Margo: 00:01 Welcome to Sales Leaders Talks brought to you by Callpage. This podcast is for sales and marketing leaders who want to lead their people to success, do more, better and faster each day. Our guests are experienced sales and marketing experts who share their secrets and strategies on everything from team coaching and leadership to marketing and sales tech solutions. Before we move forward, ask yourself this question, "Do you want to excel as a leader and help your company grow?" If your answer is yes, let's get started.
Syed: 01:19 Hi, how are you, Margo?
Margo: 01:20 You've come here from the United States, right? Travelling?
Syed 01:23 Very frequently, yes.
Margo: 01:24 You are one of the most prominent salespeople I've heard about.
Syed: 01:30 Oh, thank you.
Margo: 01:31 Well, I've had a look at your Linkedin profile and I've noticed you've had experience with Netguru, Livechat. Could you explain how your career looked like from the very beginning when you had zero experience and how did you grow up to this level when you have changed several organizations, you have experienced a lot of different things.
Syed: 01:56 Yeah, most definitely. I mean, first of all, I'm humbled that I happened to be one of the prominent salespeople and it's mostly because I got to work with a lot of amazing people. Right? I mean, Poland has been so great to me. I came here 2012, I believe it was October, 15th of October. I had a fever, so I remember that very clearly. I came here and I'm just like any immigrant. I wanted to have a job while I was studying. I wanted the good things that I had at that time was that I was able to speak and had little bit of sales experience. I was selling a repairs for windows and doors and insurance in the United States, so that was a good advantage for me, but I was in Poznan, which is like three hours away from Warsaw. But, unfortunately, at that time there wasn't a lot of startups.
Syed: 02:41 Uh, I didn't know a lot of people. I had no network. I just knew, just Pracuj.pl, for example, a couple of other websites that I could apply. But people were not interested in somebody who did not speak Polish because mostly companies or corporations or there were just companies that were not interested in the talent from Pakistant. Um, so yeah, I mean I was studying, I was in dire need of money and I applied to a company called Usability Tools and it's, it's a company in Poznan, a web analytics company. I didn't know anything about it, but I applied because it was a sales position. I thought I would be good at it. I got contacted by them and I just had an interview with them and their CEO and the head of sales happened to like me very much – CEO Bartosz and we have a great relationship.
Syed: 03:24 He's kind of like a father figure for me, so you can imagine like for me, that kind of built the foundation to where I am. So with Usability Tools, it was great. I started out as an SDR, which literally means that I was cold calling people, cold emailing people, setting up demos for account executives. Later on, nine, 10 months down the line, I got bumped up to being an account executive. I started closing my own deals and I worked like that for about two, two and a half years. That's the time I finished my studies almost as well and I got the opportunity to get bumped up to head of sales. I started working as a head of sales for a year and a half before I left Usability Tools, so in that time I built the company's sales structure from inbound to outbound and kind of made sure that we were successful.
Syed: 04:07 I left because I got poached by Livechat in Wroclaw. Um, I work with them around eight, seven months. Excuse me, uh, because it was a very unfortunate falling out. I'm the reason why because at that time my wife, she was pregnant. She wasn't my wife then, but she got pregnant and I was in Wroclaw and she was in Poznan. I opened up my restaurant in Poznan and it was kinda like I was juggling between the two places, like Monday and Friday I was driving back to Poznan and it was, it was taking a lot of tool between us and I wanted to be a father that would be close to his child and I wanted to be close to my wife and I just felt like these 3-4 hour difference of traveling, it was taking a toll on us because she of course needed help.
Syed: 04:47 So I decided to quit Livechat and I just came back to my wife in Poznan. But we went on holidays. I came back and Unamo, which was Positionally at that time, was looking for a head of sales. Bart, my boss, former boss from Usability Tools, he was in talks of getting acquired by Positionally and becoming Unamo and they recommended me as the head of sales. I was humbled. I loved the company, I loved the people. I love Bart. So I was like, hell yeah, I'm going to do it because it's with him. I worked a tremendous, phenomenal one year with them, built up the whole sales team, whole inbound structure. It was a great, great journey and I kind of felt like that I was burning out because I had a baby. I wasn't paying attention to my baby because I wasn't home.
Syed: 05:31 A lot of times I was just working 16 hour per days, 15 hour per day, like obscene amount of hours and that's the fever that I still have, but I have learned how to control it. So I was working that and I just felt I was burning out. So I decided to leave that job and just go and go into like four or five months holiday and I was just doing consultancy work. That's where my own company comes into play, which is HustleX. I started my own company, started helping out different companies that grew like 10Clouds and all these companies, some from the United States even Zoom. So I was just helping them get an understanding and a better perspective on sales. And I was taking a long haul in the United States. I drove from East Coast to West Coast. I was like, I'm not going to do much work.
