Planet Odoo

Sofa Session: Building a Successful Sales Team

August 15, 2023 Odoo Season 1 Episode 29
Sofa Session: Building a Successful Sales Team
Planet Odoo
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Planet Odoo
Sofa Session: Building a Successful Sales Team
Aug 15, 2023 Season 1 Episode 29
Odoo

In this episode,  Lucas Lanziotti sits down with Davide Speranza, the leader of Odoo's Direct Sales team, and Carlos Fernández Weishäupl, the leader of the CSTI (Customer Success Indirect) team.

In this discussion, you'll gain valuable insights into the art of building a successful sales team in the dynamic world of a fast-growing tech company like Odoo. Davide and Carlos will share their experiences and expertise, covering a wide range of topics, including recruitment strategies, training approaches, team dynamics, motivation and engagement, and adapting to changes in a growing company.

They'll also delve into the importance of utilizing the right sales tools and technologies and provide examples of the challenges faced in different environments. Additionally, they'll explore their leadership styles and the impact they strive to have on their teams.

Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets behind Odoo's global growth and discover practical tips and best practices for creating a winning sales team.

And if you're more of a visual person, we've got you covered! Check out the video version of this episode right here!
______________________________________________________

Don’t forget to support us by clicking the subscribe button, leaving a review, and sharing your favourite episode!

Try Odoo for free !
Want to join our team? Explore our positions here.

Concept and realization : Lanziotti Lucas
Recording and mixing : Lèna Noiset, Judith Moriset
Host: Olivier Colson, Lanziotti Lucas

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode,  Lucas Lanziotti sits down with Davide Speranza, the leader of Odoo's Direct Sales team, and Carlos Fernández Weishäupl, the leader of the CSTI (Customer Success Indirect) team.

In this discussion, you'll gain valuable insights into the art of building a successful sales team in the dynamic world of a fast-growing tech company like Odoo. Davide and Carlos will share their experiences and expertise, covering a wide range of topics, including recruitment strategies, training approaches, team dynamics, motivation and engagement, and adapting to changes in a growing company.

They'll also delve into the importance of utilizing the right sales tools and technologies and provide examples of the challenges faced in different environments. Additionally, they'll explore their leadership styles and the impact they strive to have on their teams.

Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets behind Odoo's global growth and discover practical tips and best practices for creating a winning sales team.

And if you're more of a visual person, we've got you covered! Check out the video version of this episode right here!
______________________________________________________

Don’t forget to support us by clicking the subscribe button, leaving a review, and sharing your favourite episode!

Try Odoo for free !
Want to join our team? Explore our positions here.

Concept and realization : Lanziotti Lucas
Recording and mixing : Lèna Noiset, Judith Moriset
Host: Olivier Colson, Lanziotti Lucas

Olivier:

Welcome back to Planet Odoo. We are thrilled to introduce an exciting new series today, the Sofa sessions. You might already know this series of videos from our YouTube channel where our super host, Lucas Lanciotti, engages with the best of our Odoo profiles ranging from meeting office directors to shedding a light on unique internal projects. These episodes will be your touchpoint for fascinating conversations. So whether you're lounging on your couch, enjoying a walk or cruising in your car, join us in this podcast or on YouTube for this new sofa session.

Lucas:

Hi, I'm Lucas and welcome to the Odoo Sofa sessions where we showcase the In this episode, we're going to explore the art of building a successful sales team and how our team leaders playing a vital role in this process. As a fast growing global tech company, Odoo caters to a diverse and ever expanding customer base, from small business to large enterprises to software integrators. We operate in multiple languages and across various industries, so to ensure our continued success, we rely on a top performing sales team that can understand and meet the unique needs of each customer. So joining us today, two of my good friends and team leaders who are playing an instrumental role in identifying, recruiting, training and managing top sales talent here at Odoo. So let's find out how from Davide and Carlos. Guys, thanks again for for joining me.

