In March of 2020, the Netherlands was locked down, and everything was cancelled. No trade fairs, no customer appointments, now what? If your job consisted of networking and meeting people, exactly how were you supposed to carry on in such circumstances? While many people were feeling stress and anxiety, it also forced us to get creative. How do you maintain visibility? In our series on the socially-distanced society, we asked Steffi Brodkorb, International Sales Manager at Engage, what a sales process that previously took her an average of nine months looks like now.
Physically visiting existing customers was impossible, and many sales processes were put on hold. After all, nobody knew what was going to happen or how long it would take. “The trick was to remain visible in different ways. I’m a big fan of making personal contact in a human way. Sending a handwritten card, calling to see how things are going, and connecting in a different manner.” Even networking had to be done differently.
“I entered into discussions with the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce, among others. It organises webinars and ‘new members’ days with themes: ‘How to work from home’ and ‘How to keep employees engaged’. Given Engage’s experience with Work from Anywhere since 2008, I was able to help companies through their platforms by organising webinars, and of course by making new contacts. Within a few weeks, there was therefore a transition to online.”
From May onwards, we saw all sorts of shifts in branches (crowds in supermarkets, DIY stores, etc.), but we also started talking to existing and potential customers again. “For example, an e-Mobility provider contacted us through an existing customer. This existing customer recommended us as a dependable partner and after an introduction to our organisation, I reached out.”
“The entire process took place digitally and mainly via Teams. Engage normally starts things off with a personal meeting and a tour of the campus. This also helps determine whether we click, but COVID-19 has changed the entire sales process. In order to convey a sense of things anyway, I showed lots of photos of our campus during the presentation, and incorporated quotes from employees. Meeting a few times in person is quite different to doing so online. If you only see people on small screens in Teams, there’s a risk you don’t notice someone, or talk over each other. Fortunately, we were quickly on the same page, and it turned out that their needs matched exactly with what Engage has to offer. The ideal solution was 24/7 service with experienced e-Mobility staff and flexibility through our Work from Anywhere proposition was.”
We were told by phone that we would be entering into a partnership. Steffi thought that this was the perfect moment to physically look each other in the eye. “After all, our campus was already fully equipped for the social-distancing. As a result, and early in the morning because everyone was busy, I was able to offer everyone a delicious COVID-proof breakfast of croissants, eggs, and juice. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our new partnership. Because we had already spoken regularly via Teams, it felt familiar straight away.”
“If it’s impossible to meet physically, online is a great way to get and stay in touch. But don’t forget the personal touch!” says Steffi
Are you interested in finding out how we work in the socially-distanced society, provide digital training, or have made our application process COVID-proof? Please contact Inke Lunenberg: +31 (0)6 46290217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.