The third quarter of 2022 was characterised by record-level loadshedding, conflict-induced supply chain disruptions, mounting global inflation, a weakening rand and wage strikes having a dire effect on South Africa’s imports and exports. Should this rollercoaster continue into the fourth quarter, the country may face a recession.

Rollercoaster effect on small-to-medium businesses

This created a rollercoaster in the B2B sales environment for small- to medium-sized manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.

To further unpack this, Marlene van Rooyen recently interviewed Zane van Rooyen, senior product marketing manager at Skynamo.

Skynamo is a leading field sales technical service provider with more than 10 000 customers and 1 000 companies,

Zane van Rooyen, senior product marketing manager at Skynamo.

What is happening in the Q3 building industry?

Citing the Skynamo Industry Thermometer, Van Rooyen said the third quarter had been a rollercoaster. The Skynamo Industry Thermometer monitors industry sales activity across 27 sectors. He remarks that the turbulence is evident in several industries that are experiencing lower, if not the lowest, order values in this last quarter.

The biggest declines occurred during July and August, when loadshedding spiked to Stage 4 and then to Stage 6.”

What does the world look like?

Collins Dictionary released the word of the year as “permacrisis”, which means the extended period of insecurity and instability that we are living in now.

Globally everyone has experienced this, especially since the conflict in Eastern Europe started after the pandemic ended.

Although 2022 started out strong across all monitored industries and seemed like we were heading for a good year, the third quarter highlighted the major impact on small- and medium-sized businesses. When global tensions began, there was an effect of lower invoice values and more frequent smaller orders – which means there isn’t regular, steady orders like there used to be.

Hardest-hit sectors

It is evident that especially the building material and hardware sector had an almost 80% drop. This confirms notable reductions in order values compared to the same period last year. This was echoed by a twelve-point plunge in building sector confidence amongst building material manufacturers in the Q3 FNB/BER Building Confidence Index, mainly due to a significant decrease in production and increased production costs.

Everchanging economy

It seems that there is no end to the rollercoaster ride in sight just yet Tech tools that enable businesses to automate processes and those that produce data insights such as recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) analysis can help buffer the economy’s impacts. 

 New way of doing business

“Customers are cautious in their buying behaviour, which is leading to increasingly sporadic orders.” Van Rooyen says.

“The strong relationships between customers and supply chains are, mostly, a thing of the past. Day-to-day business is very different than before Covid-19.

“Sales managers and sales teams today aren’t about focusing on targets anymore, but about solving new problems, solving the break in the supply chain, getting by and putting out fires.

Unfortunately, this is the new way of doing business and people should get used to it”, he emphasises.

Technology is playing an increasing role in succeeding businesses – much more than before the pandemic – and competitors are adopting to this fast rate as well. Thus, accurate data is needed, and teams should act on the data provided.

Time and knowledge is increasingly in short supply and timing is essential in monitoring you clients to focus on the critical customers instead of wasting previous time on small clients.

To be proactive, day-to-day business must be spent on the following:

  • Research the technology that is right for you.
  • Automate the routine tasks so that you have time to focus on important decisions.
  • Rebuild relationships and chains, especially for decision makers.
  • Know what your needs are from the data and build into your success approach process.
  • Ensure the technology that you choose has dedicated customer sales managers and robust support.
  • Does the software provider present itself as a partner to your business or does this just feel like a sale?

Chain reaction

The economy is bad and there is no more business as usual. The challenges impact customers, with a liquidation increase of 2,1% in the last quarter. Businesses must automate what they can and use technology to their advantage to survive.

Skynamo is field sale customer automation software that helps customers on their mobile devices to place orders, fill in forms and sign documentation right there at the customer in real time so that the delivery process can be much faster.

With the information gathered, they can help their customers understand what is happening in their customers’ environment and their own. Talk to Skynamo today to find a solution to your current sales automation needs.

For more information, contact Skynamo:
Tel: +27 861 345 345

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