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Passion is the decisive factor

Acquiring customers, retaining customers and growing together with customers: Matthias Henke, Head of Sales and Marketing at HANSA-FLEX, provides insights into the work of the Sales department.

Est. reading time is 9 minutes
Every customer relationship revolves around sales. Day in, day out Matthias Henke's team is the first point of contact for customers from a wide range of industries - from small trade businesses to medium-sized companies and international corporations.

What characterises a member of the sales team at HANSA‑FLEX?

There’s no shortage of competitors on our market, and it’s not enough to differentiate yourself simply by means of your products and their benefits. People buy products from people: it's the personal contact with the customer that makes the real difference. All of our sales staff are good at problem solving, have in-depth know-how and share a genuine passion for the world of fluid technology and for HANSA‑FLEX. At the same time, a healthy dose of pragmatism is essential. After all, anyone can make things complicated. The real task is to translate complex tasks into simple solutions. In addition, we need to listen and understand the direction in which the customer wants to develop, and how we can best provide support in order to create added value for both partners.

What are the goals of your sales operations?

We focus on two goals that complement each other: firstly, we aim to expand our leading market position, in other words to continue to grow and develop faster than the market. At the same time, we intend to further strengthen customer satisfaction and thus customer loyalty. Of course, these are things that everyone, including our competitors, is committed to. But with over 60 years of experience, we really know what we are talking about and, thanks to the passion with which we engage with our customers every day, we also have the means to fulfil our commitments!

How do you increase customer satisfaction?

First-class product and service quality is a matter of course for us, and we ensure this together with our colleagues in technology, production and purchasing. That’s the basis. A key task for us in sales is then to create added value for our customers by providing tailor-made solutions. This involves taking a close look and listening carefully in order to implement customised services for our products. The available spectrum ranges from pre-assembled kits and component groups to precisely synchronised delivery directly to the assembly line, Kanban solutions with automatic reordering, or packaging prepared for storage in high-bay warehouses. We have customers from a wide range of industries - from small trade businesses to medium-sized companies and international corporations. The challenge we face is that their needs are extremely diverse. For example, we have customers with an annual turnover of less than €1,000, and at the same time we supply and serve customers who place orders in the double-digit million range. But every customer is equally important and equally valuable to us as HANSA‑FLEX.

Why are services becoming increasingly important?

In the past it was practically an exception to outsource service and maintenance tasks to a service provider. Today this has changed completely. We are experiencing above-average growth in our Industrial Service and mobile Rapid Hydraulic Service operations, and are making targeted investments in expanding their capacities. In doing so, we are also providing an answer to the shortage of skilled labour: thanks to our services, our customers can focus on their core business and deploy their scarce resources in a more targeted manner.

What sales channels do you consider important for the future?

We have a close-knit network of branches in Germany and abroad. Our aim is to be on the ground wherever our customers operate. At the same time, we are continuing to expand our digital offerings such as our online shop, the My.HANSA‑FLEX portal and our apps. By linking both worlds, i.e. the branch with the online shop = click & collect, we offer a real USP in this sector: our customers order online and have the goods conveniently delivered, or can collect them from their nearest HANSA‑FLEX location. Thanks to our close-knit branch network, we can offer very short distances and fast response times. This is our USP on the entire market! None of our competitors can sell online and be there for the customer in person at the same time, but we can.

What are the challenges here?

"The future belongs to those who recognise opportunities before they become obvious." This quote from Oscar Wilde sums up the challenge for me. We have to anticipate developments and proactively deal with new technologies and customer requirements. Our customers are people. They transfer their experiences from their private lives to their work. Today, for example, they can order a taxi or an Uber at the touch of a button, and the app on their smartphone automatically transmits their location and customer data. Such smart functions are also expected from us. We have therefore integrated a button into our HANSA‑FLEX app, for example, which can be used to call the Rapid Hydraulic Service to a construction site with exactly the same ease.

What will sales look like in the future?

Sales will be radically different in the future. We are already well on the way to digitalisation: short online meetings save time and simplify coordination. Artificial intelligence will take us all even further forward, because recurring tasks in sales and order processing will be completed fully automatically in future. This will not only make us faster, but also more transparent. At the same time, AI will create new opportunities to match customer-specific requirements with our extensive product portfolio. The use of intelligent assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google will also find its way into our company in the coming years.
Customer satisfaction is our top priority in everything we do: if we use digital solutions to relieve our staff of time-consuming routine tasks, they’ll have more time for advising and supporting our customers. Face-to face meetings with the customer on site will and must continue as a matter of course. After all, regardless of all things digital, passion is the decisive factor.

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