B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

26: 5 Tactics to Avoid the Holiday Sales Slump w/ Alex Jakobitsch

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Many B2B sales leaders and reps believe the holidays put a dip in their sales revenue. As the holiday spirit increases attitude, it often decreases productivity at the office. Some accept the decrease in sales revenue as a sunk cost — holiday slowdown is an inevitability.

Alex Jakobitsch is here to debunk that myth.  

We’ve had a few requests for him, so we asked him to join us for this holiday episode on B2B Revenue Acceleration.

Alex shares his top motivational tools for sales during the holidays. He debunks myths, gives tactics, and ultimately shows that the holidays give more opportunity, not less.
Alex is the VP of EMEA operations here at Operatix, having worked his way through the ranks, starting out setting appointments, then onto managing a team, before he took over the entire EMEA territory.

You're listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sails and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show,I welcome to be to be aroe new ECCEDERATION. My name is Oliam Witteand I'm here today with Alex Jakobitch from Oparatics O. Are you Alex I'm verywell? Thank you right. Thanks for having me no problem mat. You are oneguess that I probably the guess since the beginning of the podcast that Iknow the best somemore that I'm actually working with on a daily basis,because you are vipof operation in Europe. Yea toporatics, but wevh hadthe quite a few request from listenels and also some of our guest suggestionabout sharing some of the best practices and intelligence and andgiving some of a top of our secrets away as to Ou. We we manage to do whatwe do. We Aut to porotic, so we me Wuld be a great way to have you taken intothe podcast and we picked topic. Arong motivating your self team in stressfultimes, but before we get started, can you just tell us little bit more aboutyourself and your journey with in Oporatics yeah sure, so I've got aninteresting journey and I think a bit of an advocate here in terms of what welike to do, which is- and I think I speak- fonearly everybody in the seniormanagement position, which is our ethos, and I started at the bottom, and bythat I mean I was employed as a business development executive. I had acouple of clients and I was on the phones. I had to earn my money bydelivering meetings. Just like every new ret, to which I found I enjoyed it.I enjoyed the challenge and I enjoyed being able to book. You know ColicyMesings, for our clients. I was lucky enough after a relatively short periodof time to then take a small team and manage them directly and then, as timehas gone on, I've been able to expand that team we've grown as a business.I've learned a lot around business and how to run a small business unit and asour reputation is spread and our good workers come to tbefore. Now afteraround a year and a half of managing a a smaller subset of the team, I waspromoted o the vice president of meor operations. Now Weve got around theseventy people in Europe reporting direct Cla n to me and a lot of clientsand a fantastic journey. So far over the last two and a half years n andlong may continued yeah I've been witnessing the journey and you'vedefinitely have done a well from from appointment Cette, which is kind of thelowest kind of frank you can get within O poretics to now managing the Tam- andyou know basically being number one in Europe from an operation. PROSPECTIVIESis definitely impressive, O congratulation to you. So what we wantyou to talk about. We are met December at the Timeo of recorcrding, thispodcast, and we all know that the Christmas and Alldays priories, oftenectic and very stressful as people are on the pressure to meet targettheadline and they often Lik fockus to get everything tone intiht. So it'sextremely stressful for everyone. We also have that toliday feelling, so weknow that resources and individuals, maybe thinking about their Christmasholiday, buying some presents for that...

