A VIP Sales Journey to Customer Success:
Exclusive Leadership Interview with Othmar Müller Von Blumencron
By: Caylin White
This week we go on a sales journey to customer success with our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Othmar Müller Von Blumencron. To coin our Leadership page on our website:
Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, born and raised in northern Germany, is not only an International Business Executive with a Ph.D., but he’s also an Olympic sailor, a ballroom dancer, a major player in the high-tech industry, a father and most likely a genius. I know he may sound like a fictitious person, but I assure you he is not. He is real and so are his accomplishments.
Othmar has the unique ability to identify new market opportunities for his clients and capitalize on them with lasting financial returns. He is passionate about Loyalty Marketing, Consultative Sales, Business and Product Development. Throughout his multifaceted career, he initiated, managed and implemented major strategic initiatives in Europe, the US, and other Global markets within the New Media, Internet, Customer care, Lifestyle, and Loyalty Marketing industries.
Besides closing some landmark deals and being an extremely gifted Olympic athlete (who has won competitions across the globe), he is a true family man who loves his kids unconditionally – his two pet birds and his green iguana. He’s honest, kind, social and has the best last name, ever. Try to find someone who doesn’t like him, just try.
We sat down with Othmar and got his insight on his sales journey.
How long have you worked with VIPdesk Connect?
I have been with VIPdesk Connect since October 2007. Since then we have gone through various mergers and acquisition phases which led us through rounds of venture capital, an acquisition and finally a Management Buyout.
The most exciting phase has been since 2014 when we became an independent entity solely focused on delivering tailor-made Customer Experience solutions. That precise focus has allowed us to invest in the right people and technology and as a result, almost triple our revenue.
How is sales in outsourcing customer service different than any other sales?
Although certain sales skills are always the same, every industry has their special requirements. Since we sell highly complex solutions to businesses which seek to outsource one of their most critical functions, building trust is at the center of every sales interaction.
“At the end, people buy from people they like but, in our industry, even more from people they trust.” – Othmar
You must be very knowledgeable regarding the industry you sell into and the specific situation of each client. To gain a complete understanding of the pain points a prospect is experiencing and tailoring a solution which would overcome these is necessary before you even start pitching.
Once you have sold a prospect on the initial proposition, it is all about building trust, trust, trust.
Which of our company values do you feel you excel at the most and why?
Being true to our core values and communicating them in an authentic way is key for me as I am talking to more potential external stakeholders than any other person in the company. Overall, I feel I bring a lot of Positive Energy to the company, which is one of our core values.
However, being Transparent, Helpful, Creative and Flexible – our other core values — are key essential values to succeed in my sales role.
Sales most times is about “storytelling” and being completely un-transparent which I firmly believe is not a success formula in our industry and will back-fire quickly in the advanced stages of the sales cycle. My “stories” are very real. So, Transparency is probably another value I excel with.
What have you learned over the course of your time with VIPdesk Connect?
Of course, I learned every aspect of our industry and what works or does not work in Customer Experience.
It really is an amazing industry! First, since I have a marketing background, I always viewed our industry as a true “one-on-one” marketing function. In our times today where you can reach millions of actual and potential customers with one Tweet, no brand can really afford a bad customer experience.
Second, the ever-changing technology components that support our efforts are fascinating and understanding the true potential of our target market. Capitalizing on the opportunities which come with it is absolutely critical.
Third, Customer Service is a real “People” industry which includes some wonderful and interesting personalities all the way from CEOs to front line Brand Ambassadors.
And finally, with respect to our specific sales, I had to learn that this is a very difficult and complex role! I take a lot of the attributes which made me a successful athlete at one point in my life and try to apply them to my function:
(i) Preparation is key, there is no sale without being 110% prepared both with respect to your own solutions and to knowing your prospect
(ii) always stay one step ahead of your competition and know them well
(iii) maintaining a good balance of confidence when you win and learning from defeats
All in all, a wonderful experience, I would not want to have ever missed.
What is one fun story you have about your sales journey you would like to share?
Where should I start? 😊
Maybe how it all started. I was at a sailing regatta near Block Island in June 2017 and since we won a few trophies, we had a wonderful party to celebrate our success. That was also during a time when I was looking at new opportunities to continue my career after experiencing the heart of the ‘Internet Boom’ at AOL for seven years.
When the festivities were winding down, I saw a job posting from VIPdesk Connect, a company I dealt with during my time at AOL. The opportunity sounded interesting and I loved the virtual at-home approach to disrupt the traditional call center industry.
So, I sent the recruiter an email while slightly tipsy. Once I woke up in the morning with a minor headache, I remembered that I sent an email last night. Worried about what I would have written I ran downstairs, and I was extremely relieved that what I sent made perfect sense … a few hours later, I got a response and that was how it all started!
Cheers to that!
How do you differentiate VIPdesk from other vendors in this industry when you approach new clients?
VIPdesk Connect is set up very different than other providers in this space. We don’t even view ourselves as a “call-center” but more as marketing experts which enable companies to stay in tune with their customer needs. The information we elevate back to our clients — with respect to what we hear from their customers — allows our clients to fine-tune their entire marketing mix from product related feedback to pricing and distribution.
This is an area where we know we excel and this is very relevant to any company today. We are also in the final innings of becoming a B-Corp, the ultimate certification for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability for balancing profit and purpose. With this step, we are validating our culture which is based on an uncompromised focus for the well being of our team members.
Those things together really, differentiates us very clearly from our competing vendors and it also is music to the ears of the companies we like to work with!
What are your goals for the future of sales at VIPdesk Connect?
We will grow the company into a leading provider in our specific industry vertical by offering innovative solutions supported by the best Brand Ambassadors available.
This will also include expanding internationally, which I am particularly excited about giving my international background (I am from Germany!). I am also excited to expand the team, so we have additional talent working on lead generation and marketing.
As I mentioned before, our Sales cycle is long, and I am hopeful that some of the investments we have placed into leads over the last three years will now mature and ultimately turn into clients.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“No excuse to lose!”
I think that about sums it up! Dennis Connor, one of the true heroes in sailing, wrote a book entitled No Excuse to Lose where he applied the success factors which made him win many prestigious regattas to a strategy for winning in life. It really hit home with me.
I think accountability is key to really enjoy success and learn from failures. Blaming other people or certain circumstance for your failures or losses is exactly the wrong approach although often so tempting. If your success is dependent on factors you cannot control, you are setting yourself up for failure. I think I had this quote on my desk from the day after I read this book over 25 years ago!
VIPdesk Connect Team