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 and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be 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 the beginning of the podcast that I know the best somewhere, that I'm actually working with 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 else and also some of our guests, suggestion about sharing some of the best practices and 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 podcast and 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 more about yourself and your journey was in operatics. Yeah, sure, so I've got an interesting journey and I think a bit of an advocate here in terms of what we like to do, which is, and I think I speak for nearly everybody in the senior management position, which is our ethos. And I started at the bottom, and by that I mean I was employed as a business development executive. I had a couple of clients and I was on the phone's. I had to earn my money by delivery meetings, just like every new rape to which I found. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge and I enjoyed being able to book, you know, quality meetings for our clients. 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've grown as a business. I've learned a lot around business and how to run a small business unit and as our reputation is spread and our good workers come to the for now, after around a year and a half of managing a smaller subset of the team, I was promoted to the vice president of a mere operations. Now we've got around seventy people in Europe reporting directly in to me and a lot of clients and a fantastic journey so far over the last two 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 appointment setter, which this kind of the lowest can of frank you can get with you operatics, to now managing the team and basically being number one in Europe from an operation prospective is is definitely impressive. So congratulation to you. So what we want you to talk about? We are meet December at the time well of recording this podcast, and we all know that the Christmas and only days player is often ectic and very stressful as people are on the pressure to meet 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 Funny Day, paying some presents for their familian...

...or as at great stuff. It's a little bit of an interesting player of the year. But what would be your 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 UN needy Paiot. Yeah, and again we get the same kind of thing in summer, really, and to that I say well, ironically, actually, the December in the summer months to some of our best months as a business, and there's a very simple reason for that. Is it is exactly what you just said. They're right, and that is people think that everyone's got that holiday feeling and everybody no one's going to be there and everybody shuts down. But actually that's some of the best times to call because because everyone else thinks that, they don't bother to make that extra effort, they don't bother 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 this with complete sincerities one of our guys, but to meetings after thirty of the UK 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 use that as a negative, I've got very simple philosophy when it comes to motivating and getting people to maybe revisit their initial thought structure when it comes to our this is going to be hard. I'm not no, no, no, older that is just already built. It excuse. You've got nice and and they're ready for people. Or if you get question on activity, there's no excuse for not put the same activity and if anything, you should be looking 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 being sales. But in our particular environment, you've got to look at every single roadblock 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 to be around to say well, actually, if everyone else thinks that, then surely is a chance for me to try, and that's what we do. So it's e easy for me to sit here and say that, but I pushed the team to put that extra activity in and also I say, well, what pressure? More pressure we talking about here, the pressure to go and earn money. I mean, there's that's what the job is here in the first place. You've done it throughout the year. I'm telling you that you can do it at this time of year because we've proven it as a business that these are some of our best months. That watch. It happened and 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 they put that activity in, the pressures soon go away. Absolutely my activity, what work. We tend to see with then to see prospects and by els to be probably more inclined to have a conversation, I think. I think must 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 our clients tend to associate a Christmas player as a Dead Bay. And and I think if you look at it from a closing perspective, of course, if you don't have a deal already in the pay plane in octob ill, said thumber, 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 chance to find a new bottomunity and because it in December. However, I do believe in as you said, we see through the stats and through the Sixer twiving and Bost some of piling Christmas absolutely from testic paint on Gach. So that's kind of bitting. To my next question, which is, do you believe 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. So I think it's amazing how many times that kind of comes up, and the beauty of that excuse is a lot of it's based on some of that maybe hasn't been here that long or is made ten calls that day or has tried it, 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 almost times, basically, and you've got to ask yourself one question where, and I 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'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 we live in where all of the sea level people, all senior management, all decide to go off on a holiday for two months? Of course it doesn't happen. I mean, 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 are if people are assuming that, then brilliant. Long May it continue. I want them to keep thinking that, because the longer that they think that, we will just keep cleaning up and we'll speak to all the people that are at their desks who probably have maybe a bit more time on their hands in this period because less people are bothering to contact them for the very reasons that we've discussed. So it's a myth, easy one to dispel from my perspective, because the stats are there and the evidence is there. But, like I said, as long as it as long as the myth keeps 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 same kind 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 you need, what you need to close? If you don't want to start things in December because you think it's a dead month, we're then going to start it in January and then there's a ramp up period. Well, why don't we start it now? We're going to get some results before genuary. The moment generally, the second comes, we're going to be absolutely on fire being able to be a step ahead rampart period. There is no negative, it's all positive. Okay. So we've been focusing very much on the end of her and if I had our probably even be more relaxed. And thatckening of the schedule that they've got more thim in your fear. So they wouldn't be more reactive to I can be selling thatches. I can be his marketing to Chiss such as you mail chorus for a short touches and all, let's have great 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 under is dead, and you know, ultimately I think we discuss and I think it's fair to agree that they maybe one...

