The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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

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Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. 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 joining the sales engagement podcast today. For those of you who are joining for the first time, I am Caitlin Kelly, senior manager of sales development at outreach for the Amia region, also quote co founder of STRs anonymous, and today we were, we will be talking about building an international network and we will be 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 and your 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 been going through with regards to the sales experiences. So when was the first time I really got involved in sales? I would say it was probably during university times when obviously every student needs a bit of money. So one of the things that I realized was D television, you know, the ones with the classes that that were, back in the day, quite quite popular. I applied for that and started to sell Sony, Bravia D S D televisions. So that was the very first thing.

I did realize very quickly that this was not really really my thing. So I looked at something else within the sales sales world, and this was the company called Pepper Mind, where you do a lot of street sales, so you're basically the whole day on the streets selling newspaper subscription, selling donations and so on, and this is where you learn a lot about how to interact with people, getting out of that comfort zone, to approach complete strangers right especially still being somewhat jump fresh out of out of high school. This is where you in that uncomfortable, where you learn the most, basically, so that's where I started. Finished my degree. Then said, okay, it's time for me to look into the Asian market. was at HTC for a long time, the the smart one and now mostly virtual reality business, who I did a lot around let's call it marketing partnership. So how can we set up more relationships with non technology players to embed our phones in there? Basically, or so you learn a lot more about how do you deal with those BTB sales, how they do build deal with with the relationships, which then led me to move back to the European market at some point, where I basically ended up at all owers bank, which was by then a very, very young start up, roughly twenty people. There was one commercial person in there and then from there on out it basically said let's just do what we need to do and then we'll see how the company basically grows. So you do everything from sales to business development 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 and through that building up your own commercial organization. It's been very blessed to to have been part of that and still on part of that. So that's that's basically how I how I got at Allers Bank. All right, so no brainer that you are heading up international sales. Then with all that experience, especially coming from a pack and then back to the Emma market, couple of the things that you touch space, there...

...was a kind of really around relationship building, and so what I'd love to understand a for us to take a little bit of a deeper dive into, is two different areas here. One building that relationships internally, so kind of around building your brand as you were kind of advancing within your career, and then from their kind of moving on to how are you lever doing these reallyationships to build a network around you in an 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 building your 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 to work with and other organizations it's more maybe a compliance or legal legal team that you need to work with, and that's the same insolars bank, so sal ours bank, being a full bank out of Germany. There is, of course, a lot of heavy regulation that comes with that and that means that we cannot just go out and, as a white label bank, or banking as a service as we would call it, can I just go out and sell random solutions. But you always need to have this check back with the rest of the organization. So you need to build that rapport to make sure that they are also willing to go that extra mile or two delivered that last piece 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 I very much believe in in having that personal relationship and really have a genuine interest in what is the point of view they are coming from, what is it that that compliance is looking for or illegal or at a technical team, and try to understand and anticipated their responses already, so that it's much easier for them to, on the one end, give a response, but also to see, 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 some empathy 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 what we have done is basically built those personal relationships and basically champions of those departments that 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 worked on so many different deals over the last year's already. All right, and has it. I love the idea of building champions within each or. That way you guys kind of have a seamless communication throughout. kind of keeps everybody on the same page when we think about building a network. How have your really leverage your I mean correctly remark, but you're overseeing the DOC, German apt European markets. Okay, so I'm indeed head of international sales for now within Sol howers pend it means the European market. So initially we were just in the German market and now we doing that across the European market. It is as a lot to do with the license requirements again coming back to the regulation topic. So, having had experience in a pack, you can see, of course, that the people they're do things slightly differently than you would see in Europe or you would see in North America. But the end of the 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's not just like, oh, he's some made back, therefore this playbook will work or that playbook will work. So I always prefer much more to look at the personality and then you can start to draw a parallels between I have dealt with similar type of people before. I feel this is the best playbook for for this situation. So that is a big part and at the end of the day it all comes down to to to being yourself and understand what flow best for you. If you try to be something else or if you just try to follow a playbook, people will see through that and at some point right you come across as as fake and therefore the willingness to buy goes down 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 in Germany. They were in the race with many other providers already. We came, we came into the RP process quite late, but nonetheless we were able to catch up with them and at one of the last meetings we stole them look, 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 we want that our pe. And they said, look, even though we had a much longer due diligence process with the other companies, we felt that culturally and that the whole five or salaries bank was much more fitting to our organization and that made them close to deal. So there you can see that aligning yourself with how they want to be treated or how they want to work or what providers they want to do with definitely makes an impact, and it's not always just about the prices or the features that you have. It can be much more basis as well. So I know, like, especially when you're going into different regions, that culture nuances can be something super important and a lot of people have the same concern and, like you had said, it is you 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 ways that you've kind of helped them navigate that conversation, so they are being cautious of those cultural nuances and they are able to still show up how they want to. Yeah, so, on the one hand we prefer to have local teams. Obviously, people from the French market oftentimes come from from either French speaking countries or from from from France and they're you, on the one hand, see that they often will already have a network, because there's a reason why we brought them to salarge bank, of course, but on the other hand you need to trust them enough... let them run their own show a little bit as well. You cannot try to let them beat themselves and micromanage or tell them this is the best way to deal with a big bang or this is the best way to deal with the Big Tech Company. You have 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 my experience, this is what has worked best. Maybe try that next time. So you need to give them that authority and the ability to play around a little bit and to find their own weight and which buttons should they push it which point in time. And on the other hand, we do have weekly catch 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 week and just understand how have you address this problem or how have I address this problem, and through that right you just share the the experiences. So this is, I think, the most important part, giving them enough exposure to various 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 pain that that doesn't make sense. I can tell you how generally you should do the sales, but I cannot give you those cultural nuances that you need to deal with with a Spanish buyer, for example. Yeah, no, for sure there. And so we talked a lot about kind of how to navigate that, the sale with the prospect and so one of the things we had chatted 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 has mared the entire way through from prospect to customer? Yeah, so I think the being the voice of the customer is is one of the key jobs that seals has to do, especially dealing in be tob sales, situations where you need to link back to the rest of the organization because you know the will be challenges coming up from other departments because...

