The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 months ago

Building an International Network


It’s all about relationships.  

It’s true in life, and it’s true in business. People would rather buy from someone they feel they have a solid relationship with, even if it means possibly paying a bit more. You cannot discount the importance of relationships.  

Which is why it’s more important than ever before to not only establish your own personal brand, but to really focus your time and attention on making sure that your network is solid. That your network is filled with people that you care about and have relationships with.  

On this episode of The Sales Engagement podcast, we talk with Rinse Jacobs . Rinse is the Head of International Sales and VP of Digital Banking at SolarisBankAG. He was kind enough to come on the show and talk all about:  

- Why going the extra mile for relationships will always pay off in the end

- The importance of establishing your own personal brand

- How to build an international network

- Overcoming the cultural differences between your company and your international customers 

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts , on Spotify , or on our website

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Sales Engagement

in your favorite podcast player.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well doesoutreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time aftervirtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runsaccount based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagementplatform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base.When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach dooh on outreach to see what they have going on.Now let's get into today's episode. All right, thank you all for joiningthe sales engagement podcast today. For those of you who are joining for thefirst time, I am Caitlin Kelly, senior manager of sales development at outreachfor the Amia region, also quote co founder of STRs anonymous, and todaywe were, we will be talking about building an international network and we willbe joined by Rinse Jacobs, who is head of international sales at Solaris Bank. Rins, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself andyour career up until today. Yes, of course, thanks for having me. Happy to to give a bit of a background story of what I've beengoing through with regards to the sales experiences. So when was the first time Ireally got involved in sales? I would say it was probably during universitytimes when obviously every student needs a bit of money. So one of thethings that I realized was D television, you know, the ones with theclasses that that were, back in the day, quite quite popular. Iapplied for that and started to sell Sony, Bravia D S D televisions. Sothat was the very first thing.

I did realize very quickly that thiswas not really really my thing. So I looked at something else within thesales sales world, and this was the company called Pepper Mind, where youdo a lot of street sales, so you're basically the whole day on thestreets selling newspaper subscription, selling donations and so on, and this is whereyou learn a lot about how to interact with people, getting out of thatcomfort zone, to approach complete strangers right especially still being somewhat jump fresh outof out of high school. This is where you in that uncomfortable, whereyou learn the most, basically, so that's where I started. Finished mydegree. Then said, okay, it's time for me to look into theAsian market. was at HTC for a long time, the the smart oneand now mostly virtual reality business, who I did a lot around let's callit marketing partnership. So how can we set up more relationships with non technologyplayers to embed our phones in there? Basically, or so you learn alot more about how do you deal with those BTB sales, how they dobuild deal with with the relationships, which then led me to move back tothe European market at some point, where I basically ended up at all owersbank, which was by then a very, very young start up, roughly twentypeople. There was one commercial person in there and then from there onout it basically said let's just do what we need to do and then we'llsee how the company basically grows. So you do everything from sales to businessdevelopment to integrations to key account management and write with the more funds coming into, more the more revenues coming in, the more people you can hire andthrough that building up your own commercial organization. It's been very blessed to to havebeen part of that and still on part of that. So that's that'sbasically how I how I got at Allers Bank. All right, so nobrainer that you are heading up international sales. Then with all that experience, especiallycoming from a pack and then back to the Emma market, couple ofthe things that you touch space, there...

