Meet the Kalibrate Team: Niels Skov, Chief Commercial Officer
At Kalibrate, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. Our “meet the team” series showcases some of the talent and expertise within the Kalibrate family. We talked to our Chief Commercial Officer, Niels Skov, about continuous innovation and how customer loyalty has become a corporate casualty for Covid-rattled retailers.
What is your role at Kalibrate?
The main focus of my role is making sure our value propositions, products, and solutions are effectively supporting and driving our business growth objectives. This involves overseeing the orchestration, productization, and decision making that informs the development of our products and solutions, now and in the future, for the full Kalibrate group including Trade Area Systems (TAS) and Kent Group Ltd.
As CCO, it’s my responsibility to ensure that Kalibrate takes to market the optimum mix of data, software, analytics, and consulting to deliver the right value proposition and products to our customers. Any way value is understood by our customers — business value, strategic value, operational value, cost reduction value — it’s within my remit to make sure we deliver what customers need to really help them be successful in their initiatives.
What does a typical day look like?
I spend an extensive amount of time with customers, understanding what they need and how they need our support. Then taking that information away to build the organizational structure, skills, and competence within Kalibrate to deliver it.
I dedicate parts of my day to understanding where we are, and what we need to do next. For example, working with TAS and Kent Group to define how to best integrate and optimize our value propositions, and understanding how we’ll get the best results going forward.
I also spend time on operational integration — creating synergies which ensure we have alignment and support in development and other areas. I work across all the business functions at Kalibrate and into the customer world, at a very strategic level and down into the detail. So, there’s a high degree of variability in where I spend my time, but it’s always driven by understanding our position and what we need to do to move forwards.
What do you love about your role?
I get to collaborate across every corner of the organization, and I enjoy that tremendously. There are very few things more satisfying than when the team pulls together to make good things happen. And Kalibrate has a bright future! We have a huge market opportunity and I believe we will be very successful; we’ll achieve that success by collaborating effectively, empowering each other and bringing out the best in everyone, in everything we do. That’s the centerpiece of what I’m excited about — and the process for doing that is all based on people collaborating and iterating, and that’s a lot of fun.
Why did you choose to join Kalibrate?
I could see that Kalibrate had good people on the ground, implementing a strong strategy. And Kalibrate’s backing — through its ownership structure and motivated executive team — makes the likelihood of success even higher.
Since joining the company, I can see that everyone at Kalibrate excels at what they do, but knows we cannot be complacent. We will continue to develop and evolve to lead the way in this industry. Inertia is always a challenge in change, but I am very confident that we are doing the right things, and that we will continue to do what’s right and what’s necessary.
We’re the incumbent and we know we have to keep reinvigorating and renewing our solutions and services. Innovation is absolutely critical to keeping us at the forefront of the industry and allowing us to keep our edge. There is a strong desire to look forward to future opportunities and to do what’s needed to take advantage of them.
What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities in the retail sector?
Since the pandemic, everything is changing. Consumer expectations and buying patterns are shifting dramatically. Customers are a lot less loyal. There’s evidence that companies which had a loyal following in the past will see that severely disrupted in the new normal, unless they are very effective in adapting. Recent McKinsey research found that more than 77 percent of Americans tried new shopping behaviors during the crisis. There’s a substantial increase in willingness to change habits, because people are reevaluating their patterns and routines, and adapting to a new reality. That means risk for retailers, of course — but also great opportunity.
Where do you see the retail market heading?
I think retail is faced with multiple changes, some of which are very disruptive and happening very fast — driven, accelerated, and even initiated by the recent pandemic. Customer expectations are constantly evolving, now also in terms of safety and infection risk exposure. Digitization is a very big disruptor and has been accelerated by the pandemic. Those who were laggards on digitization are likely falling further behind as consumers look for touchless payments, pick up, drive through, and delivery options.
The leaders have adapted — adding services like kerbside collection, or partnering with third parties such as Uber Eats to be able to offer delivery.
So, rapid adaptation is critical. For many retailers, this won’t be easy if they’re saddled with legacy systems, practices, and inertia that makes the right changes difficult to deliver.
Take loyalty programs and investments for example: while loyalty might have got you so far in the past, the old world winners and losers are shifting. There’s a school of thought that says loyalty is broken, but I believe it will re-emerge as a new version of itself after the pandemic, adapted to changes in consumer expectations.
Data-based decision making is more important than ever in the combined online and bricks-and-mortar world. Kalibrate is in a great position as the business that can give customers the data, insight, and expertise to act decisively into the future. Traffic, demographic, market, pricing — we have a real wealth of information that can be manipulated and applied to drive fast, effective decisions in response to rapidly evolving consumer expectations.
To hear more from Niels, and other Kalibrate experts, on the importance of adaptability in the new normal, watch What should you do to prepare for a return to trading?
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