Davide:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Lucas:

Davide, Carlos, could you please introduce yourselves and just give us a bit of

Davide:

Yeah, I'm Davide. I work here at Odoo. Since I've been working here for four years now. I started working with partners in the in direct sales, and now I lead a team of six people in direct sales. So we work directly with the customers.

Carlos:

Yeah. In my case, this is now my fourth year here as part of the CSTI team and for the last two years of that in that department.

Lucas:

Can you just quickly explain what is CSTI?

Carlos:

Yes, sure. So we call it we call it CSTI. It stands for Customer Success team indirect.

Lucas:

Okay.

Carlos:

Because we work not only with the clients but also with the partner that is

Lucas:

And I am a Team leader for the partnership team.

Carlos:

There you go.

Lucas:

That recruits partners.

Carlos:

Correct.

Lucas:

So we have now here three completely different sales roles.

Davide:

Good knowledge in this room now.

Lucas:

Yeah, I think we can compliment each other. Yeah, that's. That's great. I think we have a very important role in this growth, which is reaching out, acquire, and maintaining new customers and partners, right?

Davide:

Correct.

Lucas:

Let's start by building the first building blocks. What do you look more in? What are the primary characteristics that you look for in a new sales person?

Davide:

But, you know, the profiles are always quite different. One of the things that I appreciate the most, and I try really to to to dig in during interviews at the beginning is a bit the coachability and the adaptability of uh, uh, um, of our, uh, of the people that supply an application here because, you know, we'll maybe cover it a bit later, but Odoo is a very, uh, fast changing company, so it's important for the person to really be aligned with our culture and the traits. So transmit that as of the beginning and then to see how the person reacts. So just to see, okay, am I going to work well with this person and to understand that since the very beginning.

Carlos:

Great. Yeah, yeah. I think I think something, a trait that is very important is And that's why we grill people during, during the interviews in the sense of with different people that are usually part of the process of those few hours, we try to throw them balls that maybe they're not really ready for just to see how how quick they're able to respond to those, to those requests, questions and things that they don't really expect, because that's at the end of the day, the reflection of of what's going to be like on the on the everyday job.

Davide:

A bit uncomfortable position in.

Carlos:

The real world. Yeah. Yeah. And with different people. I think that when a new person enters the room, enters the, the, the call, the meeting and you have to change gears somehow. That really is something to, to, to bear in mind because if if a person is successful at that and continues the storyline, being able to adapt it whenever necessary, I think that tells you a lot during the interview. And I think it's it's it's very interesting to to actually be witness of that.

Lucas:

To participate. Yeah. The one of the most interesting exercises that I do when I interview is the"explain me anything" where they have two minutes to explain anything that they want. But what I'm looking for is the logical construction of a storytelling, how you are, you know, preparing the ground and then explaining the main concept and then concluding with something to to keep us engaged, etcetera. And if somebody is able to do that, you know, shows the whole logical process.

Carlos:

And it can be anything, anything. It can be a life experience, it can be an academic one, it can be a professional one. And but as long as it's as it makes sense to the purpose of the exercise, you can really see how you know how intelligent that person is because they are able to take what what has been productive on their end and put it in place to pursue a goal. So that's that's actually something to to really regard as important.

Davide:

Or sell me this pen that's always.

Lucas:

The sell me this pen is a classic. Yeah. Tell me something.

Carlos:

I think that structure I would say structure within an improvised. Um. Atmosphere tells you a lot because the structure needs to be there. That gives you a sense of organization of the person in their thoughts. But there a way that it's not corseted, that it comes out as natural as something that it's really important.

Lucas:

Now that we have kind of recruited. Moving on to the second building block that I would like to, you know, to create this kind of this whole life cycle of a salesperson, because we are talking about how our experience is here in Odoo are shaping, you know, the growth. And it's one of the main engines of our expansion. How do training is a big, big role in what we do? How do you train, how do you engage? How do you keep them motivated?

