European Founder Interview: Jakob Thusgaard

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Jakob Thusgaard, is the Founder of YourSales, an Amsterdam-based firm that helps companies extent their sales to international markets. They have over 100 sales professionals worldwide. They pride themselves around offering flexible and scalable low risk worldwide sales coverage to companies.

We had been trying to connect for a while and were finally able to chat via SKYPE about his perspective on sales and his company.

Check out the chat:

[1/28/14 3:05:08 PM] Jorge Soto: Great. Thank you for taking the time to chat today.
[1/28/14 3:05:19 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Thank you for having me.
[1/28/14 3:05:49 PM] Jorge Soto: Can you tell me a little about your background and how you got into sales? — I love hearing peoples stories!
[1/28/14 3:06:58 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: How I got into sales? Wow. I guess it’s all I ever really felt passionate about. Since my very first job I’ve been going for the sales department – trying to learn from the people I saw as the best.
[1/28/14 3:07:56 PM] Jorge Soto: How long have you been in sales now and how have you seen in evolve?
[1/28/14 3:09:45 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Sales has evolved tremendously. I got my first list of prospects in 1997. Also back then it was all prospecting over the phone, but there was no LinkedIn, no social networks, basically none of the stuff sales and procurement alike use all the time today.
[1/28/14 3:10:47 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: …and that’s where the greatest evolution has come from: Technology. Everyone works differently today. Much more business is done virtually – with people in far away locations that clients choose to trust.
[1/28/14 3:11:14 PM] Jorge Soto: What are your favorite selling technologies that you use today?
[1/28/14 3:13:31 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: The #1 umbrella technology we use at YourSales has got to be SaaS. It virtualizes everything we do and make us completely independent of locations and even hardware. It means we can do business from anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
[1/28/14 3:14:54 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Right now I’m particularly thrilled about the simplicity of the opportunity management software from the guys at Pipedrive. We use it across several clients, so sales professionals can easily switch from their pipeline with one client to the pipeline with another client and manage it all on a single login.
[1/28/14 3:15:07 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: No affiliation, by the way.
[1/28/14 3:15:47 PM] Jorge Soto: Totally, I know the Pipedrive guys very well. They are actually really great sales people not just software entrepreneurs.
[1/28/14 3:15:48 PM] Jorge Soto: Can you tell me about YourSales and how startups can leverage you to reach their goals?

[1/28/14 3:19:02 PM] Jakob Thusgaard
: Actually we work with just about any size of company. It’s not so much the size of our client’s organization, but the type of challenge they face that makes YourSales a good fit.
We deliver sales on global scale. That means that if you’re worried about your revenue in a particular part of the World or a little nervous about starting a new office location, we help out by deploying a sales team in the region of interest – with people in place that have the right skills and language capabilities.
[1/28/14 3:20:09 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: We have clients that use us for anything from developing the local market for a single product to multi-continent sales efforts.
[1/28/14 3:21:04 PM] Jorge Soto: Very interesting.
[1/28/14 3:21:23 PM] Jorge Soto: What are the top 3 issues that you see your clients struggle with?
[1/28/14 3:26:56 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: 1. Thinking bigger
Many of the companies we speak to are in the software industry and have SaaS as their chosen business model. Yet, they lack ambition. Very often they just want to grab more local success or expannd into neighboring countries. SaaS is immediately available globally, so if you can go global, go global. We help with this.
2. Languages
There are just parts of the World where you can’t sell in English. YourSales covers all major languages, a bunch of not so major languages, and a few tiny languages as well (ever heard of Friulian?)
3. Risk Management
How do you expand and scale your salesforce while keeping costs and risk at manageable levels. Pretty tough with your regular employed workforce. The contingent workforce is set to grow significantly in 2014 and with good reason.
[1/28/14 3:28:19 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Those three are right up there and very much related to the long term growth of companies. There are others as well, like the lacking professionalization of sales operations. This is why we bring a suite of applications we suggest to use in assignments we take on.
[1/28/14 3:32:51 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Often clients just haven’t had the time to find solutions of their own. They really shouldn’t be blamed. To do that you need to be passionate about sales and actively spend time looking for tools which will keep you sharp.
I often see engineer background type of people asking how they can become better sales people. But being great at sales takes passion for sales. Many entrepreneurs just don’t want to be the sales part and they’re right not to: When you’re trying to create a good life for yourself by being an entrepreneur, why would you do something day in and day out that you dislike? Especially when you can get someone else to do it with you!?
[1/28/14 3:34:10 PM] Jorge Soto: Great. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, your company, or sales tips?
[1/28/14 3:41:45 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: Of course, anyone interested in a conversation about their sales should feel free to contact me.  It may or may not result in any of the 135 sales professionals associated with YourSales doing sales for that company, but I just always enjoy helping companies move towards their targets.
As for sales tips, I think anyone in the need of a bunch of tips in a small package could do well to read Dan Pink’s “To Sell is Human”. That goes for seasoned sales pros as well. That book is just filled with great info.
One could do well by following the @sales4_startups twitter feed. That’ll keep you updated and informed about sales as well as sales technology.
[1/28/14 3:43:32 PM] Jorge Soto: Thank you so much for your time today Jakob and have a great day!
[1/28/14 3:44:00 PM] Jakob Thusgaard: It’ll be a short one – it’s 15 to 1AM here. Thanks for your time – it was a pleasure!
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