B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 2 years ago

Sitting down with Janet Schijns | President's Club Series


Why does the way we sell online feel so foreign to how we sell in real life? 

Janet Schijns, founder and CEO of JS Group, has consulted entrepreneurs and corporate leaders alike on consolidating the two different ways we tend to sell 

Live from Ingram Micro’s U.S. Sales Kickoff, Janet shares with B2B Tech Talk host Keri Roberts five tips for tech entrepreneurs to ultimately achieve more success in selling. 

The two discuss:  

  • Janet’s journey through the entrepreneurial world and climbing the corporate ladder 
  • Why sales pros need to act more human when they’re selling online 
  • How regular social selling helps entrepreneurs attain success faster  

Follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Sponsored by Ingram Micro President’s Club and Ingram Micro Financial Solutions 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to be tob tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micros Presidents Club, where winners are made. All right, let's get into the show. Welcome to be tob tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Carrie Roberts, and we are welcoming today Janet Chimes, the CEO of the JS group. Welcome Jane. Thanks so much for being here. Thanks for having me. Love having this chat. So, Janet, you went to school for Business and finance and then you worked for a few companies for about twelve years and in your s you decided to start your own company, which is the JS group, and then you decide to go work for Motorola, Verizon and office depot at VP levels and then eventually executive vp levels, and then about a year ago, you decide to go back to the company you founded, JS Group, almost twenty two years later. I would love for you to talk about this journey. You know. First off, why did you initially start the JS group? Why did you leave and why now did you decide to come back? Sure, yeah, absolutely. So. You know, it's really interesting. So I stuck. You know, we all have our journeys, and I went to school for Finance and I went to school for business us and I went to work in finance and wow did I hate it. And so I lasted about a week and I went and not making that up, and I went and got a new job in an industry that I loved, and it was the medics industry. And as I was there I realized I was the only Geek. I had been, you know, kind of brought up the last girl child in a family, and so my dad was, you know, pretty invested in me being good at science and math and sports and fishing and hunting and he he, you know, really had instilled a love of all things computer and Geeky. And so during my tenure there, I realized that there was this gap that was happening where business people and technical people couldn't seem to speak to each other and they couldn't figure out what they were saying. And I had had two kids, I was a single parent. I was killing myself getting to New York City and I said, you know, I got to get out of these industries, you know, finance. I had I had went into finance after that and I said I got to get out of here and so I said I'm going to start my own consulting company. And my dad actually was ready to retire and he said, Oh, I'll do it with you, so you don't have to be afraid. Will make this happen. And my first client I was doing a rotation through the Sandos Division at that point in time, which is all home by Nettleik, and they offered me a consulting contract. So I really walked out with very little risks. I started consulting, helping geeks figure out how to take their go to market and talk to business people and have conversations with business people and I consulted for lots of firm IBM an Intel in the Vidia and Microsoft and Cisco and I could go on and on. And I did that the whole time my kids were growing up. And then my kids got into high school and college and you know, you say, well, you know, my youngest was in high school and I had a job offer that included buying my company out. Like, very frankly, it's so much longer story than that, but I had some Ip that they wanted. It was part of the motor role assemble acquisition, and I said, well, why wouldn't I do this? Because I would never have made VP. I'm too outspoken to of me VP climbing the corporate ladder. I for sure would have upset somebody. But being a consultant I was able to be outspoken and people actually pay you to be outspo and so I went into corporate America rose through the ranks quickly because after you hit a certain level, being outspoken is also encouraged. And I was so blessed and so lucky. And then, frankly, my dad, the very same guy who you know, started the company with me. Very fine. We moved to Florida, I started to reevaluate how I was balancing my life. The...