...week in December, which is basically the last week of December, where people are getting into the festive fired. But executives, people will really make decision. Even if they are ways, still need to keep that finger on the pulse and maybe more reachable during that time that any years of time of the year. So you see that as an opportunity. Now let's turn towards the AL team and your people, because that's another element. You know, it's all good to have that, you can have people being available, etc. Etc. But you kind of a very 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, the all that sort of great things that come with the festive spirit. So I want to ask you the question. If do you believe in motivation, because I've seen you in action. And I know, as you believe in motivation, and particularly for what we do, motivation is key. But how can you, as a selles video, make sure that's your team is feeling motivated through that festive fire, that that break up? We also spoke about the summer. So let's not just focus on Christmas, but let's also focus on the summer time where people are only day, etc. Etc. Because it's a rumor, it's that Meth. But I'll do you. Make sure that you break that myth and get them to deliver, get them to be focused on 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 be again, you can talk all you like and and get people to believe it if 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 of actions that I expect people to do every day and we monitor that. We Monitor it closely. So there isn't really ever going to be an avenue where people 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 sure that they structure the day accordingly. So a lot of our focus when it comes to the end of it each day, for instance, will be making sure that the moment they get into work the next day, they've got the next fifteen people that they know that they can ring and they've got a chance to booking it. So why is that important? Why does it help with motivation? Well, if you come into the office and somebody's already got two leads, five leads, seven leads and it's not even nine o'clock, then that motivates you to try and challenge each other and it also gives everybody the confidence that the meetings are there, the leads are there, the engagements are there and the people are there. So I think it's a bit of a Cliche, but it's very true in how to motivate a team is success breaths success and if you see your colleagues doing it, just if you're in a mine. If I'd like to think that if you're in my team or in our team, you're going to have that natural competitiveness that comes with being at every good salesperson hand. So it goes back at you know, we want to go back a little bit further. Very quickly. It would be around one. What do I see in the interviews? I want to see that competitiveness 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 the team, all you really need to do...

...is just put in a couple of incentives. Leaving early, that's fine, that can happen, but I think more along a long time at team incentives and getting the team together as one and understanding the best practices. So what we'll do is we'll have a breakaway session at the end of every day and we'll say right, okay, what work today for you? What were? We share best practices and then all of a sudden everybody feels that are part of a successful unit and a team that's willing to share, as you know, share knowledge and everybody's out to look after each other. You know, we're not in an a kind of a jump over each other, wolf of all street scenario. When it comes to that kind of thing's a very supportive atmosphere. So I think if you create 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 that they're supported. Okay, well, that's very good and very comprehensive. Now in some of the incentive you mentioned, if you you mentioned money, name of Fush are fighting the back and everything. If you work the big one and just for given advise to our audience, which one would you say is the one that drive teams the best to get treason sid of them in in that myth Yud that is is a Christmas on the summer? That's a very good question. So, without kind of ignoring that and not giving you an answer fuck that, I'm going to pick a couple of options, if you don't mind. So what I would say? It does come down to the virginal individual. 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 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, if you're a Chelsea fan like me, you got to save up for three years to 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 put an intensive in there to say, well, if you overachieve your target by twenty percent, obviously we're in sales here. I'm never going to say just hit your target, over achieve your target, then you can go to a Chelsea game. Whatever the next one and I'll or the next one will be right. Okay. It's a mother of three take a children to their talk and to house or something like other zoo. So you look at that and you look at what different things incentivized people for number one. But I'm afraid will it's a lot of the time it's money. It and it should be money. But we got a brilliant job right. We've got a job where you can talk to people, you can get people to do things that they're necessarily 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 want more of it? Do More, and when they think of it that way generally, when they start to see their commission, they think, yeah, actually, this, this kind of speaks for itself. Time off is always going to be a good one, because who wants to be at work at the end of the day? You know, we got the weekends, we got the evenings. You know, what more do they want? But it's tobably on this toy understanding what makes that individual take and in time of your focus, you drive, you are so possible. Thanks for answering the question and I agree with you and I think...

