Old Traditions Back to Familiar Settings - Guest Lecture by Dow in the Sales Management Course

On November 12, a long-standing tradition in the form of a guest lecture by Dow was continued in the Sales Management course. Professor Krafft and his team were pleased to welcome Klaus Rudert (Managing Director and Global Corporate Account Executive), Benedikt Rammrath (Account Executive) and Lukas Stockhausen (Account Manager). After last year's guest lecture via Zoom, fortunately all three guest lecturers found their way to Münster and spoke in person.

The guest lecture was divided into three major sections. Throughout the presentation, interesting references were made to the content of the Sales Management course. First, a brief introduction to the company was given. Dow was founded in 1897 by Herbert H. Dow in Midland, Michigan. Since its beginnings, Dow is living up to its purpose of "combining the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress". Its ambitions to be innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable enable the company to strive for value and best-in-class performance. Dow is an international and multicultural company with operations in locations around the world.

The second part of the presentation discussed the B2B business environment and its challenges. These challenges can be divided into internal and external challenges. Internal challenges include the constant need for cash flow to finance highly complex and state-of-the-art equipment. Also, proper and timely product management and multi-layered supply chain management are essential. On the other hand, there are external uncertainties, e.g. geopolitical developments, high price and currency fluctuations due to multinational activities. Increasingly complex tasks such as deciding which regions to invest in or the impact of digitalization and environmental regulations are also a challenge for global companies like Dow.

The third part focused on specific topics that relate particularly well to the Sales Management course. One of these topics was sustainability at Dow, which is accelerated by specific sustainability goals formulated at the corporate level, e.g. the goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. The company's customer relationship management was also discussed. Dow focuses on commitment to outstanding customer as well as employer experience. The guest lecturers demonstrated different sales approaches based on customer segmentation considerations. Challenges in the new, virtual reality were also highlighted which was particularly interesting given the focus of this year's tutorial: less face-to-face contact, more interactions through digital means, and an emphasis on video conferencing tools or email conversations instead of the earlier face-to-face sales calls. The relationship management approach was outlined as an example for a larger, complex account of a global consumer goods company. One of the other issues addressed was the organizational design at Dow. Herein, the matrix organization brings challenges that need to be tackled. In addition, a brief overview of sales force management in a global company was given, including the allocation of selling efforts, communication tools and work culture (with a special focus on the different employee networks at Dow).

The presentation was concluded with a presentation on performance management and career development at Dow highlighting interesting career opportunities at the company. Among other aspects, the commercial development program, through which both Mr. Rammrath and Mr. Stockhausen found their way into the company, was highlighted in particular.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the guest lecturers from Dow once again for the interesting insights and hope to welcome them again next year.