...of whatever issued or whatever whatever point they may raise, and the partner obviously cannot, is not there to defend himself. So you need to be that spokesperson for that organization and the only way that you can, of course, do that is if you thoroughly understand what the partner is trying to achieve, what he's looking for, what the long term and short term views and goals are for them, so that you basically transform yourself into being that partner yourself and through that, on the one end, you can challenge the partner better to help him understand what his own evolution should look like, but also the way, you can counter argument the rest 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, but on the other hand it's also giving the part and the feeling that you are there for him when he's not around, right that you are not just trying to make a quick win but rather really look to build this business effectively together with them. And this is how also long term trust is created. And what 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 distrust or 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 say that 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 little bit about kind of a building that brand internally and then also as your kind of 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 and get to know the culture and nuances that are there you can't just have a one fits all approach if we were to kind of like I know they're going to kind of flip the switch a little bit on us here, and I know breaking into markets is huge right now and kind of going into these different regions is top of mine for a lot of people. So as a head of international sales, I can imagine...'re having to not only manage the different regions, but that means you're also managing people in these regions. What are some ways that you've been able, especially post pandemic? What are some ways 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 into new markets, which has been a key topic for us this year as we've been setting up various branches, on the one hand, and this is what I always tell the new guys, in the first two or three months, especially because our coup our product, is rather complex, I tell them focus 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 about your successor order, your ability to close, because I know from your previous successes that you should be able to close and therefore I care more about having a proper training so that you can then enter all the various questions of the of 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 different the sculum strategies to enter different markets, this is where we have, of course, a general framework that that overall fits. But let the other guys, let the local commercial country heads or two general managers, let them take the lead on this and there you just guide them, you steer them and from a from a head off position, what is the Keyboll is to find the synergies to really make sure, okay, is everybody trying to sell the same product? Is everybody trying to do something completely different? How can you find the easiest way to come to a quick win, whether that is product development or specific features or getting a first partner and then breaking into a new market 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 look into 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, how much, how many NTAX are there? How many again, how many banks are there? And Swans? So you see that there's a broader market that can be explored if you have the right marketing techniques as well. And then it 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 pop into your head again, so you can easily reach out for a channel sales approach, 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 would you? 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 it pretty silent within their regions? No, it is, it is. Indeed, there's a lot of overlap in in what is happening. So oftentimes a partner might want to start in the Spanish market, but we know and we already want to make sure they understand that this is just the beginning. Right the next market is front or Italy or Xyz. So this is where that cross pollination comes in, and it doesn't really either at the end of the day, who is driving it, because you know on the long term the other markets will be served as well. And this is where it's also important to to understand that the relationship with the partner is more important for me than the person sitting in the market, meaning if you have a French sales manager who has a very strong personal relationship to somebody in Spanish market, it doesn't make sense to let him hand it over to the Spanish guy just because it's in 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 the market trend that all the again, cultural nuances are being tackled as well. And then, at the end of the..., how do you reconcile that on the PNL? This is where, right now we have said, let's not worry too much about this let's focus much more on getting the customers in and make sure that the revenue in generals coming in. Let's let's sort out how we figured it out on the premarket basis later, but let's make sure that we conserve that customer all right, fantastic, awesome. So we talked a 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 biggest impact 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't know how often you get this answer. I hope not too often, but it's always unique to see. Either people will give you ones that are like off of like gut intuition and like kind of like sales, or they'll be like leadership psychology type one. So yeah, yeah, exactly. So there's a lot of thing that you can learn, especially about being genuinely interested or how do you really create that want in a customer or in a partner and building that that conversation up to something more than just to sale, but actually understanding the broader picture of them. This is, at the end of the day, what for me, really make a click to understand. Add this is how you truly unlock that that relationship. You have hundreds of other books that also make a lot of sense, but at the end of the day, following a framework so rigidly as some books would suggest. It might work for 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 complex deals, you need to trust your...

...knowledge and your ability to work with people, and this is, for me, one of the books that helps you to do this without being overbearing with you should do not this, but you should do that. Right. It's much more about principles and then see how you apply to yourself. Yeah, no, I love that. One of 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, so kind of like piggyback on that you have. It's a human interaction. We're all people at the end of the day. So okay, it's glad. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this. Rans if people wanted to reach out to you and connect as they're breaking into new markets or in the VINTECH space, where is the best place for them to reach you? At? The best place would always be, as every sales birds and probably 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 or would like to connect and follow up. Sorry, thanks for having me. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front 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 on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach. That ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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