By Stefan Seferović, on Feb 18, 2020

Sales the Contentful way: Trust and mutual success

For those of us who don’t work in sales, we might jump to the assumption that the process is aggressive, pushy, or even a little dishonest. We may think that sales is a smoothing-over of flaws, insisting to customers that “we’re right for you” even though it might be a wrong fit. Thankfully, the Contentful sales team is nothing like this. Instead, you’ll find that it’s full of tech-savvy people who are ready to partner with customers in a sincere relationship. It’s a team that values honesty and transparency above all else.

One of these people is Stefan Seferović, a Contentful sales old-timer. We sat down with him to talk about how Contentful approaches sales and learn about how he makes the sales process as human as possible. Here’s what he had to say.

Diversity in a sales team is key

People from different backgrounds perceive and solve problems in unique ways. When you work with a team that is rich in professional and cultural diversity, it comes with fresh perspectives daily. Your colleagues bring their own life experiences, customer interactions and education to the table. This is essential for solving problems and avoiding a repetitive set of inputs. Such a foundation encourages mental growth and motivates you to improve your abilities. Personally, it is also a great privilege.

Diversity is a huge asset that brings balance. When you embrace it, you'll find that it sets your company apart.

Talk openly with your customers about their problems

We behave as a partner to our customers, not just a vendor. We hear that many companies wash their hands of any responsibility after selling a product. Not Contentful. Our open and honest way of communication is there from the get-go. There’s no sense of: “you have to find your value from Contentful.” Instead, we help you to get the most value from the platform, and we stick with you after it’s all set up.

Customers are transparent about when they need help. Often people come to us on their initiative and ask us to help champion Contentful within their organization. It’s rewarding to be part of their journey. We have one or more engaged champions who are always rooting for us. This setup is a recipe for success!

We’re also very receptive to letting customers influence us. Customer feedback, even from those initial sales calls, is funneled back to our product team. When you make customers a part of your organization, they become part of your success. Both parties want the other to be successful, and they both strive toward mutual goals. This is sales on a whole new level.

Make the sales process as human as possible

If I were to portray the sales team at Contentful, it would be: talented, kind, supportive, and passionate. These characteristics are crucial to producing an enjoyable buying experience. And for us as a team, the results are pretty clear: we become close to our customers, and there’s not a whole lot of formality after our initial contact! We end up Slacking each other, and this results in a sense of continued openness.

Fast-forward this strong affinity six months into a contract, and we get to be included early in expansion opportunities where our champions feel comfortable to introduce us to new relevant stakeholders. Contentful thus becomes a solution to every new digital initiative that requires content. It’s a modern, human way of doing sales that’s all about understanding, empathizing & consulting in a healthy relationship. It'a also a great way to foster credibility and trust — a trust that goes both ways.

Never stop learning about the product

Selling Contentful is technical, and it can get complicated. You are managing multiple stakeholders, both internally & externally. What Contentful brings to the table is far from transactional, so for me, it’s essential to start with value.

At the same time you need to, as a salesperson, expand your spectrum of technical knowledge to be able to speak the same language as your prospects. We take a deep dive into content modeling, delivery architecture, bridging the gap between developers and non-technical folk, bulletproof authoring workflows –– just to name a few things! The learning never stops. It’s an ongoing process.

To have these discussions, you need to know the product inside out and match features to business metrics across several conversations. I make an effort to learn about our platform and future releases from the product team, so I can represent the company in the best possible way.

Contentful helps employees with this process by providing a generous budget for our education. We can use it for a whole range of things, from coding classes to leadership conferences.

*Are you Interested in joining Contentful as part of the sales team? We’re always looking for passionate people who want to make sales as human as possible! Check out our open positions.

Stefan Seferović

Stefan is an account executive in the sales team at Contentful. He believes in humans, science, humour, food and working hard early in life so he can retire young.