...kids are, you know, productive adults off the payroll, and my daughter and I had a conversation one night and she said with it must have been the best thing ever to start a company with your dad. And you know, I'm trying to balance some of these same things, you know, as a young professionals, not a mom yet, but you know it's hard and and my dad and she and I were having this conversation and he looked at me and I looked at him and we looked at her and we said okay, let's go, and so my daughter and I now worked. You got a there are my husband's actually in the firm, and then we have by mother to twenty people that I was blessed enough people at to work with me in the past one to work with me again. So I think it's full circle and I think it's all about flexibility and about doing what's right for you at the time that's right, and the Times that are right to be an entrepreneur, which this is one of those times for me, you should take that bull by the horns, and the time that's right to climb the corporate ladder and make a lot of money, you should take those two and I think I've balanced that well and I'm excited about this next chapter. Well, I'm excited for you and I think that's a tremendous short version of your story and all that you've done, and I love that. The core of it is that you're doing what was right for you at each time of your life. Going forward. I know you recently gave a talk where you said that it seems that every single company is trying to become a tech firm and that success would require a digital norm. Why is it that you think everyone wants to become a tech firm? You know what is the appeal? And what do you mean by a digital norm? No, no worry. So you know, when we think about this concept that everybody wants to become a tech industry, it's because we're in a an area now in our world. You know, we had the agricultural evolution and the industrial evolution and we're now in a technical revolution and part of that is we're in this this world where digital is just the minimum expectation for most customers. The experience that people most desire is a digital one. And when what most people desire is a digital, empowered, seamless, easy customer experience, it almost requires every company to become a tech company because it would be hard to provide that without having some level of technology. So the car company, you know, your car interface has to be something that's more like using a computer than driving a car. In fact, I would argue with Tesla, is more computer than car and most of the manufacturers are moving there. And whether it's your food and being able to track your food safety and knowing where it was grown and how it was grown, and if there's issues or healthcare, you know, letting you yourself input symptoms and and find potential solutions and many times remote. Every company is being challenged to step up and be into a digital world and we're mere years away for many of us living full time in a virtual world, particularly people that are disabled or otherwise restricted. They can have a phenomenal experience. If you can't hear, if you can't see, if you can't walk, or if you're just sickly or have a emotional issue, there's so much that virtual reality can do for you, and so I think every company is starting to, you know, kind of explore the boundaries. So if you think about a car, me about somebody like my mom, who really wasn't a big driver but like to go places. Well, you could virtualize the experience of being in a car and going everywhere. So I don't know, is the next you know, Chevy or out or Mercedes you buy really going to be a physical car, or will it be the manifestation of that car? Will it be a split share car with five of your neighbors? I think the possibilities are endless and that's why every company is having to come into this world because without it they will be irrelevant. So that's my kind of short answer. I don't know if you want to ask a follow up, but that's why I think everybody's doing it. Yeah, no, I couldn't agree more. It's funny because you hear people like Gary vader truck says everybody should be a media company. It's interesting you're saying everyone should be a tech company. I think you're right. That's how we're consuming everything, so you don't have...

