Margo: [00:36] Hi, welcome to the Sales Leaders Talks. My name is Margo and I'm going to be your host today. In this episode I'm talking to Lukasz Turczyński, a sales director at InPost. InPost is the biggest international network of parcel lockers Lukasz is telling how he is coaching his team to reach the right numbers and helps his managers make progress. Our guest is explaining how to approach technological solutions, what channels of lead acquisition drive the most results, and how to use technology to scale and drive more sales. Let's get down to details.
Margo: [01:16] Hi, Lukasz!
Lukasz: [01:18] Hi Margo.
Margo: [01:19] Welcome to Sales Leaders Talks today.
Lukasz: [01:22] Nice to be here and nice to have an opportunity to share some knowledge.
Margo: [01:27] Could you tell us something about yourself? Who you are, what you are doing, what is your role?
Lukasz: [01:32] Right. So currently I'm sales director working for InPost and I'm responsible for Polish market, especially for small and medium enterprise.
Margo: [01:43] And what is InPost?
Lukasz: [01:45] InPost is a global provider of parcel locker solution. It's a last-mile solution for parcel delivery. It's an automated way of delivering the parcels for ecommerce to the customers. In Poland we are doing an end to end product for our retailers. So we are providing the parcel locker solution and home delivery for their ecommerce business.
Margo: [02:11] So today we're gonna talk about your role and all the challenges that sales leaders face in such kind of organizations as the place where you are working. So what are your challenges?
Lukasz: [02:24] Because I'm a leader of a sales team, my challenge is always to deliver the proper number of sales, the proper number of revenue. The numbers as itself, like you know, the sales are driven by numbers. So my biggest challenge is always to deliver the numbers.
Margo: [02:44] It sounds so simple because it's an obvious answer. Every salesperson should fight for quotas. But when you break it down into elements, how do you solve this challenge each months because each month you have zero, you have to do the same thing again and again. So how do you manage to close the deals regularly? What are you using for that? Like looking for technology to solve this problem or you just find the best people in the field who are doing that for you?
Lukasz: [03:16] Okay. From the beginning, I'm in a quite comfortable situation because my product - parcel lockers, are in quite [high] demand on the market. So I must say it's easier for me to sell the solution than potentially to my competitions. But in general, sales are driven by constant daily numbers and tasks. So if you ask me how I manage my team, it'll be explained how I'm working with my managers and now how I work with my whole team as itself. So my managers are mainly driven by my predictions and my forecast around the basic KPIs, their productivity, their team's productivity and their results. Their teams are driven more deeply by them. So we were speaking about such elements like, you know, phone calls, what their sales teams are doing on daily basis, how they are looking for the new opportunities for new leads, how they are closing deals...
Lukasz: [04:24] So their work is more basic, I must say, not so high level as mine. Now, if you asked me how we are as a team (my and managers) how we are supporting the sales teams and salesperson by technology. It's a long story to be honest. But to make it short, I think we should split it into two streams. So technology which is used on a daily basis such as CRM, phone AVRs or you know, normal tools used by sales reps to contact with the customer to sell a solution. And it will be the first stream. The second stream will be all of tools which are accessible on the market which will deliver more knowledge about the customer, more knowledge about the market, which deliver them the specific information about potential leads on potential vertical, on a potential market. It will help them engage with a potential customer quicker, easier, faster. So there are several tools you can use to help your sales forces in that situation. But in general, yeah, I would say that it will be those two streams.
Margo: [05:48] And if we discussed the second one, what exact tools are using on a daily basis to find out who your customers are. Maybe find out a little bit more than is accessible on the Internet and public pages.
Lukasz: [06:03] So first of all, sales reps in my team are advisors for their customers. To be an advisor for the customers in ecommerce you need to understand ecommerce. So we will start about basic knowledge about ecommerce, you will be looking for articles around logistics, ecommerce or let's say they will read news articles and understand where is the market in Poland or in Europe right now, uh, what is driving the growth of ecommerce. They will have to understand the environment of their customers. Then they have to understand their customers' businesses. It bases on knowledge about the verticals. You find that in reports - both general and those based on a vertical, in Poland and Europe.
