On the 27th of February 2013, Vlerick and Deloitte hosted their first Sales Forum on the Vlerick Campus in Ghent. This Sales Forum is a unique joint initiative between the Vlerick Business School and Deloitte to invest in building out a strong sales network through Europe, starting with Belgium.
More specifically, the Sales Forum is an event that brings together industry sales leaders, sales researchers and other sales aficionados to share their knowledge, meet old partners, make new connections and to share the latest management thinking and best-practice cases in sales management today.
During the last quarter of 2012 Vlerick and Deloitte decided to launch the first ever “Sales & Procurement Survey” in Belgium. The purpose of the survey was to gain a deeper insight on the buyer-seller relationship. As the outcome of the survey served as a starting point for our first Sales Forum it was aptly titled: ‘Where sales and procurement meet’.
Two top key-note speakers (Gino Hendrickx, Head of procurement, KPN Belgium and Chris Van Elslander, Regional Director Benelux and Nordics, Barco) shared their experiences and thoughts on the very latest trends and developments in the procurement and sales area. Afterwards the outcome of the survey results were presented and also debated by a first class panel of experienced sales and procurement leaders from different companies like 3M, bpost, AB-Inbev, Amcor- and KPN. The event concluded with a networking reception where all participants had the chance to interact and network with their fellow sales or procurement counterparts.
The main results of our study indicated clear gaps that exists between sales and procurement, but interestingly enough it also identified some common areas where sales and procurement saw eye to eye. Some of the suggestions that came out of the research and the subsequent panel discussion was (1) it makes good business sense for sales and procurement to start engaging with each other before, during and after business transactions as this will increase value for both parties, (2) sales and procurement should step in each-other’s shoes once in a while– this in order to understand each-other’s objectives and have relevant conversations (3), it become clear that concepts like value selling and TCO are emerging, but in order to succeed companies first need to get the basics right and (4) most importantly in order to create a strong buyer-seller relationship: do what you say and say what you do!
With close to 90 sales and procurement professionals from different organizations, the event was a big success and is another step forward in how Vlerick Business School and Deloitte are working together to professionalize the domain of sales management in Belgium.
Should you be interested in knowing more about this year’s Sales Forum or if you are interested in our research findings, don’t hesitate to contact us:
Deva Rangarajan, Partner and associate professor in Sales, Vlerick Business School
Marc Abels, Partner, Deloitte Consulting