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Lars Linnekogel
Lars
Linnekogel

Seizing Opportunities During the Crisis: How to Increase Your Commercial Readiness NOW

02.06.2020
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Take a quick look at your diary. It’s likely that most of the appointments revolve around current sales figures, hygiene measures or existing gaps in your supply chain. In other words, about current issues caused by the coronavirus crisis.

You’re not alone in this. Companies across the globe are struggling with aggravated market conditions and dwindling sales. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) expects economic output to fall by up to 3%. By way of comparison, this figure was 1.7% after the financial crisis in 2009.

We find ourselves in the middle of a worrying economic downturn and it seems obvious to focus your attention exclusively on current events. However, this could turn out to be a mistake. While you are busy ensuring the survival of your company from day to day, the signs of a new era, the post-coronavirus age, are mounting.

Those who are already preparing for this will be able to take the appropriate steps at the right time. What’s more, you will be ahead in the race for the market shares of the future.

What Is Coming After the Crisis? 3 Theses

 

No one knows what the future holds

Remain sceptical if consultants or institutions give very precise details of what your industry can expect in the coming weeks and months. Put simply, nobody knows. All predictions are based on mere speculation.

Things will pick up again

The original definition of crisis reveals a trend: there is always a “before” and “after”. Every crisis eventually comes to an end and then life continues. Since a crisis marks the bottoming-out of a development, things usually go upwards thereafter. It is good to keep this in mind from time to time.

You will adapt your business model

This is also speculation, but it’s one for which there’s much to be said: companies will have to restructure themselves in order to offer added value to customers in the post-coronavirus world. It’s quite possible that your business model will no longer be 100% suitable and you’ll have to adapt it.

Let’s take a current example: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & Co. are experiencing a huge influx of users. In addition, the number of people watching state-funded and private TV channels has also increased. The question arises as to which consumer behavior will prevail after the crisis. If current experiences give former TV viewers the pleasure of ad-free streaming, TV channels will lose an important advertising target group and thus a decisive source of income. Accordingly, TV channels will have to adapt their strategy in the future in order to continue reaching their advertising target group.

How the crisis is challenging your commercial function

Strategy: Your previous business strategies no longer work

Market monitoring: Past predictions have become obsolete; companies are acting blindly

Resources: Unstable markets require flexible planning

Sales channels: Former sales channels have been disrupted

 

Commercial Excellence – The Basis for Your Success

Why is it that some companies are able to seize opportunities quickly, while others are rather slow to act? The reason for this is the successful interaction of different processes within the company, also known as commercial excellence. In our experience, this can be seen in eight characteristics that apply irrespective of a crisis:

  • A flexible, adaptable business model that is constantly reviewed and adjusted in an agile manner
  • Strategic focus on value creation and differentiation from competitors
  • Multi-channel marketing activities geared towards the company’s strategy and customers
  • Portfolio and category management as an essential component of the overall strategy
  • Advanced price and contract analysis as the basis of the business strategy
  • Clear understanding of the value, characteristics, target customers, needs and operational requirements for each commercial channel
  • Integral customer approach, focussing on operational excellence and value creation
  • Support of the commercial function for management, HR, IT, operations and performance evaluation

A company set up in this way can adapt more easily to the new normality. The more of these criteria your organization meets, the more likely it is to succeed.

What You Can Do Now to Increase Your Commercial Readiness for the Post-Coronavirus Era

You are currently in the eye of the storm. However, this does not mean you have to wait for the storm to pass. These measures will help you to identify and prepare for future opportunities:

Ensure proactive monitoring

Developing a meaningful strategy is facilitated by valid data. Stay close to the market, keep up to date with proactive monitoring and never miss a new development. The results provide the basis for strategic and operational decisions and help drive innovation.

  • Monitor your company: Monitor your KPIs. What do these figures tell you about the relevance of individual products or potential bottlenecks in your customer and supplier relationships?
  • Monitor the market: Use industry-specific information sources to monitor your sector and the competition
  • Comprehensive monitoring: The press, social media and information services not accessible to the public provide information on social and political developments. Look beyond your own country: countries that are several weeks ahead of us in the coronavirus crisis have important lessons to learn.

Plan in scenarios

You can develop market forecasts based on your regular observation of the market. It’s the task of the strategy department to use these forecasts to develop possible scenarios for the future. This enables you to react to changes in the market in good time and in the best possible way as well as to introduce measures within the organization.

Adapt your strategy “on the go” and in an agile manner

Bid farewell to the idea of pursuing a fixed strategy during the crisis. Your strategic planning is an agile process that is geared to an evolving market situation.

  • Check value chains and business portfolios for relevance. Delete anything superfluous.
  • Define new content priorities for sales and marketing
  • Adapt your supply relationships to the new circumstances
  • Set up new internal processes
  • Have the necessary capacities ready for the commercial ramp-up

Our team of experts is more than happy to support you in this challenge as part of our Commercial Crisis Control Sprints. Evaluate the commercial maturity of your organization together with us and identify areas that require action. Does this sound interesting to you? Get in touch for further information.

 

 



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