SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Dagbert Sansen, General Manager for the Americas at Akeneo

Dagbert Sansen, General Manager for the Americas at Akeneo chats about a few sales best practices that sales teams today should integrate into their overall process:

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When it comes to business development and sales today, what are some of the base fundamentals that you feel sales teams across the hierarchy need to be focusing on, more?]

Sales is two things; it’s a numbers game and it’s equal parts art and science. These two basic principles are often forgotten. Too frequently, junior salespeople think that simply mastering their cadences and following their scripts, will lead to success, but in doing so they forget about the art of making a connection. More seasoned sellers on the other hand know very well how to establish a personal rapport with their prospects, but often rely too much on their gut feeling, forgetting about top of funnel metrics which can lead to end-of-quarter stress (or even a missed quarter).

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Tell us about some of the core sales strategies and sales processes / salestech that you’ve often used to drive goals and impact?

I’m a strong believer in sales linearity; it’s a great benefit for the company in the long run and a compelling event is seldom based on an end-of-quarter moment. Having your teams focused on linearity is a great catalyst that ensures they make proper use of all the salestech at their disposal, they adhere to processes, and they keep a healthy pipeline. But foremost they are doing themselves a huge favor; no more end- stress, every day they know exactly what to do, and they have a more stable stream of commission payments.

If there were 05 things you’d tell salespeople NOT to do in today’s online selling environment, what would they be?

  • Never use impersonalized, standard copy or scripts in your outreach.
  • Don’t come unprepared to any meeting/call/webinar – always do your research and be prepared to participate thoughtfully
  • Don’t “wing it” if you don’t know the answer – tell the prospect you’ll check up on their question and get back to them in a timely fashion.
  • Don’t start hitting the phones on your first day – get to know the processes and master the product first.
  • Getting to know your prospect is great and if you have some common background or interests, that’s even better, but don’t start stalking them on all social platforms at once.

For B2B and tech companies looking at revamping their sales engagement models, what top thoughts would you share with them?

In my opinion, a sales engagement model is the same as a customer lifecycle or customer engagement model; if you only start to engage with your customer at or past the point of sales, then you’ve already missed out on a lot of opportunities that could help you down the road with product development, advocacy, and/or retention. Companies need to start taking a holistic approach to a sales engagement model that looks beyond the sales process itself. This type of approach will help you extract more value out of all the touchpoints you have with your customers. A holistic approach allows you to identify how to provide the right content at the right moment to the right person, establishing your organization as a trusted advisor rather than a vendor. This approach, in turn, will help you to build a scalable, sustainable sales engine.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital sales/customer communication tips and best practices before we wrap up!

Product experience management (PXM) and product information management (PIM) platforms are  fundamental, foundational layers for omnichannel product experiences, and salestech should be organized with a similar mindset to build the proper foundation for success. You need to take a 360 degree view of your prospects and clients, and have all sales data reside in a central repository that your run all your integrations through and that can be accessed by any member team for efficient workflows and communications.

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Akeneo

Akeneo is a global leader in Product Experience Management (PXM) helping businesses with products to unlock growth opportunities by delivering a consistent and compelling product experience across all channels, including eCommerce, mobile, print, points of sale and beyond. With its open platform, leading PIM, add-ons, connectors and marketplace, Akeneo PXM Studio dramatically improves product data quality and accuracy, simplifies catalog management, and accelerates the sharing of product information across channels and locales.

Leading global brands, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, including Staples Canada, Fossil, Air Liquide and Myer trust Akeneo to scale and customize their omnichannel commerce initiatives. Using Akeneo, brands and retailers can improve customer experience, increase sales, reduce time to market, go global, and boost team productivity.

A global ecommerce leader with a 10-year record of growing companies from start-up to exit, Dagbert Sansen has joined Akeneo from Rokt, the ecommerce martech leader, where he served as SVP of Business Development. Sansen previously held top leadership roles with major U.S. software and services companies including digital experience management leader Sitecore, martech innovator STYLELABS, and open-source business software vendor Odoo. Known for his success in forging partnerships to bring complex software solutions to top global businesses such as Staples, Groupon, GoDaddy, Wells Fargo, and Expedia, Sansen has built and managed agile teams operating across Europe, North America, and APAC. In his new role as General Manager for the Americas, based in Akeneo’s U.S. headquarters in Boston, he will spearhead Akeneo’s expansion throughout the Americas with a specific growth focus on the U.S.

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