Be able to elevate people in a new position, partnering with them to raise their level of expertise by either coaching them or by working with them on sales methodology and strategy.
MEDIA 7: What inspired you to pursue a successful career in sales and development?
FRANCOIS RYCHLEWSKI: Being in sales wasn’t the objective that I had in mind after graduating with an M.A in Marketing & Communication. Working within large organizations in the marketing department became a challenge as I couldn’t understand the support of the sales org. needed from us to succeed. I naturally decided to experience the other side to become a sales representative, in order to better understand the challenges, the issues, and the needs that the job would require.
From that moment, I did not come back to marketing and I evolved in sales org. since 1999.
My job today is different than 23 years ago and I’m now focused on helping companies to grow in EMEA, structure sales and business development organizations, and partner with existing and new customers in our joint sales success. The same thing is still there though. Helping customers to solve issues by bringing added value solutions. From my experiences at Oracle, Adobe, Marketo, or now SheerID, the common denominator is added value and it was always what made me move from one experience to another. Sharing the knowledge to a new generation of Sales Executive is the other trigger. Be able to elevate people in a new position, partnering with them to raise their level of expertise by either coaching them or by working with them on sales methodology and strategy.
Last but not least is to contribute to successfully kick-off the EMEA organization, sometimes from scratch. It’s exciting! I joined SheerID in November 2020 and we now have a team of 12 across sales, pre-sales, marketing, product, business development and we opened an office in London. We continue to grow to deliver the best service for our customers and partners which is motivating for me.
M7: How does SheerID help brands use identity marketing to drive leads?
FR: We recognize that consumers are increasingly seeking authentic, and personalized experiences from brands that they trust. In fact, our research shows that 81% of consumers need to be able to trust a brand before they can buy from them. This is achieved by recognizing and celebrating a consumers’ identity. SheerID helps hundreds of leading brands, like Spotify, The Economist, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, use identity marketing to reach 2.5 billion consumers worldwide. With our identity marketing platform, brands can create personalized, exclusive shopping experiences, to engage and reward their most coveted consumer communities based on their identity, whether they are students, teachers, healthcare professionals, or other consumer communities.
Identity marketing empowers brands to acquire more customers by creating strong emotional connections, which lends itself to nurturing their loyalty with authentic experiences, whilst also protecting their margins as only eligible consumers can redeem the offers. Again, this increases the appeal of an offer and adds that extra layer of exclusivity to consumers. In a study by Forrester Consulting, 88% of marketers said if they could align campaigns with more meaningful attributes, it would make their companies more successful. Identity marketing presents growth opportunities for brands.
By improving digital experiences, organizations can see the positive impact on their bottom line in terms of increased conversions, loyalty, and ultimately, customer retention.
M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
FR: This really builds on the points raised earlier. In today’s digital world, it is vital to provide connected, personalized, and optimized experiences to consumers but not at the expense of their privacy. Our research indicates that 84% of the consumers want more control over how their data is being used. Brands have an opportunity to build trust, gain real insight into their customers, build meaningful relationships, and really nurture their deeper brand loyalty. When brands do that they appeal to a consumers’ identity and emotions. By improving digital experiences, organizations can see the positive impact on their bottom line in terms of increased conversions, loyalty, and ultimately, customer retention.
M7: How do you generate leads? What is the process of lead generation at SheerID?
FR: Lead generation is so important to get right, especially in the age of information overload. People are inundated with information, they are more connected and socially influential than ever, so it is critical to cut through the noise and find creative ways to reach potential customers. At SheerID, we see the lead generation process as a journey, from the initial stage when we educate prospects around our solutions, to nurturing their interest and converting them to actual customers. In fact, I’ll add one more step: we strive for reaching the stage of advocacy – this is really where our relationship with a customer we partner extends to the point where they are uniquely placed to directly influence the strategic direction of our product roadmap.
Let me walk you through our approach to lead generation. We recognize that people might be at different stages in their buying process so initially, we may contribute to articles or do an interview like this one, write a blog, seek speaking opportunities at industry events, and more, to introduce our brand and build connections with potential customers. This then opens up opportunities to educate further and dive deeper into the benefits that can be gained from identity marketing through whitepapers, webinars, or events. Ultimately, we want to meet our future buyers when they’re ready and demonstrate to them how our platform adds value, and how they can be successful in implementing identity marketing programs, backed by the powerful success stories of the 100’s of brands we help worldwide.
This is not necessarily a linear process, ultimately, lead generation is a 2-way process. I truly believe that today’s buyers are self-directed, they will engage when they are ready so it’s about recognizing the intent signals, offering them relevant content, and nurturing that relationship until they are ready to engage further.
Contribute to successfully kick-off the EMEA organization, sometimes from scratch. It’s exciting!
M7: How does SheerID ensure that sales teams understand and present their products in an engaging manner?
FR: Having the same message shared by everyone is important to keep consistency. At SheerID we invest at an early stage of the onboarding process to be sure our sales will understand not just how the product works but more importantly, what value the solution could bring to solve a situation or replace a competitor. We do not sell features otherwise we compete at a low level of discussion which - most of the time - results in fighting only on price without discussing value at all.
What we try to achieve is to position our platform at a higher level on how we could help companies to deliver more revenue, reduce fraud, and increase conversation and customer lifetime value (CLTV). Sales tend to speak the same language as our customers. We trained them on challenges, vertical pains, and how to measure success. Following sales process and sales methodology in addition to a strong onboarding program are some of our keys to succeeding in a highly competitive environment.
M7: If you could, what would you advise aspiring sales and development professionals about the industry today?
FR: There are no easy sales. You would need the same energy and most of the time, the same time to prove your value and sign a large or a small deal. There is no small deal in fact, outside of the value of the deal itself. Every deal is crucial for us because it’s a win on how we could help the company to achieve its goals. And if learning from success is important, learning from a loss is even more crucial. What can be done differently next time, what did we miss in the sales process, etc.
My advice would be to always look into the detail, always try to collect as many points of view as possible. It's easy to be single-threaded in a sales relationship but going out of the comfort zone by engaging more, discussing more, challenging the status quo more is what makes the difference between good sales and an A-Player.