Henkel and SDA Bocconi together for sales excellence

The Sales Excellence Program has been created for Henkel’s commercial professionals


Global FMCG leader and innovator Henkel and SDA Bocconi School of Management have launched the Sales Excellence Program, a partnership aimed at strengthening and boosting the skills of the company’s Sales managers and professionals. The program sees the three market divisions – Laundry&Home Care, Beauty Care Retail and Consumer Adhesives – together for the first time, and involves over 180 people in different courses according to their roles but with the same objective: commercial excellence, a distinctive style creating value for customers.

We realized we had a very loyal salesforce, extremely skilled in last-mile negotiation but needing to be re-inspired by the evolution of its profile in the years to come: a profile changing to become more and more rounded and apt at working with other functions. The goal with Bocconi is updating its skills and strengthening its already good team work,” said Maurizio Salvaggio Laundry&HomeCare, Giuseppe Basilico Beauty Care Retail, and Donato Mancone Consumer Adhesives.

Today, sales are a key function at most companies in almost every industry. The present characteristics of markets are making sales more and more strategic and this has increased the skills required from those working in the commercial field at any level of the organization (from junior salespersons to sales managers). Sales need to become less of an art and more of a science: inherent talent has to combine more and more with the need for solid methods (without necessarily being replaced by them) that allow for better planning and control of the activity.

Being aware of this and looking at the big picture, Henkel decided to invest in a structured sales excellence program, based not only on a comprehensive customized training program but also on an ambitious research project, developed with SDA Bocconi’s Commercial Excellence Lab and looking to the future. Led by SDA Bocconi Senior Lecturer of Leadership & Organization and Co-founder and Coordinator of the Commercial Excellence Lab Paola Caiozzo, and by Associate Professor of the Marketing Department Paolo Guenzi, Co-founder and Director of the Lab, this qualitative and quantitative project aims at framing a set of skills to define the “ideal Henkel commercial profile”. The project has involved all the divisions and roles of Henkel’s commercial network in an articulated inquiry process.

The tailor-made training program has just started and features theoretical learning of concepts, models and work methods along with “action learning” devoted to putting the acquired notions into practice. Our Sales Excellence Program, says Scientific Director Paola Caiozzo, “aims at honing the professionals’ skills in the light of the growing importance of their role, and of corporate and market evolution, providing appropriate tools to manage the sales process successfully, evaluate and negotiate with partner clients correctly, and acting on the customer-oriented approach of their company.”

“It’s an important program,” reiterates Daniela Santini, Henkel’s HR manager, “which is part of Henkel’s cultural transformation journey and has brought together the strengths of the three fast moving business divisions.”

With this initiative Henkel reaffirms its commitment to offer its workforce increasingly sophisticated training experiences. It focuses on the customer, which has always been a key element in the company’s philosophy, with a proactive approach to change that can boost the skills of its professionals.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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