#3: Jeroen De Koninck- The journey to scaling tech companies
Would you like to connect with Jeroen inside our community?
Calling Jeroen an ambitious person is an understatement… Eventhough he’s still at the beginning of his carreer, he’s already active as the EMEA Program manager at Pinterest.
In this podcast we go deeper into the career of Jeroen, his key learnings from starting in a managing role, what the future of sales holds and we even end up talking about the metaverse.
Below you can find some of the take aways from our conversation with Jeroen.
1. What happens after the 5 minutes of small talk...
You have to admit it, small talk is a staple in every conversation. The crucial part is what happens right after the 5 minutes of small talk ends.
If the seller opens his perfectly made slide deck, you know you’re at the start of a 20 minutes product pitch. Once Jeroen realised this was the wrong approach, everything started to click. Instead of this pitch he started asking questions and listening to the customer, what resulted in better relationships and more deals.
Besides that he started acting more in an authentic way to the client, which gave him trust and credibility with them.
2. The biggest difference is scale
When going from an account management position to a management role, the biggest difference is scale. You go from dealing with 80 clients to tens of thousands of clients you deal with on a daily basis. And this not only in one region, now it’s across all of Europe, Asia and Africa. This makes it much more complex because of differences like language and culture.
The biggest thing Jeroen had to learn was when making improvements for the overall business at scale, you have to accept that there might be customers that will be let down by your decision. You need helicopter view of the business for taking these decisions, you can’t treat every client individually.
3. Forget everything you know and go back to the absolute core
If you step into a role to optimize a growing team in a scaling company, the best advise is to forget everything you know. This might sound strange because you’re in the role to optimize current processes in that organization on the knowledge you bring with you.
Okay you shouldn’t forget the knowledge you gained in you’re previous jobs, but you should forget all the assumptions you have about sales processes being equal in all organizations. So get out of your ivory tower, ditch your metrics for a minute, it’s time to get your hands dirty.
You have to go back to the ground level and start testing everything that’s currently in place… Yes everything, so pick up your phone, start calling prospects and start using all the tools there are currently available. Only by doing this you can see what infrastructure and processes are already in place, what is going well and what is going wrong. After doing all this you’ll be able to make a proper assessment and see the gaps within the processes of the company.
4. Don’t take the job if you don’t have that feeling
When you’re making a switch in your professional career you should always have the feeling that you’re entering a job that’s out of your league. If you don’t have that feeling, it means you’re doing a lateral move and are not growing anymore. You should almost feel like an impostor, waiting for the moment that they find out you’re not the right person at the right time. When this feeling occurs you know you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and are growing as a person.
On the other hand this feeling can’t become too strong, so always remember that there is a reason they hired you in this new role in the first place. Probably because they saw something in you to shine in this role and grow even further in the position.
5. Adoption in sales depends on where your customers are
In the future the channels we’ll be selling on will be much broader than the ones we use nowadays in Europe. Jeroen believes that in a few years, we’ll be using platforms like discord as sales channels.
This change can be easily explained: if your customers moves to a different platform, you as a sales have to follow. Another example is the metaverse: people might be sceptical now about the metaverse, but once your customer will adopt it in their daily routine, as a sales you’ll have to follow.
A perfect example of this adoption can be seen in Latin America, where business is often done through WhatsApp, just because it’s more widely adopted as a daily communication tool than e-mail.