01 June 2020 Business

Time to teach the sales executive new tricks

Gareth Ward considers the reality of working in a post Covid-19 world, and how this will effect the process of selling print.

The next phase in easing the lockdown is underway. We can now gather in groups of up to six people in the open air for leisure activities, a barbecue or garden party, say. The Government has also announced how it will gradually ease the Job Retention Scheme, aka the furlough, in a gradual return to some kind of normality.

In addition the Health & Safety Executive has published guidelines about how to produce a safe workplace with frequent hand washing, social distancing, limited visitors, temperature monitoring, signage and face masks. What is less obvious is what to do about replacing the warp and weft of every day business life, the meetings, presentations and pitches that oil the wheels of commerce. Nobody wants to discuss work on the beach or at a picnic site.

In the coming months few printers or customers will welcome unnecessary visits to their factory or offices and few will want to leave the factory to visit clients – even if they could be made welcome. Over the last few weeks people have discovered they want to work from home without face to face meetings or offices. That is unlikely to change, and because of this the process of selling print, must undergo a change. A large part of the sales executive’s traditional routine has vanished, perhaps never to return. The sales pitch must go online, it must become about nurturing clients. Even more alarming: the sales executive’s company car and expenses account is under threat: Sayonara Sierra.

Gareth Ward