Hi, Dag. Welcome to the StrongPoint team! Tell us a bit about yourself.
First of all, I’m very thankful to have this opportunity in such an exciting company. I am both humbled and proud to be a part of the Strongpoint family, and looking forward to exploring and expanding our position in the market.
I have a technical IT background going way back. I started my career as a sales engineer with IBM mainframes back in the 80s, and soon realized I wanted to be more involved in the sales process. I enjoy being in dialogue with customers to explore how they can improve their business, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 25-30 years. My most recent role was as Sales Manager at Atea, one of the biggest IT solutions providers in the Baltics and Nordics.
I live in Drøbak, a small village south of Oslo. It’s actually the village where Santa Claus is said to come from! I live here with Marianne and our dog, and we enjoy a rather quiet life by the sea. For the last few years we’ve been doing a lot of renovations and upgrades in the house and garden – it’s become our main hobby during lockdown. We also have a cabin in Sweden and a flat in Spain, but due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to visit them in the last year.
What are you passionate about?
Professionally, I really enjoy talking to our clients to understand how we can bring them value. It’s important that we stay relevant, presenting them with solutions that can optimize their daily operations.
There are two different markets emerging now. One is grocery retailers who have done well during the Pandemic. The other is non-food retailers, who might have struggled to switch to an e-commerce model. At StrongPoint, we need to see how we can optimize operations, reduce costs and increase revenues for businesses who are moving from physical to combined physical and digital customer experiences. Customer needs have changed – almost all have been through some kind of digital transformation, so we have to adapt with them to find new business models and value chains.
Personally, I usually love spending time in our cabins and garden. We live by the fjord, and love to take our boat out to enjoy good food and drinks with friends in the summertime. In the winter, I like to go skiing in the mountains. I’m looking forward to getting back to more social engagement with friends, colleagues and clients once lockdown ends.
Why did you want to join StrongPoint?
I came from a large company with a broad offering of generic IT solutions. StrongPoint is smaller, but more focused into retail and offering more targeted solutions for this market. I was looking for an opportunity in a narrower market, where I could specialize in solutions for retail specifically. I find it more attractive to work in a smaller company where you can influence decisions to a greater extent.
Strongpoint is an exciting company that I have been following for several years. I’ve also worked with some of my new colleagues before, and really trust and respect them. In this role I’ll be replacing StrongPoint’s former Sales Director, Pål Haukedahl, who has been at the company for over 30 years and is an institution. It’s a big job to fill his shoes, and I’m honored and humbled to take on the challenge. It will be really important for me to ensure continuity for StrongPoint’s customers, as well as challenging the established models and routines.
What are you looking forward to the most in your new job?
I want to explore and expand Stronpoint’s ability to bring more value to our customers. I want them to see StrongPoint as a strategic partner in building smarter and more efficient retail solutions. We should be helping contribute to their business, and supporting them to optimize in-store operations, customer journeys and shopping experiences. That means staying one step ahead of the market so we can offer the most relevant solutions as a trusted advisor.
Strongpoint has big growth ambitions for the future, and I’m looking forward to being a part of our strategy for 2025 and contributing to those goals.
How do you think the Pandemic is going to affect the future of the retail industry?
Through the pandemic, people have been forced to adapt to online shopping. My prediction is that we’re going to see even more hybrid models of physical and digital shopping across all industries in retail. It’ll be the new normal. People will go online even more to buy the products they want, and to collect them on the same day. There will still be demand for physical stores, but I think the number and size will decrease. The retail industry has to adapt to these new shopping behaviors; I think we will see more pick-up points, show-rooms and unattended stores in the future.
What is the uptake of grocery retail e-commerce solutions like in Norway compared with other markets StrongPoint operates in?
One of the challenges in Norway is that our population is quite spread out, so it’s not cost-effective to deliver to peoples’ homes. That’s where solutions like pick up points with storage lockers make more sense – retailers can focus on the value chain, and Strongpoint can optimize the last mile.
In general, customer attitudes, culture and behavior vary from region to region. How people buy and collect food is different in each market; in the Baltics and Nordics we’re quite used to contactless shopping, but in Spain it’s more common to use cash, for instance. But we still need to create innovative cash management solutions, even for the Nordics. Cash won’t disappear for a while yet, and we still need to be delivering the best experience for our customers’ customers in the meantime.
StrongPoint is now implementing Salesforce. How will it help you as Sales Director, and do you think our customers will notice?
A well-implemented CRM tool will give me good insight into what my staff are dealing with on a daily basis, and a good overview of our business. That helps us to have the right resources in the right place at the right time for our customers. It will help me cooperate with salespeople and coach them better, and help us to improve our value chain and operations. Our regional salesmen have the local knowledge of our customers, and I have central commercial knowledge. Together, we can help each other to serve our customers better. Building a customer team in Salesforce with role- and relation-mapping towards our customers will help us cooperate with them.