Kimberly-Clark Professional is a $20 billion dollar company that sells a range of supplies such as paper towels, facial tissues, and safety products, to distributors who then resell to office buildings, hospitals, etc. For a company that relied heavily on a face to face sales model, Kimberly-Clark Professional had to implement video and digital systems that allowed sales reps to video chat with clients and improve the E-commerce experience. Andy, who has been with the organization for over 30 years, and I discuss this process during our conversation.
Those of you in the B2B industry will enjoy this chat, especially if you are in a legacy industry that has had to adjust to the digital-first world.
There is No Such Thing As a Traditional Career Path to the CCO Role
Since Andy’s work at Kimberly-Clark Professional spans three decades, he has had experience in a variety of roles. Previously serving as a director of innovation, manufacturing director, sales professional, and VP of sales – among others, he has developed a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the organization. With this deep knowledge and insight, Andy was able to see how the multiple pieces of a project come together. This vantage point has been instrumental to his role in implementing a strategic customer experience transformation.
Andy’s unique path to the CCO role allowed him to develop relationships with leaders across multiple departments within the organization. “I can’t succeed without customer experience and marketing, right? We’re in lockstep. I’ve got a peer who loves customer experience globally and then another person I work closely with here in North America that does a lot of the work. We’re talking, if not every week, every day on our customers and helping each other succeed,” says Andy. We often find that successful chief customer officers are able to build bonds and partnerships, where you can have the straight talk conversations that are needed to do the work, and then deliver.
The CCO Role Often Involves Implementing Change Management
Andy shares that in order to impact organizational change, he needed to spend time analyzing what channels were growing so his team could make the right investments. Since E-commerce has greatly expanded for their organization in recent years, he had to ensure they were upgrading technological systems to improve workflow.
In addition, Andy shares that the organization had to pivot from in-person conversations to digital meetings, which is something we’ve all had to become accustomed to. The sales team at Kimberly-Clark Professional incurred a lot of change due to the demands of buyers, and they had to accommodate the new set of behaviors. Andy mentions that this required implementing new capability and change management training so that everyone would be on the same page regarding new procedures.
The sales team at Kimberly-Clark Professionals have implemented a new format of hybrid selling in which the sales representative listens to the customer, and depending on where the customer is in the buying cycle, the rep can decide to make either a digital call or in-person call, giving them more power over the best way to build that relationship. According to Andy, this program has been well-received.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“Challenges can be great opportunities; try to adapt as a leader and develop a growth mindset. Yes, maybe you get kicked or you lose, but how do you take that and learn from it to be more successful in the future? Lastly, I really appreciate the importance of a good sales culture. It’s on the sales leader to drive that day in and day out. It can change quickly if you’re not careful.”
About Andy ClementAs Chief Customer Officer, Andy is passionate about creating world class B2B sales organizations that successfully exceed business targets each year, while creating value for channel partners and shared end users. By leveraging our world-class brands including Scott, Kleenex, WypAll, Kimtech, and KleenGuard, his goal is to drive opportunity and innovation for customers. Andrew graduated with an MBA from Vanderbilt University and his BA from Wake Forest University.
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