Lukasz: [07:03] When you get the knowledge about ecommerce and the vertical, then you need to know how to find your potential customer because my teams is usually driven by three streams of leads. So you get hunting, lead inquiries which are split on our web page and you get your solution, Callpage, incoming calls. When get down to hunting, you need to know where to find your potential customers. Right now we are using an old solution which is SalesOptimize or Detonize. These two companies provide quite good information about a potential market. And there is one from Poland that is Sharp Rank and they give daily update about new companies which are blooming on the ecommerce market.
Lukasz: [08:01] Now how do you monitor if your sales reps do a great job, do you listen to each call or you have your own system?
Lukasz: [08:12] For me, no. I'm looking for numbers on the high level, so for me the target is number of sales, quantity and the quality of revenue. But for my managers definitely they are listening to each call or trying to listen almost to each and they are working very closely with each sales rep to make sure that their soft skills are fit to the tools we are providing them with. So my teams are not so huge in general, each manager has around six to seven persons in each team to make sure that they are able to work with them very closely on a daily basis.
Margo: [08:51] So your role is very strategic?
Lukasz: [08:53] Yes.
Margo: [08:54] And do you have some still challenges left where technology can help you out? What kind of technological solutions have been on the market or probably you haven't already applied that might solve this challenge?
Lukasz: [09:09] The biggest issue from my perspective is that I have lots of lots of data. Really the number of streams of data is huge, it is very demanding, so aggregating everything in one place to make it feasible and visible for me is very crucial and very difficult right now in general. I haven't found any proper tool right now for this BI analysis, this data and I'm supported by my team who is aggregating the information, trying to separate the appropriate information for me to to give me the visibility of what's going on within the company and with the market. The good thing is that in general all of the new technologies are providing the API integration solutions, which gives me an opportunity to, you know, to stream all of it to one CRM which we have in company and and build something that we can call a quasi BI for that data, but in general I think that's an issue for all of top-level strategic positions in a company.
Lukasz: [10:23] We are overloaded by amount of information we can aggregate about the market and the sales. The issue is to split it in something feasible to make a decision.
Margo: [10:40] In the world where basically there are a lot of numbers, a lot of texts and we need to put it together and just make sense of those insights.
Lukasz: [10:51] That's the reason I think the machine learning stream in technology will be improving my work and and the business in coming years. Really.
Margo: [11:04] Alright. So you are the main person who decides in the end of the day if we are integrating this new tool, if we are just implementing new strategy, but how do you interact with those other departments , with your managers.
Lukasz: [11:27] So how do I interact with my managers in general to be my manager? I think it's very difficult position. I am not an easy player especially because I'm driven by numbers, lack of emotion in my, in my work. So if my manager wants to work with me, he should understand from the beginning that our discussions will be always based on numbers. He is working with his people on a more emotional level, let's say like this. We need to understand that the business is driven by the numbers and, and only numbers will give us proper results. So we are working quite closely each day and there is a meeting when we, when we speak about where we are, uh, where we were and where we're going in this month or this quarter this year, but only on numbers.
Margo: [12:37] Alright. So it's not that difficult to get fired if you don't reach numbers.
Lukasz: [12:46] It's always easier to fire people who are not reaching the numbers, but it occured only once in my history when I fired only one manager for the last 10 years of working with me. I think that's because I'm trying to recruit the proper people and I'm very open in discussion during the recruitment process, what are my demands and what will be his or her responsibilities on a daily basis and second of all, I think after a month or two working with me, people are understanding why managers understanding that my approach is quite straight and easy and if they are comfortable with the assets and their knowledge and their experience, they will deliver the numbers. I know that I cannot target my people with too high numbers because they will lose them and they will lose their attention and the force, they can bring numbers can also can also be too, uh, too low because it'll be too easy for them to reach. And there was also will be no speed of sales attention around achieving the targets. So my role is to make sure that the targets and the numbers I'm, I'm putting on the table to my managers are reasonable, addressable and they've, they are like that they will easily or not easily. They will reach them with effectiveness and, and they will be glad that they have delivered some, some demands.
Margo: [14:23] Okay. So probably as a leader, you've noticed that there are some high performing sales representatives, there are less, probably less skilled. What defines that place on their top? Who are the top performers in your opinion? What kind of skills they have to have?
