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  2. Article: SALES DURING COVID-19



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Engelsmann was confronted with a whole host of new demands, tools and work processes almost overnight. Our sales representative Michael Blanz reports his experience of the challenges and opportunities for selling components and systems for the process industry.


Many companies have found themselves in a similar situation since spring 2020: Less orders, unexploited capacity and pressure to sell in the sales team, who still have to win new projects during the pandemic. Engelsmann often provides individual system units which need a lot of explanation. To be able to advise customers in the best possible way and guarantee the customer service that is so important to us, our sales force traditionally prefer the personal contact of on-site appointments.

With customer visits no longer possible, the business world turned exclusively to online meetings. Pre-pandemic, this was a rarity for Engelsmann. Appointments for on-site meetings quickly turned into online meeting links. Even internal Engelsmann meetings soon went fully online. Initial uncertainties with what was to us a "new type" of communication were replaced by routine and the experience that new IT tools such as web conferences and virtual project approvals have many advantages.

Mastering the pandemic together

This short, tense "transition phase" was also characterised by a great willingness to help each other. We came together to master the pandemic. I had my first crash course in Microsoft Teams at the beginning of the pandemic from a very nice customer who invited me to my first web conference.

After more than a year of pandemic, I have seen that it hasn’t been all bad. With online meetings, the Engelsmann sales team have gained a new tool that we will continue to use extensively after the pandemic. My initial concern that this would affect customer relations was unfounded. I have found that online meetings often have a more disciplined atmosphere, meaning matters can be discussed efficiently and purposefully. For me, they are just as good as in-person on-site meetings. This means that going forward the time that would otherwise have been spent travelling can be used for more conversation time with customers.

Goodbye to the smell of steel?

However, as a passionate sales representative, I am enthusiastic about production processes and the "on-site experience". Especially with individual system concepts that require maximum precision, I have to see the system environment "live" on site to be able to offer tailor-made solutions. Even though the "smell of steel" cannot be shared through web meetings, incredible technology such as augmented reality will continue to change communication at Engelsmann in the future. A pandemic like COVID-19 is always a driving force for change. It reveals opportunities and highlights where we need to improve. It is important that we break old habits and face difficult situations with more flexibility and pragmatism.

Here at Engelsmann, we have learnt and grown from the pandemic. This will only serve to have a positive influence on our work and camaraderie. I can already say today that we will come out of the pandemic stronger, more confident and more digital.