Davide:

Well, the training aspect is can be complex, you know, because then profiles are You need to understand from which angle you need to you need to tackle some issues or some points that are not clear. Then it depends a lot by by the team the person is working in. For example, here we have three different teams with different focuses. I can say maybe something for direct sales. It's important because we're not just salespeople. Indeed, we're also advisors. We're also like, Yeah, a lot of a lot of companies come to us with, I don't know what I need. I just know that I need to do something, you know? So from there, the person to understand that it's important really to, to guide a bit the, the customer, the potential customer and to provide solutions. So this out of the box thinking and this finding solutions to problems that customer bring to us is really, really important. So that is the most important thing. And then again, the one of the most important for me is the feedback. So giving feedback, receiving feedback the way this is done, and just to keep an open communication with, with the team.

Lucas:

That's, that's interesting. So on direct sales, you need problem solvers. You need people like having creative solutions. What are the kind of how do you build up your training and maintain your team motivated since they're responsible for a longer relationship?

Carlos:

Yeah, that's, that's, I think the key in our department, which is, you know, you're always discussing what's going to be like tomorrow and one year in one month and six months. And you have to keep that always in mind. It's not only about the functional aspect, which is one of the parts, one of the sides. The other side is, in my view, one thing that I find extremely productive for people, especially young people, you know, that that we get out of the University of the first couple of experiences is to expose them to conflict. And in our trainings...

Lucas:

And physical.

Carlos:

It might get a little bit rough sometimes. But but, but the key thing is to to expose them to contrarian views, things that they're not really able to to accept in the first place. But that's going to happen. And when when you're in a deal, when you're trying to drive a project, when you're trying to convince someone that is really not convinced about what you are telling them about, they need to be ready for for that reality because that's that's the everyday business. You know, not not everyone is willing to accept whatever you say. Not everyone is there waiting for you to say something and then follow your lead. It's that that's not going to happen ever. And in the beginning, it's something that people need to understand and accept.

Lucas:

That's not sales.

Davide:

Yeah, that's a bit of a mediator position sometimes. No?

Lucas:

Yeah. Psychology psychologist, everything. Yeah. There's something that I kind of really like as a, as a way of maintaining a team. Motivated is trying to come up with games and challenges. Have you guys done that?

Davide:

We did, yeah. Something very funny, actually, because, you know, we have a set Everybody has is targets composed by the people that are belong to the team. And there was a funny situation last trimester last quarter, actually of last year. My team was not really working on their part of the report where we put our numbers, but it was mostly checking where the team was in terms of ranking, you know, with other team leaders. And that was really motivating them. They were going there, Oh, we got second. We need to close some deals to get first. And that was really nice to see the team spirit that we managed to build and yeah.

Lucas:

I sales contest keeping them.

Davide:

You need to put some things you know every now and then.

Lucas:

To a competitive drive is is is. Basic, basic.

Carlos:

As long as it is healthy. It's it's so motivating for people to to realize that they can always do a little bit better, you know, and the colleague must be there. The, the other team member must be there as just a motivation. It's a mirror. It's like, can I do better than this person? Which means at the end of the day, can I do better than what I've been doing so far? You know, and that's more or less in my case, what I'm trying to do, and it's not so much about numbers, but what we usually do on a weekly basis or bi weekly depends is we're trying to expose them to the others, the entire groups questions. And it's like an interrogatory. It's it's it's a set of questions that they can receive from everyone and they need to be prepared enough in order to come back to them because that measures them in a in a way of project understanding the same way that a customer or a partner would do, you know. And the more they're exposed to that in the beginning, they're very nervous. It's like this kind of fear to, okay, am I looking stupid or does it make sense what I'm proposing? But then over time you see that that person is way better prepared. That's it. But that would be it. Throwing the knowledge. Knowledge standoff. Yeah, exactly.

Lucas:

That's a nice way to put knowledge.

Carlos:

Yeah, yeah. They're able.

Lucas:

Like, a rap battle.

Carlos:

They get super comfortable with the idea of conflict that I mentioned before.

Lucas:

Yeah, the conflict resolution.

