As the leading Salesforce partner in the Adriatic region, we constantly seek ways to manage ambitious goals and improve performance. So, where to go for expert advice, if not to our Sales and Marketing Director, Barbara Podlogar.
In this interview, she shares tips and tricks for managing a growing IT company’s sales and marketing team efforts.
Barbara, when you joined Agilcon in really uncertain times two years ago, you were faced with a new environment, a demanding position, and high goals. Can you share the main challenges you were faced with and how you overcame them?
BARBARA PODLOGAR: Two years ago, I joined Agilcon during the corona crisis. Yes, it was a demanding time to change jobs, as I had to manage a new team mostly remotely and tackle ambitious goals. Implementing numerous changes and adapting was quite challenging for the entire team.
When making any decision and implementing changes, it is crucial to understand the root of the problem to avoid tackling an issue that isn’t the problem. Additionally, it is essential to involve the right people and pay attention to their reactions to potential changes to understand and align with the overall vision. Lastly, having access to the necessary information can assist in both identifying the problem and ensuring that the solution is well-received by those it will affect.
From my experience there are three important factors to achieve goals and stay competitive in such an uncertain business environment we are facing today:
- INNOVATE AND ADAPT QUICKLY: Companies that prioritize innovation and can adapt quickly achieve much higher growth rates than others.
- EMPOWER EMPLOYEES: Giving employees a clear vision, focus, expectations, autonomy, and recognition is crucial for their success.
- ESTABLISH AGILE PROCESSES: Of course, this is not a one-off solution, but a comprehensive approach to building “internal muscle” to deliver consistently against growth targets.
As a Sales and Marketing Director in a rapidly growing IT company, what were the key initiatives you prioritized when you took on the role?
BARBARA PODLOGAR: It was crucial that I paint a clear picture for my team of why we’re working towards growth, what benefits they can expect, and how we plan to make it happen. By outlining specific changes we’ll be implementing, I showed them that this year is attainable in ways that last year wasn’t. As a manager, it is my job to instill belief in the possibilities and empower our team to achieve them. It’s also crucial for me to have a thorough understanding of each team member. It’s not just about trust. It’s about being aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and knowing how to adapt to the unique challenges of remote work and an uncertain economic environment.
It’s not enough to simply increase numbers each year, so my main focus was on professionalizing sales and marketing. The small team was spread thin, lacking focus and expertise in certain areas. It was important to me that sales team members were solely focused on sales. I may be a woman, but multitasking was not an option in this case. We had to establish a dedicated marketing team to progress and streamline our processes.
So for me, the most critical efforts on our growth path are:
- Develop a clear outline with the concrete steps that will make this year’s progress distinct from last year’s.
- Get your team on the same page, and set clear expectations. Providing constructive feedback is a must.
- Install scalable and repeatable processes to optimize your efforts as much as possible with the help of technology.
You make it sound simple, but in fact it is a comprehensive and complex process. What would you say is the key factor that can help streamline and simplify processes in the background?
BARBARA PODLOGAR: As a business specializing in digitizing various key processes for companies throughout the region, it was vital that we lead by example and not fall into the trap of being “cobbler’s children” or “blacksmith’s mare,” as we often see in the market.
It was vital that we lead by example and not fall into the trap of being “cobbler’s children” or “blacksmith’s mare,” as we often see in the market. By utilizing technology, we were able to plan more accurately, track sales and projected revenues by month, identify and respond to insufficient sales opportunities, and target the right audience for our solutions. This resulted in better focus for the sales team and faster sales.
Furthermore, our CRM tool served not only as a way to track the progress of our sales team but also as a valuable tool for coaching and effectively communicating priorities. Similarly, our marketing tool (MCAE) was utilized not only for marketing communication but also for recruiting new talent and educating them about our company, Salesforce partnership, and job opportunities. Automating mundane tasks in marketing and sales can significantly enhance your team’s efficiency and reduce the workload of manual labor.
If I had to pick just 5 tools that are essential for staying competitive and being able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, they would be:
- MARKETING CLOUD ACCOUNT ENGAGEMENT (for B2B) and MARKETING CLOUD (for B2C). MCAE is a marketing automation tool to create meaningful connections, generate more pipelines, and empower sales teams to close more deals. MC is a data-first digital marketing platform to win customers and engage more efficiently.
- SALES CLOUD (CRM tool) helps to raise efficiency, optimize and lower costs of sales effort.
- SLACK gives us a flexible way to connect people, partners, and apps.
- GECKO HRM all-in-one HRM solution and the best choice for all growing companies to streamline the way you manage, develop, and engage your employees.
- SERVICE CLOUD gives us an efficient way to scale services that customers love from the contact center to the field on a single platform.