Familyan aresort of creat es it's alittle bit of of an interesting pire of the year. But what would be your adviceto sell his executive to kid their fockes and concentrate their eforltsinto achieving their targets without getting distracted by is of thepressure or th Uny? They pay it yeah and again we get the same kind of thingin summer really, and so that I say elironically actually, the December inthe summer months are some of our best months as a business and there's a verysimple reason for that: Andis, exactly what you just said: Theyre Rogt, andthat is people think that everyone's got that holiday feeling and everybodyno one's going to be there. whandeverbody shuts down, but actuallythat's some of the best times to call, because because everyone else thinksthat they don't bother to make that extra effort, they don't bother toreach out. They don't put that call in at at six o'clock and perfect exampleis just coming into this. Now I can say this with complete sincerities, one ofour guys, but two meetings after six thirty of the UK market yesterday andalready we've got a response from the client Saine, fantastic con't believethis has happened and it's just a testament, because people are around infact they're in a good mood. It's Christmas, so y. If people use that asa negative, I've got very simple philosophy when it comes to motivatingand getting people to maybe revisit their initial thought structure when itcomes to. This is going to be hard. I'm liket non O no odom. That is just aready. builted excuse, you've got nice and and they're ready for people. Ifyou get question on activity, there's no excuse for not putting the sameactivity and if anything you should be looking at this as negative to positiveand that's one of the yard ticks. I say when it comes to motivating any team,regardless of it being sales, but in our particular environment. You've gotto look at every single roadblock as a chance to get over it and how you goingto do it. So for me, you look at that common theory of no one's going to bearound to say well actually, if everyone else thinks that, then surelyis a chance for me to try and that's what we do. So it's easy for me to sithere and say that, but I push the team to put that extraactivity in and also Isay well what pressure, what more pressure e we talking about here, thepressure to go and earn money. I mean this: That's what the job is here inthe first place, you've done it throughout the year. I'm telling youthat you can do it at this time of year, because we've proven it as a businessof these are some of our best months. Yeah WATC. It happen and I put a coupleof incentives in place there as well and yeah, I'm happy to say that mostpeople realize very quickly that if they put their activity in thepressures soon go away absolutely my tivity. What we tend to see. We tend tosee prospects and Byes to be probably more inclined to have a conversation. Ithink I think, must of our clients and it's going Ta kind of be my nextquestion, but ron the excuses of deuly day but post of four clients tend toasseciate the Christmas pier as a dead paye, and I think, if you look at itfrom a closing perspective, of course, if you don't have a deal already in thepave plane in October September, even...

June, even January, from to provioucefrom that year, depending on the length of your solcicle, you wil have nochance to find a new postumicy in Cisit in December. However, I do believe in,as you said, we see through the stats and Shouh he succest w having a bus,Ano, pilond Christmas, absolutely fantastic paintongauge. So that's kindof nitting to my next question, which is: Do you believe that people use theescuse of Oly Day to not Kix top some projects, Adelat some of them Af,Tedulidayn and then mest importantly, because I think Youanso will be? Yes,most importantly Ol. Do you think that can be avided yeah? Exactly so I meanit's amazing how many times that kind of comes up and the beauty of thatexcusis a lot of it's based on someone that maybe hasn't been here that longor has made ten calls that day or has tried it. You know, let's say for thefirst week of July and then all of a sudden they come back and give us thatfeeback, it's a Mith, it's a myth that we dispel on a early basis Oll mosttimes basically and you're, going to ask yourself one question: WELLN! Iknow you can you can answer it from a sales perspective as well in terms ofnew business, which is well I'm working you're here we're talking about it. So,first of all you're in the office and all of a sudden in what world do welive in where all of the sea level people are all senior management alldecide to go off on a holiday for two months. Of course it doesn't happen. Imean I don't know anybody that. Does that or has the chance to do it again,and I just repeat what I said before: it's that chance, where, if people areassuming that then brilliant long may I continue. I want them to keep thinkingthat, because the longer that they think that we'll just keep cleaning upand we'll speak to all the people that are at their desks, who probably havemaybe a bit more time on their hands in this period, because less people arebothering to contact them for the very reasons that we've discussed. So it's amyth, easy one to dispel from my perspective, because the stats arethere and the evidence is there but, like I said as long as it as long asthe meth keeps going, I'LD be happy for people to keep essuming that otherwiseyou know it might get a bit tougher for us to do our job. But again it goes toactivity and it goes to th the same kind of things we say het, some of ourclients actually say. Well, I'm not sure it's a difficult period, il say:Well, okay! Well, if you I muc Bi Bine, if you got what you need, what you needto close, if you don't want to start things in December, because you thinkit's a dead month, we're then going to start it in Jenuary and then there's arampop period. Well, why don' we start it now we're going to get some resultsbefore general n. The moment generally, the second comes we're going to beabsolutely on fire being able to be a step ahead. rempot period. There is nonegative s Sol positive, hey that we've been focusing very much on the end userand Tefede Er probaly little bit more relax the Ta Kening of their schedulethat they've got more time in the office, so they will be more reactiveto a con Bas selling touches or I can base marketing, Toche sices e May Co,Foor, taches and all that stuff. Great, so so appreciate that we spoke aboutthe perception of our clients. Wo are like Wol. No, we con stop something inDecember because Ti some guys dead and you know intimately. I think we discuss-and I think it's about to agree that...

