New sales and marketing strategy.
Interview with Pieter Nota, Board Member – Customer, Brands, Sales, on digitalisation, the new sales and marketing strategy and the industry’s best customer experience.
Mr Nota, 2020 can’t have been an easy year for your sales and marketing team. How big of a challenge was the coronavirus pandemic? Last year was marked by huge uncertainty, big differences between markets around the globe and the fact that demand and production were more or less shut down in parallel for several weeks for the first time in history. We responded to the coronavirus pandemic with a lot of agility in our sales management and production, and by adapting our sales channels quickly and systematically. Thanks to this, and despite the restrictions on retail, we concluded the year with an all-time sales high for the last quarter.
And you were able to respond to that immediately?
Yes, we acted quickly and systematically: We enabled sales representatives at our retail partners in more than 60 markets to advise customers and sell vehicles without restrictions, from any location, back in April.
The second step for us was to take the sales process for retail partners largely online within a short space of time via our high-traffic websites in key markets. We plan to continue the rollout in other markets this year and are working with retailers to give our customers the option of buying their individually configured custom vehicle entirely online in the future and having it delivered to their front door – creating an entire online customer journey that is completely seamless: from configuration to ordering and throughout the use phase.
So, that means your new sales strategy is mainly aimed at online sales?
We have stated our aim of offering the industry’s best premium customer experience in close collaboration with our retail partners. Our customers buy and use their vehicles differently today than they did in the past. Customers don’t just want to integrate their digital life seamlessly into their vehicle; they also expect us to offer options, both for the vehicle purchase and during the use phase, that are tailored to them personally. They want their vehicle to adapt and grow with them, so to speak, as their mobility needs change – and we are systematically responding to this shift.
So, you’re mainly talking about greater use of digital technologies?
Yes, that’s right. We will be investing a triple-digit million euro amount annually up to 2025 in the digitalisation of our sales and marketing – building on the momentum from 2020 and reorganising the division across all markets and all disciplines. As well as a new organisational structure, we are also creating an integrated and connected IT infrastructure that will allow us to implement our new strategy in a way that is tailored to each region.
You recently reorganised your whole marketing agency landscape.
That’s also part of our new strategy. The new agency model “THE MARCOM ENGINE” lays the foundation for a personalised and targeted customer approach in the future.
What exactly will change for customers as a result of your new sales approach?
If customers choose to share their data with us, thanks to digitalised processes, we can get to know their wishes and preferences better than ever. This won't just be for the vehicle; it includes all relevant services: from financing all the way to a charging package for their electric drive train.
We want to offer them a premium customer experience – from the initial point of contact all the way to using the vehicle.
Jan 15, 2021 at 13:41