Syed: 06:14 And yeah, it was finally time for me to come back and then take up a new role. Right. So, uh, while I was working with my own company, it was a company called Prezly. They're based in Belgium. I mean there are super popular. They're doing millions of dollars in ARR. They're are just a great bunch of people. I mean I love the company, I love the setup. It's remote so I don't actually have to be in location which is perfect for me so I can travel back and forth. And that was a great opportunity because I love the product, I love the people and it just kind of everything just fit well and yeah, I mean I, I started working for them with business development and of course later on just kind of becoming their head of all the inbound, sales and everything. Right. And just just taking it from there so we can of like revamping the sales and in building that network up. So yeah, I mean that has been the journey so far in terms of past six years.
Margo: 07:01 Wow. Only six years. Six years. Yes. It's such a long journey. You got like many different positions and got promoted. So today we're going to talk about such kind of people as you - people who are talented on one side, but on the other side, people who are able to acquire a new knowledge and new experience very fast. And as you mentioned, people like your case, you were all kind of bought out from one company to another. So if a company notices that there is a talent, they try to offer something more attractive for this person. Just to attract the person to the organization. And how did you feel that time when you were kind of bought out to another company?
Syed: 07:44 Um, I didn't cry a lot, but at that, that, that, that last day at Usability tools, I remember it was around 11:00 and at 3:00 PM I had an interview or had to go sign my contract with Mariusz, who's the CEO of Livechat. I remember meeting Bart at 11:00 AM and it was the last day in office because it was my office. I came in at Bart gave me my contract to go and we were talking and kind of like tears appeared in both of our eyes because we were working in good part of three and a half years. I mean, I mean I was nothing. I had no money. I had no recognition. Nobody knew me. Nobody couldn't care less about me, but Bart kind of built me up to the person that I am, so it's, it's that Livechat opportunity was great and there were a lot of reasons about it.
Syed: 08:39 Like, of course I wanted to earn more money. Any salesperson that does not want to earn money is probably lying. Our incentives is our money. We want to go after that, but also it was just a natural step. You can't live in the same space all the time, right? You have to progress. I have to know and I know and I'm pretty sure Prezly is a stepping stone for me two years, three years down the line, hopefully I will be still with them. They're probably, or perhaps if I learned or outgrow them, I'm going to go towards a different company and that's a testament to a good company that did teach you enough in the gear you towards something that is bigger, better and greater, and that's naturally how the world works, right? You just keep moving forward.
Syed: 09:25 There was no stopping and I was fortunate enough to be able to work with one of the best companies in Poland in terms of Saas, the biggest company, the only company that is on, on the stock exchange. Right? So that was a great, great, great opportunity and of course after that, getting hired by Unumo was great because it's one of the best companies in Poland, in its space, perhaps one of the best in the world. Right? So it was just a great opportunity because not only do you learn but you can also validate yourself like, sure, I am good at what I do, but that's, I'm only good at what I do until I'm doing it. Right, right. But you go to a different company, it kind of gives you a different perspective on how things are, different dynamics, different people, different product.
Syed: 10:07 And if you can repeat that and do it again and again and again, that means that there is some kind of a foolproof way of you doing it well. Right. And that kind of puts confidence in you and of course added experience as well. So, um, my idea behind moving was that, of course it's better money, but it's definitely a better position, but it's also my way of validating that if I can do it again, if I can do it once, maybe I can do it twice and if I can do it twice, I can do it three times. And the fundamental things about thinking about salespeople and the people that you know, just don't only have talent but are willing to go ahead is that they're willing to sing for their supper, which basically means is that they're willing to work hard to be able to get where they are or they want to continue to move on from there.
Syed: 10:50 Right? And somebody once told me. And it was, it was funny because I was joining Prezly at that time and we were talking and they told me: "Talent you have naturally, skill is acquired by putting hours and hours and hours of beating at your craft." Right? So, essentially what it means is that talent you can have naturally, but skill you can only learn by doing the same thing over and over and over and over again, kind of like a follow up, right? You don't let a deal go until you followed up and the, you know, the answer for that. So that pretty much what, uh, what's been going on in terms of acquiring and poaching and that's how I felt about.
Margo: 11:54 So talent and skills, this combination is key for salespeople. But if you could just like maybe taking this retrospective perspective and look back on what defines you as a salesperson in the beginning, what should characterize a person who wants to start a career in sales? It's kind of, I don't know, maybe not all the talents, but the ability to acquire a skill fast, or having a skill for the very beginning. Totally. I mean there was a lot of things, right? I mean, what I have always been told is that what works for you, but what worked for me in my case was that I had the eye of the tiger. What it means is that I was hungry, like quite literally, like I didn't have money. My mother always says to be able to realize the light, you need to have to see the darkness. To be able to realize food, you have to be good to go through hunger. To be able to cherish the money, you have to go through poverty. So for me it was a lesson that I learned very early on in my life is that you have to beg, scratch, scratch, crawl your way through the world. There is nobody's going to hand things to you and especially in sales.
