B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 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 were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales andmarketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome tobe to be a re a new acceleration. My name is earlien, with you, and I'm here today with Alex Jacobach from operatics. How are you, Alex? I'm very well. Thank you right. Thanks for having me. No problem at you are one guest that I probably the guest since thebeginning of the podcast that I know the best somewhere, that I'm actually workingwith on the daily basis, because you are vp of operation in Europe.They are Toperatics, but we've had a quite a few requests from listen elseand also some of our guests, suggestion about sharing some of the best practicesand the intelligence and and giving some of her top of our secrets away.As to our we we manage to do what we do. We are toparatic, so we weo be a great way. Who Have you're taking into the podcastand we picked a topic around motivating your sales team in stressful times.But before we got started, can you just tell us a little bit moreabout yourself and your journey was in operatics. Yeah, sure, so I've gotan interesting journey and I think a bit of an advocate here in termsof what we like to do, which is, and I think I speakfor nearly everybody in the senior management position, which is our ethos. And Istarted at the bottom, and by that I mean I was employed asa business development executive. I had a couple of clients and I was onthe phone's. I had to earn my money by delivery meetings, just likeevery new rape to which I found. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed thechallenge and I enjoyed being able to book, you know, quality meetings for ourclients. I was lucky enough, after a relatively short period of time, to then take a small team and manage them directly, and then,as time has gone on, I've been able to expand that team. We'vegrown as a business. I've learned a lot around business and how to runa small business unit and as our reputation is spread and our good workers cometo the for now, after around a year and a half of managing asmaller subset of the team, I was promoted to the vice president of amere operations. Now we've got around seventy people in Europe reporting directly in tome and a lot of clients and a fantastic journey so far over the lasttwo and a half years and long may it continue. Yeah, well,I've been witnessing the journey and you've definitely ever done away from a from appointmentsetter, which this kind of the lowest can of frank you can get withyou operatics, to now managing the team and basically being number one in Europefrom an operation prospective is is definitely impressive. So congratulation to you. So whatwe want you to talk about? We are meet December at the timewell of recording this podcast, and we all know that the Christmas and onlydays player is often ectic and very stressful as people are on the pressure tomeet target deadline and the often lack focused to get everything done in take.So it's extremely stressful for everyone. We also have that tly day feeling.So we know that restore seas and individ yours maybe thinking about their Christmas FunnyDay, paying some presents for their familian...

...or as at great stuff. It'sa little bit of an interesting player of the year. But what would beyour advice to sends executive to kid the focus and concentrate their efforts into it, shooting their targets is are getting distracted. These are the pressure or the UNneedy Paiot. Yeah, and again we get the same kind of thingin summer, really, and to that I say well, ironically, actually, the December in the summer months to some of our best months as abusiness, and there's a very simple reason for that. Is it is exactlywhat you just said. They're right, and that is people think that everyone'sgot that holiday feeling and everybody no one's going to be there and everybody shutsdown. But actually that's some of the best times to call because because everyoneelse thinks that, they don't bother to make that extra effort, they don'tbother to reach out, they don't put that call in at six o'clock.And perfect example is just coming into this now, and I can say thiswith complete sincerities one of our guys, but to meetings after thirty of theUK market yesterday and already we've got a response from the client saying fantastic,can't believe this has happened, and it's just a testament because people are around. In fact they're in a good mood. It's Christmas. So if people usethat as a negative, I've got very simple philosophy when it comes tomotivating and getting people to maybe revisit their initial thought structure when it comes toour this is going to be hard. I'm not no, no, no, older that is just already built. It excuse. You've got nice andand they're ready for people. Or if you get question on activity, there'sno excuse for not put the same activity and if anything, you should belooking at this as negative to positive, and that's one of the yard sticks, I say when it comes to motivating any team, regardless of it beingsales. But in our particular environment, you've got to look at every singleroadblock as a chance to get over and how you're going to do it.So for me, you look at that common theory of no one's going tobe around to say well, actually, if everyone else thinks that, thensurely is a chance for me to try, and that's what we do. Soit's e easy for me to sit here and say that, but Ipushed the team to put that extra activity in and also I say, well, what pressure? More pressure we talking about here, the pressure to goand earn money. I mean, there's that's what the job is here inthe first place. You've done it throughout the year. I'm telling you thatyou can do it at this time of year because we've proven it as abusiness that these are some of our best months. That watch. It happenedand I put a couple of incentives in place there as well. And Yeah, and I'm happy to say that most people realize very quickly that if theyput that activity in, the pressures soon go away. Absolutely my activity,what work. We tend to see with then to see prospects and by elsto be probably more inclined to have a conversation, I think. I thinkmust of our clients, and it's going to kind of the main next question, but the wrong the accuses of the only day. But first of ourclients tend to associate a Christmas player as a Dead Bay. And and Ithink if you look at it from a closing perspective, of course, ifyou don't have a deal already in the pay plane in octob ill, saidthumber, I even June, I even...

