German industry shows weaknesses in sales and distribution – Study

June 24, 2015 | News Germany

German industry reports that there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to sales and distribution. In a recent study by Staufen Management Consultancy, companies rated the quality of their sales and distribution only as satisfactory. The reason for this sobering self-assessment: Whilst sales representatives give outstanding service, it is let down massively by internal sales processes. For the study, 110 German industrial companies from different sectors were interviewed.

88 percent of those who took part in the study say that their sales and distribution have good or very good knowledge of the products and competences of their own company. Six out of ten say that their employees have skilful sales and negotiation techniques. Therefore, the sales and distribution also convince the customers. But once the order is obtained, the internal processes are less professional. This is shown with deficiencies in the order processing. Almost one in three companies rate resource efficiency, lead time and standardisation only as adequate, inadequate or insufficient.

“Particularly in the capital goods sector we always find processes that are inefficient, prone to errors and time-consuming,” says Uwe Vogel, Senior Manager of Management Consultancy Staufen AG. “Since there is a lot of variation in consumer demands more coordination is required. If internal processes aren’t aligned, that can lead to unspecific offers or even orders, clearance times being too long and finally non-compliance with delivery times or exceeding cost targets. The consequences: Customers are unhappy and there are unnecessary costs for the companies.”

The study shows: Whilst communication with customers is good, internally too little is exchanged. There is a lack of interlocking of sales and distribution with other departments such as development, procurement or production. This is what sales staff complain about in their day to day work. In order to be successful, they have to use information obtained from other areas – for example when they have to check whether a product has warranted characteristics.

“Good sales personal score well in personal contact with customers – that is important and distinguishes sales departments in German industrial companies,” says Staufen sales expert Vogel. “But good sales and distribution must do much more. Both internal and external team players are needed. Since customers are only happy when their supplier is professional from preparation of an offer to on-time delivery.”

The study can be requested from the address below:

Award and innovations forum for GERMAN INDUSTRY:

At the GERMAN INDUSTRY innovations forum in Stuttgart on 2 and 3 November, experts from companies and science show how medium-sized companies can make new products, services or business models ready for the market in a better and faster way. At the same time the “GERMAN INDUSTRY Prize for Innovation” will be awarded for the first time. Outstanding, application-related innovations from medium-sized companies will receive awards. Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, is the patron.

For more information about the event, please go to:

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