We talked to Carsten Broich of Sales.Rocks on how to engage in conversation using hyper-personalization and AM for upselling using smart triggers and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Carsten Broich: Family is doing fine, but with my parents in the riskier age categories, we have reduced the physical contact. However, we have regular contact via call. I believe I currently have more contact with them compared to previously.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sales.Rocks
Carsten Broich: I think I was about 19 years old when working in a call centre when I saw that the company lacked B2B data. During my Aerospace university, I didn’t go to any classes, so I had enough spare time to figure out where to pull data.
Two weeks further, I managed to earn my first 3000 Euros, which was not bad for a 19-year-old kid. Having the proper entrepreneurial drive, I spent that money on a four-week Thailand vacation (not many memories left but worth it).
After coming back to Europe, I figured I could give this a proper shot. There were me and my laptop, and from there we scaled close to 60 employees – entirely bootstrapped.
How does Sales.Rocks innovate?
Carsten Broich: Feedback, feedback and feedback. Listen to your experience, your colleagues and your clients. They will tell you what they need, and it’s your job to figure out how to do that best. And I know it’s nothing new, but trial and error. Verify your ideas. If they stand up in practical implementation, they aren’t just an idea, but an actionable innovation.
At Sales.Rocks we try to combine experience with the latest developments, and we strive to have reliable service based on both.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Carsten Broich: The most significant impact we saw was on team displacement. The nature of our work requires cohesion between different teams and constant communication for quick decision making. The remote work policy initially affected the groups, but what surprised me was how quickly they adapted and took the whole situation in stride.
It’s essential that your people know you are there for them if they need something, even a small talk on occasion and even if we’re out of office doesn’t mean that the atmosphere isn’t there. So keep in touch regularly and understand that everyone is different and handles the situation differently. Just be there for your team.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Carsten Broich: During Corona (COVID-19), we decided to take a salary cut back with all colleagues collectively. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we learned how supportive and understanding colleagues were. As soon as the situation got better, we went back to normal, and at the end of the year, we were even able to pay out a collective bonus. Lesson learned: outline in which situation you are in – communication is critical. Be transparent with your team and trust them to support you when the time comes.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Carsten Broich: A lot of sleepless nights, but what helped during Corona was talking to other founders and realizing: what is the worst that can happen?
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Carsten Broich: We are swimming in a vast pool here. And there are big fishes present on the market for years ( I can name some of them that are also close to us – European based like Vainu, but also US-based like Hunter.io, Zoominfo Clearbit and many others). And how do we plan to stay in the game? That depends on the speciality of each platform. Each competitor stands out from the rest with specific things, and the choice depends really on what the users need at the moment. I think we can stand out with excellent customer support and we can deliver new things very quickly. For the rest, I’ll let the users be the judge of it.
Your final thoughts?
Carsten Broich: Even though the pandemic is still present and shows no sign of stopping, I believe that we are in a good place business-wise right now. We are lucky that the industry we work in wasn’t affected by the pandemic and the digitalization was in our favour.