January from the previous from that year, depending on the lengths of your Sol say call you will have no chanceto find a new bottomunity and because it in December. However, I dobelieve in as you said, we see through the stats and through the Sixertwiving and Bost some of piling Christmas absolutely from testic paint on Gach. Sothat's kind of bitting. To my next question, which is, do youbelieve that people use the excuse of fully day to let kick start some projects? I'll delay some of them after the only day. And and then,most importantly, because I think your answer will be yes, most importantly,Oh, do you think that can be avoided? Yeah, exactly. SoI think it's amazing how many times that kind of comes up, and thebeauty of that excuse is a lot of it's based on some of that maybehasn't been here that long or is made ten calls that day or has triedit, you know, let's say, for the first week of July,and then all of a sudden they come back and give us that feedback.It's a myth. It's a myth that we dispel on a early basis almosttimes, basically, and you've got to ask yourself one question where, andI know you can. You can answer it from a sales perspective as well, in terms of new business, which is well, I'm working, you'rehere, we're talking about it. So first of all, you're in theoffice and all of a sudden, in what world do we live in whereall of the sea level people, all senior management, all decide to gooff 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 doit again. And I just repeat what I said before. It's that chance. Where are if people are assuming that, then brilliant. Long May it continue. I want them to keep thinking that, because the longer that theythink that, we will just keep cleaning up and we'll speak to all thepeople that are at their desks who probably have maybe a bit more time ontheir hands in this period because less people are bothering to contact them for thevery reasons that we've discussed. So it's a myth, easy one to dispelfrom my perspective, because the stats are there and the evidence is there.But, like I said, as long as it as long as the mythkeeps going, I'd be happy for people to keep assuming that, otherwise,you know, it might get a bit tougher for us to do our job. But again it goes to activity and it goes to this, the samekind of things we say. When some of our clients actually say, well, I'm not sure, it's a difficult period, I'll say, well,okay. Well, if you have much pipeline, have you got what youneed, what you need to close? If you don't want to start thingsin December because you think it's a dead month, we're then going to startit in January and then there's a ramp up period. Well, why don'twe start it now? We're going to get some results before genuary. Themoment generally, the second comes, we're going to be absolutely on fire beingable to be a step ahead rampart period. There is no negative, it's allpositive. Okay. So we've been focusing very much on the end ofher and if I had our probably even be more relaxed. And thatckening ofthe schedule that they've got more thim in your fear. So they wouldn't bemore reactive to I can be selling thatches. I can be his marketing to Chisssuch as you mail chorus for a short touches and all, let's havegreat so so appreciate that. We spoke about the best section of our clients, while like well, no, we constant something in December because it's underis dead, and you know, ultimately I think we discuss and I thinkit's fair to agree that they maybe one...