Syed: 12:36 And I'll tell you why, because every single month our goals are reset. No matter what you did up until 30, 31st of the month, that's gone next month. New quora and new everything. You start from the beginning, so you have to have that eye of the tiger every single month. You do all your best, and then first of the month you have to start all over again. So one thing that worked for me, the quality that salespeople should have is that they should be able to, if they fall down, which is kind of like our job, we're going to lose deals, we're going to lose leads. It's kind of like boxer in a ring, right? You're going to get punched. I mean that's an occupational hazard. So the idea here is that you have to be persistent. You have to be persistent with what you're doing and believe in what you're doing.
Syed: 13:17 If you're not, if you don't believe in the product you're selling, don't sell it. You're in a wrong, wrong company because your heart will never be in it and your results are going to reflect on that, right? You're simply just going to show at the end of the month that you're just not doing it well because your heart's not in it. That's the key. The key is persistence here. Second thing that worked really well for me is that ability to learn. Now I have had the good fortune of speaking to some of the greatest mind sales has to offer in the world. And one thing I consistently see a pattern in between all those people. So it kind of like reverse engineering this is that they're all willing to learn, they're all are. They haven't reached a point in their life like "we are the best and that's it", right? There are not just preaching, they're also doing. Difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson is that the great salesperson is not only saying but he's also doing.
Syed: 14:09 And a good salesperson is only saying right, that there is a lot of theoretical that it's coming out, but not a lot of practical on something that I did once but it's not working again. Right? I did that three years ago. But the market has changed, but hey, keep doing those followups, keep doing that on Linkedin strategy, maybe you will get more clients. Right? So the difference is pretty simple and you're not only preaching but you're also kind of getting the people motivated to show hey, this is how it's done. And that's one of the things I did as a manager. I was managing people and at the same time people had a quota. I put the same quota as them, so no matter if it's $2,000 MRR $4,000 MRR I said, okay, even though I have a lot of work, I will do the same thing as you to be in the trenches with you, to show you how it's done.
Syed: 14:53 So if you can lead by example and always have that kind of hunger of not only moving forward, but also learning that I think is a very potent mix and if you have that and you always feel like your glass is half empty and you're not the smartest person in the room, that's a great thing and it kind of brings us to the point of companies as well, right? If you're at a company for two, three years, four years, five years, you're kind of naturally in your comfort zone. So the third element here is that you have to be able to get out of your comfort zone and that's sales. That's pretty much what sales is all about. If you're going to be in your comfort zone and you can't get out of it because you like the routine of coming here, working, leaving work, going on holidays, coming back, getting commissions and doing all that, you're not going to grow to be able to grow. You have to pivot. It's kind of like a muscle, right? You have to stretch it and rapid it, stretch it and stretch it. It's, it's a progressive overload. So I got to use the same strategy here as well. That continues to be try to do better, uh, better and better. But of course, all of us have that hunger element of learning, learning, and learning to be able to just move forward and opportunities just come.
Margo: 15:55 All right, so you build some sales teams and you know how to identify, uh, an ideal or let's say optimal candidate for the position, whatever that position is. It may be a representative on the first level. It's maybe the, let's say the kind of key account manager, or even let's say, someone who is very close to you, like your deputy. How to choose the best person and how to know in the very beginning that this person is exactly the person we looking for in our organization?
Syed: 16:26 I had the good fortunate of firing at different companies and it's thought it all pretty simple. I mean, I was told when I was actually working at Usability Tools that I'm a very harsh judge of character, which I didn't realize at the time. I just thought that this is how interviews are conducted. You're able to. You're supposed to kind of interrogate the person to see if they're actually good because if they can't take an interrogation with me, how the hell are they going to be able to cold call or call somebody and sell them? Right? Or take objections, but yeah, it's this kind of strategy kind of changed over time. When I was working at different companies. I think that the first and foremost thing is to be able to see if you're hiring the person at the right at the bottom. So let's say literally an entry level SDR.
Syed : 17:07 You just have to see how, how, how therir speaking skills are, right? That's one thing I have a different way of hiring people. I kind of make it a little more personal, so I of course shortlist people. I don't look at CVs, I have yet to look at a CV of somebody and say, okay, I'm going to talk to this person based on CV. So if 200 applicants come through my door or let's say at my company I talked to 200 applicants and I'll tell you why that is important. It's super important because you want to be able to give everybody a fair chance and second paper does not tell him much because if people are told something, I would still not be hired because at that time I was a nobody. Right. So talent can come out from anywhere, from anywhere out of the woodwork, just like sales kin come out of anywhere.
Syed: 17:53 It doesn't have to be a demo request or a pricing request. A lot of times I've closed people who just came on a chat or just called me up and said, hey, we're interested in knowing more about your product. So the same mentality applies here. You know, they can come out from anywhere, so I talked to each and every single one of them. Of course we talked to them and see how comfortable they are talking to you. Right. And I like to develop trust lot and third thing for me, but it's very important is to be able to make sure that they're getting along well with the people within the sales department. If you have a good morale, a good sales team, a healthy environment, which is not like come in, put your heads on, sit in a cubicle, start cold calling. That's not a way to go.
