A focus on specific customer needs
With the takeover of Sanitec, the number of advisors employed in the sales force in Europe was increased by around 200, and now totals more than 800. They are the frontline in daily contact with customers and decision-makers. When aligning the future sales organisation, the focus was on meeting the specific needs of wholesalers, plumbers, planners, architects, building owners and end users. In other words: a clear focus on the key customer groups in the respective markets takes precedence over advisors specialising in particular product Groups, such as ceramic appliances or piping systems. As a consequence, the entire sales force received training in the enlarged product range.
By the end of the year, the respective local sales companies in each country were amalgamated, with the aim of selling the entire product portfolio of the Geberit Group from a single source from the start of 2016.
A key instrument for retaining customers is and will remain Geberit’s broad range of training opportunities. Thus, during the reporting year, once again 30,000 or so customers were provided with education and further training on Geberit products and software tools in the 25 Geberit information centres in Europe and overseas. In addition, around 90,000 customers became more familiar with Geberit know-how and products at external events.
Geberit AquaClean has strong presence in 13 European countries
The Czech Republic and Slovakia brought to 13 the number of campaign markets in which concentrated advertising measures are being implemented for Geberit AquaClean shower toilets.
To enable end users to experience cleaning with water, Geberit has launched numerous activities in the campaign markets. In Germany, Denmark and Norway, for instance, the new Geberit AquaClean Mobile went on a major tour from July to the end of October. Under the motto “The first time”, interested parties had the opportunity to try out an AquaClean shower toilet and assess the various models. In Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, a mobile AquaClean WC Lounge offered the public the opportunity at concerts, sporting events and other big events to find out more about a shower toilet. And so that guests don't miss out on the refreshing sensation of a shower toilet during a hotel stay, the international sales initiative for mid-range and high-end hotels was driven forward. Partly as a result of this, 40 hotel projects were won during the reporting year.
September saw the sales launch of the new premium complete shower toilet system Geberit AquaClean Mera. Demand for the new top-of-the-range model exceeded all expectations and, regrettably, this resulted in a supply backlog. The appropriate measures to increase production capacity have been introduced.
Local contact with plumbing specialists
The close contact with plumbers and sanitary planners remained a focus of numerous marketing activities. Existing and proven measures such as customer visits, training and the publication of regularly updated technical documentation and apps were continued. The “Geberit On Tour” campaign, which has been organised in numerous markets since 2011, was also continued. This involved specially fitted-out showroom mobiles visiting wholesalers and offering plumbers the opportunity to assess Geberit innovations and solutions on site. In this way, over 30,000 visitors were addressed at more than 1,000 events in 18 countries in 2015.
Trade fair presence to foster business relations and customer contacts
Numerous trade fairs were once again used as platforms in 2015 to foster and enlarge our network of contacts in the market and demonstrate Geberit's innovative strength. Chief among them was the ISH in Frankfurt, the world's most important trade fair for the sanitary industry. Here, Geberit and Sanitec were present with a total of three large stands. Another highlight was the World Expo in Milan, where Geberit was a joint sponsor of the hugely popular Swiss Pavillion. Other important trade fairs attended were Batibouw in Brussels, MosBuild in Moscow, Ideobain in Paris, Unicera in Istanbul as well as the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas and the Kitchen & Bath China in Shanghai. In addition, architects and designers were specifically targeted at the Fuori Salone in Milan.
Core competencies open doors
Not all European markets have the same degree of awareness of low-noise sanitary installations. Therefore, a series of communication instruments have been developed to raise awareness of this subject among sanitary planners and plumbers and position Geberit as a professional solution partner. The initial use of these instruments in the Adriatic markets proved highly promising.