“The digital transformation in sales is a curse and a blessing at the same time.”
How to find Salespeople? Look for newcomers to sales! Qymatix Expert Interview.
Jana Mallah – Recruitment Specialist – Thema Group – Partner in Life Science Recruitment
Dear Ms., Mallah, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Jana Mallah. I’m in my early thirties. I studied biochemistry, and after completing my master, I decided to do my PhD at the Max-Plank-Institute in Dortmund.
In the meantime, I am almost done with my PhD. The “almost” refers to the missing defence of my thesis. My defence will hopefully take place in the coming summer semester.
During my PhD, my life changed a little bit. E.g. I became a mom, and I was pretty sure that I wanted to leave the scientific research and enter a different working field.
As I am a very communicative person, I thought about entering human resources and more precisely the field of recruiting. I imagined that I could be very successful and, above all, become very happy in the area of recruitment. I must say that it was a right decision.
At Qymatix we are driven by digital innovation with a human aspect. What drives you in your job?
The most exciting thing about my job is precisely to offer our candidates the opportunity to make a career change.
The focus is, of course, on improving the quality of life of our candidates. Helping with this is my motivation. Especially interesting in this context is how our candidates define an improvement in the quality of life.
What are the typical tasks of a sales representative in B2B today?
There are two things, which we always hear: 1. Acquisition and 2. customer development. In which weighting strongly depends, on the product, the exact position and the region or the area.
However, other significant points are things like self-organisation, documentation and even a bit of project management. Depending on the product, the sales department works closely with application and product specialists; It is also the responsibility of field staff to plan joint visits to the customer.
In summary, the typical tasks of a sales representative are quite diverse, but of course primarily sales-oriented.
Which “soft skills” do corporations and companies look for in key account managers or field sales staff?
As already indicated, self-management is indispensable, mainly since a large part of all sales employees, at least in the life science sector, work home office-based. Furthermore, a top salesperson should be communicative and, of course, convincing. An ability that our customers often require is being a “closer”.
Being a “closer” means that, the sales representative recognises when a customer is convinced, concludes accordingly and does not “overshoot” the target. This ability carries a degree of empathy and is undoubtedly one of the most valuable soft skills for newcomers in sales.
Of course, the ability to “network” is also essential and plays a prominent role especially for key account managers. The better a sales manager is connected inside a company, the higher the success rate.
How valuable is knowledge of CRM systems for your customers?
Let’s put it this way, if there is knowledge, that is good and certainly a plus, but I have not experienced that non-existent expertise or experience with CRM would be an exclusion criterion.
Nonetheless, CRM systems are becoming increasingly important for both sides, our customers and, of course, the sales representatives themselves.
Do you think sales will dramatically change over the next five years?
That’s a bit difficult for me to judge because I do not work in the field of sales myself. What I believe – assuming that the economy keeps doing well – is that it will become increasingly difficult for companies to find top sales staff.
A general trend in sales is a high willingness to change. As soon as a position loses its appeal, and the reasons for it are usually different, the “restraint threshold” is not too high to look around. In a sense, companies are forced to adapt, or they lose their well-trained and valuable experienced sales staff.
In this context, one example is the high amount of travel in sales, which is very often a prerequisite. At the moment, however, above all, a harmonious work-life balance is in vogue.
“Work-life balance is at the moment a reason for top sales executives to change companies.
Nowadays, a healthy work-life balance is often a reason especially for top sales executives, to change companies. Those companies that are implementing mechanisms for an attractive work-life balance and that find ways to compensate the high amount of travel-time or optimise sales activities will undoubtedly benefit in the long term as they increase their attractiveness.
Notably, sales experience is the most-wanted criterion of our customers.
In your opinion, what role does the digital transformation play in B2B sales? What part do you see for account managers?
The digital transformation in sales is, I believe, a curse and a blessing at the same time. A curse, because people lose some freedom and complete monitoring and control are made possible by appropriate systems.
At the same time, it is a blessing, because – ideally – documentation and optimisation are facilitated, and many of the more administrative tasks are left to machines, which in turn saves a lot of time. I hear both very often, so per a digital transformation in sales brings pros and contras.
What role do predictive analytics solutions play in your opinion?
I think predictive analytics solutions are precious for sales, as it becomes more and more imperative to work effectively. After all, both sides – executives and employers -benefit from intelligent solutions.
The sales representative can achieve his goals faster, with less effort, and companies can more easily increase their profits, using existing resources.
There is a lot of potential in artificial intelligence solutions. I believe that especially nowadays, where finding top sales staff is getting harder and harder, companies have to bail out all the existing potential.
Thank you Ms Mallah for this interesting interview!
About Jana Mallah:
Jana Mallah is Recruitment Specialist and Partner in Life Science Recruitment at Thema Group. She searches qualified candidates for its clients and helps companies in Life Science to find sales superstars. Before joining Thema, Ms Mallah was a Research associate with an academic degree at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology.
Find her on LinkedIn.
Jana Mallah Profile Picture: Private.