...week in December, which is basicallythe last week of December, where people are getting into the festive fired.But executives, people will really make decision. Even if they are ways, stillneed to keep that finger on the pulse and maybe more reachable during thattime that any years of time of the year. So you see that asan opportunity. Now let's turn towards the AL team and your people, becausethat's another element. You know, it's all good to have that, youcan have people being available, etc. Etc. But you kind of avery bad mindset in L T in what people are just wearing a Christmas jumper, wants to go to our parties, wants to have shortter days, theall that sort of great things that come with the festive spirit. So Iwant to ask you the question. If do you believe in motivation, becauseI've seen you in action. And I know, as you believe in motivation, and particularly for what we do, motivation is key. But how canyou, as a selles video, make sure that's your team is feeling motivatedthrough that festive fire, that that break up? We also spoke about thesummer. So let's not just focus on Christmas, but let's also focus onthe summer time where people are only day, etc. Etc. Because it's arumor, it's that Meth. But I'll do you. Make sure thatyou break that myth and get them to deliver, get them to be focusedon what they do. Well, there's a I mean there's a business.We've obviously got certain KPIS and things that we have to hit internally here anyway. So in terms of keeping because, because you're right, it can beagain, you can talk all you like and and get people to believe itif you like, but the proof, the proofs always in the pudding.But very simply, we've got upset of KP eyes as a certain amount ofactions that I expect people to do every day and we monitor that. WeMonitor it closely. So there isn't really ever going to be an avenue wherepeople can't put the activity in in terms of the motivation. Of course.Then that in turn goes to making sure that they're doing the basics correctly.So what we would do is will put a bit more emphasis, let's say, in those months, around making sure that the guys plan ahead make surethat they structure the day accordingly. So a lot of our focus when itcomes to the end of it each day, for instance, will be making surethat the moment they get into work the next day, they've got thenext fifteen people that they know that they can ring and they've got a chanceto booking it. So why is that important? Why does it help withmotivation? Well, if you come into the office and somebody's already got twoleads, five leads, seven leads and it's not even nine o'clock, thenthat motivates you to try and challenge each other and it also gives everybody theconfidence that the meetings are there, the leads are there, the engagements arethere and the people are there. So I think it's a bit of aCliche, but it's very true in how to motivate a team is success breathssuccess and if you see your colleagues doing it, just if you're in amine. If I'd like to think that if you're in my team or inour team, you're going to have that natural competitiveness that comes with being atevery good salesperson hand. So it goes back at you know, we wantto go back a little bit further. Very quickly. It would be aroundone. What do I see in the interviews? I want to see thatcompetitiveness on a see inquisitiveness, honestly, curiosity. I want to see energy. So if I've got those things as a as a yard stick from theteam, all you really need to do...

...is just put in a couple ofincentives. Leaving early, that's fine, that can happen, but I thinkmore along a long time at team incentives and getting the team together as oneand understanding the best practices. So what we'll do is we'll have a breakawaysession at the end of every day and we'll say right, okay, whatwork today for you? What were? We share best practices and then allof a sudden everybody feels that are part of a successful unit and a teamthat's willing to share, as you know, share knowledge and everybody's out to lookafter each other. You know, we're not in an a kind ofa jump over each other, wolf of all street scenario. When it comesto that kind of thing's a very supportive atmosphere. So I think if youcreate those things, really the motivation comes from within and people become self motivated. But you've got to put that environment there to make sure people feel thatthey're supported. Okay, well, that's very good and very comprehensive. Nowin some of the incentive you mentioned, if you you mentioned money, nameof Fush are fighting the back and everything. If you work the big one andjust for given advise to our audience, which one would you say is theone that drive teams the best to get treason sid of them in inthat myth Yud that is is a Christmas on the summer? That's a verygood question. So, without kind of ignoring that and not giving you ananswer fuck that, I'm going to pick a couple of options, if youdon't mind. So what I would say? It does come down to the virginalindividual. We know we're all human beings at the end of the day. And you know what member of my team might be a young man thatwants to go and watch a football game. So for me that's a very easything to do. Tickets depends where you go. Of course, ifyou're a Chelsea fan like me, you got to save up for three yearsto go to one game. But let's just say that. You know,I know for a fact that that that might be as motivation. I'll putan intensive in there to say, well, if you overachieve your target by twentypercent, obviously we're in sales here. I'm never going to say just hityour target, over achieve your target, then you can go to a Chelseagame. Whatever the next one and I'll or the next one will beright. Okay. It's a mother of three take a children to their talkand to house or something like other zoo. So you look at that and youlook at what different things incentivized people for number one. But I'm afraidwill it's a lot of the time it's money. It and it should bemoney. But we got a brilliant job right. We've got a job whereyou can talk to people, you can get people to do things that they'renecessarily didn't want to do when they woke up and it's step for their benefit. That and itself is a buzz and people actually pay you for that buzz. I mean that's what I say to the team to why don't you wantmore of it? Do More, and when they think of it that waygenerally, when they start to see their commission, they think, yeah,actually, this, this kind of speaks for itself. Time off is alwaysgoing to be a good one, because who wants to be at work atthe end of the day? You know, we got the weekends, we gotthe evenings. You know, what more do they want? But it'stobably on this toy understanding what makes that individual take and in time of yourfocus, you drive, you are so possible. Thanks for answering the questionand I agree with you and I think...