...was a kind of really around relationshipbuilding, and so what I'd love to understand a for us to take alittle bit of a deeper dive into, is two different areas here. Onebuilding that relationships internally, so kind of around building your brand as you werekind of advancing within your career, and then from their kind of moving onto how are you lever doing these reallyationships to build a network around you inan international essence? So if you want to kind of help us understand,how did you build your brand internally within these companies as your kind of buildingyour career? Yeah, I think at the end of the day, right, if you always need to interact with all those other departments within the organization, and in some organizations it is more the technical people that you need towork with and other organizations it's more maybe a compliance or legal legal team thatyou need to work with, and that's the same insolars bank, so salours bank, being a full bank out of Germany. There is, ofcourse, a lot of heavy regulation that comes with that and that means thatwe cannot just go out and, as a white label bank, or bankingas a service as we would call it, can I just go out and sellrandom solutions. But you always need to have this check back with therest of the organization. So you need to build that rapport to make surethat they are also willing to go that extra mile or two delivered that lastpiece of information, even if it's late or even if it's very early.Right you need to you need to create that willingness to to to support you. Basically, there's many different ways how you can do this, but Ivery much believe in in having that personal relationship and really have a genuine interestin what is the point of view they are coming from, what is itthat that compliance is looking for or illegal or at a technical team, andtry to understand and anticipated their responses already, so that it's much easier for themto, on the one end, give a response, but also tosee, hey, this guy is not just here to get a quick end, but he actually is trying to better understand it and and therefore creates someempathy to give you those answers. So...

...this is where you of course,you cannot go to every single person in all of these teams. So whatwe have done is basically built those personal relationships and basically champions of those departmentsthat you can go to write and you can rely upon that you often have, maybe even more of a friendship with those people just because you have workedon so many different deals over the last year's already. All right, andhas it. I love the idea of building champions within each or. Thatway you guys kind of have a seamless communication throughout. kind of keeps everybodyon the same page when we think about building a network. How have yourreally leverage your I mean correctly remark, but you're overseeing the DOC, Germanapt European markets. Okay, so I'm indeed head of international sales for nowwithin Sol howers pend it means the European market. So initially we were justin the German market and now we doing that across the European market. Itis as a lot to do with the license requirements again coming back to theregulation topic. So, having had experience in a pack, you can see, of course, that the people they're do things slightly differently than you wouldsee in Europe or you would see in North America. But the end ofthe day, what you will see when it comes to those cultural differences,if you will, that you cannot just stereotype those people right way. It'snot just like, oh, he's some made back, therefore this playbook willwork or that playbook will work. So I always prefer much more to lookat the personality and then you can start to draw a parallels between I havedealt with similar type of people before. I feel this is the best playbookfor for this situation. So that is a big part and at the endof the day it all comes down to to to being yourself and understand whatflow best for you. If you try to be something else or if youjust try to follow a playbook, people will see through that and at somepoint right you come across as as fake and therefore the willingness to buy goesdown quite significantly. A good example here...

...on towards the partners or clients,is we had a situation where we were pitching to an upcoming company here inGermany. They were in the race with many other providers already. We came, we came into the RP process quite late, but nonetheless we were ableto catch up with them and at one of the last meetings we stole themlook, guys, why don't we just go place on some football, some, some some table tennis and some and drink a beer on the balcony,but just to get that extra, extra piece of relationship in and afterwards wewant that our pe. And they said, look, even though we had amuch longer due diligence process with the other companies, we felt that culturallyand that the whole five or salaries bank was much more fitting to our organizationand that made them close to deal. So there you can see that aligningyourself with how they want to be treated or how they want to work orwhat providers they want to do with definitely makes an impact, and it's notalways just about the prices or the features that you have. It can bemuch more basis as well. So I know, like, especially when you'regoing into different regions, that culture nuances can be something super important and alot of people have the same concern and, like you had said, it isyou have to be authentic self and there's not one perfect play books.As you kind of oversee your sales team, what do is they couple of waysthat you've kind of helped them navigate that conversation, so they are beingcautious of those cultural nuances and they are able to still show up how theywant to. Yeah, so, on the one hand we prefer to havelocal teams. Obviously, people from the French market oftentimes come from from eitherFrench speaking countries or from from from France and they're you, on the onehand, see that they often will already have a network, because there's areason why we brought them to salarge bank, of course, but on the otherhand you need to trust them enough... let them run their own showa little bit as well. You cannot try to let them beat themselves andmicromanage or tell them this is the best way to deal with a big bangor this is the best way to deal with the Big Tech Company. Youhave to let them fill as well and you have to give them those points. You have to do those post mortems to understand. Hey, from myexperience, this is what has worked best. Maybe try that next time. Soyou need to give them that authority and the ability to play around alittle bit and to find their own weight and which buttons should they push itwhich point in time. And on the other hand, we do have weeklycatch up where we just have if it wouldn't be for for the remote working, we would share a beer and just go over the stories of the weekand just understand how have you address this problem or how have I address thisproblem, and through that right you just share the the experiences. So thisis, I think, the most important part, giving them enough exposure tovarious personalities or types of companies so that they can do this for themselves,because there's no way that I could say, as a Dutch person working in Germany, I could not tell a Spanish person how to do sales as painthat that doesn't make sense. I can tell you how generally you should dothe sales, but I cannot give you those cultural nuances that you need todeal with with a Spanish buyer, for example. Yeah, no, forsure there. And so we talked a lot about kind of how to navigatethat, the sale with the prospect and so one of the things we hadchatted about previously was being the voice the customers throughout that entire our journey.And how does your team really ensure that they are the voice that that hasmared the entire way through from prospect to customer? Yeah, so I thinkthe being the voice of the customer is is one of the key jobs thatseals has to do, especially dealing in be tob sales, situations where youneed to link back to the rest of the organization because you know the willbe challenges coming up from other departments because...

