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Holger Schneemann, new Chief Sales Officer at DHL Freight, shares some insights on key topics of the sales agenda in the upcoming months. We asked three questions.

First of all congratulations on your new role. This year is a special year due to the pandemic. Can you share some of your learnings and your personal observations – how do you experience the business environment currently and how are you and your sales team prepared for the upcoming challenges?

Obviously, the current Coronavirus pandemic poses major challenges for society and our business. Despite all its negative impacts, let me focus on three major opportunities I personally observe in my business environment:

Speed in reaction

Both governments and companies had to act much faster – and yes – we proved – we can do it. Keeping speed and agility will continue to be of great importance to us – especially now where we sometimes do not know what happens tomorrow. Our business was running as long as we were able to operate before some areas were totally locked-down. In these difficult times we further needed to show that: In future, we must reinvent ourselves constantly – as individuals or corporations. And we need to adjust to new situations and cope with different challenges (e.g. Focus on customer service and ICE).

Push towards total digitalization

The pandemic made it very clear to all companies – digitalization is the future. And we have to surf on the digital wave to stay competitive. We already saw very positive results with our digital freight platform Saloodo! that is constantly growing and already available in more than 35 countries, and also the numbers of our Freight Quotation Tool are promising – in that tool, our customers from 28 countries have the possibility to get an instant road freight quote in their local language 24/7. These results are already a great step forward and with my sales team, we are constantly asking ourselves: how can we further develop our digital sales channels to meet our customers’ needs to win business online as well as how can we further enable digital interactions with our customers (e.g. social selling).

The importance of communication   

In times of increased uncertainty, with so many unknown factors, leadership becomes even more important. Expressing stability, confidence, and constant dialogue is the key when it comes to internal and external communication. Especially in these times it is crucial to be in regular contact with our customers to keep them informed about the status of their shipments and our network. Also in this regards our digital channels once more turned out as highly relevant e.g. regular updates online on Freight Connections on our network in regards on COVID-19 restrictions. We have to learn to keep human proximity also through digital tools.

Another huge challenge ahead of us is Brexit? So what should customers with UK business know?

The Brexit transition period is ending in less than 6 weeks. Whatever the outcome of ongoing negotiations is, the UK will become the third country to the EU as of 1 January 2021, resulting in significant changes for businesses that are affected in shipping goods from or to the UK.

Customs formalities will apply: EU – UK trade will be subject to customs formalities. Customers will have to perform customs declarations when exiting the EU and import formalities when entering the UK, which means administrative burden and time delays.

I highly recommend that our customers get in touch with us and fill out the contact form so that we get an overview of the impact of Brexit on their supply chains and can do proper planning of our resources. With Gerlach & DHL Freight Customs, we have more than 750 Customs experts in Europe who can support on customs related questions and formalities.

Download our Brexit checklist here and get further insights on how to prepare your company for Brexit.

Last question – on a personal note – what are your plans to keep up your energy at the highest levels for challenges and opportunities ahead of us?

Before coming to my personal way to re-energize myself I would like to say that the most motivating thing for me is to meet people, especially my team members, colleagues, and our customers to discuss and reflect in a direct unfiltered way. This keeps me always on track and shows me what is really important in our business.

Furthermore, I love to spend time with my family, doing some sports like fitness, biking and golf and one of my passion is photographing.

About Holger Schneemann

Holger Schneemann, Chief Sales Officer, DHL Freight was born in Hamburg in April 1965. He is married and has 2 children. His passion for logistics is closely connected to the city of Hamburg and the port. After an apprenticeship at Kuehne + Nagel and studying economics, he held various positions in the head office of Kuehne + Nagel AG & Co. In 2001 he joined Hellmann Worldwide Logistics as Head of Key Account Management and from 2003 to 2008 as Branch Manager of the Hamburg office. In 2008, Holger Schneemann joined DHL Freight. In addition to managing the DHL Freight Terminal Hamburg, he also took over the position of Area Manager North in 2010. In August 2015, Holger Schneemann was appointed as a member of the management board of DHL Freight GmbH, as Head of Sales & Marketing, Germany & Austria based at the head office in Bonn. Since October 2020, Holger Schneemann is responsible for the Global Sales department as Chief Sales Officer, DHL Freight.