...you need to adapt the incentive to the people you've gotten your team, because if you've got an incentive for our next 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 perfect sense and need to adapt to what they want in that personality. Now my other question still around the insanity, because I think it's important to produce into this incentives in place and see people being successful this incentives. Where do you put your focusing time of incentive do you put your focus in some of the productivity or the quality of the production? So I guess there is two things you 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 five sorty possible and what we would expect the rest of the year, I'm going to 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 my job and to use a sporting analogy which I hope sums it up, it would be troubles for show, doubles for dough and what I mean by that is you can in Dart, you can hit the travel twenty as much as you can get down to a finish, but if you can't finish on a double, all of that stuff that goes before is a meaningless so what do I 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 happen and 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 of energy and that's not how we built our business. So absolutely, we've got some monestor activity because that's our that's our yard stick, and then we can exactly like you said. They're a you can start looking at where you can tweak and help and that and make people more productive. But people buy from people. 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 contacts are and what your networks like, otherwise they wouldn't bother and it's the same with us. We need you need to understand that quality is what keeps our clients and will always keep our clots. Of course we've got on SLA we expect to hit. We're going to lose money if we don't hit that SLA in a lot of cases, so that goes without saying. But you must always endeavor to do the best job that you can and for me that means that your meetings, if, should you put them, are attended, are exactly as you said that to the client that they would be, and there off with the sole intention of getting our wide and essentially close net new business for our clients. So for me that will always be the yard stick or to which I look to the team. Okay, but that that sounds very, very fair. In so we spoke about the stressful times and we had 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 most stressful time over the cross of the year? And I think you know it could be stressful time for us, it could be stressful time for our clients because at the end of the day we walk with sales people. So I'm expecting them to be, on the other started amount of stress Agen of the quarter. I'm expecting them to be under a certain amount of stress at the end of the year, but if you were to just if we were to defocus from Christmas and look at the whole year, so if we took two thousand 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 of the days it's about planning. Probably amounts two months in advance of the stressful moment to make sure, as you don't have a dumb terms, it's communicating with your team and not waiting the fifteen of decembers. Tell them all, look, Christmas is coming. Do anything about it. So you know that twelve our listen, not planning. Could you, could you pin point when the stressful moment are from your perspective, and all will be into thousand and nineteen? Yes, and I'll give you two different response based on a reperspective and and I suppose in terms of a team and mere perspective for my side. So for my side it would always be they shouldn't be a time when it should be particularly stressful, very simply. But and the only time it will do would be if I'm not planning ahead accordingly. They'll always be dips. That always been changes let's say in terms of our clients needs and expectations. That's just life. But I think if, as long as you're making sure that you've got a solid structure, you plan, you know, like my resourcing is done a month in advance. Things can change and sometimes I change in my resourcing five times in a day. That's what I'm paid to do. But you've got to keep a levelhead and you can't let anything deviate you from from your end goal, which is making sure that you you plan accordingly. So I would say as long as you're doing that, you should 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 at it from a, you know, a language point of view, that it may 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 I think that that plays a big part in it. From a reprospective and again I can use my own experience. My second month was not as good as my first month and I think the biggest challenge that the reps have in terms of when they find stress is when they're not performing maybe to their colleague standard or to their own personal standard, and it's very, very easy to get to 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 environment around 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 at how you're structuring the way that you work and really you take their mind off the stress and you give them activities to do, you give them a process to follow and by that time they've forgotten about the stress because they're embedded in other 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 and down, 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 got enough in the pipeline, and that means that you business, that means pipeline for our clients and that means net you reps coming in. As long as you're on top of that, then you should be at a position where any stressful events to come, you'll be able to already have a plan in place to mitigate against them. Okay, so there is no stressful thing. It's all about being prepared. I like that. Well, it's like that's the duck analogy. Isn't all this one analogy? You know, underneath the water the legs 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 and now I've got I've got hard any hair and it's all white. So I'll let you get the charge of whether it's stressful. Well, main judgment is it's just to look fromtistic so that we all good. So thanks for all of the legs, I think. I think it was justseful and I'm charging is taking a look from your advice and your way of doing things. Basically. Now, if anyone wants to connect with you, you know doctor long a little bit more about trading sells team and planning for dreading sells team and are 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 active on 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 their thoughts and experiences, but it comes to either running a team or advice. Because, yeah, I mean we talked about the challenges that come across as and I think anybody that works in operations will always know that you've got to juggle all the things at the same time. It is a fine art, but it's one where I would never change it, because every day is different and not a lot of jobs. Can say that I'm contactable by the website as well and all of my contact details or linked in. Should anybody wants to 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 companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to BEDB revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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