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From ballpoint pen to folding rule

A key employee’s MBA degree from Aarhus BSS resulted in the company Jydsk Tagteknik A/S overhauling its entire sales team. Now the salespeople first and foremost had to be craftsmen. The result was increased profits.

2017.06.19 | Michael Schrøder

[Translate to English:] Direktør Danny Kromanne, Jydsk Tagteknik A/S

It was not without hesitation that the management team of the Danish roofing company Jydsk Tagteknik A/S sent their employee Ditte Mogensen to Aarhus BSS a few years ago to embark on an MBA programme. Three years later, the company’s orders have increased by 40-50 per cent.

Scepticism at first

Ditte Mogensen worked with strategic development in the company’s sales and marketing department, and the company management team noticed that its few academic employees contributed with different knowledge and perspectives, which aided business development.

“But we didn’t really have any experiences from the sector to draw on, and we probably had a hard time imagining how we could use an MBA degree in our development work in practice,” says CEO of Jydsk Tagteknik A/S Danny Kromanne.

Market research

Nevertheless, the company decided to risk it. Among other things, because they had long wanted a more nuanced customer and market analysis.

“For several years, we had wondered why we only converted about 20 per cent of the potential customers who got a free visit and quotation from us into a sale. That’s why it was high time we conducted a major market analysis to gain an insight into the actual behaviour of our customers, including their buying motives and especially their barriers,” says Danny Kromanne.

Interesting knowledge

With 18,000 annual customer quotations, this was relevant and practical knowledge that could be applied in the future sales work. And it was.

By asking the customers and conducting several systematic market analyses, Ditte Mogensen discovered that the previous assumption that many customers were actually DIY people who simply used the free consultant visit as professional counselling or just wanted their roof checked without any real need for renovation was not entirely accurate.

“Usually we regarded a prospective customer as cold roughly six months after giving them a quotation, but we found out that the decision-making process can stretch out over several years. The analysis also showed that our customers actually did intend to purchase the solution offered, and that they had a realistic approach to the relationship between price and quality. Finally, the analysis showed that already during the sales process, our customers associate craftsmanship and charisma with the quality and credibility of the finished product. This knowledge was very interesting to us,” says Danny Kromanne.

Overhauling the sales team

In addition to changing their sales strategy, Jydsk Tagteknik A/S also made changes to the sales team itself, so that today all salespeople must be skilled craftsmen.

“A salesperson who is also a skilled craftsman signals credibility and quality, which of course is important for a company that sells craftsmanship. Internally we used to say that our salespeople should replace their ballpoint ben with a folding rule,” says the CEO.

It was not long before the new knowledge that Ditte Mogensen’s MBA project brought to the company had an impact on the company’s bottom line. Since the MBA project was completed in 2013, Jydsk Tagteknik A/S has seen a 40-50 per cent increase in their orders, as 28-30 per cent of all customer visits are now converted into sales. Turnover has increased from DKK 91 million in 2013 to DKK 130 million in 2016.

Clear agreement from the start

“We’re convinced that the growth we’ve experienced is due to the initiatives we’ve launched in direct continuation of the project. We are also working with some long-term considerations and development ideas which we believe will further increase the future growth and value creation of the company,” says Danny Kromanne.

The CEO is also convinced that it was the targeted planning and use of Ditte Mogensen’s MBA degree in particular which paid off in the end.

“We made a deal that she would regularly deliver analyses back to the management team during her studies. In this way, we would get something concrete in return. I believe it’s important that the project results aren’t simply ideas for strategic development. They should also be specific and operational in the here and now. Otherwise the project just ends up in a folder in the executive office,” says Danny Kromanne.

A strong brand

He was also certain that he wanted Ditte Mogensen’s MBA programme to be supplied by Aarhus BSS.

“It was reassuring for us to know that the supplier we chose to invest in was a solid provider with a strong brand. It’s rather like buying roofing solutions - it can be difficult to understand the product and the quality in advance, which is why you rely on other quality indicators,” says the CEO.

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