...there may be one week in December,which is basically the lass weck of December, where people are getting intothe festive period but executives, people reallymake decision, even ifthey are away, still need to kindacting you on the post and may be morerechable during that time that in years or tame of day years, US tit as annoppotinity. Now, let's torn towards realty and your people, because thatthat's another element, you know it's so good to have that you kind of peoplebeing avadaboe, etc, etc. But you cind have a very bad minsetting yarks inwhile people are just wearing a Christmas, jumper wants to go to, orparties wants to have shotor days H, all that sort of great things that comewith defistive spirit. So I wan't ask you the question is: Do you believe inMitivation, because I've seen you in action- and I know Ti- should beleve inmotivation and particularly for what we do. Motivation is Ke, but how can you,as a selles video, make sure that Yotim is feeling motivated through thatfastive valure that that break up? We also spoke about thes Semol, so let'snot just focus on Christmas, but let's also focus on this sernal time wherepeople are noly the etce Etca, because it's a remor it's that me. But how doyou make sure that you break that Mith and get them to deniver and get them tobe focused on where te? Well, there's a I mean, there's a business. We'veobviously got certain KPIS and things that we have to hit internally hereanyway, so in terms of keeping because you because you're right it can beagain, you can talk all you like and get people to believe it. If you likethe proof, the proofs, always in the pudding tbe. Very simply, we've gotupset of Capiz Ers, a certain amount of actions that I expect people to doevery day and we wanteto that we monitor it closely. So there isn'treally ever going to be an avenue where people can't put the activity in interms of the motivation, of course, then that in tern goes to making surethat they're doing the basics correctly. So what we would do is we'll put a bitmore emphasis, let's say in those months around making sure that the guysplan ahead make sure that they structure the day accordingly. So a lotof our focus when it comes to the end of it each day, for instance, will bemaking sure that the moment they get into work the next day, they've got thenext fifteen people that they know that they canrig and Theye got a chance ofbooking it. So what is that important? Why does it help with motivation? Well,if you come into the office and somebody's already got, two leads fiveEd, seven leagues and it's not even nine o'clock, then that motivates youto try and challenge each other, and it also gives everybody the confidencethat the meetings are there. The leads are there, the engagements are thereand the people are there. So I think it's a bit of a Cliche, but it's verytrue an how to motivate a team is successblee success and if you see yourcolleagues doing it, just if you're in a Moni I'd like to think that, ifyou're in my team or in our team you're going to have that naturalcompessitiveness that comes with being every good salesperson hand, so it goesback at you know. We want to go back a little bit further, very quickly. Itwould be around ene. What do I see in the interviews? I want to see thatcompesitiveliss. I want to see inquisitivethess. I want to Seycuriosity. I want to see energy so if I've got those things as as a yardstick from the team, all you really...

