Hekumu & Sales Days
This essay will be evaluating Hekumu’s journey through the Proakatemia Sales Days. To recap the memory, in the 2021 Sales days total turnover was 133 372,38e. Hekumu sold out the storage, exceeded the sales targets, and started to sell pre-orders to the second shipment.
Division of tasks
Hekumus team decided on a very early stage on the team members’ responsibility areas. This made it clear for everyone who has the lead in different areas of business. Task and work amount splitting were clear to everyone. I had the full responsibility of executing and managing the Sales Days. The responsibility was due to me because of the Finnish language, experience in sales and good connections to the community, etc.
Event days are very hectic and the work continues around the clock. A decision was made that Suong and Sandy will stay selling with Flip Solutions for as long as possible. However, help was needed and Flip’s ex-member Jamie Acosta was recruited for the event days to be my right hand. Jamie gave everything to the task and provided great help both within practical work as well as in sparring.
Perspective coming outside of the own products bubble was crucial especially on the motivation of the sellers. Jamie was more capable to identify the mental change from our sellers after our storage at Proakatemia was sold out. I had the naive idea that of course people will continue to sell the next batch. Thanks to Jamie, however, we ended up making changes to our salesperson motivation. These changes included, for example, that we changed our word choices to benefit better our goals as toimeksiantaja (Fallon, 2021). We stopped talking about the ‘next batch’ but ‘delivery before 17th’. This decision was made because ‘next batch’ had gained some bad taste on it along the way inside the selling teams. In addition to this, we filmed a video that aimed especially to increase the sellers’ motivation towards selling Hekumu.
Flip was very understanding and flexible what it came to organizing the Sales Days. The team understood the value of the event and, as a result, obtained various exemptions, e.g. prioritization was effortless. As Hekumu’s Sales Days responsible I was forbidden to sell anything during the event. Because of this, it was a sensible solution to work on Hekumu and Sales Days while the rest of the team planned Flips Sales Days. Flip manage to be flexible on the matter and have the workforce where it was most needed. This also means that during the spring I need to be doing some cross-pollination and hopefully am able to bring something back to the team.
During the autumn in our weekly meetings, Hekumu had always a place to tell the progress and newest updates. That was also a place to ask team members to help on different matters and publicly thank those who had helped during the last week. Since Flip’s money policies support primarily projects rather than the team as a whole, it was important for Hekumu to provide a real thank you to the team. This was provided at a fully sponsored dinner at my residence. In addition to dinner showing appreciation for the team’s contribution, it also served as the clerk for the Sales Day period.
Hekumu is the first big project inside our team and there is still a lot of things to learn especially what it comes to team utilization and delegation. However, the autumn went well and Hekumu has succeeded in creating good operating models for other projects to follow as well.
Instead of selling the first shipment in the Sales Days, the original plan was to be selling the second shipment. This originally planned first shipment would have provided Hekumu’s team a test round in the way that everything would have been more clear and learned beforehand. Hekumu countered Covid-19 related last-minute (month) changes that could not have been anticipated. Due to these, the products arrived only one week before the Sales Days which was far too late. More strict guidelines from Proakatemia pushing toimeksiantajas to reach product and operation development milestones before Sales Days would benefit all the sides.
Sales Days feedback Forms
The Sales Days feedback form also raised a complaint about the late arrival of the products and last-minute changes in the Hekumu information. There were only grammatic changes at the last minute but this is still something that shouldn’t have to happen.
Forms also raised questions about the lack of IZettle link and online shop. The decision on the ban of iZettle link was made together with the whole Sales Days team. In 2020 it had caused a lot of payment issues and the common consensus was to guide the energy going into solving other things.
Hekumu’s decision to postpone publishing the online store was difficult but necessary. Hekumu’s schedules with the first batch failed and forced Sales Days to be the launch time of the product. Not opening the online shop and testing all the sale channels at once was a good but unwanted decision. It would have been too much to test, learn, and manage business-to-business sales, business-to-customer sales, and online sales all at once. An online store would have benefited Hekumu, especially from the brand awareness perspective. There would have been more advertising towards our social media and website.
According to the Sales Days feedback forms, Hekumu provided good products for the Sales Days and it was pleasant to sell them. The diversity of the products sold was thanked and the comprehensive image bank, materials, and product information were praised.
