For a top-notch customer experience, companies of all sizes are migrating to cloud-based call centers. This new approach increases returns on investment, minimizes costs, and helps manage the workforce. Becoming more and more attractive, cloud-based call centers are disrupting the on-premise structure. The blend of human and digital skills drives a high-value customer service, just the innovative solution companies need.
Aircall marked its spot in the world as the go-to call center software in Europe. Founded in 2014, the French startup reached unicorn status by 2021 with a skyrocketing list of employees, customers, and partners. Speaking of which, Sastrify has recently partnered up with Aircall for world-class integration and Aircall has become a new customer of Sastrify for better SaaS solutions.
We have a special interview with Léo Fang-Tribalat, Director of Sales at Aircall, who joined at the pre-seed stage. Léo has helped build and scale the sales team throughout every period of Aircall's rapid growth, strongly focusing on the DACH, Benelux, and Nordics areas. Based on his experience so far, Léo shared some of his favorite SaaS tools, tips, and more.
Could you please briefly introduce yourself and your role at Aircall?
From a VC background, I am passionate about all things sales and growth, as well as technological challenges. I currently coordinate Aircall’s DACH team of over 25 people and specifically manage the account executives, who operate in the final stages of our prospect’s buying process.
Since Summer 2021, I have been handling the expansion of Aircall over the DACH area with the opening of our Berlin office. The DACH area is a core market for us. It was about time to expand Aircall’s footprint there, get closer to our customers and hire at scale.
What are Aircall's mission and vision? How far is it from getting there?
Aircall empowers every business to have richer conversations with a cloud-based phone solution that replaces your legacy phone system and seamlessly integrates into your business tools. We partner with leaders in different categories, such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Zendesk, Intercom, Gong, etc.
Do you have advice for SaaS companies just starting in the marketplace? Maybe share with us 5 successful tips.
- From the beginning, Aircall paid extra attention to the first 10-15 hires from a cultural perspective. These hires paved the way for our current company DNA and helped scale our work culture globally. The foundation still deeply influences the whole company in every decision we make, and how we address new challenges.
- When starting a venture, it is tempting to hire generalist profiles, such as general business developers eager to manage a large variety of topics. Though these profiles are fundamental in the early days, we find that specialization is the key to growth and scale. In our sales team, we broke down our sales process by steps of the buying process. We then trained our members to be experts in each category, based on a country or an area.
- About processes, it is also tempting to rely only on super talented people at the start to carry your plans, with the highest level of autonomy to address every challenge and develop new processes. Although this is the way to go at an early stage, you should soon come up with clear and standardized processes across the board. It will help you prepare for scale and not rely only on individual talents to reach your goals.
- Once clear processes are in place, it is time to rely on data more than intuition. Often you will start measuring everything, but it is more realistic to think about 2 to 3 main KPIs to track for your business. Make sure to communicate constantly on these metrics and the associated targets, so everyone is aligned on crushing them every month.
- Finally, transparency should not be underestimated because this is what will help you keep the whole team driven and flexible no matter what stands in the way. As mentioned, those 10-15 early hires are the ones you will count on to take your business to the next level. Help them, help you. You must share every new update or change in plan as early as possible.
What is one challenge that Aircall faced that made you personally anxious and now you look back with relief?
At some point in our growth, we realized we were growing pretty fast in some countries. But the vast majority of our team members, including the DACH team, were still based out of Paris. It was to the point where we experienced slowdowns and setbacks from operating physically far from key markets: hiring, relationship with channel and technological partners, customer care, marketing, and branding.
All those areas were only covered partially from Paris. As Aircall reached a certain threshold, we then decided to enter the local market. Coming to Germany, Berlin solved the problem of bringing us closer to our partners, customers, and future hires and localizing our daily operations.
How do you encourage tech partners, such as Sastrify, to build integrations on Aircall?
We act with our tech partners as we would with our teams, meaning we look for and engage with partners who share our vision and values on specific markets. Transparency towards our customer base and a go-to-market plan is key. We are always looking beyond just technological alliances.
A cultural fit and high standard of service towards the customer are very important to us. In partnerships, we want to provide business value for our partners and clients, the so-called win-win situation. It is a strategic goal to build long-lasting and productive relationships with our partners. All based on trust, common values, and a shared vision of the technological future.
It also implies co-marketing, branding actions, and internal communication are open to all our tech allies. For example, we regularly organize meetups and enablement sessions between our sales teams and partners, and the other way around. That way, both sides would know the integration and the partner product inside out.
What are three irreplaceable SaaS tools to Aircall?
Gong, combined with Aircall, allows every salesperson to self-assess their performance on call and across a whole deal or receive coaching from peers and managers.
Intercom supports our sales teams in staying hyper-reactive to any new request and performing on clear SLA. The Aircall-Intercom integration enables seamless contact data tracking from the first touch.
Salesforce organizes all our sales work and shares crucial information with other teams in a source-of-truth approach. Our sales team has been proactively using this one in particular. The Aircall-Salesforce integration also logs all our sales calls against the respective contacts, accounts, and opportunities, making our SDR, BDR, and AE spare a lot of time every day.
What makes your team special? What are the top values that members have to keep in mind?
I know I can trust every team member to constantly show a dedicated attitude, trying to overperform and bring Aircall to the next step as if it was their own company. In a sense, each account executive in my team acts as the CEO of their own territory. That includes collaborating passionately with all stakeholders within their country or area: SDR, BDR, Customer Success Teams, Partners, and obviously our clients who we put front and center in our day-to-day activity.
In the past two years, many companies naturally shut their doors to confront the COVID-19 lockdowns. Aircall has since capitalized on this influx of customers and stood out as the perfect SaaS product for remote or hybrid teams. Compared to the traditional calling method, Aircall is less time-consuming, more cost-effective, and easiest-to-measure. Customers can enjoy interactive voice response (IVR), integrations, and performance analytics that leave zero drawbacks.
Thanks to Léo for taking the time to chat with us. We are expecting many more impressive milestones from Aircall.
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