Lukasz: [14:40] The question is more if it's possible to make anyone a good salesperson. No, no. We get the proper skill of assets which define us as a potential sales person, and I think the best sales sales people are just born in that, you know, you get some kind of talent. Work is essential. You need to know how to work daily, daily on the same tasks, the same ways. Tweak them a bit, amend them a bit, but usually sales day is a very demanding and a difficult day. If you're a good at it, if it's something which gives you a smile on your face every morning, you'll be the one of the best. And the role of a manager is to find that talent that, that, uh, approach and just help and polish it a bit and support.
Margo: [15:57] So in order to close the deals every rep needs to get valuable leads, leads that are of high quality. There are often delivered by a marketing department. And that's been like for a long time. Marketing and sales leaders talk about alignment between sales and marketing. Probably the that's already become a buzzword of today. How do you see this interaction and what is the role of marketing bringing in some leads?
Lukasz: [16:30] Alright, so from my experience, usually marketing and sales are two silos and company, which is trying to work together, but usually trying to draw some grenades on each other to make sure that there's a responsibility on the other side. I think the first company I've seen that marketing supports sales as I think it should, was GetResponse. And I was amused that marketing targets were in line with sales department and I think that's the first step of building a proper approach between those two departments in companies. So have the same targets in the end of the day because if you challenge them with the different degree targets, there will be no alignment between the departments. In my opinion, marketing should always support sales because in the end of the day the sales and the customer will bring the revenues to the company.
Lukasz: [17:45] So every task on the marketing table, even if it's around company PR should bring in the value of a potential sale to the sales department. There are other ways to get leads.
Margo: [18:04] How do you acquire leads? Do you prefer to go more like you are a sales leader. So you don't get those leads...
Lukasz: [18:10] No, I still have to. I still sell.
Margo: [18:10] So right now I usually split the streams on those three layers as I have mentioned. So first of all, we will be hunting, I think the fundament of a good sales rep is to know how to hunt so they are engaged each day to find some new potential companies, potential leads in the market, and really cold call them, cold mail them, get engaged with them on Linkedin, find a solution and a door opener to start a conversation about the sales process.
Lukasz: [18:48] That's the first stream. So some hunting, true sales hunting. The second stream would be marketing support. So let's say about social media campaigns, blog posts, campaigns, landing pages, email marketing, marketing around lead generation. So all of that actions which brings the quality lead on the formula page and we had some inquiries to our sales reps and that'll be this. And the third part will be your solution. So incoming inbound calls generated by Callpage and that's all I think.
Margo: [19:31] So apart from reaching higher, like you are setting yourself higher quartas each months, right? What is your like way to define what is the right level? What is the right thresholds for these month?
Lukasz: [19:47] So it's not that you get each month something higher and higher requirements. First of all, in the company such as InPost, which is right now one of the top companies in the world, and one of the biggest and the biggest one with all network, uh, it's not so drastically speeding in quotas, because we've got budget plans, we've got really big strategy for next year.
Lukasz: [20:17] So building the KPIs and the targets needs to be in align with the company's strategy and you always should do it from two sides, from the bottom to the top and from top to the bottom. What I mean by that - if you'll take your budget strategy and budget plan from the top to the bottom, let's say you want to bring another hundred million next year in revenue. If you know what's the average value of your contract, you can split it easily into a number of contracts to deliver during the net 12 months. Do that with the seasonality and divide it among your sales reps and that'll be the easiest way to target your people on a monthly basis. How many new contracts they should deliver on a monthly basis to make sure you will have your hundred million in your revenue. Then in the end of the day it could be wrong because your numbers will show that your sales rep should bring another let's say 20, 30, 40 customers on a a monthly basis and you know from your experience in previous years that the top level sales rep brings you around 15 or 20 contracts so you know you have overshoot the targets.
Lukasz: [21:31] It's impossible to get those results from people - they would have to tripple their effort.So that'll be the second part - to think how to build your revenue for coming years from the top to the bottom to the top. So you're taking your historical results, your performance, your average sales numbers, multiply that by your sales reps by months. Let's see how, how the scale will work and what numbers will be in the end. When you compare this top to the bottom and bottom to the top numbers, you will have your, let's say your strategy of sales targets for the upcoming year and you know that you need to recruit someone, increase the number of sales reps, increase marketing budget to bring more leads to have more potential customers to have more deals and to, to, to reach the target. So to summarize everything, building a proper target strategies, one of the most crucial thing I think on the management position, have a sales department and doing that correctly will always give you a good results in your teams and a happy smile of your CEO.
