【Professionals at PayPay】 is a series showcasing talented professionals who support PayPay.
The number of applications to become a PayPay merchant has now topped 2.6 million locations! – an accomplishment by the sales team, who has tirelessly covered ground whether it be major enterprises running chain businesses or mom-and-pop stores around the corner, spreading the word about PayPay.
In this 4th addition to the “Professionals at PayPay” series, we have invited Matsuo Miyagi, Manager in the Sales Division working at the forefront of private store sales, to share his view on the challenges & rewards of working as a sales representative at PayPay, along with the skills that can be acquired.
Sales strategies created through dialogue & no manuals
– What is your role as the manager of the Kanto 2 area?
There are over 20 footholds across the country, each home to more than a few dozen sales reps and a manger, responsible for private store sales. I am one of those managers in the Tokyo area, and my main job is to develop sales strategies, accompany team members in business meetings and oversee the team in general. We approach privately run shops and small-to-medium businesses. The Account Sales Department is responsible for approaching enterprise-run chain businesses. (Read more about the Account Sales Department here）
My mission is twofold; to increase “the number of merchants” and “volume & value of payments” in the area I oversee. Every day, I work together with the team to come up with and execute strategies to achieve the numbers. In addition to activities to acquire new businesses as merchants, we also provide post-integration support to encourage the use of PayPay, and in some cases, run joint campaigns with local governments or local shopping precincts.
-Managing a team of several dozen sounds like hard work!
If it were a company with a long history, I’m sure there would be a manual for my role which however is not the case at PayPay, where the service and company is on a path of constant change. Because of that, I have to remain close to each team member to find out what improvements are to be made. Also, by talking with individual team members, I can sometimes identify really good initiatives that they are trying out, which can be applied as solutions for issues across the whole team. There are new discoveries that wouldn’t happen if you were just following a manual book, so I always make a conscious effort to maintain good rapport with team members, welcoming honest opinions so that we can together think about what can be done to achieve our goals.
Since I am in a managerial role, I deliberately share my own mistakes within the team so that it makes it easier for everyone to be open and honest. My team members make fun of the mistakes I make, which I want to believe is a positive outcome of my effort. (laughs) I think creating this sort of a team environment contributes in a way to achieving the numbers.
– My idea of sales activities with private stores is putting in the legwork and visiting each store one after another; is this right?
All non-chain businesses in the area are potential customers, and just turning up to each and every one of them without a strategy doesn’t directly contribute to performance. That’s why I discuss strategies with the team on a daily basis, such as “let’s tackle commercial facilities and arcades where people tend to go” or “the key stakeholder in that particular arcade is A, so let’s first speak to A” etc. The team members know best about what’s going on in the field more than anyone else, which is why communication is the most important thing.
-What are the challenges that are unique to private store sales?
Unlike chain stores run by big companies, some stores are averse to cashless payments. No matter how much you explain that “PayPay is an easy payment method”, they can have difficulty taking it in.
That’s why we visit the stores as often as possible to build trust. Even after the integration is done, if a store contacts us to ask for help, the sales rep responsible will make another visit and provide direct support. People are often surprised to learn that we offer such extensive support. I think that the dramatic increase in the number of applications to become a merchant during the 2 years since the service was launched is a result of this persistent effort we put in.
Out of the stores who decided to support PayPay, there are quite a few who accept only cash or PayPay as a form of payment! And it’s up to us to support the store and make it more convenient for both them and their customers – this thought keeps my sleeves rolled up at all times!
A world in which cash is replaced becoming ever closer
-How do you think you have grown after you joined PayPay?
The ability to adapt to change, more than anything. It isn’t too often that a new service is added to the lineup of things to be sold in most companies, but at PayPay, it happens all the time. It’s up to each sales rep to convert the new service into a “weapon” as quickly as possible to contribute to the numbers. It can be hard at times since the goals to be pursued might be something completely different 6 months down the track, but I enjoy these changes, and that’s where I feel that I’m growing.
One more thing that I think I’ve picked up at PayPay is how to organize and prioritize tasks, and share information across the entire team. The more new services are added, the more sales related tasks required. We need to keep brushing up on what exists, making improvements to make things more efficient.In doing that, I think I’ve gained the ability to look at the big picture – what has to be prioritized ‘now’, to achieve our targets.
– I guess feeling yourself ‘grow’ would make the job quite rewarding?
Yes. It is definitely one of the motivators, to be able to feel that you’re getting better at things on a day-to-day basis.
There are many other aspects of this job that are also rewarding too. For example, I find it rewarding when I walk past a PayPay-supported shop in the area I’m responsible for and seeing customers make a purchase using PayPay. Since there are now many PayPay merchants, this can happen a few times a day when I’m commuting or just out and about. It’s such a pleasure to actually see that what I do provides better convenience to stores and their customers, contributing in general to making people’s lives more convenient.
We see cash as PayPay’s rival – we are trying to become the alternative for cash, and it’s fun to see that vision slowly becoming reality.
Quite frankly, back when I joined PayPay 2 years ago, I thought “replacing cash is way too ambitious”. (laughs) At the time, most people didn’t know how to use PayPay, so compared to then, it’s astonishing how far we’ve come in just 2 years.
-Last of all, what are your goals going forward?
Growing together with all my team members and becoming the absolute No.1 sales team. I want to work with the mindset that “it is upon our shoulders to create the society that PayPay strives for”, so that PayPay can indeed “replace cash”.
Thank you Miyagi-san!