Leading with purpose: How marketing and sales leaders can shape the next normal


Here is an excerpt from an article written by Brian Gregg, Aimee Kim, and Jesko Perrey for the McKinsey Quarterly, published by McKinsey & Company. To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.

* * *

Chief marketing and sales officers have a defining role to play in navigating the current crisis—and in steering their companies’ success in the world that emerges from it.
This article was written collaboratively by all the global leaders of the McKinsey Marketing & Sales Practice, a group that spans all of our regions and includes: Tjark Freundt, Bruno Furtado, Brian Gregg, Damian Hattingh, Eric Hazan, Rock Khanna, Aimee Kim, Jesko Perrey, Brian Ruwadi, and Dennis Spillecke.

“Without empathy, nothing works.” That quote, from José Andrés, a celebrity chef who also founded and runs the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, highlights the reasoning behind the organization’s mission: to feed the world by being the first food responders in devastated areas. In the COVID-19 crisis, he has quickly mobilized field kitchens to provide fresh and nourishing meals to those in need in stricken parts of the world.

As an exemplar of purpose-led leadership, Andrés provides chief marketing and sales officers (CMSOs) as well as growth executives with a reference point for how to lead in the midst of this crisis.

As the pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, global economic realities are significantly impacting every aspect of our lives, from how we work and communicate, to how and what we buy. In this unprecedented new reality, the massive changes in customer behavior and business outlook have put growth officers and CMSOs on the front lines. To chart a path forward, leaders must simultaneously anchor on what matters most and execute multiple initiatives well. This means, first and foremost, that they must lead with purpose by taking care of their people, their customers, and their communities. At the same time, they must focus on three horizons to shape the way forward: navigate the now, plan for recovery, and lead in the next normal.

The new reality

Lockdowns have led to near collapse in many business sectors, while also creating significant shifts in both customer and consumer behavior.

While we will continue to see major shifts and swings, we believe the following are already important for marketing and sales leaders to understand:

Digital adoption at breathtaking rates

Our Global Consumer Sentiment Surveys show consumers are turning to online consumption in record numbers (though for many businesses, this boom has not offset the deep losses offline). More than 50 percent of Chinese consumers show a pronounced move to digital, especially on work-related activities. We’re also seeing an uptick in first-time users and in established customers’ usage across several categories, such as entertainment streaming, e-sports, restaurant and grocery delivery, online education, and online fitness. While this trend is not yet as evident in Europe due to limited home-delivery options, confinement is driving significant trialing of new online ways of shopping.

This change is also pronounced in B2B businesses. According to our latest B2B Decision-Maker Pulse Survey, sellers indicated that digitally enabled sales interactions are now more than twice as important as traditional sales interactions, compared with rough equivalency before COVID-19. Nearly four in five B2B sales teams have already shifted to videoconference or phone.

More importantly, many of these behaviors are likely to become permanent. Data shows European consumers’ shift to digital is likely to stick after the crisis abates, especially in countries where online penetration was higher to begin with. Some 55 percent of Chinese consumers have indicated they are likely to permanently shop online for groceries.

* * *

Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Brian Gregg is a senior partner in McKinsey’s San Francisco office, Aimee Kim is a senior partner in the Seoul office, and Jesko Perrey is a senior partner in the Düsseldorf office.


Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.