...need to do is just put in a couple ofincentives, leaving early, that's fine. That can happen, but I think more alonglong time, tat, team incentives and getting the team together as one andunderstanding the best practices. So what we'll do is well have a breakwaysession at the end of every day and well say right. Okay, what work todayview what W we share best practices, then, all of a sudden, everybody feelsthet part of a successful unit and a team that's willing to share, as youknow, share knowledge, an everyodyis out to look after each other. You knowwe're not in no and ar kind of a jump over each other wol Om, all streetscenario when it comes to that kind of thing, it's a very supportiveatmosphere. So I think, if you create those things really, the motivationcomes from within, and people wld become selfmotivated, but you've got toput that environment there to make sure people feel that they're supported okay,whon, that's very good and very comprehensive. Now, in term of theincentive you mentione, if you you mentione money, tame of Social Bigting,the back and everything if you ware to pick one and just give an advice toaugence which oine would you say, is the one that drive tems the best to getresults out of them in that myth, biyard that his is a Christmas Oteseot.That's a very good question, so without kind of ignoring that and not givingyou an answer, I'm going to pick a couple of options. If you don't mind sowhen I woul say it does come down to the ovidual individual, we Y. U knowwe're all human beings at the end of the day, and you know one member of myteam might be a young man that wants to go and watch a football game. So for me,that's a very easy thing to do. Tickets depends where you go, of course, ifyou're a Chelsea fan like me, going to save up for three years to go to onegame, but let's just say that you know, I know for a fact t at at that might behis motivation of put an incentive in there to say. Well, if you overachieveyour target by twenty percent. Obviously wher it sells here are nevergoing to say just hit you tal get over achieve your target. Then you can go toa you know: Chelsea game, whatever the next one and ior the next one will beight. Okay, it's mother of three take good children to the Alkinto howrs orsomething like othe zoo. So you look at that and you look at what differentthings incentovice people for number one, but I'm afraid we it's a lot ofthe time. It's money in an IT- should be money, but weve got a brilliant jobright. We want a job where you can talk to people. You can get people to dothings that they necessarily didn't want to do when they woke up and it'sfit for their benefit. That and itself is a buzz and people actually pay youfor that buzz I mean, and that's what I say to the team, so why don't you wantmore of it do more and when they think bout that way generally when they startto see their commission, they think yeah. Actually, this is this kind ofspeaks for itself. Time off is always going to be a good one, because whowants to be at work at the end of the day? You know we got the weekends, wegot the evenings, you know what more than they want, but it's totally onistoly understandingwhat makes that individual take and in time of your focus, Jou Rasal. So Fossof all thanks for fonsoring the...

...question- and I agree with you N, and Ithink you need to adapt the incentive to the people. You've got in you timbecause if you've got an incentive for a next box, but you've got lots ofpeople, wo don't play video games, I mean how would you expect to mutivatethem first, that that makes perfect sense and and you need to Addap to whatthey want in ter personality O. my other question still aroungdteincentive, because I think it's important to poticin those incentivesin place and see people being successful s with incentives whet. Doyou put your focus in time of incentive? Do you put your focus in Tim of theproductivity or the quality of the production o? I guess there is twothings you can do o can you can just get a lot of volumes? You can getbetter factions, you can get people and say well, look if you do, you should dohundred and fifty actions that they call social emails, whatever touches,which is probably twenty five certy posec Monen with WHO woill expect therest of the year. I'm going to give you that much money. I would a give youthat this or that yeah you actually looking at the results of the walk andsay well look, is you can do as many toxheses you wan, but for me, is reallythe quality that matters well. Do you? What do you forcuss on Bot? Well, yeahagain, yeah, it's pretty much I'd, say one of the biggest parts of my job andto use a sporting analogy, which I hope sums it up. It would be trebles for show doubles for Dogh andwhat I mean by that is you can indouch. You can hit the trebl twenty as much asyou can get down to a finish. But if you can't finish on a double all ofthat stuff that goes before is a meaningless. So what do I mean by thatas an Enanlgy? So you can book thousands of meetings. You can dohundreds of calls, but if those are me, things don't happen and they're not ofthe requisite quality that I expect and our clients expect it is meaningless.It's a waste of time, it's a waste of energy and that's not how we built ourbusiness. So absolutely we've got some ONI for activity, because that's ourthat's how yard stick and then we can exactly like you said: they're right,you can start looking at where you can tweak and help and t and make peoplemore productive, but people by from people we build our relationships andsales is built on trust. That's why, when you go for high level jobs, peoplewant to know what your contacts are and what your networks like. Otherwise theywouldn't bother, and it's the same with us. We need you need to understand thatquality is what keeps our clients and we'll always give our clouts. Of course,we've got an SLA. We expect to hit we're going to lose money if we don'thit that Slla in a lot of o cases, so that Thoese without saying, but youmust always endeavor to do the best job that you can an for me. That means thatyour meetings- if should you but them, are attended ar exactly, as you said,tha to the client that they would be and thereof with the sole intention ofgetting ourawinder and essentially close net new business for our clients.So for me that will always be the yardstick to which I look to the teaokay tha. That sounds very, very fair, so we spok about the stress four timesand we had a bit of a focus in the...

