Forefront of Going Cashless - Special Issue 10 Questions for the PayPay Sales Team!
Within just three years from its launch, PayPay has grown into a service adopted by merchants across 3.55 million locations. Due to this rapid expansion, which led to us acquiring over 45 million users, many people are now commenting that they can use PayPay in numerous locations and there are many stores which only accept cash or PayPay.
In this series, we will focus on PayPay’s Sales Group, which is at the forefront of merchant expansion, and bring you the voices of its members to uncover the secrets behind PayPay’s rapid growth.
This is a special Q&A issue for everyone who is interested in joining the PayPay sales crew, answering all your questions about the job. Two members from the Enterprise Sales Division, who oversee handling large-scale merchants, joined us to answer all the questions that applicants would be curious about.
Please read this article for more information on enterprise sales.
Kaho Yanagisawa After working at a foreign securities firm, she joined PayPay in November 2020 as a member of the Account Sales Department, Enterprise Sales Division. She is responsible for corporate sales to major convenience stores, drugstores, and retail companies. Currently, she is working with a team dedicated to convenience stores, which was established in November 2021.
Yuto Chiba He initially worked at a local transportation company in Sapporo as a new graduate. He then switched to PayPay when the PayPay Sapporo office was opened in 2018. He was involved in sales to introduce PayPay to small and medium-sized stores. After that, he was transferred to the Online Business Department, then in 2021, moved to the Enterprise Sales Division 2. Currently, he is also a member of the team dedicated to convenience stores, where he proposes campaign measures and PayPay coupons to merchants, as well as expanding their services (linking to official e-commerce sites and apps).
Questions about day-to-day sales activities
When we say “sales,” that alone includes a wide variety of work to be done. What is unique about PayPay’s sales team?
Q1.What is characteristic of sales activities at PayPay?
As a sales representative, the scale of the projects I am involved in is huge.
Instead of just using the tools given to us to make the rounds, we have the option to collaborate with other departments to incorporate new initiatives. This includes the marketing department and the team reporting directly to the CEO that promotes new business. Thanks to that, we can implement measures that you may see all over town, which have a large impact on users and merchants. I think this is unique to PayPay sales.
I would say the speed at which we work, though the same can be said for PayPay as a whole. Different measures are executed in quick iterations, so we deliver fresh measures one after another and keep the wheels turning.
In terms of business growth, PayPay spends one month on something that a normal company would spend a year on.
I think that’s why it’s become such a big and ubiquitous service in just over three years.
In my case, when a new measure is passed to the sales division, I make it a point to immediately understand it and make a pitch to the merchants I’m in charge of. I also create a roadmap for when the merchants can effectively use the measure, and make a proposal with that in mind.
Q2.Are sales activities also fully remote?
90% of all sales activities are conducted remotely. I think the only time I directly visit merchants is when we change the stores we are in charge of. If necessary, I may ask my supervisor to accompany me to a face-to-face negotiation, but basically, meetings are done remotely.
For important negotiations, I don’t just ask my boss to come with me, but I work with the entire team, involving both my colleagues and boss from the preparation stages.
When I first joined the company, I was in charge of sales to stores in Sapporo, and I basically visited them alone. It’s only in the Enterprise Team where I can draw in my supervisor.
I also use Zoom for 90% of my meetings and negotiations.
Like Chiba-san, I try to greet people face-to-face for the first time or when we change the stores we’re responsible for. Meeting in person has its advantages and is a good way to meet people, so I try to make the most of that opportunity.
In Zoom meetings, the discussion ends with only presenting the conditions of the deal, and it can be difficult to have a lively exchange of opinions or build trusting relationships. That’s why I try to use the same ice-breaking methods for remote meetings as for face-to-face meetings, like simply chatting for the first two to three minutes. It might be annoying if any longer. Sometimes, it takes a while for everyone to join the meeting when it’s remote, so I try to use the time effectively by talking a little until everyone is present.
Q3.How do you communicate within the company?
Communication with other departments is also done remotely, of course. I’m already used to telecommuting, so I don’t find it difficult. However, when working remotely, there is more text communication and things are discussed or decided through internal chat messages, so you need to stay alert at all times to collect information.The information I need is not always 100% shared with me, so that’s an issue we have to tackle. You have to go and fetch the information regarding decisions made at meetings that you didn’t attend.
Even though I’m used to teleworking, it’s still easier to work with others when you meet in person. It depends on the state of affairs, but I’d personally like to work once or twice a month at the office.
One of the unique things about team communication is that we set aside an hour every day to meet as a team. It’s a place where we can talk to each other about our problems at work and solve them together. Usually, it’s just the team members, but sometimes our supervisor joins and we use it as a place for giving status updates.
The only time we got to meet in person was when we had our first team get-together. Other teams seem to meet up about once every two weeks when the situation permits. But since our team is small, I feel that we communicate enough within the team even when we don’t get together.
Q4.Tell us about a time when you were happy to be a PayPay sales member
I guess that would be when we work as one team to move large amounts of money and drive measures with merchants that have a large social impact.
I would also add to that, when we gain the trust of our customers and as a result are able to send special promotional materials to places where we normally wouldn’t be able to, and when more stores than expected adopt our promotional materials.
When we achieve big results like that, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment as a sales rep. Also, this may not be limited to sales, but I’m happy to see people using PayPay all over town and seeing PayPay’s merchandising on display.
I feel a sense of achievement when a proposed campaign is accepted by a merchant, gets decided to be implemented, then the merchant is pleased with the results of the campaign.
Also, like Yanagisawa-san, I’m happy when I see lots of people using the app, hear the payment jingle, or see posts about PayPay on social media. It’s especially rewarding to see something I oversaw.