Inquiries were also raised as to why the product was not originally purchased more in stock. In retrospect, the product would certainly have been sold more if it had been able to sell it directly from stock at all times. By not having products in reach, we also lose quite a lot of consumer marketing potential. Since products from the 17th of December shipment were sold only for businesses, there was no interest in teams creating any more consumer marketing. However, the past is past. It must be remembered that the sales results surprised everyone. This product volume was good for market experimentation and learning. We did not, so to speak, ‘bite too big a piece’.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but these Sales Days were revolutionizing what it comes to professionalizing the sales. Every toimeksiantaja was obligated to provide 45 minutes of their time for each team. Mostly these sessions were about the presentation of the product and its sales, as well as answering questions. These training sessions were deemed necessary and received much praise.
The professionalism of sales brings straight benefit to the toimeksiantaja. Benefits can be seen for example in good brand presentation, brand reputation, in the smooth running of practical matters, and most importantly, that no fires are generated for the toimeksiantaja to extinguish. All of this can be summed up in the fact that training salespeople matters. (Sales Readiness Group & Training Industry. 2018.)
From Hekumus perspective, this meant for example:
Data bank that included:
- clear and comprehensive product and company information
- example email scripts
- example phone script
- photobank and Brand Book
- Hekumus icons for different purposes
- two different kinds of flyers (one including information about Hekumu and another one for stands & selling)
- delivery list
For every team we provided:
- 30 ready-printed delivery lists
- 100 ready-printed and cut, A6 size ‘information about Hekumu’ -flyers
- 2 ready-printed, cut, and laminated selling flyers
- 14 (seven per each taste) see-through flavor & smell jars
Training our sellers and providing them with some ready-made material was crucial for creating and maintaining a brand image. The language used for selling does matter. And because it does matter, every toimeksiantaja should think and evaluate its impacts on their company and brand image.
Toimeksiantaja has obligations towards the Proakatemia community. The biggest of these obligations is to enable something around the promised product to be sold on Sales Days and give a provision of it. Toimeksiantaja’s work amounts, risks, and responsibilities are huge. The provisions paid are thousands of euros. This year’s good trend was to ask different things from toimeksiantajas to better the possibilities for each team’s sales. Toimeksiantaja’s provided to the best of their capabilities.
On the way to seeking an error-free Sales event, next year there need to be more things that are also requested and required from toimeksiantaja perspective. Fact mistakes in sales, mess-ups in contact lists, and unclear emails all create a burden on the toimeksiantaja company and its brand. Possibly toimeksiantajas would have the right to impose sales bans or even fines for those they think have harmed their company or brand.
Dozens of times were toimeksiantajas unpleased to hear something around ‘… and the real work starts after the sales days.’ Even tho this saying was given in good faith it still hurt. Toimeksiantaja’s work divides into different sections from ideating to execution and evaluation. No area of this should be respected more than the other. On top of this (and more importantly?) people maybe forgot that toimeksiantaja’s play a crucial role in the organization of sales days. Organizing a three-day selling event for 150 students with turnover goals over 100 000e unfortunately isn’t a piece of cake that can be seen only as a smaller thing before the ‘actual work’. Because the event has gained so much reputation, this hopefully won’t be a problem in the upcoming years.
Sales Days are a huge effort for toimeksiantaja’s as evidenced by e.g. sick leaves after it. For the second year ever, the Sales Days organizing team had independent members from Proakatemia. Huge community level learning was to build and use as much as possible this ‘outside’(but inside) help. The same kind of success wouldn’t have been possible if there would have been stands, Proakatemia level marketing, sales excels and many other things on toimeksiantajas responsibility too.
It is very important for the resilience of individuals that toimeksiantajas receive and take e.g. exemptions related to participation in school work due to sales days. The sales days today are such a huge and important event for the whole Proakatemia that the toimeksiantajas would deserve proactive support for maintaining their personal resilience.
Fallon, N. 2021. Leadership Language: Why Your Word Choices Matter. Article. Business News Daily. Updated 8.29.2021. Read 1.1.2022. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9186-leadership-language.html
Sales Readiness Group & Training Industry. 2018. Sales training research report. The Salesperson’s Perspective on the Impact of Sales Training
Sales Days Feedback Forms.