The opinion of Xavier Ilarza

There’s already been said a lot about COVID and the consequences this virus is bringing to all aspects of our life, so, it is not my intention in this article to unveil to the world anything that has probably not been said or written be-fore. My intention in the next few words is to reflect with you about the future of sales roles in this new scenario where all sorts of restrictions making the traditional salesman role of mee-ting people a game changer. Being a salesman travelling all over the world and enjoying me-eting customers became luxurious, some say: it will never be the same again.
The main question I ask myself…. Do we salesmen, need to start thinking about converting ourselves and finding new jobs to do in the future? The answer I find is yes and no at the same time…Do we need to find a new job to do in the future? Certainly not, but, do we have to convert our roles and practices in order to adapt ourselves to the new scenario whilst providing added value to our customers in the way we do our job? Certainly yes.So, the question is what and how we need to change to adapt to the so called “new normal”It is clear our customers still will be willing to be technically and commercially suppor-ted from salesmen they trust, but this needs to be done from a distance now using online methods. Salesmen have to be expert users in all kind of online platforms to connect with people just like we are on different airlines or airports. At the same time customers will also have to be more accessible to participate in online meetings and trainings to be aware about the latest innovations and trends in their businesses…I know many will think that online meetings are not going to substitute the personal touch of a live meeting with a customer or supplier over a coffee or a tea. Neither exhibitions, pre-sentations, events, trainings, etcetera, can be easily substituted in a digital format… and I do agree… it would be like saying that attending a football match at the stadium would be the same as watching it from your sofa at home…What I want to highlight is that despite all, COVID crisis like all other crises before, is brin-ging to all of us new opportunities. Also for us salesmen it’s an opportunity to reduce our travelling time and optimize our time with customers and colleagues. Instead of spending the time behind the wheel or queuing in airports all over the world, using our minds and souls feeding new ideas and market intelligence to our companies should certainly be a benefit to any organization. Here at Colcom we are all committed to continue day by day to evolve and adapt to the new challenges. Change is an essential part of the game in any organization, this is the reason we only want to look ahead in a positive and motivated way. Unfortunately COVID will stay for a while and will keep forcing us to adapt and change roles but it will be overcome as all other crises in history. Salesmen roles will have adapted and changed by then but will still be of key importance in every organization. Maybe in a different way, but still responsible to build bridges between suppliers and customers.