Syed: 18:30 I don't care how hard you work or how smart you work at the end of the day it's about the results but also motivating, communicating. So for me it's, it's, it's, it's pretty simple is to be able to go out and have a drink with them or go on a barbecue with them or go have a dinner with them. If the weather is really good, going to barbecue, why not? And just interact with the team and how it is like. Right. So for the entry level, that is pretty much it. You don't have to do a lot, right? They just have to be able to understand how they're speaking, how they're communicating and how well are they interacting with the team because that's going to save you a lot of problems in the future, right? I mean if they're not interacting well with the team, this is a quite high chance they might not survive or they might not be willing to work with you for a longer period of time when it comes to account executives or when it comes to a higher level of people, then the same rules apply.
Syed: 19:15 How willing are they to learn? Right? I don't hire people to tell them what to do. I hire people to tell them what I should do, what I'm doing wrong, and if somebody can tell me what I'm doing wrong in the sales process, that's a plus point. Let's point one that's plus. A lot of times that's also kind of like a, it's a catch because if you're doing it wrong, how to come. We have the numbers that we have, right? So I want to see different perspectives, I want to see people's experience and how we can apply that within our company. Of course, rules come to the same thing. Is that how old they are interacting with the company or the people around us? But the second thing is is that how motivated they are to be able to do it right? So I want them to be honest with me.
Syed: 19:54 I know salespeople are strictly just working for money. I know sales people who were working for experience and not money. So for me that that matters because then I can place them in a particular kind of aspect of sales, be that to be more outbound or more quara driven. So that is super important as well, right? A sales head of sales or any person who is leading a sales team's ability to be able to kind of run a team is to be able to gauge what you can get out of them. People. So I love to learn weaknesses and the strengths of my people and that's super important. Of course you can't do that in the first two or three meetings and you have to give that person a chance, but it's also good to be able to learn that so you can actually manufacture and put them into a particular aspect of sales.
Syed: 20:33 Right? Be that be inbound, be that outbound, be more, more than normal customer facing role or could that be, you know, a little bit on the back end and the generating leads and just qualifying. Right. So that's that. So in terms of account executives, it's also very good to be able to kind of look at their experience, what they have been doing, not more so than a CV, but also just talk to the people previously that they had been working in. Right? Like no greater insight. And that goes for me too is because I was able to get Unamo like this because Bart recommended me. And why did he recommend me? Well, because he had a great experience with me. I don't care. You studied at Harvard. I don't care. You study from Oxford. I don't care. You come from Kathmandu. All I care about is to kind of network that you have, right?
Syed: 21:17 What the people around you are saying about you, because that's exactly your reputation. Right? And I also like to judge the character of that particular person because at that level of sales, I mean I want them to be able to have all the trust and somebody I hired somebody I give them a hundred percent of the trust until they give me a reason not to believe them until they gave me a reason to or they're sandbagging the company or they're sandbagging the sales department. That's a whole different story. So kind of coming back to the part of ethics a little bit is just trying to be able to understand what they have been doing. What were the motivations behind what they did is because if you look in my sales trying to mix real career, it's pretty much like it's going up. Right? I haven't plateaued as of yet, thank God, but I like to be able to understand and explain why am I doing what I'm doing.
Syed: 22:00 What's the end goal? Why is it that I'm doing this and is there actually a bigger picture behind this. Because if you can hire somebody with a bigger goal in mind or have a vision, it might, it just helps because they are able to kind of implement and kind of make sure that they pivot your sales team from what they're doing wrong. Right. So that always helps. It's, it's all about like Kinda like understanding what they've been doing, where they're going. If there's a match between where they are, where they're going, that's fantastic because if somebody is too aggressive of a salesperson, I'm sorry, like I'm not interested because in SaaS, in today's world until, unless you're selling cars, you don't need aggressive sales. You need empathy and if you don't have empathy and you can't communicate with somebody and connect on a human to human level, I'm sorry, there's no space for you.
The days of Grant Cardone are gone maybe in the United States, they're still alive, but there was no pressure point sales. It's all about, hey, this is what we have. I would love to learn about what you need and see if there was a mutual fit and that's pretty much what I've seen in my candidates too. This is where I'm at. That's what I'm looking at. These are the details. I would love to be able to see if this is where you have been. You have experienced with it because we're looking for a midrange salesperson. This is where it's gonna go. Are you interested in that and is this is? Where exactly are you going and if all of that connects and matches while we are good, we got a social good fit, right?
Margo: 23:21 So you are just, you've just explained that a salesperson should show a client or potential clients, that particular place where they are now with this problem and how to get through this journey, how to embark on this journey and come to point B, let's say the point where they feel satisfied. They no longer have this problem and it's rather describing the value of the product itself, but not like selling aggressively. Like as we seen, you know like Wall Street movies, so something like that.