Questions before and after joining
Many people have questions when joining the company. We asked in detail about the most frequently asked questions to recruiters and the worrisome issues during onboarding after joining the company.
Q5.Tell us about how you got here!
I worked in the financial sector in my previous job. It was a pretty stiff job, and I thought it was lagging behind in every way, including work style and business measures.
Meanwhile, I had an interview with PayPay and as I listened to their story, I came to agree with their future vision. The person who interviewed me at the time was my boss at my previous department, who also came from a financial background. One of the reasons I joined the company was because my boss’s thoughts on the problems of the financial industry matched mine. We talked about human nature and our mindset when we work. There, I was able to confirm that my values matched PayPay’s.
In September 2018, when PayPay’s service was not yet released, I saw an opening for a position and thought it would be a great opportunity to join a new service that could change society. So, I applied and joined the company. Initially, I worked in my hometown Sapporo as a sales rep to introduce PayPay to small and mid-sized stores.
Sometime later, I asked to be transferred to a department that dealt with larger merchants, which was successfully accepted. When I was asked, “What can you do?” I told them that I am relatively IT literate among sales people. At that time, there was an opening for online business sales, so I think I just fit the bill.
PayPay employees are expected to be able to contribute immediately and have a proven track record in sales, plus the right skills for the department. In my case, I was simply lucky to be chosen for the role.
Q6.Is there any training or support after joining?
I think it was unique to the sales department, but immediately after I joined the company, there was a two day seminar provided online. Although I had come from the financial industry, I had no knowledge about cashless payments, so I learned a lot. The session covered PayPay’s business and the payment system.
I joined the company when the Sapporo office was opened, so there were no seniors who could accompany me on rounds. Training for me was to visit as many customers as possible and learn everything out in the field. (laughs) As Yanagisawa-san said, we now have a two day training system in place, with a bunch of team members standing by to answer any questions. Another thing that is unique to our current work style is that, thanks to the remote setup, we can join various business meetings once completing the initial training to learn how things are done.
Q7.Were there any unexpected surprises you encountered after joining?
I became a sales rep for the first time in my Sapporo days, but the “sales rep” that I had in mind was quite different to what it actually was, as I found after joining the company.
I was expecting the sales reps on the ground being hounded about their results, which was not the case at all. Rather, the attitude was for all members in the sales office to work towards achieving the goal as one team. I guess I had a pretty negative preconception about sales. (laughs) Even now, after the sales team has undergone several organizational changes, there’s no change in the attitude of everyone working towards achieving the goal as one team.
In general, I always thought that big companies run things by a top-down approach. That’s what I thought of PayPay too before applying, but after asking around during the interview process, I came to understand that there’s a lot of bottom-up initiatives in place. There was even one campaign that was designed based on input from a single sales rep. In this way, I often feel as though the actions we take can directly impact the company’s future.
Q8.What were the obstacles you faced when you first joined and how did you overcome them?
In my current department, the scale of the businesses I deal with is much larger than before, so I often find myself running into a wall with negotiations. So far though, I’ve been able to overcome blockers like that by getting support and input from team members and my boss, and by using the budget we’re given. It’s thanks to my boss and team members that I’ve been able to come so far. I’m still learning things about sales every day, thanks to the support of many different people.
When I first joined the company, I had never worked remotely before, so I had a hard time getting up to speed and communicating.
I struggled in particular with not knowing who to ask when I had a question. So, I would first consult with my supervisor, who would direct me to the person in charge or someone else who had the relevant experience, with whom I would discuss the specifics, and resolve whatever issue was at hand.
Q9.How do you want to change society with PayPay? What are your goals?
I want to make the world a more convenient place for people through PayPay. My goal is to make PayPay something that is indispensable for both the user and merchant.
PayPay is mainly seen as a payment provider, but our goal is to go beyond just payments, and offer a service that makes people’s lives more convenient and richer. That’s the role I see myself responsible for. Whenever there’s something that should be improved from the user’s perspective, I want to involve the whole company so that we’re always creating new value.
Q10.Do you have any messages to people who are thinking of applying for a job at PayPay?
I decided to apply for a job at PayPay back in 2018, before the service was released to the world, because of this catchphrase – “A world will be born in which no one has to carry a wallet.” We’re still in the midst of getting there, so for those of you out there who have the desire to transform the payment industry, this is where you belong.
What’s great about PayPay is that if there’s something that needs changing from the consumer’s point of view, you can make that change happen, even though the scale of our service and company has grown significantly. You can get in touch with whoever it is that is in charge and ask “hey, can this be made even better?” It’s a workplace in which anyone can propose improvements for the business as a user, which is something that you should take full advantage of.
I often think – is there nothing the sales team at PayPay can’t do? There are no internal rules that makes our job an impossibility. Even when I encounter something that feels like it’s impossible, I can discuss it with someone who is always willing to come up with a solution, with a way to keep the momentum up. Everyone working together across different teams and departments is something that is characteristic of PayPay.
Personally, I’ve taken on new challenges after joining PayPay, and I believe I’ve been able to acquire the skill to bring about change if I encounter something that can be improved on. You can definitely achieve personal growth by working here!
About this series
We believe that the availability in many places is the reason why more than half of all smartphone users in Japan are using PayPay. By showcasing the activities behind the increase in PayPay merchants and bringing the voices of salespeople to the fore, we want our readers to learn the secrets behind PayPay’s rapid progress in leading Japan to become a cashless society. Moreover, if you are interested in what it’s like to be a PayPay salesperson, we hope you will gain a better understanding of the work we do through this series.
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.