...a choice. It's something that we have to do. I agree and, by the way, in Gary's defense, I do think that with social media on the rise and the digital normal, you do have to be your own ad agency or media agency at all times, because it's all about the content and influence, right. So I don't think those companies that become tech companies path can afford to ignore that. Yes, now, there are ten things that you recommend channel sales and customer teams do to win the digital norm, with the bottom line being to be human and be connected, which I love that. I couldn't agree more. What do you mean by that line, to be human and be connected, and if you could share with US specifically, maybe some of the ten things, especially for this audience, that channel sales and customer teams could do. Absolutely so I'll start with what it means to be human and to be connected. So I think one of the RIS asks of this constantly connected world is mean this. I'm just going to call it that. You can call it bullying, you can call it mean this, you can call it disconnecting. But having a glowing rectangle in your hand all the time you pick your device and using that as your primary mode of communication many times leads for people to act in human, to say things or do things or acting ways that they could have possibly act if they were faced with that same situation in the real world. And so I encourage people to act human and many times to disconnect themselves a little bit from how they act online and think about how they should act. And the example I always give people is if you were at a live event and you wanted to, as a salesperson, talk to someone about yourself and make a connection and then hope that that connection would turn into a sale, you would start the conversation being about them. You would ask some where they were from. You know, what are they like? To do all that's interesting. How are you liking the conference? What topics of interested you and over time, you would say going into what you did and why you thought you could work together. In a world of social media, many sales people go out there and every day they post something that I see is basically screaming about their services and why people should buy from them. And you wouldn't walk up to someone at that event and go hi, I'm Janet, I'm from JS group and we're the best channel consultancy, sales marketing enablement in the business and you should work with us on your social selling and on your channel program you wouldn't do that. You just wouldn't do that. It would be rude. And yet you do it online all the time, and so I ask people to just take a gut check and say, would you do that? Would that be something to do? Find the real world. And then the second thing is really to be even more human and even kinder than the situation calls for and to give back. Right. So one of the top things I think that matters this year and and for as long as I can envision it coming, is the people to give back, the people that are willing to give of their time, not just writing a check, whether it's for a not for profit, whether it's to help another person, particularly our diversity candidate for example, whether it's to give that half an hour of time that you really don't think you have, but you make time for that person, you answer their questions. Giving back, giving of your time, is just a to me, a top ten thing, and I think you know you asked about a few of the others, so I'll just kind of run through a few other things I think are going to help people be successful and one of them is learning. You, you know, smartest truly the new growth. I put myself to learn every day. I sign up for Hashtags on the social media platforms that I prefer, which your twitter and Linkedin, and I just, you know, look at those feeds every day and I learned something every single day and that's important to me because I think you have to keep yourself, you know, yet to yourself out there, to keep yourself exposed. And the second thing is you really need to find new connections. The channel specifically is retiring epic rates and there were, you know, we're not connecting as well with some...

...of the emerging channel partners that are out there, the boorn in the cloud, partners, the you know, the newer partners, and so I think that's a another tip. And then the final one I'll say is that you have to be out there social selling and prospecting every single day. People that practice social selling have a higher achievement of their quota, about seventy percent higher than their peers, and it's a great way to position yourself. If you don't know how to social cell, feel free to Jop me a note. Will share some contact information at the end and I'm happy to point it in the right direction. Yeah, I you know, as you're talking, I'm sitting here nodding my head to everything you're saying because I agree. I mean I've seen it, many people have seen it online, where people are just kind of like talking at you in a very aggressive way on social media, and I love that you're saying, you know, be human, be connected, you know, reach out to people, give as if you would in real life. So I love that you're bringing that concept to fruition. Why do you think that that's so hard for people to do, because it seems like it would be common sense, but it seems that it's something people struggle with, particularly in our industry, because I don't know as a whole, people are just, you know, really interesting on social media. But I'll just address our technical world. So I think in many ways a lot of people in the tech industry are naturally introverts. They gravitated toward technology as a way to escape and as a way to you know, to to be cool in a world twenty years ago where that wasn't cool to be a order Geek, and now it truly is. And so I think that many of the people that do that are all cord in social interactions to start with, and so they're more comfortable behind the computer. It just is a IT'S A it's a veil, it's a Cape, and so it may take them having to potentially, if you get some coaching, working with an in behavioral psychologists, working with someone who can help them to learn the right way to behave, because I someone made the joke to me like last week, and so I'll make you hear that you're expecting people that didn't know how to act ask someone for a prom date, to be personal with each other. Might be difficult for some of the tech people and I think it's a very fair point. So I'm going to blame it on awkward social skills and and the distance that a screen allows you to put between yourself and human interaction. I like that. I haven't heard that before, but that does make sense. A lot of times how we interact in person can translates online, which now brings me to part of your tagline for the JS group is we keep it real and achieve results, and you also write that it's always been your brand and key to success, and even on your social channels you write my opinions are my own, even if you don't like them, and I love this. I love this level of honesty and confidence coming from you. I know that you're also a huge advocate for women in technology. Where did this confidence come from for you and why do you feel everyone, especially women, should keep it real, be honest and be themselves in the work world and career space? Well, first of all, it's absolutely exhausting to not act like yourself. Yes, I just just excruciatingly so. And yet you know, so often right we just the work code on it, as it said, and have to act different in the meeting or presentation. And you know, I really credit a lot of my success to advice that people have given me over the years, and one of the things that I've always kind of had was a little bit of Moxie as a person. I've just always been that person. And in fact, just the other day someone was having a conversation and it was very evident that many of the people in the room were uncomfortable and didn't agree with what the person was saying, but they weren't saying anything. was evident their body language, but it wasn't evident in their comments. And I stopped and I said, you know, can I just say something and you know, here's how I'm feeling, and by the way, this is a proven formula called feel filth found right. I'm feeling like and I know I've felt this way before. And here's what's happened. And what I found is...