...conversation because it's were seasonal.I guess and we're also looking at it from from theoctic of European business,because you are O for Europe. An operations when do you think are themost trestful time Ofer the couse of the year- and I think you know it couldbe stressful time for us it could distrestful tame for clients, becauseat the end of the day we walk with sells people a'm expecting them to beon Theole Sertin amount of stresegy in of the QUATA. A expecting them to be ondo Otin, alot of stress at the end of the year. But if you ware to just ifwou want to defocus from Christmas and look at the whole year, so if it tooktwo thousand and nineteen fro example, can you pin point foras an audiencewhen those stressful moments are likely to happen, because I guess at the endof the days it's about pladding, probably amounth, two mongs in advenceof distressful moment to make sure that you don't have a dum tops, iscommunicating with your Tim and not waiting the Fifteenh of December. Oftenthen Mol Lo Christmas is coming, do somthing about it, so IU, Nowthet,twelve, all Lisen of planning. Could you could you pin point when Thostressful moment of of your perspective and or will be into Thousen an nineteen?Yes, I and I'll give you two different response based on the a ret perspective,an and I suppose, in terms of a a team, an me PERSPECIVF for my side. So for myside it would always be there shouldn't be a time when it should beparticularly stressful, very simply, but, and the only time it will do wouldbe if I'm not planning ahead. Accordingly, there'll always be dips,thatll always be changes, let's say in terms of our clients needs andexpectations. That's just life, but I think F as long as you're making surethat you've got a solid struction, you plan, you know. Ok, my resourcing isdone a month in advance. Things can change, and sometimes I change myresourcing five times in a day. That's what I'm paid to do, but you've got tokeep a level head and you can't let anything deviate you from for your Engo,which is making sure that you you plann accordingly. So I would say as long asyou're doing that you should be able to mitigate against any stress. That maycount come your way. I don't look at it in a seasonal point of view. I look atit from Kn W A language point of view that it may be that there's arequirement urgently and I'll, be honest and I'll say: Look, we can't doit, we can do it and I think that that plays a big part on it. From areperspective and again I coal use my owni experience. My second month wasnot as good as my first month and I think the biggest challenges that areps have in terms of when they find stress, is when they're not performing,maybe to their collegue standard or to their own personal standard, and it'svery very easy to get demotivated and to not pick up that phone like youwould have done before, and that's really where people need to feel thatthey've got a supportive environment around them and that's where myself andthe team will revisit things a go right. Let's get back to basics a little bithere. Let's look at how you're structuring the way that you work andreally you take their mind off the stress and you give them activities todo you give them a process to follow and by that time, they've forgottenabout the stress, because they're embedded in other actions, and thatrequires a lot of mainselance on a...

...daily basis because again you'redealing with human beings that are going to be up and down. Just like youknow any business that relies on a client set. There's going to be thingsout out of your control as long as you've got enough in the popeline, andthat means let you business. That means Hihbloy for our clients, and that meansnet new reps coming in as long as you're. On top of that, then you shouldbe it a position where any stressful events that come you'll be able toalready have a plan in place to mitigate against them. Okay, so thereis no stressful time, its allbout being prepelts. I like that. Well, it's Lok!That's the duck analogy is noal Thi, one analergy, you know underneath thewater the legs are flapping away, but there's a calm exterior above the waterI'v always say to Rai. Had I'd love, thatk hair when I joined and now I'veGut, I've got hardy, Andy Har and it's all white. So I let you be te judge ofwhether it's ressful Wel, my judgment is that you still look fantistic sothat we all good. So thanks for Latte LECs, I think I think it was useful andI'm Sargence is taking a love from your advice and your way of doing things.Basically, now, if anyone wants to connect with you in order tolon alittle bit more about friding, sell team and planning for reding, sell teamand Al Rongoporatics t what would be the best way to connect with you. Well,I probably say Lig tins a good way, I'm quite active on linked in always freeto connect with anybody that wants on o Sanbat. I'm also also very interested that otherpeople's ideas when it comes to their thoughts, D and experiences when itcomes to either running a team or advice. Because yeah I mean we talkabout the challenges that come across Tus and I think anybody that works inoperations will always know that you've got ta, judge or other things. At thesame time, it is a fine art, but it's one where I would never change it,because every day is different and non. A lot of jobs can say that I'mcontactable by the website as well and all of my contect details or on Linktin,should anybody want to engage with, be further, be happy to talk, okay,excellent, what many things again Alex it was great o have o on this wit.Today, that's right, uperadics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing insize sales teams in househas existed for many years, companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales. CEO operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics. Dot Net you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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