5 Questions: Maria Predicts the Future of Commercial Sales

In this series, we want you to meet the innovators behind PPG's Industrial Coatings business.

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Our people are the heart of PPG and responsible for the continuous production of revolutionary products. 

We chatted with Maria Lamorey, who joined the Industrial Coatings business in 2015 as our general finishes commercial manager, about how her relationships with customers have changed during the pandemic and why she is so excited about PPG's ENVIROCRON™ Extreme Protection Edge powder coating.

Are there any products or innovations in the general industrial market that you’re excited about right now?

The product I'm the most excited about is the new high-edge powder coating technology, which is specially formulated to cover sharp edges that occur during metal fabrication. The reason I find it so exciting is because I personally work with several electrical enclosure manufacturers and transformer manufacturers who have had difficulty attaining product longevity they need due to edge corrosion - this product really helps to solve that issue. It increases asset life, limits warrantee claims and increases the product’s longevity outdoors.

How do you feel commercial sales have changed in the last few months?

Commercial sales have changed significantly in the last few months, mainly due to travel restrictions and customers limiting access to manufacturing facilities. It's required salespeople to think creatively in order to reach out to their customer base – whether that's through Zoom, or Skype, and various other ways.

Do you see any of these changes becoming permanent in the future?

I was recently on a call with a customer where we had five different people, from five different locations, closely reviewing a 3D model of a design to discuss coating requirements. What's so exciting about that is how efficient that call was. Typically that call would've occurred in a live meeting, involving the time and costs required for travel. This call brought everyone together very effectively. I believe changes to more virtual connections could be permanent in many ways.

There will be times when people will need to be in front of the customer, but it will allow us to become more efficient and find new ways to reach customers. We will be able to do more with less and reach more customers in virtual but personal ways.

What's a project you're most proud of from your time at PPG?

The general finishes 2020 strategy. The general finishes business can be very large and complex, with multiple types of end-use customers and different technologies. The strategy helps our sales team to know where to focus their efforts, with great sales collateral and product knowledge for specific applications.

This new strategy is very end-customer focused and has allowed us to strategically target end-use markets. This has resulted in our ability to increase our lead effort, build a pipeline and grow sales opportunities. I am excited about the General Finishes strategy as it will benefit our company for years to come.

What's your best working from home tip?

Be careful of to-do lists, they can just get bigger and bigger and move from day-to-day and never get done. They can also put you in a very reactionary mode. What I've learned to do is develop weekly goals and align those goals to your monthly and yearly goals.

From those weekly goals, create daily tasks that help you reach that goal at the end of the week and build those tasks into your week as part of a schedule. Take care of those first, then get to the to-do lists and follow up items from there-that will really help you focus and reach your goals.