Software development house
STX Next is the largest Python software development house in Europe, working with partners throughout the US, Middle East and Western Europe. Its clients include Mastercard and Decathlon, the largest sporting goods retailer in the world. The STX Next business development team acquires new clients and makes sure their business goals are met
SaaS business Landingi makes building, changing and optimizing landing pages easy for marketers, without the need for technical help. Headquartered in Poland’s Silesian metropolis region, Landingi provides services for over 4,000 companies across diverse industries, including Luxoft, Sony Music, Credit Agricole, PayPal, and many more.
Matthew Harris: My name is Matthew Harris.
Christian Mendoza: My name is Christian Mendoza, and I am a business development team lead at STX Next.
Sebastian Resz: My name is Sebastian Resz, I am an account executive here at STX Next. Our job is to acquire new clients for our business and then maintain relationships, build trust, and in the end make sure that the business goals of our clients are met.
Matthew: As the largest Python software development house in Europe that they have an affinity for Python, but we aren’t limited to particular geographic locations. There’s certain industries that tend to be a really nice fit for Python. And that covers within data science, machine learning, AI.
Christian: We knew there was something else outside that we might not be aware of. And I particularly know by experience in working as a consultant many years ago. An external consultant always brings experience from other companies, and best practices implemented by other companies. This always just brings a lot of value.
Matthew: My expectations in terms of looking outside of the company for sales support were pretty low at first.
We get these offers fairly regularly. These are very often individuals who – I don’t want to say have dabbled within business development – but it seems that they have a fairly limited sales background.
Why we decided to move forward with NorthStar Consulting in this case was, look, when we looked at the individuals we’d be working with, these were two guys who had been in the trenches – they had lived, breathed business development – and I’m not talking just running meetings for inbound leads – I’m talking door to door sales, prospect calling.These are individuals who’ve been there. And they’ve got that experience – real experience – that they can transfer that to a group or an experienced sales team, that can make them that much better. So it was real.
Marta Błażejewska: So my name is Marta and I am a business development executive at STX Next.
As a sales team we wanted to be much better, and it was amazing to have someone that experienced to check our style that we have right now, and to change some of the aspects to be better at sales.
Matthew: I think in the past, if I were to speak for myself, and possibly for the team, I felt very comfortable being a little bit more spontaneous. I think looking back, that was probably a mistake. It had worked a few times, for sure. But you know, more structure is starting to lead to greater and greater results from our side.
In terms of how it impacts the clients, I think what we’re seeing is things move through the pipeline faster.
I think that they feel that their emotional needs, and understanding of the challenges on their side, are met earlier on in the discussion…probably leads to us being shortlisted in a shorter period of time and moving forward.
So we have seen that deals or prospects are starting to move through the pipeline quicker.
Christian: I have a little bit of a better structure. It doesn’t only help me to run a better meeting – but also it helps me briefing the person who is joining me, and to explain [to] him what are the aspects we should definitely cover over the meeting, so we don’t miss anything from that.
Sebastian: In terms of communication and the improvement that we got – growth in terms of confidence on our side, and the ease of doing those conversations – just because we had this structure always in the back of our mind, which helped us navigate through even the more difficult conversations
Having those building blocks prepared and ready and practiced, we could always just adjust them a little bit to a specific client, specific industry, specific culture even. Which just makes things much more easier in the end.
Christian: We are more secure of the outcome we are going to get from there. That’s quite important I think.
Marta: What I’ve learned and what is the most valuable for me right now is that they totally changed my ways of doing the call with potential clients. So I feel more right now that I’m having a control over the calls. That I am the one leading the chat.
They also prepared me for many objections from the clients – so I feel more comfortable whenever they have their doubts, or whenever they want to negotiate. I definitely learned many new ways how to solve their problems.
Matthew: Yea, I mean I absolutely would. I think that this is really important that if we’re talking about North Star Consulting – These are individuals who have not just cut their teeth in business development here in Poland or in this particular area within Europe, but have extensive experience in US, globally. So I would absolutely recommend their services.
Sebastian: I would certainly recommend NorthStar Consulting for other software houses, tech companies, but not only. Przemek – he was very well-versed within the technology world – he knows what we were doing, what the problems are, what are the main pain points and how to solve them. So it was certainly easier to work with somebody who knows the industry well.
Christian: I would recommend this kind of trainings to any company, not only software houses, whether Europe, US, or any other area in the world.
Matthew: if you’re having challenges prospecting, if you’re having challenges running the first, second meetings, asking the right types of questions, if you’re having trouble getting the most out of a particular conference or event…or actually if you’d like to sit down and better understand how data can lead to better decisions on your part, then i think you should absolutely have a conversation with them.
Christian: I really think that some companies miss this opportunity of having an external party assessing certain things, how they do certain activities internally, when an external voice can always wake you up and help you improve your processes, your activities, et cetera.
Matthew: I think overall this has been a great experience from my side. It’s definitely changed my opinion of working with a third party consultancy.
Where I would have been apprehensive in the past – and I’m still apprehensive of many of those offers that are coming into my inbox on a regular basis.
I think if you find the right fit – and do your homework obviously- this is really really important – you have to do your due diligence – there’s some really good options out there – we got lucky with NorthStar Consulting.
Over the years since their founding in 2000, u2i has enjoyed fruitful relationships with larger corporate and media clients located in North America, including Nielsen, Consumer Reports, and HSBC.
These business relationships have commonly lasted for years involving extensive work, including building a portfolio of dozens of web applications and games as well as migrating a slate of legacy apps, tools, and processes into more robust and Agile-friendly technologies.
u2i self-selected 10 employees (of which 8 ultimately completed the training) to participate in both theoretical training (learning the eight-step Cycle of the Sale) as well as practical elements for each stage of the sales process (effective first contact, building trust and finding needs in qualification meetings, and much more).
At the end of the approximately 2-3 month time spent working together on this initial phase, NSC delivered a tailored sales manual, which was designed to be used to target the specific type of company (and persona(s) within those companies) which u2i most desired to work with. NSC also taught the methodology so that u2i is able to adapt the manual when the target company/persona changes in future.
The manual serves as a guide for current employees to use during ongoing sales efforts, and also a document for fast and effective onboarding.
Additional projects included pitching and presentation training, as well as preparation for effective prospecting at events (specifically Web Summit in Lisbon in autumn of 2016). For this event NorthStar helped prepare scripts to effectively introduce the sales topic in a natural way to be followed up upon later at a separate qualification meeting stage, as well as strategies on how to approach, organize and process contacts at this very large event.