...of whatever issued or whatever whatever pointthey may raise, and the partner obviously cannot, is not there to defendhimself. So you need to be that spokesperson for that organization and the onlyway that you can, of course, do that is if you thoroughly understandwhat the partner is trying to achieve, what he's looking for, what thelong term and short term views and goals are for them, so that youbasically transform yourself into being that partner yourself and through that, on the oneend, you can challenge the partner better to help him understand what his ownevolution should look like, but also the way, you can counter argument therest of the organization who might not see the same opportunity as as you do. So on the one end this is this is a big part, buton the other hand it's also giving the part and the feeling that you arethere for him when he's not around, right that you are not just tryingto make a quick win but rather really look to build this business effectively togetherwith them. And this is how also long term trust is created. Andwhat still happens is they would rather call us from the sale side then,on some cases, the respective person, just because they know there is distrustor if they need to escalate, they know there is this trust with us, and then we will give them a truthful answer, and not to saythat others wouldn't, but it's just at this relationship is a bit more developed. Of course that goes a long way, also when it comes to cross selling. Yeah, so kind of to recap here, we talked a littlebit about kind of a building that brand internally and then also as your kindof navigating your international sales teaming. So a couple of things like you know, really show up as your authentic self. You have to build your trust andget to know the culture and nuances that are there you can't just havea one fits all approach if we were to kind of like I know they'regoing to kind of flip the switch a little bit on us here, andI know breaking into markets is huge right now and kind of going into thesedifferent regions is top of mine for a lot of people. So as ahead of international sales, I can imagine...'re having to not only manage thedifferent regions, but that means you're also managing people in these regions. Whatare some ways that you've been able, especially post pandemic? What are someways that you've been able to manage the workflow in the difference like time zones, especially, to navigate this? Yeah, so when it comes to going intonew markets, which has been a key topic for us this year aswe've been setting up various branches, on the one hand, and this iswhat I always tell the new guys, in the first two or three months, especially because our coup our product, is rather complex, I tell themfocus on getting to know the organization, focus on getting to know the products. How is the pitch happening? I don't care in the first months aboutyour successor order, your ability to close, because I know from your previous successesthat you should be able to close and therefore I care more about havinga proper training so that you can then enter all the various questions of theof the partners that are coming in and again building that, building that trust. But when it comes to managing the different time zones and managing the differentthe sculum strategies to enter different markets, this is where we have, ofcourse, a general framework that that overall fits. But let the other guys, let the local commercial country heads or two general managers, let them takethe lead on this and there you just guide them, you steer them andfrom a from a head off position, what is the Keyboll is to findthe synergies to really make sure, okay, is everybody trying to sell the sameproduct? Is everybody trying to do something completely different? How can youfind the easiest way to come to a quick win, whether that is productdevelopment or specific features or getting a first partner and then breaking into a newmarket and maybe even selecting how do you select the market to go into?So I think that's twofold. On the one hand, you go and lookinto your existing customer base, right who is willing to expand with us.So you already have a somewhat secured revenue...

