The breadth of the economic impact caused by the health crisis is unprecedented in Human history. Trade interactions have become so globalized that the current pandemic, freezing the planet in a major hiatus and for an indefinite period, has overturned the economic ecosystem. We knew the risks, knew that it was going to happen one day – but we postponed until the next day the actions that could have limited the consequences.
Here are key challenges that we will face when resuming commercial activities, namely:
- The supply chain;
- Sales & Marketing;
Reinventing the supply chain
The global magnitude of the pandemic puts great pressure on the entire supply chain.
Although we have experienced similar situations in the past, they were on the smaller scale, more localized. For example, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 had created inventory pressure and price increases of up to 20% on petroleum products in North America, particularly in the plastics industry. Although the pressure was on just-in-time, alternative options were available and were relatively limited to the continent.
The supply chain, based on the Just-in-Time concept (JIT) introduced in the 1950s by the Japanese, and adapted to production mass, will have to reinvent itself, because other unforeseeable events will possibly occur on a planetary scale.
So that companies can take advantage of JIT, while having flexibility in production, they will need to review their vision and strategy, and use available technologies to achieve such a vision (I will address this aspect in next week’s article).
As we can see, several companies are adapting their manufacturing capabilities to different products in order to support the shortages of products required by the market (producers of alcoholic beverages who manufacture hand cleansers, for example, clothing manufacturing companies which manufacture masks, etc.).
Local suppliers will also have to have a better place in the supply strategy of their customers in order to reduce supply time and dependence on world markets (although we will always be attached to it), and thus allow increased agility in moments as we live. It is unrealistic to believe that we can repatriate most goods produced for complete independence in our supply chain, but some aspects could still be reviewed.
Sales and Marketing: Visionaries Stand Out
More than ever, the sales process must be consultative, focused on understanding the reality of customers to stand out. Active listening thirsty for a sincere curiosity about the business reality of their customers (vision, objectives, challenges, market, competition, etc.) must be the main qualities that companies, and their sales teams must offer to their partners- clients.
In order for them to be experts in their sector of activity, and not experts in their products and services, they will have to understand and anticipate trends, changes and share with their customers to make them benefit from the expertise developed – and offer additional value to their customers.
They will have to create their differentiation in the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of their customers more quickly than their competitors can.
The approach to the market will have to be carried out according to their long-term vision and their definition of the customer experience, especially if their company takes the path of the diversification of the product offer and flexibility mentioned above.
E-commerce will also change reality, not only for B2C, but will most likely be more prevalent in B2B – an industry that has traditionally followed the trend of electronic commerce compared to selling to consumers.
A major change must be anticipated in the way interactions between sales professionals and customers take place. Video and conference calls will take up more space, and people will have to open to new ways of communicating, be more flexible and open to new technologies.
Talents aligned with vision
The companies that will survive in the long term will be those that will question themselves, will embark on strategic thinking but above all will put concrete actions in place. This implies a change in the market in general, from all actors in the supply chain – from suppliers of raw materials, to the end customer.
These changes obviously require people to make them. The teams in place, be it management, managers, sales, and operations people, will have to commit to this change. It is by working with customers and suppliers that they can take the business to the desired level.
- What training will be required to upgrade them?
- Will organizational changes have to be considered?
- What skills will be required for candidates to complement the existing teams?
For recruitment specialists, it will therefore be important to upgrade the understanding of the new organizational objectives and the new market reality to maximize the success rate of the business / candidate associations that will be established.
The recruitment process will also go through a period of change. Social distancing will most likely be greater in the various stages of short-term recruitment, technological tools for videoconferencing will be used more. An adaptation will be necessary, because human contact such as handshake and proximity, offering important elements, will have less predominance.
Changes will vary depending on the positions recruited, and a return of the pendulum should be done in the medium or long term, as a combination of technological and conventional approaches to recruitment will find their place.
An adaptation period will be necessary for everyone, at different levels, and depending on the company. In order for everyone to benefit from this period of change, and minimize the impact of future events like the ones we are going through, a collaboration of all stakeholders will be required to ensure that each action taken is aligned with a long-term vision .
You would like to discuss your attraction, recruitment and retention strategy that will allow you to build teams focused on the new business reality, market positioning and consultative and strategic sales?
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