...you need to adapt the incentive tothe people you've gotten your team, because if you've got an incentive for ournext box, but you've got lots of people who don't play video games,I mean, I would you expect to motivate themselves that? That makes perfectsense and need to adapt to what they want in that personality. Now myother question still around the insanity, because I think it's important to produce intothis incentives in place and see people being successful this incentives. Where do youput your focusing time of incentive do you put your focus in some of theproductivity or the quality of the production? So I guess there is two thingsyou can do. You can you can just get a lot of volumes,you can get rids of factions, you can get people and say well,look, if you do, if you do hundred and fifty actions per day, calls, social emails, whatever, touches, which is probably twenty fivesorty possible and what we would expect the rest of the year, I'm goingto give you that much money. I would. I give you that.These are that are you actually looking at the results of the walk and say, well, look, is you can do as many touch as you want, but for me is really the quality that matters. Well, do you, or do you focus on both? Well, yeah, again, yeah, it's pretty much, I'd say, one of the biggest parts of myjob and to use a sporting analogy which I hope sums it up, itwould be troubles for show, doubles for dough and what I mean by thatis you can in Dart, you can hit the travel twenty as much asyou can get down to a finish, but if you can't finish on adouble, all of that stuff that goes before is a meaningless so what doI mean by that? As an analogy, so you can book thousands of meetings, you can do hundreds of calls, but if those are meetings don't happenand they're not of the requisite quality that I expect and our clients expect, it is meaningless. It's a waste of time, it's a waste ofenergy and that's not how we built our business. So absolutely, we've gotsome monestor activity because that's our that's our yard stick, and then we canexactly like you said. They're a you can start looking at where you cantweak and help and that and make people more productive. But people buy frompeople. We build our relationships and sales is built on trust. That's why, when you go for high level jobs, people want to know what your contactsare and what your networks like, otherwise they wouldn't bother and it's thesame with us. We need you need to understand that quality is what keepsour clients and will always keep our clots. Of course we've got on SLA weexpect to hit. We're going to lose money if we don't hit thatSLA in a lot of cases, so that goes without saying. But youmust always endeavor to do the best job that you can and for me thatmeans that your meetings, if, should you put them, are attended,are exactly as you said that to the client that they would be, andthere off with the sole intention of getting our wide and essentially close net newbusiness for our clients. So for me that will always be the yard stickor to which I look to the team. Okay, but that that sounds very, very fair. In so we spoke about the stressful times and wehad a bit of a focus in the...

