On November 18th Mercuri International will be hosting The Sales Conference 2021, the Nordic region’s largest event for B2B executives, offering guidance and insights for sales and marketing leaders as we all assess this most ‘eventful’ of times and look to the future. With 7 great keynote speakers and thought-provoking presentations, the event promises to be truly unmissable – and will also be available via live broadcast.

Thimon de Jong is no stranger to the keynote stage, having presented to an A to Z of some of the world’s most influential companies’ events.

As a lecturer in social psychology at Utrecht University, he brings a winning combination of academic rigor and engaging charm to his presentations, focusing to a great extent on the intersection (and occasional contradiction) between our human tendencies and business goals.

He’s also a founder of Whetston, a strategic foresight think tank that takes an interdisciplinary research approach combines diverse academic disciplines from a broad range of backgrounds.

With his topic ‘Future Human Behaviour in a (post) COVID World’, we look forward to academic insights that bring a pragmatic, real world edge to improving business strategy in these unpredictable times.

You talk about Future Human Behaviour in a (post) COVID World at the sales conference – why is this topic so important for sales and marketing today?
As we are slowly coming out of the pandemic, we’ll see quite a few radical changes in human behaviour that will influence both B2C and B2B sales and marketing. Combine that with an ongoing digitalisation and the shift of mostly talking about global warming to practically acting upon it; from a socio-psychological perspective, the coming years will be quite a ride!

Do you think leaders in sales and marketing devote enough time to learning and professional development? If not – why?
Yes, with some nuance. Most of my clients have solid ongoing L&D programs in place, which is great. But my observation is that most of these programs are filled with the usual subjects, the practical ones. I wish more time would be devoted to also train on topics like ethics, empathy, philosophy, vulnerable leadership, bridging generation gaps etc. Skills we need for the future.

What are you most proud of in your career?
That I found my professional passion & purpose – keynote speaking, training & lecturing on the topic of future human behaviour – at the age of 34. Which is very old to my students, but I am just glad I found this at all.

You have had an impressive career – What is your best career tip for other managers in sales and marketing?
Be a generalist! You might have skills or a passion that might not seem to relate to sales and marketing right now, but keep developing these and just see what happens. You will be surprised.

What is the best thing about The Sales Conference?
I have attended the Sales Conference once (in 2015) and was impressed by the friendly and open atmosphere. And although he presented in Swedish, I loved Alexander Bard’s presentation!

Tell us something that can’t be learned from reading about you!
When work is very busy, I wind down by long distance open water swimming – it’s like meditation. But when work is quiet, I swim less and ride (race) my mountain bike, for the well-needed adrenalin rushes.