Carlos:

But, you know, they, they maybe in the beginning they might even take it badly. Like, why did that person ask me about that? But then they're, they're way more at ease with with that.

Lucas:

Moving on we are constantly changing. One of the first episodes, one of the first sofa sessions I had Antoine and we were discussing about Odoo's growth and evolution and how it kind of feels like a startup sometimes because the processes are not rigid, they're not even defined sometimes, right? So we have to foster. I think you said at the beginning adaptability that that kind of spirit of continuous learning, etcetera. How do we do that?

Carlos:

It's a good question.

Davide:

It's a big challenge. It's a big challenge. You know, not having processes. Sometimes you feel like you would need a bit of guidance, but on the other side, when something needs to be changed, it's easier to change it. So it's really important to understand this for for people working here and, you know, just quoting something we recently restructured a bit, the direct sales department. It was something really big that happened very suddenly as well. The communication was done well with with a short notice because here that's how we do things. Um, and you know, it was, um, I think the key aspect for a company that changes so fast is really the ability of communicating well on a global scale, first of all. And then as well with the role of team leader is the one of making sure that the message is passed well and is well received, and also the reasons why maybe a decision was taken. So I don't know what you think, but I mean, communication is definitely the aspect, number one. And then, uh, yeah, being able and being ready for the change for...

Carlos:

Completely agree with that. Adaptability to the change and then being able to, to phrase it out in a way that everyone understands it and feels comfortable with with the debate. If there is a discussion. Yeah. Uh, in order to get a little bit of a better insight of what's going on, uh, is key. And for us in, indirect, there needs to be that we, we need to, we need to confront changes on a daily basis, even even of people that we're talking to. Sometimes big organizations, businesses, they they restructure all the time. And you're you have to get introduced to someone new and you have to be also ready to that. You know, it's the external change and the internal change that you have to be feeling comfortable with.

Lucas:

Exactly. This for me is the communication, because when a change happens concern, maybe question marks, doubts, and our job is to actually make sure that the sales team understands that changes are the changes exist to to continue the evolution that they need to understand so they can actually perform better. And sometimes changes can be conflictual, can be difficult because when a process is is ingrained, it's not always, you know, easy to to to to take on a new challenge or a new way of doing things. And I think that's kind of our main role. It's information flowing from both sides top down and bottom down. Because if the if the sales team, which is actually doing the work, doesn't communicate properly to you and therefore the feedback goes up to the top, they'll never know what is actually happening on the floor and on the other way around the same.

Davide:

But I mean, we have one version of Odoo every every year. So I mean, these, these changes, we see it every year. So, I mean, this is in our DNA as well. No?

Lucas:

Uh, let's move towards kind of the end of our life cycle. Now we have, you know, we have a team that is constantly evolving and adapting. Not always easy. We understood that we have to work with different tools and technologies. In Odoo, obviously we use Odoo as our main CRM. You use different apps to maintain. I think there we need to keep up with new technologies. How do you think your team approaches? They use not just of Odoo but general sales tech tools.

Davide:

But quite well I would say initially. Also speaking of recruiting and the whole cycle, you know, getting people to to use the Odoo a lot. Like we have a good system and they need to first of all to get on board with that. and it's interesting the approach that they have because it's sometimes different, but I mean, everybody is quite happy to see then how smooth the work is and to use the software that we then use, because obviously that's the most added value to be able to use and see the added, the, the added value of, of the tool that you sell as well. And then related to new technologies. Yeah, I mean everybody's using a bit of help, let's say I we were discussing just, just before this take. So yeah I mean widely used in my team a bit, not that much but I mean.

Carlos:

I'm not aware of that use. I'm still I don't know if I want to know but it's, it's something that it's coming that it's there that we are going to have to be ready for, that it's going to become natural with time.

Davide:

Can be blind about it obviously. I mean if we can get a little help in some cases.

Lucas:

Yeah I think it's it's an extra it's an extra pair of hands.

Carlos:

Is a tool, right. I mean tools can be can be used for the good and the bad. And we are we're here to try to make the most out of them in that sense.

