Digitization: Product launch in times of Corona
Product launch used to go like this: trade show booth, smoke machine and press conference. Product launches in times of Corona go more like this: plan a webinar, stage the product in front of a camera and promote it in the social media channels. Personal customer contact? Was and is more than difficult.
“Working from home was absolutely no reason for us not to launch new products,” says Sebastian Kaderk, Head of Portfolio Management at KUKA. “Our processes were already digitized before this exceptional period. However, we had to enrich them with content, especially videos. Scenes showing our robots in real-life use are in demand. Such ‘cases’ are our most important currency – and for internal as well as external communication.” In order to provide comprehensive information on all new products worldwide, a lot of communication is required. “All our webinars are in English and can therefore be used worldwide, both internally and for our international customers,” says Kaderk.
Sales from home: Swap business trip for video conference
Worldwide, the pandemic has moved many workers into home office. The interfaces have changed within a very short time. In its study “Virtual Selling Has Become Simply Selling,” the international management consultancy Bain & Company determined that 92 percent of the B2B sales managers surveyed now prefer digital business relationships. This corresponds to 17 percentage points more than in May 2020. Erich Schober, Chief Regional Officer for the DACH region, can also confirm that digital sales channels have gained in importance: “The importance of our website and our customer portal my.KUKA will continue to increase. New media, especially our YouTube channel, but also Instagram and of course LinkedIN, are also necessary channels for staying in touch and networking with our customers and partners in the future.”
Digitization in Sales: What Remains?
But will product innovations continue to be presented exclusively digitally in the future? “Sometimes it’s easier to clarify things via web conference. But of course, that always depends on the topic and on the stage the customer is at. When it comes to acquiring new customers, there is no substitute for a personal visit to build the necessary trust,” says Schober. It’s hard to predict which new habits will stick, thinks Daniel Rucandio, Director Sales for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America regions: “It will take time to reach the level of business travel of the past – if it is reached again at all. Digital meetings are easy, safer, and more cost-effective. There’s also the reduction in carbon footprint.” In the end, value will probably be the deciding factor. If in-person visits or face-to-face events are helpful and necessary to the business and add value to the business, they will be preferred over video conferencing.