Ricoh SA seeks progressive salespeople for brave new world
Ricoh SA is looking for new salespeople who go beyond the traditional, who progressively and intuitively grasp the evolutionary nature of sales in a digitalising world, so they can bring more benefits to customers and the slew of challenges they face.
Advanced salespeople must know the customers' industry and their business before they begin conversations or they will burn good leads. It requires a level of cognitive agility that surpasses generic and traditional sales training, a progressive understanding of where the sales industry has come from, where it is, and where the future lies.
"We want our people to help change the behaviours of the customers' people and their business so they can innovate, engage transformation for the companies that employ them, so that they in turn can meet the evolving needs of their own customers," says Robert Janssen, director of Direct Channel Operations at Ricoh SA. "That needs a more advanced salesperson who can successfully take customers through a challenging journey."
Janssen says he still believes in the basics: "Activities equals pipeline and pipeline equals success. Sales itself is not rocket science, you still need to put the effort in and you still need to close the deals, this will never change. These traditions are good; along with knowing and understanding products and solutions, of course, but it's crucial to be able to develop that, to translate all of that into services that help customers meet their challenges, which are no longer traditional challenges, because they must be innovative solutions to meet the demands of innovative and rapidly evolving challenges."
Janssen adds one of major the challenges often under-appreciated by many businesses is the multi-generational nature of today's workforce.
"The times are changing and it's happening quicker and quicker. The new customer profile, the new generations of customers, are growing rapidly, and the older generations are gradually moving out of the workforce," says Janssen, "but they're still there and they also tend to be senior. Salespeople today have to be able to swiftly assess the multiple generations they are called on to interact with and talk to them in tune with their worldview. It's important not to focus on one group, like millennials, who seem to get a disproportionate amount of airtime, but to be able to understand all the generations, because digitalisation projects don't focus on one group or the other; they benefit all the generations at work."
Ricoh long ago realised the rapidly increasing evolutionary speed of the markets. The company has gone well beyond imaging devices so that today it offers advanced 3D printers and additive manufacturing devices, commercial and industrial print, electronic content management, collaboration and communications, digitalisation, and new ways of working that culminate in a progressive portfolio to optimise existing infrastructure and personnel.
"Understanding this new world, how we fit in with our customers' challenges, requires an intuitive grasp that transcends traditional sales training. It's either in your DNA or it isn't. It goes beyond even being a technology-driven nerd, because you must understand the impact on people and their businesses and how they conduct business so that you can help to lead them into the future," says Janssen.