...there's a better way. And after the meeting I must have had half a dozen people come up to me and thank me for being, quote unquote, brave enough to say what I was thinking. And so you know what I've learned over the years from all the great advice I've gotten from all my mentors and sponsors and bosses and clients and everyone else's every time I didn't speak my mind, it came back to bite me one way or another by either didn't get the promotion. I think that the client we didn't hit our goals. And as long as I did it respectfully, and I make it about me. So even my tweet, my twitter profile, where it says my opinion is my owning if you don't like it, I'm making it about me. Right, I'm not saying my opinion is my own and if you don't like it, you're dumb. I'm not saying that. I'm saying my opinion is my own, even when you don't like it. Right, and I get it you might not like my opinion. So if you point the finger at yourself when you're being confident and when you're providing critical feedback, when you're providing negative feedback, rather than pointing your finger at the other person. So I always like to give the example. I feel badly when you speak to me that way versus you shouldn't talk to me that way. And what a difference it makes is when someone says you shouldn't talk to me that way, and we've all had people disrespect us and talk, you know, in the wrong way to us. That puts a person on the defensive. But when you say I feel badly, when you speak to me that way, the person immediately go oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. You know, I didn't realize I was hurting your feelings. So at least if there are any way, shape or form human. So I think that's, you know, the largest part of it. I would say just one other thing to the listeners out there competent to the habit. So the only person that you ever look silly to, quite frankly, is yourself. No one else is paying that much attention, and so I just always believed that I was my own worst enemy. And so whenever I envision that I'm going to do something that's out of my comfort zone, I always envision what's going to happen. So let's just say I'm going to call on a client and nervous isn't going to work and I'm in the parking lot and I'm getting ready to go in. So the absolute worst thing that can happen is that I'm back in the parking lot in a few minutes because the client throws me out. That's the absolute worsic and APP but my kids won't stop loving me, neither will my husband. My friends won't even know what happened. In the grand scheme of things, the absolute worst thing that can happen is that I'm back in my car ston in the parking lot. So what am I afraid of? And when you get that attitude and you have that that confidence, it shows and you're less likely to have a negative impact like someone throwing you out. So hope that helps. Yeah, no, I think that's really good feedback in advice. And another thing you had mentioned earlier. You had started this company with you and your dad and now you do it with your husband and your daughter, and I'd love to know what is it like to kind of work with family from working with Your Dad's now working with your husband and daughter, and how do you separate or balance the family and the business, and any advice for those looking to do the same if they have that with their own company and family? Absolutely, and the first thing I would tell you is I don't know that I would do a business only with my family. So we're very blessed because we have a large group of consultants here, a JIs group, that are also working with us that every day. I think if it was just me and the family that could be challenging. So that might be my first piece of advice. Is Good to work with your family, but maybe have some other people involved in the equation as well, because I think that helps. I would tell you it's fabulous. First of all, my husband and my daughter both much smarter than I am, which is really fun and fantastic to watch, and I think that's the key, is we play off each other's strengths. I'm more personable, right and they're more smart, so we can work that. The second thing I would tell you is it comes down to expectations. And, by the way, if you're listening to this and you work and your spouse also works, but somewhere's else, it's not...