Margo: [22:56] Yeah, it seems your job should be really stressful because you always got to look, uh, look after numbers and also comply with all their requirements that the CEO has set for you. So I just started wondering in case something goes wrong, how do you react? If for instance, you don't reach the targets which kind of instant urgent would you have?
Lukasz: [23:22] First of all, I'm trying not to do urgent, right? So I know that sometimes something bad happens to the company, to the environment of the market or to the people or managers or the way we have calculated the target numbers or whatever. It can be always something which is defined. So the first thing I'm doing when I see the numbers are not correct. I'm taking two steps backward and rethinling and reanalyze what we have done or undone in this last week, two or month to define the what potentially may occur that we are not reaching the numbers. They'll be the first thing I always do. And after that I will just, you know, get new knowledge, learn on that and redefine the strategy.
Margo: [24:19] What kind of obstacles are usually on the way that block your team from achieving those targets as you've analyzed, as you have faced these kind of situation previously.
Lukasz: [24:29] Things that are not strictly related to my sales team thinks, but relate to the company itself and the product. So you know, delivering the parcel-to-parcel locker is not such an easy-peasy deal. You get the whole operation part, you get the whole customer service part. And if, if somewhere in Poland one machine breaks, it could potentially result into some claims from customers which will be delivered to the retailer who wants to work with us and there'll be an issue around the deal or the number of parcels they will deliver with us. So in general, the situation with broken machines, our machines, they get broken sometimes not so often as expected from technical point of view I'll burn the view, uh, but, but still they are sometimes broke so it's not in line of what can sales rep do or not do to make sure he will do the agreement. But in the end of the day that operation issue will affect his results. So I think that's the main obstacle from my perspective. Work closely with all of our other departments in a company, make sure we are communicating between us various monthly to, you know, brace my sales teams in awareness and knowledge about potential risk. But they're short technical problems, potential claims around the business to make sure they get the knowledge and they know how to react if something acute.
Margo: [26:14] So knowing the product, knowing the needs of customers also makes it a lot of sense. And basically what I'm observing from the side of marketing is that very often marketing specialists don't understand how the product functions and why it's needed, why people buy that, especially in B2B, because we're not so emotional in B2B, we are just having kind of fulfilling our roles in our organizations and basically we've got tasks to do. It's not about some emotional things around the product. How do you coach your managers so that they coach their people to understand product better. How do you do that?
Lukasz: [26:58] First of all, as I said, so do, uh, I'm also selling the solution right now. It doesn't matter on what position I am, our CEO is still selling the solution. So from my perspective, it doesn't matter what kind of position you have in the company really, even if you're from contact center or operations or marketing, you need to know how to sell the product. So you need to have full knowledge about the product. And sometimes it will be good if you try to sell it even to your colleagues or potential business partner just to make sure you feel confident and in the same straight line with your salesforce and sales reps. So from my perspective, knowledge about the product is something which should be demanded from the whole company, doesn't matter what kind of department and what you do and should be delivered very often by or a separate department during the sales excellence product excellence or by managers in each department to make sure that people know what they are selling as a company because in the end of the day that product, we'll bring the revenue to their pockets
Margo: [28:17] And finishing our talk. Probably our listeners want to know what kind of solutions would you recommend them from the point of technology to implement in their companies and see the results.
Lukasz: [28:28] Alright. So on the basic tools, which I am right now using very often and I'm very happy with that. Just to look after Shop Rank, a very cool new Polish startup working right now mainly on the European market and delivering big value on ecommerce and the businesses itself and I think CallPage as one of the fundamentals of delivering new leads because we have still, I think around 25 to 30 percent of customers who really like to use their phones to have a very quick and constant contact about the inquiry. Third part: do not forget about our automation, machine learning automated chatbots something which help you to support your customers in the increasing demand of awareness about their product, what's going on, supporting them on daily basis, but not engaging you and your forces and people to deliver that information, if it could be done by automated way,
Margo: [29:42] Great takeaways. It all goes into the direction of artificial intelligence, machine learning. Thank you for the talk.
Lukasz: [29:49] You're welcome.
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