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Kedge graduate nominated for Action Co magazine's 2016 Sales Manager of the Year.

It's now or never if you want to show your Kedge pride – with your help, Jean-Pierre Laherre (ESC 1986) could become the 2016 Sales Manager of the Year! And one thing is certain – he sure will have earned it! Read why in this Action Co magazine profile.


He's turned sales around thanks to a bold marketing and sales strategy.

Jean-Pierre Laherre loves challenges. As it happens, he found them in spades when he returned to Villeroy & Boch Flooring in 2014. “I'd already worked for the company from 2004 to 2006, and the new shareholders came to me as sales were falling for several years”, explained Laherre, Sales Director for Western Europe. To be precise, there were €28 million in sales in 2006 compared with €12 million in 2014. “Products were wrongly perceived as being too expensive, both by distributors and their customers.” The flooring brand, distributed solely via B2B among dealers of construction materials, also suffered from an inadequate marketing strategy. “The offer was copied on tastes in Germany, where people like large 60cm x 60cm tiles, whereas French people prefer a medium-sized format of 45cm x 45cm.” So one of his first tasks involved revamping the products to adapt them to France, which is the second largest European market behind Germany, while capitalising on 100% French production.


15% higher sales at the beginning of 2016


At the same time, Laherre has re-motivated the sales team, which consists of about a dozen salespersons assisted by two merchandisers. “We adopted new work tools, tablets and CRMs, and the whole staff got retrained on sales basics and a changing clientele.” Indeed, the latter has changed: the heads of wholesale agencies have been increasingly versatile, managing sales as well as administration and personnel. “Our role is to support them in order to help them sell more effectively and in a targeted way.” As a first in the field, the company implemented a sales bonus for sellers who promote the Villeroy & Boch brand. “At first people were sceptical about the practice, but now the vast majority of customers have accepted that we compensate their sellers.” To be closer to intermediaries such as architects, the company moved its headquarters from Seine-et-Marne to the Tour Montparnasse, just steps from a dedicated showroom that sees 60,000 visitors each year.


His efforts have led to results. In an extremely competitive market that fell 8% in 2015, Villeroy & Boch ended 2015 with 1% growth and posted a 15% increase in sales in the first quarter 2016!


Source: Action Co



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