Effective sales for SMEs – Roth Economics and Science Forum at RKW’s annual conference
The brainchild of Manfred Roth, the Roth Economics and Science Forum is designed to give small and medium-sized enterprises a platform to discuss the issues of the day with scientists, politicians and the general public.
Manfred Roth, Managing Director of Roth Industries, introduced the topic in his welcome address: “Most inventions in Germany are dreamt up by SMEs. They know the importance of new developments and continuous improvement processes. However, are they sufficiently aware that they need an effective sales machine if their products are to succeed on the market?”
Manfred Roth went on to say that SMEs often lacked suitable marketing tools for generating sales growth alongside strong operating results, which was where the forum was designed to provide recommendations for action.
After the greeting from Manfred Roth and the opening speech by Christopher Haas, Chairman of the Board of RKW Hessen e.V., attendees were also welcomed by Mathias Samson, Hesse’s Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. Peter Sawtschenko, Head of the Business Positioning Centre (Positionierungszentrum für die Wirtschaft – P.ZET.W) and owner of the Sawtschenko Institute, addressed the question of “Why we need a new way of thinking in business”. The marketing and sales expert explained in vivid terms how companies can overcome a crisis. Alongside other measures, he highlighted the importance of customer benefit and market positioning. “If you’re not selling automatically, then you’re not offering any mandatory benefit,” he said.
Prof. Dr Alexander Haas, Professor for Marketing and Sales Management at Justus Liebig University Giessen spoke about “what makes for effective sales”. He explained that a salesperson had to recognise the actual added value that a product brings in order to be successful, going on to say: “Value-based selling depends on the attributes of the person doing the selling. Exploiting the network effects they can generate, a salesperson can leverage added value and, in an ideal scenario, win the customer over with monetary benefits.”
No fewer than three companies from Hesse shared their practical experience, reporting on their own individual sales strategies and the potential and success factors that these generate.
All in all, case studies combined with theory and academic studies of interrelationships between companies and markets gave the 160 or so members of the audience a wide range of ideas for managing their day-to-day business as well as for their medium- and long-term strategic market positioning.