A conversation with Stephan Platzer & Michael Kalcher

Stephan’s & Michael’s Story: Know-how on the pulse of the age of digital sales


If you want to stay ahead in the beverage industry, you have to keep developing. After all, it is important not only to recognize market trends early enough, but also to implement them in a tailor-made manner for customers. A philosophy that Area Sales Manager Stephan Platzer and Sales Specialist Michael Kalcher not only share, but also exemplify in their daily work.

The phrase “We operate in a dynamic market environment” is often used in the beverage industry to put the rapidly changing framework conditions into words. Sales Specialist Michael Kalcher can only confirm that it nonetheless or more than ever corresponds to reality: “The industry has become extremely fast-moving in recent years. New categories and products from different competitors are entering the market. With all this variety and diversity, it is of course more challenging for consumers to keep track of things.” On the other hand, according to the sales expert, consumers and customers can choose from a very wide range of products and numerous flavors and preferences savor.


For Stephan Platzer, who, together with his team, like Michael Kalcher, has been looking after customers at Coca-Cola HBC Austria for around four years, there are two other important factors in addition to the great variety of products in the sales area: “In the last two years it turned out that, in addition to current product and market trends, the topics of digitization and consulting will shape sales in the coming years." The latter in particular is becoming increasingly important within cooperation and naturally requires time and attention. A circumstance that the two sales experts see as both a challenge and an opportunity. 


New product categories such as Hard Seltzer and thus our new brand Topo Chico are not as well-known on the Austrian market as they are, for example, on the American market. Detailed information and expert advice can definitely mean a head start over the competition. 

Stephan Platzer Area Sales Manager


At the same time, digital sales channels are becoming increasingly important - not least due to the corona pandemic. A development that Coca-Cola HBC Austria considers, among other things, through its participation in the Viennese start-up getsby. The existing team will be deployed smart and, above all, well-informed for the distribution of the innovative catering software.

“Getsby has the advantage that consumers can process all services for their individual gastro experience in just a few steps on their smartphone. From looking at the menu to ordering the meals for take-away or delivery to the paying process, ”Michael Kalcher explains the advantages of getsby.

While the guest benefits from the simple handling, restaurateurs and their staff can fully concentrate on providing guests with the advice they need. However, the new tool also requires consulting services from the sales team since it is important to make a relatively new solution “palatable” in the truest sense of the word.


With all these changes, one is particularly important: continuous training. Because if you want to be and stay up to date, you always have to know exactly about market trends, but also about your portfolio and the needs of your customers. "If, for example, I find out during a conversation that my catering partner is planning a take-away for his restaurant, I not only suggest the right portfolio for his dishes, but also explain the practical advantages of the getsby software to him," explains Michael Kalcher. The two Styrians therefore see the extensive sales training and further development opportunities at Coca-Cola HBC Austria as an excellent basis for this tailored advice to customers. 


Especially with new categories or product solutions like getsby, the following also applies: In addition to our specific training courses, structured exchange and best practice sharing with colleagues are essential in order to transfer experience to one's own work. 

Michael Kalcher Sales Specialist

Just as important, as Stephan Platzer concludes, is the personal component: “You cannot learn passion, commitment and motivation in any training. But they are absolutely essential when it comes to positively influencing and closing a sales pitch." And: "Just as failures or mistakes should be shared in order to grow, it is also important to me to appropriately credit my team's successes to celebrate. Because in the end we only make the difference together."


Area Sales Manager Stephan Platzer and Sales Specialist Michael Kalcher (both 26) have been enriching the sales team at Coca-Cola HBC Austria since 2017. In their area of activity in Styria, they make a significant contribution to the support and advice of around 60,000 Coca-Cola HBC Austria customers. In this role, the two Styrians also provide information about new product categories and digital sales solutions such as the catering software getsby.

You can find out more about our partnership with getsby here.