Interview with IceWarp CSO Jan Urbík

An Expert’s Views on the Modern Sales Landscape

After years at Microsoft, Jan Urbík then brought his sales-minded approach to IceWarp. In this exclusive interview, discover the current trends in software sales, what to expect in the future, and get to know Jan just a little bit better.

Sales Past and Present

After many years working for larger companies, Jan Urbík was the obvious choice to fill the role of IceWarp CSO. When recalling his past work, Jan had this to say:

“My background was in a mega-scale corporation with multi-national resources. When considering the role as CSO of IceWarp, I really saw it as both an opportunity and a challenge to turn this smaller-scale company into something large. But I don’t mean “large” simply in sales numbers but rather a business that runs as a system, with a distribution chain that can keep up with demand.”

One of the most challenging aspects of taking over a company or becoming a new CSO is to apply your vision right from the start. It’s common to see people stuck in their old ways of working or even caught up in out-of-date corporate policy. Jan took up his role, however, with loads of new ideas.

“Of course, I had a different idea of how the Sales Department should run when I first got to IceWarp. It’s really all about perspective. We have branches all over the world; we actually just opened a new one in Malaysia, for example. Some of these partner-branches are even larger than we are, so I felt the key issue was to broaden our horizon and connect all of these branches together. That resulted in loads of changes, everything from operational adjustments and how to unite virtual teams to product presentation and the introduction of new team members. And the job isn’t even done now, but we’re always working at it.”

An International Mindset

After mentioning Malaysia, it became obvious that Jan sees expanding IceWarp abroad as a large priority. What are his plans for this expansion, and how can other sales teams follow his example?

“We already have branches in places like the US, Dubai, and India, but I’ve really been pushing for the Middle East and even further. Places like Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, or India have so much potential. By establishing branches there, we check all the boxes and pass all the red tape, allowing us to start selling our product and providing support in these markets. But there’s one part of IceWarp we’ll always keep at home, and that’s development. No matter where it’s sold abroad, IceWarp’s software development will remain in Europe.”

From Microsoft to IceWarp

But Jan doesn’t only look to the future when trying to innovate how IceWarp operates. He also draws on his experienced past, especially by comparing the differences between working at a smaller company and the biggest corporation of all, Microsoft.

“Obviously, the most fundamental difference between the two is size. Because IceWarp has fewer employees, each has much more work to do and oversees many areas. Now, contrast that with Microsoft, where they likely have an entire team to cover every little area you can think of. This may seem like a disadvantage for the little guys, but in reality, it lets us create and implement new ideas and strategies way faster than some conglomerate ever could. We could innovate on a product at IceWarp and launch it immediately, while the same thing would take a minimum of a year at Microsoft, and you’d really have to be pushing hard to even get it through the front door.”

3 Steps to Sales Success

There are countless ways to sell a product. In fact, entire companies exist whose sole task is to find new or niche ways to get a certain product to fly off the shelves. But if you were limited to only 3 sales tools for the rest of your life, which would you choose? These were Jan’s golden 3:

#1 is surely analytics. When tackling any new idea or problem, I always turn to the numbers. I want to see in clear 1s and 0s how things are trending. When someone comes to me and says, “We should try this because I feel like it would…” that kind of thinking doesn’t work for me. All good ideas are backed by data.

#2 is local branches. I don’t believe in the idea that a successful company can have one main HQ somewhere that runs the business all over the world. You have to branch out – you need local people who speak the language and know how things operate locally. This is a much more impactful strategy.

And #3 is meeting clients face-to-face. As digitalization creeps further and further into our daily work, I only believe more in the power of meeting someone in person, shaking their hand, learning their name, and conducting business in this almost “old-fashioned” way. Now, I don’t mean every meeting needs to be in person, but it’s certainly one way to establish professional relationships that last.”

An Expert’s Eye on Sales Trends

Any sales team knows the importance of reacting to current trends. What trend is IceWarp doing well to ride today, and where might there still be some room for improvement? Let’s see what Jan thinks.

“IceWarp is doing great at not selling a product but rather a solution. The IceWarp tools are more akin to an ecosystem than a single, standalone product. This is a popular trend right now as more and more businesses realize they can offer clients a fully-fledged solution to their problems and not only one item from their portfolio.

As for areas of improvement, we’re still trying to overcome this concept of IceWarp not being the “business standard” in some markets. This is a common issue faced by small companies around the world. People are used to hearing names like Google, Apple, Microsoft… so it’s your job to show them why your solution is better, thus elevating the company’s name to whatever the perceived business standard may be.”

Some Final Words of Advice

And as Jan’s interview was winding to an end, he felt like leaving a bit of advice for anyone looking to get into sales today.

“Most companies today are no longer searching for that classic salesperson. The typical door-to-door, rise-and-grind kind of employee who isn’t afraid to hear the dial tone 100+ times a day on the phone. Instead, we’re looking for salespeople who are agile and flexible with a desire to keep learning. We’re looking for account managers who know how to manage their business. Yes, they also know how to sell, but they moreso need to become a sort of business advisor for their sales partner, who’s actively helping to develop their partnership into something more effective. Oh, and being able to speak English is a must. That’s pretty much a deal-breaker in international sales.”

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