Expedition Zervicepoint

Last week I was invited to participate in a podcast by our friends at Zervicepoint. The podcast was about sales and marketing which is my favorite subject but we also touched upon culture and other interesting subjects.

Zervicepoint is a self service and automation portal for companies who wants to provide their employees with an easy to use interface for consuming various internal services. The Zervicepoint team has operated within Enfo for 10+ years but are now managing their business on their own. They are documenting their journey in a podcast called Expedition Zervicepoint which is available on Spotify. It’s a relaxed format with interesting discussions around topics I think is important when building a company. Rickard Lööf is the CEO and Anna Claesson is the CMO of Zervicepoint, both close friends and partners to us at TIQQE.

Rickard Lööf, CEO, and Anna Claesson, CMO, at Zervicepoint in the making of yet another podcast.

Last week I was invited to share some thoughts of what we do at TIQQE in regards to sales and marketing. Rickard asked what I believe is the most important thing to succeed in sales. I believe that we too often complicate sales and marketing and forget about the basic concept – to help customers improve their business. Selling implies a push oriented approach where the seller tries to convince the buyer to buy something with various selling techniques. I’ve never seen that approach work in the long term. Yes, you might make the quota that quarter but in my view, sales is about building relationships and trust for the long term. If you manage to establish trust, where the customer feel that you actually care, you will not only grow faster than average but also improve your profitability. In the podcast, I shared some of my believes around building a customer oriented culture and sales organization.

We also discussed the concept of structure and systematic approaches within sales and marketing which both Anna and myself believe is a cornerstone in successful sales and marketing. The opposite to structure and systematics is ad-hoc and activity based which both of us believe is devastating as it promotes individuals and dismantle team efforts. Systematic approaches is not the same as to be process driven. Process driven sales organizations tend to be more focused on the sales process than to adapt to the actual customer situation. A systematic approach can still be customer centric, agile, flexible and fast but relies on a structured and systematic way of performing tasks which can be measured and improved over time.

We have a lot in common with Zervicepoint, operating in eco systems is one of them. The traditional “do everything yourself” is old school and doesn’t work in this new connected world. We believe in co-creation with partners and even competitors for the customers best interest and we have a couple of ideas of how we can co-create value for our respective customers. Stay tuned! We also share the same ideas around how to build an autonomous business based on strong cultural values. Maybe that’s a subject for a future podcast, who knows.

We wish Rickard, Anna, Johan and the whole team Zervicepoint all the best in your future endeavors, you’re awesome!

If you’re interested in providing your employees with a great user experience around ordering different internal services, have a look at Zervicepoint. If you’re interested in listening to the podcast you have to wait a few weeks but relax, we will post it here as soon as it’s available.


You think “off-shore”, we say multicultural! #part2

As mentioned in the previous blogpost, we want to enlighten the great possibilities to work in teams with a variety of cultures and time-zones. When working with TIQQE, you will work with four nationalities from three countries and in two time-zones. We are Swedes, Philippines, Italians and Chinese. And we’re really, really, proud of that.

So, to manage that kind of spread, both geographically and culture wise, how do we at TIQQE work to overcome the gaps and misinterpretations that (of course) comes with that?

Let us start with our friends in the Philippines. When they onboard a team, they will attend a ”Western Culture” training. And Yes. It’s needed. 

Because no matter from what angle you look at us in Sweden from the outside, we do things differently., We might think that the way we do things (everything between how we want to be managed and lead to how we’re running companies) is the norm for the world, but believe me. It’s not.

So when a manager from Sweden says ”I would really appreciate if I can have that piece of work on my desk on Wednesday”. We actually mean that ”I expect that it will be on my desk on Wednesday”. This can be interpreted in two ways, depending on the receiver. If it’s a Swedish person – he or she will have it done by Wednesday. If it’s a person from any other culture, it’s probably not that important since it’s just appreciated so it might wait until next week. To say the least, we Swedes are not always so crisp in our communication.

When we recruit into teams, we look at your personality, competence, how nice you are, your willingness to learn new things and your ability to grasp and understand the business that you’re going to work for. We found that teams where there’s a mixture of personalities, time-zones and competences are the strongest. Therefor we’re not looking for a copy of anyone already amongst us, we’re looking for unique people. 

So that’s before. What happens when you start?

Lets say that you’re about to be part of a TIQQE-team. You’ve been interviewed and the team wants you to start. First thing is that there is a ”meet and greet” where you just sit down and converse with your new team-members. The human connection is essential for succeeding. 

You will get an overview of the plan within the project so you will get an understanding for the work, and together with the team you will find a ”Goldielock-task” that you can execute (not to hard and not to easy) so that you feel that you’re contributing and that it’s not that scary with the new assignment.

We have a goal that a new team-member should be able to deploy something into the AT-environment the first day.

This is how we do our team-introduction. Both very simple and quite difficult.

Now you might wonder how we work and make sure we stay connected during our days?

To get the inside-story, look out for part three!

Read the first part here


Keeping up the company spirit

I believe that we, as leaders, have a big responsibility to keep up our company-spirits during these different times.

When push comes to shove is when the world turns upside down and we really have to prove ourselves to our employees. We have to show that we’re not only talk-the-talk, but that we also walk-the-talk. And it’s even harder when you don’t meet the people face-to-face. Everything that you do will be easier to interpret the wrong way, especially if most of the communication is in written words.

So, what can one do?

At TIQQE we’ve been working from home since 16th March. Now, almost seven weeks later there’s a new ”normal” at our company. In the offices we have – you’re not welcome if you have any flu-signs at all. We have a slack-channel where everyone that is planning to be in the office communicate with the others so that it becomes everyones free choice wether to be in the office or not. So being in the office is the one thing that you cannot do without regulations here at TIQQE.

Here is what we do. 

We’ve been practicing on conducting all our meetings on-line, and what we found is that with a few meeting-rules, it works as well, sometimes even better. We also learned the importance of having continuous communication. I would say that we are transparent in a normal world, but these days we’ve become better at it. Of course we have been forced to make tough decisions as well. We’ve cancelled sub-contractors in favor for our own employees, but we’ve been doing it with deep respect and love.

And with the joint intention to work together again once the world settles. I try to communicate with all employees in some way, pretty frequent. We still have our monthly meetings and me and Jacob show the truth, in numbers, and the actions we’re doing with words and slides. Every weekday we have an open online-channel, our lunch-hangout, where one can join from home and eat lunch and catch up with each-other. I don’t have the possibility to join every day, but I do it as often as I can and the discussions and talks are always energy-enriching. 

We have an eNPS system that we use, sending out questions every other week to all employees to see the temperature at TIQQE. And during these times, it was heartwarming and surprising that our numbers has gone up. So, to wrap this up. It’s not the big things that makes the difference, it’s the small things and what could be easier then to step up and walk-the-talk and be your word?

TIQQE eNPS January vs April compared to industry benchmark