Leader Talks: Concentrix Site Leader Lenka Tichá on how sales can create win-win situations

The leader of a top customer experience (CX) company for Czechia and Slovakia discusses driving business success and the industry's future.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 29.04.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 16.05.2024) Reading time: 6 minutes

Picture a sales representative, and what comes into your mind? Old-fashioned notions of the door-to-door salesman or cold-caller are seriously outdated, with the sales industry increasingly focused on tailored, customer-centric approaches assisted by new technologies.

An example of how sales and customer experience work in the digital age is provided by Concentrix, whose embedded teams of sales and CX representatives help clients achieve greater success. Lenka Tichá, Concentrix Site Leader for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is herself an example of how the sales industry has evolved, with female leaders proving that, at the end of the day, results speak for themselves.

Expats.cz sat down with Lenka to discuss the benefits of outsourcing sales, opportunities for better sales and CX results in the digital age, and the rewards of an inclusive approach to leadership.

What’s the main motivation for businesses to outsource sales?

Concentrix is among the leaders on the Czech market in CX and B2B sales. Companies are keen to outsource sales to us in order to gain a new, creative approach. They can have a combination of their own sales representatives and outside representatives. All Concentrix people have two homes: one family in our company, and one with the client that they are developing business for.

Many companies start with a pilot program. It might start with just identifying opportunities, using our Lead Factory tool. Yet in the end, the sales cycle should capture everything; we provide customers not just with sales, but even with feedback on products.

The main motivation is interest and curiosity: can a third-party provider do it better and bring us more revenues? By opting for a pilot trial, clients don’t risk much. They enlarge their experience, gain new ideas, and find out whether we can increase their revenues. 

How do sales representatives at Concentrix learn about customers’ products?

It’s varied. Some companies are start-ups and want us to help them build everything from scratch, including a knowledge base; it’s vital for these companies to understand where they stand with their product on the market.

When you have a “heavy” product, such as in the IT industry, we join clients for training sessions. We also listen to customer needs in order to position the advantages of the product within the competitor landscape.

Do your experts work at client sites?

Most of our teams have a hybrid model, going regularly to client sites, especially in B2B sales. We always need to be familiar with the latest update of the product, solution or service that clients offer. Some people are based at client sites permanently, only joining us at the Concentrix site for the Christmas party or for some other special event!

When our clients are successful, we are successful; when they win, we win. It’s a partnership, and any company needs to be very cautious about which partner they choose when outsourcing sales. The real added value is ultimately shown in the sales results themselves.

You mentioned your Lead Factory solution; what does it do?

Lead Factory is a great program which gathers data on who you should approach. We offer this to startups and to clients who are uncertain about who they should approach for potential sales.

In sales, the initial call, email or introduction needs to come with a proposal of added value. You should bring information that the customer needs for their business to grow. This will grab their attention, and the key to this is understanding their needs. Lead Factory is a great help, identifying potential customers and their key people, even providing information on how you should talk to these people.

Is AI playing a bigger role?

AI helps us to understand client needs. AI won’t replace sales representatives; the job is just too creative. Customers want to be listened to and understood, and I see so many mistakes from AI, with robots answering the wrong questions or using irrelevant information. Having a negative experience with AI can lead customers to question whether they can trust a company, and that’s a big threat.

The human touch, delivering kindness and helpfulness in order to build a solution, remains a key factor in the digital age.

Is the human touch equally important in Customer Experience?

There are a lot of AI and technological solutions being built for CX; avatars for onboarding, for example, who are very helpful. Younger generations love these digital solutions. But AI and the human touch need to be combined to meet customer needs.

I believe customer service should, in future, lead sales activities. The call from customers that they need something is a great opportunity to talk about how you can bring added value for their new circumstances.

Are there any golden rules to sales and CX interactions in the digital age?

If you don’t like to talk to customers and to practice empathetic listening, you should not work in CX or sales. You always need to seek out win-win situations. Empathy and active listening are key, because they create an experience which makes individual customers happy to talk to you. In B2B sales, you also need to understand the company as a whole.

Are there any misconceptions about sales that need to be dispelled?

There is now a law against cold calling anybody you want; if you don’t consent, nobody should try to sell you something. This is a big change, and I’m very happy about it; we never did such things because we know that they never work! We guide customers, preventing reputational damage which can arise from the wrong sales approach.

Sales is becoming more of a consultancy-based industry; it’s about understanding customer needs and tailoring products. If we can grasp this, it will make a huge difference to selling in the digital age.

What does female leadership bring to the table in the sales industry?

I lead a team that’s split roughly 50/50 between women and men. I love to show that everything is possible if you are eager to work on yourself and if you’re doing what you want to do. I love to encourage women who may be scared about whether or not selling is for them; who might wonder whether men will listen to them, given that there is still a heavy gender imbalance in some industries.

There should not be any barrier to female leadership in any company, and at Concentrix, we support inclusion. It's always about yourself as an individual, not your gender identity.

Anything is possible, and when hiring, I don’t think about gender. I remember one interview we had with a kebab-seller who told us they wanted to work in the IT industry; now they’ve been working in IT sales for ten years. What you look for in interviews is whether that person cares, and their approach to selling.

Is acceptance of women holding senior roles growing in Czechia?

I still think Czech society is not quite where it should be in this sense, but some companies are showing what is possible. We need to encourage inclusion in a positive way. It’s still harder in the Czech Republic than in the USA, for example, where you don’t have to worry about being asked whether or not you’ll become pregnant.

In this country, it’s still possible to find yourself the only woman leader in a room full of men. But there are a lot of activities and forums for women in leadership, especially at Concentrix. Our business is dedicated to creating a people-first culture that embraces game-changer differences, and aims to create an inclusive environment where all of our people have the opportunity to grow and thrive in their careers. It is our mission to provide equal employment opportunities and to treat all of our game-changers fairly. Women need to know that a company will trust them.

This article was written in cooperation with Concentrix. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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