Syed: 23:52 If you're trading stocks, I understand if you're conning people, I understand. I think consumers are very smart now in the click of a button, they can go to another product. I mean it's pretty simple. They don't have to talk to a salesperson. If you look at a shift in sales, kind of like the the industry that we're in, people less and less want to talk to salespeople. They don't want people involved at all. A lot of SaaS businesses have free trial. Your login, you try it out, you like it, you put credit card details and that's that. You don't get to talk to a salesperson at all and some people prefer that. If you add that too on top of it, aggressive sales tactics and he, if you buy it by the end of this week, I'll give you 20 percent discount. It kind of makes me feel like that there's something wrong with the product.
Syed: 24:37 Like why should you. I am talking to you. I have a need. If I think this product is good, I'll it and that's it. You can follow up because I will forget about it. That's okay. But if you're going to continuously leave me voicemails, hammer me with emails and call me every single morning at 9:00 EST, there's a quite high percentage, a chance I will not speak to you. Right? So that kind of like path of empathy and the journey that embarking on is it Kinda like goes against the very ethos of a salesperson that I am like, you sometimes have to be aggressive, but you don't have to be as aggressive as shown in movies. You don't have to be as aggressive as some sales leaders set out to be. You just have to be person that is super knowledgeable about your industry. So if I were to ask you a question, you're able to tell me a solution, don't give me problems, just give me solutions to my problems because that's why I come here for right? Like I have a problem, how can you solve it? And it's a transaction. But in the meantime, if you can build a good relationship with a person, then you'll learn a fundamental rule in sales, which is people buy people that own byproduct.
Margo: 25:41Yes. So coming back to the question of the issue of employing the right people, so you'll get candidates and a lot of candidates go through your door. They have equal chances of like equal trust in the beginning, but how long should this process be a recruitment process? If you are a person who is taking part in the some hr processes in our organization then have to structure this process. What kind of stages should it imply a in general and how long should a candidates apply for a job? I mean like so from day one he has had a talk with you. Then what's gonna happen next? I will have let's say two more talks or worker gets two more tasks to do to resolve or how does it look like in sales departments?
Syed: 26:40 I'm not sure how. I mean I'm familiar some of the sales department and then I know it's a pretty simple. You apply for a job, you wait two weeks to get an interview, you wait another week to get a second interview week, another week to get a task and then final interview in a lunch, and then you get a job. Process lasts for one month and a half, two months. I understand that. Sure. Some companies don't have the time. Uh, what we designed or what I strive to do is to be able to give the person answer asap, not because that person is the best person out of the, out of the box or the bucket, but it's because it's only fair, right? I mean, if you have started our process, it's your job or it's your fiduciary responsibility as an employer to give a response to a candidate that is waiting for you.
Syed: 27:24 Why? Because I myself have been in that situation where I'm just thinking, what the hell is happening? Like am I going to get it? Am I not going to get it, right? It's a sales process, right? I mean, you keep following up, but then you were like, God, am I going to get this deal or am I going to get that customer or not? Right? So to be able to kind of bury that anxiety, what we do is that we get an email and if the person is good, that has to be personalized, right? That the first things first, that's the first step is how much effort you actually put into applying to that company. Everybody can send a resume. What are you going to do different? I have a lot of people who come onto my website and user chat and they tell us things, hey, I went onto your marketing page here.
Syed: 28:03 This is not working and I also saw this speech of yours from two years ago and you were explaining sales this and this and this way, so how? Why is it that you don't have this sales implemented within your company? And I'm like, hold on one second. I sincerely need to come to a stop, a physical stop and just understand and kind of comprehend what's going on because you are the sum of your actions. I mean if you have said some things, why don't you back it up and if a person does their homework and applies, that's perfect. I mean we talked to them right away within a day or two. Once this call is scheduled. After that you want to be able to make sure you give them a next step, a within a day or two we're going to give you another. You're going to have another interview, but typically what it looks like with us is that of course you are a company not too massive.
Syed: 29:28 It's not too big, so you get to talk to the Co-founder or you get to talk to the Head of Marketing and if they had some organs are where you get to talk to the CEO itself and that's that. There is nothing dynamic that is going on. So the recruitment process is a week and a half, two and there's nothing massive because we know that they are talented. We know that they have more options and we also want to make sure that we respect their time. It's not one way. It's both ways, like companies are not hiring me to test how I am. We give them a fair chance and opportunity to learn more about the company to see if they like the company because if there isn't a mutual fit, which you just talked about in the sales, then there isn't going to be a deal, so we give them a fair opportunity to learn more about our company.
Syed: 29:28 Not one way through where you just sit and have an interrogation, which is what I said earlier, is that I had that mentality, but it kind of changed or evolved. I can alert that. It's more both ways. Like, Hey, I would love to work with you, but I would love to be able to understand what are your hesitations? What do you think about it? So you kind of involve them in. Even if there is not a lot of money being offered or money's not a satisfactory, they would always use culture. Like cultural will trump any kind of offer that they're getting on the opposite side. So what you can do is be nice be perspective of their time, but also show them right away that hey, it's going to take this long, we will do our best to be able to kind of schedule everything until unless somebody is on a holiday, then you can't do much about it within the company so you can have set that out, set the expectations, you give them a chance to learn more about the company and if they can ask smart questions in between and can approve us to like they're exactly it and do something unique.
