Understanding Customer Needs with Cătălin Mocodean

Having excellent communication skills and being comfortable with making a lot of calls daily, Cătălin Mocodean masters multi-tasking. For the past year and a half he’s been part of Yardi Romania’s Matrix Sales team. Creativity and flexibility are among his main characteristics, but he is also extremely agile with computer systems and other gadgets. He challenges himself every day by finding prospective customers, rate their interests and satisfy their needs with a Yardi product or service.
As an inside sales executive, he plays a fundamental role in achieving customer acquisition and revenue growth objectives. Gaining his client’s trust is not an easy task, but he understands customer needs and requirements, so he is able to serve them efficiently. We convinced him to share a few of his tricks in an interview.

When and why did you decide to apply for a sales position at Yardi Romania?

Truth be told, I did not proactively apply for a sales position – I was one of two members from the Commercial Phone Research team selected for this endeavor due to our prior performances and self-confidence, as well as familiarity with the Yardi Matrix market intelligence platform. Having said that, sales provides the sort of dynamic and constantly challenging environment I always envisioned myself working in.

What are your daily tasks as an inside sales executive?

Daily tasks include: calling and emailing prospects (currently both service providers/vendors, as well as real estate companies), conducting online product demonstrations for prospects; there are periods when we prospect for our own leads – in other words, we look up companies which would be suitable/relevant targets. It’s important to reach out to the correct person (i.e. a decision-maker – President, VP) and so there is a decent amount of time which we dedicate to researching companies/contacts on LinkedIn, Google etc.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The dynamic and challenging nature of the job, as well as the fact that I get to interact and engage with a plethora of people. What I’ve learned about sales over the past year and a half is that you can never rest on your laurels, you always have to challenge yourself because the situations you encounter will challenge you in different ways. Just because you’ve had success with one particular strategy does not mean it will work with multiple prospects/contacts, so you always have to be willing to change things and adapt to the specific person/company you’re engaging with. Speaking of which, ‘engaging’ is the key word here – if you want to even stand a chance of making a sale, you have to actively listen to and connect with a prospect, get a feel for them by gauging their needs and offering solutions. In simple terms, your most basic of aims is to have an actual conversation.

How’s the atmosphere at work, in general?

Atmosphere is pretty relaxed, we have our own office which helps with maintaining our focus and self-motivation at consistently high levels. Additionally, there is a healthy dose of competitive, constructive rivalry going on which is essential in keeping us on our toes and not inducing the dreaded “resting on one’s laurels”.

How has the company contributed to improving your skills?

Quite significantly – I’ve been at Yardi for almost 4 years now, working in the Customer Service/Call-Center Department, Commercial Phone Research Team and now, Matrix Sales. I would say each of the aforementioned positions added different key skills to my current arsenal, which in turn has allowed me to take on the rather daunting task of working in sales. Moreover, I’ve benefited from a dynamic and challenging work environment which has allowed me to use and polish my English skills, not to mention my ability to interact and engage with business professionals across cultures.

Does your job involve team work or is it mainly individual work?

Both, actually. It’s true that an individualistic streak is required of a sales rep, both for self-motivation, as well as for conjuring up the aforementioned healthy competitive spirit among the team. Nevertheless, given that we have common sales goals, it is in our interest to help each other. Consequently, we share recordings of our demos among ourselves in order to get familiar and learn from each other’s approaches, we provide each other with feedback and constructive criticism regarding both our calls and our presentations, as well as hold regular meetings and discussions with the Global Sales Team concerning targets and goals, strategies and specific situations.

What kind of difficulties do you usually encounter and how do you deal with them?

I would say that one of the greatest difficulties is dealing with so-called ‘downtime’ – periods when you receive no replies from the people you attempt to contact or the replies that you do receive are refusals. This can become disheartening in a job where speaking to people and establishing relationships is your main goal. It is important to contextualize refusals, however – sometimes the timing just isn’t right for a prospect, either because they’ve spent their budget for the year or because they have too much on their plate as-is. This is where a never-say-die attitude and a cool head come in – I’ve had deals which materialized 3 or 4 months after initial contact was established. Then there are also specific difficulties which we discuss with the Global Sales Team, who are way more experienced.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about applying for a sales position at Yardi Romania?

Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to accept that roughly 70% of your attempts at contacting someone will be comprised of outright refusals or no reply whatsoever? Sales is a difficult job, but if you have the self-motivation and wherewithal to keep pursuing your goals and always seek improvement, the rewards are plentiful, both on a personal, as well as financial level. It also helps if you enjoy talking and engaging with people, finding out who they are and what they do and what makes them tick.

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