...any different than that. So you know the expectation that your personal life is going to take priority at the important moments, that you're not going to come home every day and talk about work, that you don't see each other all day. We work in separate offices, we we don't, you know, sit in the same office all the time and then, most importantly, that when the one person has a problem, you're going to support them. So none of that is different than if you both work for different companies. The only plus is it when your spouse or child or parent complains about something or has a problem with something, you actually can help them with the work, as opposed to, you know, trying to solve something sitting around the kitchen table. So I think that that view, that you're doing it for your family, with your family, makes it great. And then I would also say no really understand do as well as the people that of you, and I think that's why you see so many family run businesses, particularly in the tech industry, that are wildly successful, because your family really does get you and they get your unspoken word as well as your spoken word and can many times you just be a better translator. And then the final thing I will say is my daughter, Ashland is, as I said, very smart. She's brilliant about things like social selling and digital and social media, and so she adds another flavor right to what you can offer. So I think it's a great way for a family to be and part of how our country was formed was family owned businesses. So I'd highly encourage anyone who's interested in doing it to give it a look and maybe consider it. Yeah, I like that breakdown, and I even seen people who've been friends for twenty years and open a business have a similar feel as well. Yes, I agree, and I've seen some of that as well, or people that have just had a business together for twenty years and there as close as the family right. So, and let's face it, we all say we have our work family. So yeah, why not making your regular family? This makes sense and you get the same yes. So the last question we we like to ask our guests here on the show is, overall, from a standpoint, where do you see technology going within the next year? So I think you know, technology, first of all, is the fastest moving that it's ever been. It's, you know, one day. One day equals a year at this point in innovasion and we're not going to see any change in that. The economy has been good for a long time innovation and the technology industry has been leaning in very heavily to that, as well as worldwide trends around automation, etc. You're not going to see that change. Technology is going to be hot as anything. You really going to see a lot in robotic process automation, virtual reality, everything as a service, of course, and then all of the things that are happening that are going to enable things like automnous vehicles, you know, due to five g and kind of edge computing and and IOTAPE. But that, I think it's going to be the smaller story when we look back a few years from now, because the bigger story is going to be around how did people distribute, how did people sell? How to people go to market? How did they fulfill the customer experience for whoever their end user is the partner experience, if your in distribution, sales, or a customer experience? If you're a partner, what did you do to make it simple and human and engaged with your client? I think that and is going to be much more of a story than any technology is. So for anyone listening, if you're thinking of how are you going to invest or what are you going to get your vendors to invest in this year, I would be looking towards programs that are around connecting the channel specifically with their and user customers through digital through social media and through improved customer experience, because I think that's the big news. Yeah, I love that. Where can people learn more about what we talked about today or if they want to connect with you to ask any questions. Where can they do that? Absolutely so. Our website is JSG nowcom, so that's Jes g nowcom. You can also...

...connect with me on twitter at channel smart or just look me up on Linkedin and do that as well. And then, finally, if you if all else sales, you want to go, you know, somewhat old school, you can send me an email on my email is j shines at JSG nowcom. Perfect well, thank you so much for spending time with us today and sharing your insight across the gammut between life and business and technology. So we appreciate you being here and we look forward to hearing more what you do in the future. Thanks so much. Loved being here. Of You really enjoy the conversation. If you like this episode or have a question, join the discussion on twitter at Ingram Texel with the Hashtag be to be tech talk. Thank you for tuning in and subscribing to be to be tech talk with Ingram micro. You've been listening to be tob tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode is sponsored by Ingram Micros Presidents Club. Bb Tech Talk is a joint production by sweetish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe today in your favorite podcast player.

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