Hello, sales career: why selling the Hello Customer platform is great fun

What is it like to work for an international and fast-growing organization like Hello Customer? Is it any fun? And what kind of people are cut from the right cloth to enjoy a sales career at Hello Customer? We popped these questions to Sonia Abbou and Emiel Lutz. The younger Sonia Abbou works as a sales development representative in Paris, while the more experienced and Amsterdam-based Emiel Lutz is commercially responsible for The Netherlands: “If you master a sales job at Hello Customer, you’ll reap the benefits throughout your entire career!”

 

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More Sonia’s

Hello Customer, founded and headquartered in Belgium, developed and sells a software-as-a-service platform on customer feedback to larger, mostly B2C-oriented companies. Sonia works as a first point of contact for potential Hello Customer clients in the French market and explores if there are any doors to open. Emiel knocks on doors as well, but is also trying to close the business in the Dutch market: “We don’t have co-workers with Sonia’s profile in The Netherlands yet, but we are looking for a few Sonia’s. Then I can step in as soon as the first meetings are being planned.”

Quarterly team gatherings

In less pandemic-driven times, Sonia and Emiel physically meet every three months at the quarterly international team gatherings. Until now, they were mostly held in the Belgian headquarters in Gent, but they might just as well take place in Paris or Amsterdam. Sonia: “To stay connected, we have a weekly sales meeting on Monday morning at 9h30. But whenever I have a question, Emiel is just one phone call or an e-mail away.”

Software-with-a-service

Both Sonia and Emiel are selling the software-as-a-service platform on customer feedback to larger companies in branches like retail, restaurants chains, telecom, fast moving consumer goods, banking and insurance: all B2C-focused businesses with lots of customers journeys.

Emiel: “Most potential clients already acknowledge the advantages of improving the customer experience. The solution Hello Customer offers is very compelling, but it needs some explaining. So besides outbound marketing, we do a lot of content creation and advertising. Our founders say we sell software-with-a-service, not software-as-a service. Our platform solution is very good in bridging the gap between operations and management: people working in headquarters get a much better idea of what is going on in stores for example. The platform also provides store and area managers with all the feedback they need to improve their performance. But the additional service we offer to the higher level of clients is much more strategic. It’s really consultancy, it’s looking at the bigger picture: how can your company become more customer centric?”

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Different countries, specific approach

While Sonia and Emiel are both selling the same platform, the sales culture in France differs from the Dutch. Sonia: “In France, prospects still want to meet in person. In a restaurant, for example. And my co-worker in Paris is still contacting most of his cold prospects by phone. In Belgium and The Netherlands, prospecting is more an online thing.”

Emiel: “It’s also a generational matter. People older than 45 like to be contacted by phone, while younger prospects prefer to chat. The Dutch are more responsive to e-mail than the French, but of course France is a much bigger market.”

Freedom & responsibility

We now have an idea of what Sonia and Emiel are actually selling and how they do it. But is it any fun? Sonia: “Absolutely! Hello Customer is is both a cool platform to sell and a cool international company to work for.”

Emiel: “Firstly, the Hello Customer platform is very easy to relate to as a candidate or an employee. Secondly, we are a fast-growing company. This requires a certain mindset and a specific DNA. Not everything in our organization is written in stone yet. But if you can handle that, the learning curve is very steep and you can easily grow. What Sonia does, for example, isn’t easy at all. But if you master it, you’ve learned a skill for life. If you’re able to open doors to new customers on a high level – we talk C-level management here – you’ll reap the benefits of this throughout your entire career.”

Sonia: “I agree. I experience a lot of freedom in my job, but I also bear a great responsibility. I do have to get results, of course. But it’s not stressing me out. You just have to be quite hands-on and self-supportive to do what I do. And you need some guts too, since you are indeed targeting C-level people – quite intense for younger people like me who just started their professional life..”

Steep growing path

Emiel: “When we hire people for the job of sales development representative - like Sonia - we expect them to fulfil that role for about a year. After that, they’ll have the opportunity to grow to, for example, junior account executive. Because we grow fast, we have a lot of job opportunities. Not just for starters, but also for more experienced profiles like mine.”

Sonia: “I am seven months in the company now. The most logical next step would indeed be to become a junior account executive, but a marketing function is possible as well. We’ll see!”