Human touch in B2B sales: why does it matter?
Human touch in B2B sales: why does it matter?
Beginnings and Education
How did you get started in your career and why did you find sales interesting?
My first introduction to sales, and business in general, was when my father opened a private maritime shipping agency in the ’90s. It was a small family business and we all chipped in in some way. When I got a bit older and my English was getting better, I helped him in communication with clients from all over the world.
This experience was very interesting to me because I got the chance to understand how the business works, and I got the opportunity to learn from every business partner I was in contact with.
During my Uni years, I worked part-time for a marketing agency which helped me understand better the importance of quality product/company communication and the impact on sales.
Sales is not a simple career, it never ends. But you get a much wider perspective of business and life in general by talking and learning from every client, partner or competitor.
What are the best sources to learn about sales for people who are just starting out and those who are already in the field?
In my opinion, the best way to learn for a salesperson who is just starting is to really listen to the clients’ experience, their comments, needs, fears and problems that need solutions. Theory gives you a good base to build on, but it's up to the person to gather and combine this information into a usable knowledge base.
A good mentor would be the best-case scenario for the systematic development of a salesperson, but this is not always the case. So, keep your eyes and ears open :)
For the guys with experience, I think the best way of staying updated is to think about what are the main market drivers and who are the key players in a specific market or industry segment. Industry leaders are the ones who innovate and find new ways of reaching company set goals. Webinars, conferences, networking events… and, of course, life-long learning.
My general advice is not to limit yourself to one industry. Get as much experience as possible from various companies with different products and client bases. Stay on top of the current trends, and expand your expertise.
How did you search for your first job and how did you end up in PushPushGo?
For my first job, I was looking for a smaller company that would give me more access to decision-makers and to be more involved in the sales process creation. At that point in time, there were a lot of new small companies who tried hard to position themselves on the market. Hard work, networking and creativity were the main things they focused on. I learned that there are many ways to sell services/products and that I need to figure out what suits me the best.
I ended up in PushPushGo after our CEO, Dawid, contacted me on LinkedIn. We had a chat about the company, market, PushPushGo plans and approach. We connected on many different points that are important to me, such as knowledge sharing, transparency, work-life balance, teamwork and “win-win” client cooperation philosophy.
Jobs and Development
When do you think there comes a point for a tech company when they need a sales person?
I think a salesperson should be involved from the start. When a company is forming, the salesperson is the one who needs to work closely with the development department on the functional part of the product but also focus on the ease of use of the tech product/tool.
The salesperson is the one who has to gather the potential client’s needs and problems the tech solution will help with, gather information on existing products and explore the USP’s that will catch the market’s interest.
We must think about who is going to use the product, how their KPIs look like and what is the main need or problem that they need help with. There are great products that are not marketed well enough or haven’t been adjusted to the end-user.
To avoid this, the company needs to do research and talk to the key opinion leaders.
What KPIs do you think should be measured in sales work?
In sales, the main KPI is always the success rate. But this info doesn't show the complete picture.
The product/solution lifecycle starts with promotion and education of the market. This stage is not profitable and it's hard to measure, but if the company does this in the right way it will be much easier to connect with potential customers in the future.
Contact’s made, contribution to product development or product market adjustment, networking and promotion of the company… all of those should also be taken into consideration in salesperson assessment.
How do you measure your own results to make sure it is working for you and the company?
Of course, the main result to measure is the number of deals made. But personally, I like more to measure the success of the client with the solution I provided and the longevity of the cooperation. If it’s a win-win partnership, then a long term relationship is guaranteed.
What clients do you work with on a daily basis and how big is the scale?
I’m lucky to work with many different clients from various industry segments: eCom, Telecom, Finance, Tourism, Marketing agencies and IT companies.
I learn from every call and communication, and it helps me to understand their needs but also to get a feel about the development of the MarTech industry.
The people I'm talking to are very interesting, creative and sometimes we have brainstorming sessions on how to get the most out of the investment they made. A great way to maintain relationships and keep up to date with market needs.
As you are working a lot with the Balkan market what is the best sales approach there?
Personal connection plays a big role in successful sales. Sometimes in order to close a bigger deal, there is a need for a personal visit, and sometimes it is impossible to get them as clients. At the same time, they will gladly pay more to buy from someone they know personally.
Also, the Balkan digital market is growing fast, and the companies are now experiencing a new situation where they have to count on global competitors, not only local, and adjust their communication strategy accordingly.
What things should a B2B sales person avoid at all cost?
Over-specializing. If you focus on a very narrow niche you will lose the wider perspective. Learn new things every day, talk to clients and partners and learn from their experiences, mistakes and successes.
What do you read on a daily basis to develop your professional skills?
Our CEO and marketing department share interesting and useful content every day. I also follow many industry leaders/competitors on LinkedIn and visit tech sites like G2 Crowd or Capterra.
But the main “thing” a salesperson needs to read is the person on the other side of the table/screen/phone.
What tools do you use in your work?
LinkedIn, Pipedrive, Zoom, email, phone, Canva, MS Office, SimilarWeb, Alexa, BuiltWith, Slack, SalesQL, RocketReach, Woodpecker, Meetendly and, of course, PushPushGo!
What was the biggest hiccup you were involved in and how did you manage it?
I was part of a negotiation process with a large multinational company that lasted over 12 months. The product quantities and packaging were already in the works when the talks broke down because of the management change at the partners' side.
I had to compensate by trying to find a new partner who can take over the produced articles, with no excessive discount. My network and negotiation skills helped me a lot and I managed to keep the expected level of profit in line with the terms of the initial negotiations.
What do you consider as the biggest success in your work so far / what was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
I think salespeople are similar to kitchen chef’s, only the last plate/project counts.
From this point of view, I’m very happy how our expansion of PushPushGo is going in the EMEA region and on the global market. Our solution is helping many companies to handle the “new normal” and to promote their offers to the right public, at the right moment.
The biggest challenge is to make the initial contact and educate the potential customers about the benefits of the cooperation, and to show them that we are going to support their growth in the long run.
One of the things I'm also proud of is my team and my colleagues. The work ethic, transparency of communication and family like relationships help us achieve great results and have fun too!
What are the current and future trends you see in sales?
Current trends in sales are more focused on Social Selling, NLP, providing value in every communication with current and potential partners.
With COVID, salespeople have lost the benefits of live meetings and discussions with clients. The approach and sales process has changed a lot, and customer-centric companies like PushPushGo have focused on developing highly educated Account management and Customer relationship teams. They are in daily contact with the clients and have hands-on experience with day to day tasks on the partner’s side.
Also, I completely agree with my colleague, Gustavo Javier Saenz, who commented that the customer experience becomes more important every day, the sales process does not end with the closing of the deal, the entire company is in charge of keeping the customer satisfied. This customer experience is sometimes much more important than the product or service itself. The loss of customers often has to do with a bad customer experience.
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