Quick Q’s With Sandra Kientsch, idealworks’ New VP Sales & Marketing
As we move forward on our growth journey to become the solution provider for intralogistics through a holistic solution portfolio in the field of automation, we continue to strengthen our organization and set-up. It is therefore a great pleasure to announce that mid-June we welcomed a true sales and marketing expert to the company: She loves the mountains and Munich, was raised in Lindau at the Lake of Constance, she knows how to SUP, and is an ever-bustling person. Meet Sandra Kientsch, our new Vice President Sales & Marketing.
Based in Munich, our most recent addition to idealworks is leading the growth of our sales and marketing teams as we help more companies from all kinds of branches optimize their intralogistics processes. With almost a decade of sales experience, Sandra has a background from Hays and, most recently, reINVENT where she has worked as Head of Sales for SaaS. Sandra has joined idealworks at an exciting time. Our tech team is beavering away on some stunning new features of our two core products, our cloud platform AnyFleet and our AMR iw.hub, and our customer base is growing faster than ever before.
Our Corporate Communications Manager Sarah caught up with Sandra during her first weeks to learn more about her philosophy of sales and marketing.
Sandra, what strategies do you think are unique to sales in our industry?
In our industry that’s revolving around intralogistics, automation in robotics, and software solutions, tradition meets innovation and progress. It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth noting — clients want to be understood, and how we get there is through consultative selling, which is also known as needs-based selling. This sales approach prioritizes individual customers’ specific interests and makes them the focal point of the sales process, helping sales professionals better understand the challenges customers are facing so they can position their solutions in a more compelling way. It’s pretty much all about the development of personal relationships and personal dialogue between the customers and us.
You are competing with your client’s last best experience.
Do you think that sales strategies have differed in the last years with a shift in marketing channels?
Certainly, the pandemic has turned every marketer’s playbook upside down, challenging the old truths about customer relationships and building brands. Instead of knowing your customer, marketing starts with knowing your customer segment. You are not competing with your competitors; you are competing with the last best experience your client had.
What about the pandemic? Did it have any impact?
When the pandemic hit, digital transformation accelerated overnight, which sent client expectations skyrocketing in terms of what companies could do for them. Clients expect much more than just a seamless digital transaction, and I think that’s fair enough. Other than that, we experienced first-hand that it’s often enough to set up virtual meetings. Not all appointments need to take place on-site or in-person. Virtual events can’t replace big trade shows, but they were a good alternative. Also, social selling experienced a big push during the pandemic, which is excellent for B2B sales because it relies on building long-term, lasting relationships.
Let’s talk metrics: What would you say are the most important key figures for a VP Sales & Marketing to measure?
To me, even more important than knowing the metric you want to measure is to know why you want to measure it, what you want to find out by measuring it, and what you can improve with this very measure. With all those metrics and KPIs out there, I’d say that lead response time, the number of qualified leads, and the average length of the sales cycle are some of the most important metrics to keep an eye on.
What are your priorities for the first 90 days at idealworks?
That’s an interesting one! So, during the first 30 days I really wanted to get to know the team, understand both our solutions and the market better, dive deep into our company values and ceremonies, and figure out how to facilitate workflows. It was all about listening and learning. Now that I am in the ‘first 60 days’, the analysis phase, I am getting into understanding our clients’ profiles and identities; identifying success stories and unexplored use cases. I am getting to know all possible challenges that we and our customers are facing.
During the first 90 days in the office, the team and I will implement clear roles, processes, and responsibilities within the team. We are working on a holistic sales approach as well as on targets and objectives everyone can relate to and is motivated to work towards. Never stop improving, is my motto.
How do you think sales strategy should evolve as the business evolves?
It’s essential to standardize processes right from the start in order to ensure proper scaling. Standardized processes and documentation truly are facilitating any workflow, and any onboarding of additional team members. Plus, every mistake can only be made once, after that it’s a decision.
Relationships don’t just matter; they are everything.
How important is brand awareness when it comes to marketing and sales?
Brand awareness is pretty much the foundation all marketing efforts rely on. As the very first step in the marketing funnel, it is critical to the success of your business, and it is what helps you make potential clients aware of your brand and solutions portfolio to gain their trust. And trust, in turn, is one of the key drivers in the decision-making process, to get more sales. I’ve mentioned the importance of relationships: Relationships don’t just matter; they are everything.
Alright, cards on the table, what was your best sale in your private life?
I guess I closed my biggest deal when I wanted to sell my very first car — a striking green Renault Clio. I sold it to an incredibly nice girl, after rejecting an offer from a guy who just didn’t seem very likable. I loved my car so much that I really wanted to find a nice new owner for it. This deal was all about the perfect match!
One last question: What are key qualities every marketer and salesperson should have?
Working in sales requires persistence; marketing teams need to be creative. However, openness, curiosity, and authenticity are key. We’re dealing with people every day, so both our marketing and sales teams need to be open, curious, and most importantly authentic. Authenticity is a bit of a buzz term, but it really is critical. I can teach people how to sell and advertize — but I can’t teach a person how to be a genuine human.