Lucas:

As I was saying, one of one of the guys in my team tried to get the support to negotiation phase. And it seems to be working well. And these are the kinds of experiments that we play around. And and it's interesting to see the yeah. Also the the adaptability of the sales team in using those tools. I want to focus a little bit on on on you two and the role that we have as as team leaders, as managing people. Do you know what is your leadership style and how do you like how do you like to be seen as a manager?

Davide:

Yeah, we did recently the the color game. Apparently I'm a blue and green for for what it means.

Lucas:

Just a quick explanation. The I think it's the insights discovery. The insight discovery. Yeah. Color grades people according to the personality. Right?

Davide:

Exactly.

Lucas:

It's divided by introvert, extrovert. And then you have the emotion.

Davide:

The team player. Yeah. I mean, there are several aspects that play into it. Yeah. The part that I. Well, just to explain a bit better, indeed. No. In my team, the kind of personality that I want to that I want to show and have with the people obviously as well, it changes a lot from person to person. With some people you have to be a bit more direct with some other people you need to to adapt to to their style of communication. So clearly where all the colors. Yeah, in that sense. But I'm a person that really likes to to be a mentor at the beginning. So really to let the people know that I'm there to help them out. There is never a mistake they cannot talk about. Here at Odoo, that's our culture as well. Yeah, we have the let's do it attitude. We do mistake and then we know we did a mistake and we know how to fix it. So that's a bit the idea. Open communication, open feedback, not just the feedback that I give to my team, but I always ask them, Do you have any feedback for me. It's important because I got to grow as well as a team leader because if you never tell me that I'm missing something, like I cannot figure it out by myself. So it's really about the communication and making the team feel comfortable that there is somebody that can back them up in case something happens or in important negotiations.

Lucas:

That's good. I like that approach. What about you?

Carlos:

I'm a rare personnel.

Lucas:

I remember that.

Carlos:

Who would have thought?

Lucas:

Um, very direct. Very to the point.

Carlos:

I think. I think, indeed, that was something that maybe when we measured that I didn't expect to to be so much on that side. Now it kind of makes sense. Most of you know, now my life makes sense. Um, but it's one of the things that I really think are important is when you start your own team, the structure of the team to make it as sometimes as different as possible from your own being. From Yeah. Because that's also the way you can actually learn on the long term. You know, you try to you don't you try to avoid having a team that is just the same as you are because otherwise you, you're, you're, you're talking to yourself somehow. And that doesn't make you that does make you better over time and you really want to improve. And in order to improve you, you have to sometimes listen to things that you don't like listening.

Lucas:

That are not pleasant.

Carlos:

Yeah, exactly. So once that is in place, then as long as you have an open channel always all the time, you know, and everyone feels comfortable enough to, to speak up and not shy enough to prevent having feedback on, then the communication is flowing all the time and everyone is learning. Everyone's trying to be a little bit better, you know, for the next time when when the next deal happens, when the next call takes place, when the next meeting needs to be scheduled, everyone needs to be a little bit better prepared. And the same thing applies to myself.

Lucas:

Yeah. So I get the recurring open communication, open channel, avoiding the your bias and bubble to just listen to what you want to to listen and people that act and behave kind of similar to you that's not going to grow us neither them.

Davide:

Or the company.

Lucas:

Or the company. Indeed. True. We have to. Yeah. Yeah. I honestly appreciated the the insights that you brought to the table. I think you two are, you know, really good at what you do. And I'm happy to also be learning from, from our peers between, you know, team leaders. Thanks a lot for for joining me.

Davide:

Pleasure.

Lucas:

And catch you guys on the next Odoo sofa session. Thanks.

Olivier:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Sofa sessions on Planet Odoo. Did you find it entertaining? Did it leave you craving for more? We'd love to know. Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and subscribe to the show. And hey, if you're in the mood for more visual content, head on over to our YouTube channel for the video version of this episode. Thank you for being a part of this amazing experience. Until next time, Cheers.