...conversation because it's worst seasonal I guess, and we're also looking at it from from the attic of European business,because you add of a European operations. When do you think are the moststressful time over the cross of the year? And I think you know it couldbe stressful time for us, it could be stressful time for our clientsbecause at the end of the day we walk with sales people. So I'mexpecting them to be, on the other started amount of stress Agen of thequarter. I'm expecting them to be under a certain amount of stress at theend of the year, but if you were to just if we were todefocus from Christmas and look at the whole year, so if we took twothousand and nineteen, for example, can you pinpoint for us an audience,when the stressful moments are likely to open? Because I guess at the end ofthe days it's about planning. Probably amounts two months in advance of thestressful moment to make sure, as you don't have a dumb terms, it'scommunicating with your team and not waiting the fifteen of decembers. Tell them all, look, Christmas is coming. Do anything about it. So you knowthat twelve our listen, not planning. Could you, could you pin pointwhen the stressful moment are from your perspective, and all will be into thousand andnineteen? Yes, and I'll give you two different response based on areperspective and and I suppose in terms of a team and mere perspective for myside. So for my side it would always be they shouldn't be a timewhen it should be particularly stressful, very simply. But and the only timeit will do would be if I'm not planning ahead accordingly. They'll always bedips. That always been changes let's say in terms of our clients needs andexpectations. That's just life. But I think if, as long as you'remaking sure that you've got a solid structure, you plan, you know, likemy resourcing is done a month in advance. Things can change and sometimesI change in my resourcing five times in a day. That's what I'm paidto do. But you've got to keep a levelhead and you can't let anythingdeviate you from from your end goal, which is making sure that you youplan accordingly. So I would say as long as you're doing that, youshould be able to mitigate against any stress that may count come your way.I don't look at it in a seasonal point of view. I look atit from a, you know, a language point of view, that itmay be that there's a requirement urgently and I'll be honest and I'll say,look, if we can't do it, we can do it, and Ithink that that plays a big part in it. From a reprospective and againI can use my own experience. My second month was not as good asmy first month and I think the biggest challenge that the reps have in termsof when they find stress is when they're not performing maybe to their colleague standardor to their own personal standard, and it's very, very easy to getto motivated and to not pick up that phone like you would have done before. And that's really where people need to feel that they've got a supportive environmentaround them, and that's where myself and the team will revisit things ago.Right, let's get back to basics a little bit here. Let's look athow you're structuring the way that you work and really you take their mind offthe stress and you give them activities to do, you give them a processto follow and by that time they've forgotten about the stress because they're embedded inother actions. And that requires a lot...

...of maintenance on a daily basis because, again, you're dealing with human beings that are going to be up anddown, just like you know any business that relies on a client set,there's going to be things out of your control. As long as you've gotenough in the pipeline, and that means that you business, that means pipelinefor our clients and that means net you reps coming in. As long asyou're on top of that, then you should be at a position where anystressful events to come, you'll be able to already have a plan in placeto mitigate against them. Okay, so there is no stressful thing. It'sall about being prepared. I like that. Well, it's like that's the duckanalogy. Isn't all this one analogy? You know, underneath the water thelegs are flapping away, but there's a calm exterior above the water.Like always say to you, rail I'd love black hair when I joined andnow I've got I've got hard any hair and it's all white. So I'lllet you get the charge of whether it's stressful. Well, main judgment isit's just to look fromtistic so that we all good. So thanks for allof the legs, I think. I think it was justseful and I'm chargingis taking a look from your advice and your way of doing things. Basically. Now, if anyone wants to connect with you, you know doctor longa little bit more about trading sells team and planning for dreading sells team andare around the boratics. What weld be the best way to connect with you? Well, I probably say linked tin's a good way. I'm quite activeon Linkedin. Always free to connect with anybody that wants on a sample,and I'm also also very interested in other people's ideas when it comes to theirthoughts and experiences, but it comes to either running a team or advice.Because, yeah, I mean we talked about the challenges that come across asand I think anybody that works in operations will always know that you've got tojuggle all the things at the same time. It is a fine art, butit's one where I would never change it, because every day is differentand not a lot of jobs. Can say that I'm contactable by the websiteas well and all of my contact details or linked in. Should anybody wantsto engage with me further, be happy to talk. Okay, excellent,what many things again, Alex. it was great to have younger ship today. Thanks right, operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companiesworldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse hasexisted for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agilityand scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. SeeHow operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listeningto BEDB revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribeto the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time.

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