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At Liebherr, market and product sales work in established teams. How are the responsibilities and processes shared?
Graf: Market sales is close to the customer and is very familiar with the regional markets. They work closely with product sales, which has precise technical product knowledge. For each Liebherr branch, there are fixed teams of colleagues on site and a colleague in Kempten, who work together to provide advice, prepare quotations, and also solve problems. This way, we cover the specific requirements in the regional markets as well as the technical side, and can support the customer in a great way.
Heider: This gives customers a great deal of transparency, because they have a direct contact on their side in market sales, while product sales is the interface to technology, production, and logistics at Liebherr.
How much has the pandemic and the resulting digitalization affected sales?
Biemer: We quickly got used to the fact that many things have become more digital. But in sales in particular, a meeting on Teams is not the same thing as a face-to-face conversation. You can’t see the other person’s body language, or look directly into their eyes. On the other hand, simple questions can be clarified quickly and cost-effectively via Teams. We’ve also gained capacity because it means a lot of trips are no longer necessary. Technically, we have upgraded, which means we can now do things remotely that used to need someone to be there, such as virtual pre-acceptance of machines with special software and camera technology. But there’s no substitute for real face-to-face consulting and sales meetings.
Graf: We’ve had good experience with formats such as our virtual in-house exhibition, the Liebherr Performance Days. But because gear technology is a niche market, personal contacts with the sales department are necessary so that we can provide customers with comprehensive advice on the machines.
Mr. Heider, you were working as a area sales manager for a long time and are taking over from Mr. Biemer as head of product sales. What are your goals and values?
Heider: First of all, I’m looking forward to traveling to Liebherr’s international locations and talking to the teams on site. It’s important for me to remain sensitive to the needs of the market and international customers, to pick up on these needs and bring them into the company. Internally, too, I want to seek dialog, create greater transparency, and increase cooperation between departments. In addition, I’ll be training and supporting my successor, Mr. Tobias Färber.
Mr. Biemer, what advice can you give Mr. Heider?
Biemer: We’re delighted, because Andreas Heider is a Liebherr man who has been with the company for many years and knows the business, the customers, and the needs of the market. He’ll be leading a young team and is focused on team work. These are ideal prerequisites for maintaining and expanding stable and lasting sales structures and keeping our customers happy. I think I’m leaving a successful team in good hands and would like to give him some advice from my experience: always listen. In sales in particular, listening is often more important than talking when we want to respond to the specific needs of our customers.
Mr. Graf, how do you see the future cooperation between market sales and product sales?
Graf: We stand for continuity: Peter Biemer and I have driven forward and expanded the meshing of market and product sales. Andreas Heider and I will continue this together, and I am pleased to have a colleague from our own ranks at my side. The market has become very dynamic. That’s why we have to coordinate closely in order to achieve the best for our customers and for Liebherr. Here in Kempten, our offices are right next to each other. This means that we can always exchange information quickly and easily, just like the tandem structure itself. Because in everything we do, the satisfaction of our customers is always our guiding principle.