After sharing his leadership advice in the 21 Pro Tips for Sales Leaders e-book, we caught up with Eoin Geaney, Regional Business Leader at 3M, to further explore how the intersection of technology, innovation and sustainability helps sales teams to respond to shifting customer demands in the ANZ region.

 

In a world of highly niche products, technical solutions and engineered products, innovative technology is an integral part of 3M’s business success. Like every organisation, we've gone through an evolution from offline to online at a scale no one could have predicted.  

As a company that develops innovative products for consumers, businesses and the healthcare industry, 3M played a critical role helping the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To give a sense of the scale of the response, in 2020, 3M manufactured 2 billion respirators globally.

Teams across the globe at 3M worked with governments, health agencies, and channel partners to prioritise supplies for critical public health needs. 3M teams collaborated with universities and other industry leaders to accelerate production of solutions to fight the pandemic, including biopharma filtration, hand sanitisers, and disinfectants.

Innovative technology creates efficiencies across the sales process

We cannot successfully deliver solutions for our customers without supporting our business operations with integrated sales and marketing technology. 3M invested in the Salesforce platform over six years ago, which took the entire organisation on a CRM journey. Every year we continue to build, and that core platform has allowed us to create more digital and integrated marketing campaigns to reach our key customer segments, and provide data insights to further understand our customers. That's where we see efficiencies. Using Salesforce we're integrating not only our sales and marketing teams, but also our operations, partners and distributors as well. Infact, we dive into more detail on how to streamline your sales processes in the 21 Pro Tips for Sales Leaders e-book.

Increasingly we are engaging with customers and prospects through digital, via social media including Linkedin Sales Navigator and online events, nurturing them through their buying journey with relevant and targeted content. Customers often research before speaking to our sales team, so we need to understand where and how our customer consumes content and what is relevant to support their buying decisions.

It is this convergence of technology and sales that allows us to be more innovative in our work with our customers and partners. Salesforce supported by robust business processes and analytics allows us to generate insights that deliver value for our partners and customers.

Lessons from the pandemic, glimpse into the future

From a business perspective, what the pandemic has demonstrated is how easy it is to adapt to new ways of collaborating and working. Digital tools like video calls and webinars became universally accepted overnight. Pre-pandemic our sales professionals primarily engaged in face to face meetings with customers at their facilities. 

Right now, I think with sustainability at the forefront of people's minds, we are asking ourselves the question, is there a better way that is more sustainable? How can we leverage a blend of face to face and technology to strengthen relationships, reduce our carbon footprint and improve outcomes for our customers and employees?

Innovation and sustainability valued by our business and our customers too

3M has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and it is one of our company's core values. Increasingly we are seeing customers include sustainability in their buying process and decision criteria. More and more customers are engaging with our teams seeking solutions that not only enhance their productivity and improve their performance but also enable them to meet their sustainability commitments.  

From our perspective this is a positive development as it leverages the fundamental  strengths of 3M - our unique technology platforms, advanced manufacturing, global capabilities, and leading brands.

Every part of our business is about creating value. Efficiency is our calling card, and we cannot deliver advanced products across our network without supporting our business operations with integrated sales and marketing technology. If you want to explore more efficiencies across your business, then see the Pro Sales Tips unpacked by sales experts video.

Three sides of technology, sustainability and innovation

As a business we use technology and science  to improve lives and create a better world. Digital-first thinking combined with enabling technology has allowed us to be more efficient in how we engage customers and partners, which has improved the experience and value we offer our customers.

In fact, one of our pillars - Science for Circular - invites design solutions that do more with less, guiding new product development strategies to be better for our customers and extended community. Our teams are optimistic about the year ahead and the role 3M science can play in helping customers achieve their sustainability commitments.