Syed: 30:21 I've seen people do crazy stuff, some productive stuff. I've seen people do nothing. So the idea is that if they can show us in between the day or willing to be a part of this company and actually are out for the challenge, I mean to process shouldn't last too long. Especially if you're in a sales department where leads constantly coming and you want to be able to make sure that you're closing as many kind of like loops and deals as soon as possible. Right? So having a long process doesn't really save anybody money.
Margo 30:50 You've mentioned about ethics, about some moral aspects in an organization, but for example, if a conflict arises in a sales team than for example two people are in a constant coflict with themselves in an organization, what would be your steps to kind of pacify them or maybe like some organization have this approach that they just fire most people simultaneously because it's very disruptive for the organization or for the whole department to have these people because you kind of have problems with execution of like basic things. What would be your approach and your solution here?
Syed: 31:27 I really don't like the word firing because we don't hire people to fire them. What I do say is that the applicant or a company or my company, the workers, our partners and they move on. It's that simple. I mean I don't want to kind of break somebodies chances of getting a job next. Right? So there is no firing. God forbid there is a conflict between the people, like I'm not their mother. Like simple as that. You have a problem, you resolve it. If you can resolve it sitting in a room for an hour, then we need to do something about it. And I have had issues like this and most of them, most of them have been due to two reasons. A, somebody has not been happy because the other person is closing more deals and somebody's just having a bad month and two, it's been some kind of personal problem from the outset that they bring into the work.
Syed: 32:13 Uh, I have one rule in life and that is a, when I'm coming to work, I leave my problems in the car that are personal or from the outside and when I leave work and I go home and since I have a family now I have a wife, have a baby and another baby is on the way, I leave my work problems in the car and I go to my house. So that's simple. But if there are issues, um, my kind of approach to it, it's pretty simple. Rather than coming and asking, you know, a lot of sales managers do that. Why the hell are you not performing well? Why the hell are you know the revenue not up or why the hell are you not making so many calls? I come in and asked him like, hey dude, what's going on? Like, is everything okay outside?
Syed: 32:53 Which comes to the point that earlier I talked about is empathy. Like you gotta be empathetic, right? I mean you can't just go the amount of time it's going to take you to hire a new person. It's just not. It's not worth it to let go of the people that you hired because you saw something in them. They perform and that's why they. They're there. I believe everybody earns their, earns their place, right? It's a vicious world out there. So if they're there and I'd be working for a long period of time, that means they're doing something right. We are all human. We all have problems. I have gone through my problems in this past six and a half years of my career, right? I mean I have gone through ups and I've gone through low's. If somebody were to come up to me and talk to me nicely and kind of understand what's going on, I would want to do better.
Syed: 33:32 Right, so it's family first. Your health versus your life first and then work. Right. So these are three things before work comes in, so if there is a conflict and most of the time it's people that are that are going through some issues that at outside. You just try to do as your best you can to be able to relate to that and give them space and time and what you can do is that what I talked about earlier is that involving your whole team and having that morale system in place and making sure that we're assisting that person to be able to get those deals or get that level up or energy up so they can perform or start to perform sooner. Because if that is not there and we are not working as a family in is as cliche as it may sound.
Syed: 34:10 We are a family, right? I mean we're working. We're spending most of our living life like with each other, so might as well come to that kind of element. Right. Rather than, hey, you're both fired. No, let's go to the crux of the problem. Sit in the room and if you can't resolve it, I'm not sure. Moderator, like how, like is it? I'm not your mother. You resolve it yourself and if you can't resolve it, let's talk it out and see what's going on. Right. Most of the time it's probably just somebody who has a problem and as some tough times personally and you do your best to be able to resolve them or give them time so they can go and sort that out and once their head is clear, the income back to the game.
Margo: 34:49 Just referring back to the first question, you worked in many other organizations and you've seen, how does this look like there. Have you noticed that, for example, in the United States there is more of this culture that sales and marketing department work tightly together and what is the comparison, for example, to Polish realities because you've been working here as well and probably you can share your experience when it comes to like this alignment between sales and marketing.
Syed: 35:18 It's shouldn't just go towards sales and market. It should go towards product marketing, sales and HR. I mean it as many departments are linked. That is great. I understand some companies are bigger than others, so that doesn't happen very often, but if you can do that, that is great. And the difference between successful companies. By that I mean working everything good and unsuccessful ones is the fact that they're all communicative and they're still talking no matter how many people there are. And the reason why I say this in it, it's just you have to kind of reverse engineer it. Like what is it that you're looking to achieve? Communication within the company? Right? So I as a salesperson or support person or a customer success person are the most hands on job in terms of customer facing roles? You are talking to customers daily?