...for going into this market. Yeah, it's not a complete risk. And on the other hand, there is, of course the research from from Bistad right to understand. Okay, howmuch, how many NTAX are there? How many again, how many banksare there? And Swans? So you see that there's a broader market thatcan be explored if you have the right marketing techniques as well. And thenit comes down to the trends and speaking with the markets, speaking with association, speaking with all the different players out there who might not be direct prospects, but they will give you those valuable insights and over time they might popinto your head again, so you can easily reach out for a channel salesapproach, for example. Got It all right, that makes tonal sense.They're would you say, you know there's a lot of like networking within wouldyou? Do you have your teens in different regions kind of cross pawny?What their strategies in community with each other as and or do? Is itpretty silent within their regions? No, it is, it is. Indeed, there's a lot of overlap in in what is happening. So oftentimes apartner might want to start in the Spanish market, but we know and wealready want to make sure they understand that this is just the beginning. Rightthe next market is front or Italy or Xyz. So this is where thatcross pollination comes in, and it doesn't really either at the end of theday, who is driving it, because you know on the long term theother markets will be served as well. And this is where it's also importantto to understand that the relationship with the partner is more important for me thanthe person sitting in the market, meaning if you have a French sales managerwho has a very strong personal relationship to somebody in Spanish market, it doesn'tmake sense to let him hand it over to the Spanish guy just because it'sin his market. I would rather say the French guy leads that conversation,but he brings into Spanish guy as a specialist to really make sure that themarket trend that all the again, cultural nuances are being tackled as well.And then, at the end of the..., how do you reconcile thaton the PNL? This is where, right now we have said, let'snot worry too much about this let's focus much more on getting the customers inand make sure that the revenue in generals coming in. Let's let's sort outhow we figured it out on the premarket basis later, but let's make surethat we conserve that customer all right, fantastic, awesome. So we talkeda little bit about, you know, billy, that building your brain internally, leveraging the network around you, especially as you are breaking into new markets. Based over your experience coming from selling three dtvs to now and Bankieth,what would you say if you had to recommend one book that had the biggestimpact on your professional development? What would that book be? I would say, I think I'M gonna go with how to win friends and influence people.Of course, it's the classic right from from from the AKANDIC. I don'tknow how often you get this answer. I hope not too often, butit's always unique to see. Either people will give you ones that are likeoff of like gut intuition and like kind of like sales, or they'll belike leadership psychology type one. So yeah, yeah, exactly. So there's alot of thing that you can learn, especially about being genuinely interested or howdo you really create that want in a customer or in a partner andbuilding that that conversation up to something more than just to sale, but actuallyunderstanding the broader picture of them. This is, at the end of theday, what for me, really make a click to understand. Add thisis how you truly unlock that that relationship. You have hundreds of other books thatalso make a lot of sense, but at the end of the day, following a framework so rigidly as some books would suggest. It might workfor some form of sales, right in Inteli sales or on street sales,it makes sense to follow a certain protocol. When it comes to the highly complexdeals, you need to trust your...

...knowledge and your ability to work withpeople, and this is, for me, one of the books that helps youto do this without being overbearing with you should do not this, butyou should do that. Right. It's much more about principles and then seehow you apply to yourself. Yeah, no, I love that. Oneof my first sales books that I got I was like an eighth grade.It is to sell as human from by Daniel Bank. But yeah, sokind of like piggyback on that you have. It's a human interaction. We're allpeople at the end of the day. So okay, it's glad. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this. Rans if peoplewanted to reach out to you and connect as they're breaking into new markets orin the VINTECH space, where is the best place for them to reach you? At? The best place would always be, as every sales birds andprobably would say linkedin. There Rings Jacobs is the easiest way to reach me. Just drop me a PM and happy to be in touch. All right. Well, thank you so much and thank you everyone for who's listening today, and reach out to rints on Linkedin if you have any other questions orwould like to connect and follow up. Sorry, thanks for having me.This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get infront of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book onsales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sureto check out outreach. That ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. Seeyou on the next episode.

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