17 Sep FMY and COAC, a partnership with a 50-year history
“We are a key link between producers and sales professionals”, says the president of Furniture Sales Reps’ Association.
If we look to the past, to walk through the present and the future of the sector, Yecla Furniture Fair (FMY) has its own life history. Its identity began to take shape at the turn of the 20th century thanks to master woodworkers such as Pedro Chinchilla Candela and Rafael Azorín Fernández, true pioneers in the Altiplano region in setting up their furniture manufacturing workshops.
Their entrepreneurial spirit served as an inspiration for many others who, following their drive, joined forces and created a specialised business network. Yecla’s cluster history began to take shape in those years, but it crystallised in the first trade fair in 1961, which was called the 1st Local Furniture Exhibition. As it happens each time in history, at the furniture fair apart from those pioneers, other key figures were emerging and coming along with us during this trip making the sector as well as the fair reach today’s prestige and professionalism.
One of these is sales agents, whose partnership and relationship with us dates back to the 1970s, when the event began to host the Sales Agents’ Day, in recognition of the work they do. Thanks to the specialisation experienced in our sector, they have gained knowledge of customer idiosyncrasies as well as those related companies, which has turned them into essential recommenders. Furthermore, through the outsourcing formula, they offer companies greater flexibility and profitability.
“Our profession is the one most in demand by companies in Spain. And in the specific case of the furniture sector, we are a key axis on which pivots the relationship between manufacturers and sales professionals,” says the president of Furniture national sales agents´ association, Alberto Gonzalez Garcia. Sales agents are responsible for conveying market needs in two directions: firstly, consumers’ needs (retailers’ needs) to the producer and also the producer’s needs to the professional customer.
The FMY, a must-attend event
In this regard, Yecla Furniture Fair has become a “must” for them and their customers, ” due to the production capacity” that the cluster has in the Region of Murcia and the Altiplano region, stresses González García. Sales representatives are not only present at the FMY “as a mere professional visit, but also as an excellent opportunity to meet our members,” said González García, who pointed out another tradition that is still alive in this close relationship between the fair and the Official Association of Sales Representatives of Murcia and Cartagena (COAC Murcia): the Sales Representatives’ Day, which is held year after year at the event, a space for them to get together and reconnect with each other.
Also, prior to the celebration of the event, sales representatives will be given a master class ‘Create your digital and mixed marketing funnels’, which will take place on 13 September from 18.00 to 19.30 hours, by CEO from the agency 2 Veces Marketing (2VM) and the startup Factoría Blockchain, also president of the National Federation of Digitalization and Blockchain (FNDB). When we talk about digital funnels or ‘Sales Funnel’, we are referring to the process that defines the path that an ideal customer must follow from the moment they first visit your website until they become a customer. By doing so, sales reps will learn how to increase their sales options through a combination of digital and blended marketing techniques.
Digital transformation must be transversal
Sales reps’ digital transformation goes beyond launching a website, having profiles on the main professional networks or using new hardware or software: it must be transversal and include strategic actions to improve feedback with customers. ” Sales rep digitalisation began many years ago, not only in adapting work materials, but also in the system: we have computer programmes tailored to our profession,” explains González García.
Introducing digital into the traditional work system improves productivity (with new strategies and a new way of serving customers), generates new sources of income (by keeping a clear and real record of business opportunities), provides a competitive asset ( enabling a faster response to market changes), boosts innovation culture ( professionals feel more motivated, prepared and less frustrated), enhances intra-work collaboration (with a system which enables cloud-based work) and improves customer experience (through multi-channel strategies integrating customer experience).
“What sounds really new to other companies or sectors, we have taken on board”, emphasises Alberto González, who outlines two major challenges for the future: younger professionals and increased women representation, “so that young people see this profession as an attractive career opportunity”, preserving ” the habit of manufacturing companies to keep relying on their services when marketing their products”.
Finally, González García insisted on the importance of being a member of a professional association, not only for belonging to a body such as the COAC or having a qualification which guarantees professional skills, but also in regards with the code of ethics and good practices to which the association is committed, a “real safeguard for customers”.