Dear Ms. Heinze, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, my name is Luba Heinze. I work Europe-wide as a consultant for a discounter and supervise projects of Digital Leadership in sales. At the same time, I am a certified coach, working for entrepreneurs with immigration background.

This two-track career allows me to apply my coaching skills while consulting in sales. Some of the challenges of a major retail company are not much different from those of a small business: how do I motivate myself and my sales team? What digital tools do I have and how can I use more efficiently? How do I effectively communicate with my sales team and my customers through digital channels?

Together with my clients and business colleagues, we work not only on specific “how to” solutions but rather on the decision-making mindset: what qualities of my personality must excel to be successful in my professional environment?

What has led you to help retailers with their digital sales processes?
Retail is a very dynamic industry and forces a well-organised yet rapid change.

The need to adapt quickly to new customer requirements makes the retail sector hugely exciting to me. At the same time, discounters are one of the few sectors so far “spared” by e-commerce. Maybe just because no one has yet found a sufficiently convenient way of home-delivering fresh food inexpensively.

Will Amazon drones, Über-eats or Über-grocery change this? We are still to see. So far there is no moving experience. That results in a mixture of appeal and challenge at the same time.

In your opinion, what big changes did sales experience in the last 10 years?
Many sales process have become more transparent. For example, comparing prices over the internet. That means, product and price play a lesser role in sales, and customer relationships grow in importance. Do I offer my customers transparency and authenticity, regardless of how hard this could be? Will this be the only way to survive on the market?

What is the role of digitalization in sales? Where do you see salespeople in a digital world?
Most people define life-quality based on their interpersonal relationships. This trend will gain in importance, especially in a digital world. The customer expects their individual needs to be met during the sales process. This in addition to transparency, convenience, and simplicity.

The customer wants to know that he or she is still important. How can a business achieve this? By focusing not only on the digitalisation of sales processes but also on the human aspect of a sales team.

The ability of a talented salesperson to cultivate interpersonal relationships with her customers is, in my opinion, one of the most critical assets of this digital age.

In a recent article, we discussed sales in 50 years from now. How do you see the future of sales?
Interesting questions! In the future robots and artificial intelligence will take away the boring activities. Remote working and mobile will be commonplace. Even though, humans will remain human. In 50 years, important decisions will be taken by human intuition. This means that establishing and maintaining customer trust will continue to be a major competitive advantage.

Let’s take Amazon, for example. Amazon breathes digital. Over the years, Amazon has always managed to satisfy the needs of their customers consistently. This creates a bond, a sense of security and confidence. If Amazon can continue to perform this well, the company will also exist in 50 years, I am sure.

Which role will play predictive sales analytics?
Predictive analytics in its most pure form was long in use before it became known like that. Any good trader knows his past sales and the seasonal effects on his business. This two-dimensional view, however, can no longer meet the complex customer behaviour in the digital age.

The challenge today is to combine online & offline data with experience to discover customer potential and react quickly, for example, pricing products dynamically.

“The ability to cultivate interpersonal relationships with customers is one of the most critical assets of this digital age.”

In which aspects would you say you are unprepared?
Human nature cannot take uncertainty so easily. We would undergo extreme lengths to remove it from our lives, private and professional. What for? Uncertainty and change are unavoidable, but personal growth is a choice. With any – unforeseen – challenge, I would always advise my coaching clients to ask themselves where the growth opportunity might be lying for them. One cannot be prepared for every special problem, but stoically accepting change can be cultivated.

Taking advantage of available intelligent tools for sales planning & forecasting helps me to accept change. Fr the rest, the unknown unknowns, one only must take them as they come.

In your opinion, how good is the German retail & distribution sector prepared for the future? How should sales adapt itself in the coming years?
Finding the right way and tools to communicate the digital and technological affinity of the customers (and sales people) accordingly will be one of the biggest challenges in retail & distribution. Using Wassup or a web-form requires no further explanation for millennial, but it might be unsuitable for a baby-boomer. I think here it will be important to find the right balance between costs, strategy and the needs of the customer segment and salespeople.

In the future, which jobs will be done by machines, which by humans?
As you have discussed in your blog article about sales in 50 years, we humans will keep the creative and non-automatable jobs for ourselves. It is, therefore, crucial, that each of us can discover and cultivate his or her creative talents. The classical scientific knowledge and regular automatable jobs will be reduced in importance. I think once should strive for her strengths and grow from there, to be better prepared for the future.

In Qymatix we are motivated by technical innovation with a human aspect. What motivates you?
I am continuously inspired by the courage that my coaching customers develop by facing their challenges and obstacles.

Thanks, Ms. Heinze!


About Luba Heinze:

Luba Heinze is a consultant at a large German discounter and is responsible for projects in the Digital Leadership with a focus on the sales force. Additionally, as a coach for entrepreneurs with an immigration background, she helps her clients to reconcile their individual value system with their profession to live their desired lifestyle.

She is a business graduate and Credentialed Practitioner of Coaching. In her blog, she regularly reports on success stories of entrepreneurs with an immigration background to create new models for young migrants.


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