Placing the focus on customers and achieving a competitive advantage in a stagnating market
In times of digitization, B2B providers are struggling to set their products apart from those of the competition. Papyrus, a wholesaler of paper and packaging, also recognized that sales and marketing can make the difference in fending off commoditization. The Center for Industrial Marketing supported Papyrus in reorganizing its entire sales segment to focus on its customers’ requirements and enabling its employees to sell added value. To this end, the concept of value-based selling, developed in St. Gallen, was customized for Papyrus – and it has been successful: Papyrus was able to strengthen its position in a stagnant market and secure a long-term competitive advantage.
Waning growth and changing purchasing behavior in the era of digitization have led to structural changes in the paper industry. Comparable services are offered online, and providers are increasingly interchangeable. To keep pace with these developments and continue to hold its ground on the market, Papyrus has had to increasingly differentiate itself through its marketing and sales activities and create significant added value for its customers.
Along with the German Graduate School of Management and Law, the Center for Industrial Marketing supported the company over a three-year period. Within the scope of the Papyrus Sales Drive Academy initiative, a total of 300 executives and back-office and field sales staff were trained in selling added value, drawing on the St. Gallen concept of value-based selling. The methods of the Academy impressed the participants even between training days: After a motivational kickoff event, they prepared for the next workshop on their own with the help of e-learning modules and webinars. They then directly applied what they had learned, and worked in teams to complete tasks specific to Papyrus. An added-value concept was thus developed that is exactly tailored to Papyrus’ processes. At the same time, the service offering was aligned to the requirements of the target groups that are particularly important to the company: major customers from the industry, service providers, and government enterprises.
Thanks to the Papyrus Sales Drive Academy initiative, increased awareness about the topic of added value for customers has been raised among sales staff, and a concept was developed that can be applied internationally. Today, the customer is the focus of all activities. Employees are now able to better identify the requirements of their customers, illustrate the added value in a comprehensible manner, and increase both national and international customers’ willingness to pay a bit more for Papyrus products and services. In addition, the new services developed within the scope of the initiative allow Papyrus to become more involved in its customers’ value chain and attain a long-term competitive advantage. The paper retailer is therefore able to set itself apart from its competitors, despite the acute challenges in the market.
|We were particularly impressed by how the Center for Industrial Marketing combines knowledge from other industries and the field of science. Our experiences at the workshops and the discussions in the team showed that our employees had the feeling they were all trying to reach a common goal. We have now noticed a new attitude at our company: customers are the focus, and services are designed to ensure added value is created.
Nicole Mamier, HR Director Papyrus Germany GmbH & Co. KG