The SELLBYTEL Group sales specialist LIVINGBRANDS has once again proved in 2014 that it is one of the worldwide leading specialists in the field of sales outsourcing. In this interview, Michael Raum, founder and CEO of the SELLBYTEL Group, reviews this year and gives an outlook on the coming year 2015.
Mr. Raum, how do you evaluate the performance of LIVINGBRANDS in 2014?
Overall, I am very satisfied with our results this year. Especially at our strategically important location in Lisbon, Portugal, we have again shown strong growth. We have increased our headcount there in the two digit percentage range. This extremely positive development is principally owed to our longstanding experience in sales outsourcing. Accordingly, we have strengthened our relationship with existing and won a number of interesting new clients.
That sounds like a very successful year. Have you encountered any challenges and if so, how did LIVINGBRANDS deal with them?
Of course we were faced with several challenges this year. However, we have used this to our advantage. The constantly changing market conditions are a good example. Respectively, customer expectations are steadily rising and the competition among outsourcing specialists is simultaneously growing. Hence once again this year our focus was on the delivery of maximum quality and efficiency for our clients.
In order to optimize this further in 2015, Thomas Grimm, Managing Director LIVINGBRANDS, and Robin van Acker, Operations Director, recently developed the new concept “LIV 2.0”. The format follows one clear goal: Efficiency growth through the standardization of processes and excellent adaptation to the respective market conditions. The program includes a series of individual measures, the core areas being communication, customer satisfaction, performance metrics and employee development.
And how do you assess the newly launched project “LIV 2.0”?
As previously mentioned, the strategy strongly emphasizes efficiency growth through process optimization. This includes the even more detailed definition and standardization of business processes, and very importantly, the full exploitation of employee potentials. The client ultimately benefits from visibly increased revenues. Thus, being a strong guarantor for success, we will continue to focus on the proactive optimization of our processes in order to secure significant competitive advantages for our clients.
How is LIVINGBRANDS going to develop further in 2015, especially at an international level?
We will primarily develop with regards to the expansion of our locations. Krakow, for instance, definitely has the potential to become one of our central hubs in the future. The Polish city constitutes one of the most popular Eastern European business locations. Its central location in the heart of Eastern Europe, the numerous business universities with their wealth of talents, the growing internationality as well as the language diversity have turned the city into an attractive business spot. LIVINGBRANDS has recognized this opportunity early on and now expects significant growth in the coming year.
We have been present in the city with a client, a leading international producer of network solutions, since 2013. Due to our excellent solutions in the back office area, we are planning to double our headcount there in 2015.
As of this year, we have managed the presales service for the same client from our location in Prague, where we will also grow further next year.
So in 2015 our key focus will be on the expansion of our international presence – with emphasis on the promising Eastern European market.
You already mentioned the growing competition… How will LIVINGBRANDS once again differentiate itself from other sales outsourcing specialists in 2015?
Next to the focus on efficiency and quality, we will advance our competitive advantage with the help of two attributes: proactivity and dynamism. This means we prevent standstill, we constantly question our strategy and we perfectly adapt to the current market conditions. This way, we have the best preconditions to finish 2015 even more successfully.
Respectively, we will mainly concentrate on aspiring young businesses and start-ups as well as companies wishing to effectively build their sales division or go public.
So we can assume that LIVINGBRANDS’ position within the SELLBYTEL Group will strengthen even further?
Definitely. LIVINGBRANDS has been a crucial member of the Group since its foundation in 2003. As an important guarantor for growth, the sales specialist will continuously contribute to the SELLBYTEL Group’s ongoing international expansion in 2015.
Mr. Raum, thanks a lot for the interesting interview.
Text: Anna-Luisa Wiefel