Syed: 36:01 If you're not talking to customers daily, then you are dealing with people who are prospects, right? You have the firsthand knowledge of what they're looking for, who exactly are they looking for and in terms of what needs to be improved in your platform. Right? And if you have all that information, you can have the best resources in the world, but if you don't know how to use them, you're not going to be good at whatever you're doing. So that's the first step is that everybody has some sort of information and that information needs to be passed to marketing or it needs to be passed to the product team so they can put that in the product roadmap or at least gauge to see how will it fit in their vision of the product, right? Where does the idea come from in terms of developing the product?
Syed: 36:40 It comes from a competitor's be-vision and see what your customers are looking for. So you want them all to be talking and if they're just like, yeah, you know what, forget it, I'm not going to contact them because what's the point? Then that's opportunity missing. You're losing literal money, you're losing literally dollars and if the product team is not talking in developing and then coding and they're not talking. And that's why we don't like groups within a company. We're all open campany. One company, our goal is to make this company successful. That's what we all came over here, came here for one goal is to make our customers happy because in simple words, and that's cliche again, is that these guys are paying for our salaries. Simple as that. We want to be able to make sure that we get more of these guys.
Syed: 37:24 We make our product better so they can actually live and work with us and be happy about it. If the product team is not telling us what the new feature updates something that we can use for sales, that's still us losing money. That's still us losing our client or that's still us not being able to help somebody, so the empathy element comes into play. Same goes with marketing. I mean if they're not talking and they're not being able to promote the features with not being able to promote or use the language that sales is using or give them words sales can use. It's just a mess up. So you have to kind of have that. And in the United States, I think there's a lot to do with culture difference. Like I know a lot of companies in the United States where if you enter, no matter if you're head of marketing, head of sales, your ego is dropped.
Syed: 38:08 Sure. You do a lot of good stuff. You're managing a big team. That's great. That's great for you. That's great for the company, but we have to be able to have the element of, again, the learning, communication, talking and being half that kind of empathy element. In Poland I worked with various different companies. I think that culture is passed on top to bottom. It starts with the pet have had ceos, founders or whomever are at the top right, and even if I am a shitty manager, there was the chances that my team is going to be crappy. If they're not happy with the results, they're going to be arrogant. They're gonna.
Syed: 38:55 They're not gonna be Pleasant people to talk with because culture, all this comes from the top and I have noticed that it's a lot to do with not being exposed, right? If you're exposed to a certain bacteria, you're able to build that kind of self defense mechanism.
Syed: 38:55 Your body's able to build that kind of self defense mechanism and I think we as a, as Poland as a country have done great, we have taken great strides. You have Callpage that's from Cracow. you have Base that is from Krakow, I believe.There's live chat. There is Brand24. Growbots. There were so many beautiful, great companies out there. Right? I mean then they're doing super successful. I think in terms of culture, we still have to get exposed towards the United States. I don't over the United States or any country that is doing better for that matter. I don't see that look towards the country. I just said look towards people who are doing it better than you and don't look seven steps. I had. Don't look towards Uber. They're way ahead of you. Look towards somebody who has just passed your, your, your milestones that you're looking to achieve or are couple of steps ahead or three, four steps ahead so you can actually copy that.
Margo: 39:42 So the idea here is that culture, it's very hard to kind of manage. Um, I still have yet to find out why that is the case. Is it because we're just, we don't care? Or is it more about like, I'm coming here, this is my job and I'm going to do the bare minimum of a job or maybe not. Maybe not taking pride in your work or maybe it could be because communication is not very revered and I truly believe it comes down to culture. No matter what you say about the United States. We like to be like the United States in terms of the company in the United States. We want to be like Tesla. We want to be like Uber. We want to be like Lyft. We want to be like Twitter, we want to be like Facebook, but in order to be there you have to do things like Uber. You have to do things like Lyft and you have to do things like Twitter, but most importantly you have to hold yourself accountable and I believe this is something we don't do very often in Poland or at least that's something that is from my perspective, is that we're not holding people accountable.
Syed: 40:36 I mean, if you're looking for that particular company or you're looking to get there and you want customers from there, then you have to have certain qualities of that culture within your company because if you don't have it, you're not going to be able to resonate with people. In the United States. That's what people have to hire consultants to go into a different market that is mostly United States. It's not that difficult. You just have to be able to understand, you don't have to work in different hours, you just have to be able to understand their psyche that they open people, they love to talk, they love to talk and they're just randose with the way the, the, the do things and you just have to kind of implement it within your company, right?
Syed: 41:10 You have to have that culture of talking, but you know, rather than just talking in the company, you want to go outside and do something, you know, like play together, have fun together through certain activities, team building exercises and have that open culture that is there. So I think that that's simply top to bottom. Like if somebody is not implementing that, and it's kind of funny because we have managers, but managers are not there to make sure that you just achieving your goals, but they're also making sure that you're healthy and everything is healthy in terms of everybody's happy. So you have that chief happiness officer person as well, right? You're going to hate her. You want to be able to make sure everybody's, everybody's kind of like doing well in their morale is high, it's going to take some time for us. I'm going to be politically correct about this because I want to get into out of the but I, I love this country.
