to focus on sales with higher growth margins, improve quality offered to consumers, implement new commercial market strategies or something different, your goal needs to be clear and your business partners must feel engaged.

Learn fast, replicate faster. Nothing drives commercial results more than a simple work well done. HQ should facilitate that local commercial organizations identify and apply success cases quickly.

Bottom line

Much is talked about how important being innovative is. But innovation is a “value generation pursuit”. Sales organizations are the heart of the value chain and are crucial in creating more value to customers and stakeholders. Companies operating in Europe must be ready to create the growth they need and be truly able to do more with less.

Rikard Coro & Roberto Abramovich

Note about the authors:

Rikard is a seasoned sales executive and Business Development Senior Consultant – Profile

Roberto is a marketer & innovation executive and Founding Partner – Profile

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