Meeting the client online

CLIENT NEED: RUUKKI sales team found it difficult to adapt to remote client meetings, lacked experience in using MS Teams, as well as motivation to address customers online.

WIN PARTNERS SOLUTION: Make a training for RUUKKI sales team to help integrate virtual client meetings in daily work routine, technically teach using MS Teams platform and improve remote customer communication skills.

RESULT: The sales team overcame initial concern about whether communicating with a customer online makes sense and can be useful for the company. Online meetings are now a daily routine for RUUKKI team, and the acquired skills are useful for both sales and technical staff.

Which business problem RUUKKI wanted to solve?

RUUKKI makes steel-based products for walls and roofs, for both commercial buildings and private homes. The company employs around 1400 people and has 10 specialized manufacturing sites

In order to ensure the ongoing performance of the company during the pandemic, RUUKKI’s sales team had to start organizing customer meetings online. This posed a number of challenges, as employees did not have enough knowledge on how to persuade a customer to meet remotely, how to communicate effectively in a virtual environment to achieve the desired result, what technical solution to choose for this purpose.

Business director, Baltic countries and Export at RUUKKI: “Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, face-to-face meetings with clients were canceled, but we could not afford to lose clients. We also understood that even when life returns to normal, many customers will appreciate the benefits of online meetings. During planning this training, it was important for us not to turn it into MS Teams training, but to keep in mind the customer-centered approach – cooperation with the customer, to understand the customer’s current challenges, and to create a common vision for the future.”

What was the solution WIN partners offered and implemented?

WIN partners in cooperation with the client developed a training program that would encourage the sales team to integrate online client meetings in their work routine. The training had several tasks:

  • inspire sales team to try communicate with clients online
  • help to use of MS Teams technically
  • teach to plan the structure of a remote conversation
  • provide tools to persuade clients remotely
  • teach digital small talk principles

From January to March 2021, WIN partners consultant Valters Gražulis trained 19 employees of the RUUKKI sales team for digital communication with customers. The participants tested the acquired knowledge in virtual conversation simulations as well as talking to real clients. Before and after the training, the participants filled in a questionnaire in which they assessed their ability to meet the client digitally.

How did RUUKKI evaluate the training result?

Business director, Baltic countries and Export at RUUKKI: “We managed to dispel the initial sales team’s doubts about whether online contacts make sense and can work for the company. During the project, there was an opportunity to practice the acquired skills in real life and discuss what worked and what did not. Learned skills are useful for both sales and technical people, because we all communicate with customers on a daily basis, and talking online has more opportunities than, for example, talking on the phone. Online meetings are definitely our daily routine now. One of the main conclusions is that it does not matter whether it is a face-to-face meeting or an online meeting, the most important thing is to be well prepared and be able to manage the negotiations in a structured way.”

What are WIN partners’ conclusions after finishing this project?

  • This project is an excellent example of a Scandinavian approach to employee training, which requires narrow specialization and the active participation of all stakeholders involved in the process, both sales managers and sales team representatives.
  • We have successfully chosen a time schedule for the project: we met in MS Teams once a month, so the participants were able to plan it timely and schedule time for completing the tasks.
  • Thanks to regular measurements, we followed the progress of the participants and by the end of the training, virtual meetings had already become the daily routine of the RUUKKI sales team.