Guest Lecture by Dow Chemical in Sales Management
For the second guest lecture in the master course Sales Management, Manfred Krafft welcomed three representatives from The Dow Chemical Company: Klaus Rudert, Global Customer Executive and Managing Director Dow Germany, Benedikt Rammrath, Senior European Account Manager and Elena Czerny, Technical Sales Representative. They acquainted the students with sales force management, the role of customer relationship management, organizational design and current challenges in a global B2B company.
Founded in 1897 in the USA by Herbert H. Dow, the company merged with DuPont in 2015 in order to combine knowledge and skills. Dow, Corteva and DuPont emerged as three newly restructured companies specialized in one field respectively, namely materials science, specialty products and agriculture.
As a B2B organization, Dow’s customers are mostly chemical companies, the automotive industry and chemical distributors. Internal challenges, such as the need of constant liquidity and continuous product development, while preserving shareholder value have to be reconciled. In addition, the company has to deal with many uncertainties from outside the company, including geo-political issues, a high dependency on oil, gas and energy, price and currency volatility and the decision about which regions to invest in. Another very important challenging topic nowadays are environmental concerns that especially chemical companies are confronted with, also regarding their customer relationships. The students were very interested in discussing sustainability projects with Rudert, Rammrath and Czerny. In particular, the participants discussed topics such as food preservation through packaging, or recycling issues.
In terms of CRM, the speakers emphasized Dow’s focus on the market, combing the employee and customer experience to ensure a successful, satisfying and mutually beneficial cooperation. To achieve this, processes have to be adjusted to individual customers. In line with the lecture, the students received insights into differences resulting from various product portfolios, large vs. small accounts, locally and globally dispersed customers, channels and communication tools varying by countries and cultures. Additionally, the divergent and sometimes conflicting views of marketing vs. sales were addressed again.
At the very end, the students also learned about the daily work and career opportunities at Dow. With the Commercial Development Program entrants are trained to Account Managers with various individual development prospects having their success lying in their own hands. The guest speakers from Dow invited the students to a Meet&Greet at the Marketing Center to discuss further questions. The course participants were very grateful that all three guest lecturers were willing to share their knowledge and experience with the students.