Syed: 41:56 I mean that sincerely do all of the companies here. They've given me so much love. So I would say this, that there is some. We talk a lot so we talked the talk, but I think it's time you walked the walk as well. We need to put our money where our mouth is and kind of let go of that element that I'm the, I'm the king and you know, everybody else has beneath me now. We're all people. I am a CEO of my own company, but I act like I'm just a worker. I should because sure it's my company, but any given time it could be taken away so you have to have that humbleness. I think that's what's lacking in a, in a, in a lot of points. Hopefully we'll be able to get there and an in kind of like changed that, but like I said before, right, I didn't mention that actually is that change comes from within, right? I mean like you want to be like that. You just act in a certain way and kind of implement change. You don't have to be a CEO for that, but generally just do that in your department and probably somebody is going to get exposed to that bacteria have humbleness and probably implemented from there.
Margo: 42:52 Yeah, that's. Yeah, a lot. A lot of things could have been already said, but could you just summarize key points in terms of how to find the right person for the organization, for the Sales Department? Just kind of takeaways for companies, for sales departments that sales directors of sales departments who would look for salespeople in the future or currently looking for them?
Syed: 43:13 Sure. I think the first and the foremost, one of the important things is that if I have people working in my company, I always ask them who is it that I can hire? Like simple as that. Do they have friends? Because look, if they're in your company and you're working with them, there's a quite high chance that they hang around with people that are like them. We all hang around with people who are alike, right? I do that. I have people who are outspoken and I loved them and there are some different peoples were full. I mostly hang around with people who are like me, so what I do is that I always show to ask people, do they know somebody or can recommend somebody that I could speak to who liked to work with us 70 or 70 percent of the time it does work.
Syed: 43:50 However, if we were going in and for market like APAC or somewhere else or in a map, what we do is that we try to put it out there advertisements, right? And then of course same rule applies. We advertise in the network that we have, so that could be linkedin, it could be facebook, that could be twitter, but it's mostly revolving around the network that we know the people that we know or know our company or no us sue some level on a personal if not professional, so the idea is to be able to make sure that you're using the low hanging fruit for us first, right to be that employees or you're the CEO or as a marketing person or sales person, whoever is, whoever is closer to you that you would like to work on a on a day to day basis or on a daily basis.
Syed: 44:31 You just go ahead and just talk to them and if there is a mutual fit, go right ahead. But second, if you're externally looking for all those people, you have to structurize the process. You can't just hit and miss. You can't just ad lib. You can't use it like a skittle. Like every now and then you have to structurize it and see who exactly you're looking for. It's like an ICP. It's an ideal customer profile. You have to build out an ideal candidate profile. This is what I'm looking for, that's the person to be XYZ. They need to be living here that's there, like speaking language knowledge or let's just English or spoken English or spoken Polish or whatever that is, and of course you want to be able to make sure you get as many information as much information about them as possible.
Syed: 45:10 Like me, a lot of people who play sports, why they're competitives, why? Because competitive people do well in sales. That's just the way how it works and if people are willing to play sports or have active role in sports, that means that they will get along well with people, right? Because they have a certain goal in mind that they want to be a vision that super important. So I think it revolves around the culture part. Again, top to bottom, you have to surround yourself with people who are a players and what you like. Right? So go ahead. Would that be that be sports or music and then you have more reasons to connect? So I think it's super simple when it comes to that to build out a profile and you just go ahead and look for that. You just have to validate them until to the point you hire them because that's the most important though once they are onboarded, there was no qualification anymore. Right? I mean they will a part of your company. So I think that's like super important when it comes to hiring.
Margo: 46:01 Alright. So could you just tell our listeners how they can reach you out, for instance, if they want to get some more of your advice or maybe want to hire you for something like, for a, for another company or buy you out?
Syed: 46:14 Yeah, most definitely. I mean, look, I'm always there for advice and um, first of all, very grateful for you reaching out, right? I mean, I'm not one of those people who's like, shut off. I'm open. I mean, if you write me on Linkedin, I will write back, if you write me an email, I checked my spam folders as well to make sure if somebody is responding because I had this case where somebody wrote it wasn't spam and I didn't really get a chance to see it. So like first of all, thank you so much for inviting me over. I know we're going to be doing a webinar together, so so far it's been great anyway, that I can help to be able to not just lift the sales community in Poland, but to give knowledge to anybody that's just a win win. Secondly, anybody can reach out to me on Linkedin.
Syed: 46:52 It's like Syed Assad Hussain is my name. It's pretty simple. My email is site at hustlex.io. It's connected to my phone. So there's a very high chance that I will reach out. Um, so yeah, I mean it's, it's, it's pretty simple, right? So these are the kind of like two portals that anybody could reach out to me. If not, you can just go to my website and write a message. All of that relates to me and I'm more than happy to talk, be that, just be discussion regarding sales, new clients or anything. I'm always up for discussion. Right.
Margo: 47:19 Okay. So thank you for this discussion and thank you so much.
Syed: 47:22 Thanks. Bye.
Podcast moments that will matter to you: