Contracts and Sales Are Inseparable for Pleo’s Director of Sales & Partnerships
Contracts are a cause for celebration. They are the milestones on the path to every company’s success. In this series, you will see the most important contracts companies signed. Because every time you say “It’s a deal!” you’re one step closer to your goals.
This is the story of how Ida Støier, Director of Sales & Partnerships at Pleo, drew from her talent in sales and landed her first major sales contract. But before we dive into Ida’s talent at Pleo, let’s take a look at where Pleo started and where they are today.
Pleo is a Danish fintech company founded in 2015 by Jeppe Rindom and Niccolo Perra. They developed Pleo with a wish to enable employees to buy the things they need for work, while keeping companies in full control of the spending. Today Pleo has developed into a team of 850 people spread around the world with a headquarter in Copenhagen. They are servicing over 20,000 customers in 10 European countries and are currently bringing in 1,000 new customers per month.
Last year, Pleo achieved unicorn status when they raised $150 million in a series C funding with a valuation of $1.7 billion. Pleo ended 2021 by raising another $200 million that will help them expand to even more new markets. This investment made Pleo the most-funded B2B spend management service in Europe and the highest-valued—with their valuation almost tripling, bringing them to $4.7 billion.
Being the Director of Sales & Partnerships at Pleo, Ida Støier—and her team—have played a crucial role in Pleo’s development. Growing the customer portfolio with 1,000 new customers per month shows the amazing work of a sales team with a clear goal—to have 1 million users by 2025.
Ida’s take on this?
Celebrating a deal makes closing the next deal easier. According to her, it is an addiction and all about riding the winning streaks by getting back on the phone with the next potential customer.
A salesperson born to sell
Ida is one of those people who instantly takes a room. She has a calmness but powerfulness about her that makes you think she might be an actor, singer, or maybe the owner of her own company. When she starts talking about her job and sales, every piece of the puzzle starts landing in the right place. There is no doubt that Ida is a salesperson born to sell.
"When I was younger, I sold fish oil to travelers arriving or departing from a train station. You would be surprised where good sales skills can find a market." - Ida Støier
Landing her first major contract
Ida has a long history at Pleo. She started working for the Copenhagen-based start-up in 2017, only two years after the company was founded which means she has been an essential part of their impressive growth: "In the beginning, I was excited about clients simply signing up to pay for our product instead of trying our free beta version. Slowly we started signing companies that had three or maybe four employees."
Ida recalls that she called a lot of small companies in the beginning, both to gain confidence and because Pleo’s product was suited for small companies. “But then I thought, let’s step it up and try to reach out to customers with bigger potential. Often we would be turned down by the big companies because of lack of features, or something like that. But this was the first time I felt confident enough to go out and challenge some of these big companies on why they turned us down. I could see that we could make a difference for them, especially selling on the idea of Pleo mainly, instead of just selling features.”
It turned out that Ida’s belief in Pleo and her courage to pick up the phone and convince the bigger companies to sign with Pleo paid off. The smaller clients suddenly became bigger, and there is especially one sales deal that Ida looks back on with proudness.
She had been chasing the client for a while, and with more than 50 employees, it would be her first big client win. Ida recalls: "I remember being able to go back to the customer after so much negotiation and talks forth and back, and with full confidence finally say 'this is our product, take it or leave it. And well, at the end of the day, he knew we had the better product and had to say yes."
Landing the contract is a milestone for Ida and one that defined her as a salesperson: “Landing that contract gave me so much self confidence. I always thought that I was good at my job, but now I was certain of it!”
Not only would this contract make Ida realize how good a salesperson she had become. It also validated that Pleo was on the right track and that Pleo could cater for bigger and more complex clients. Being able to attract medium-sized companies proved the quality of the product.
"Yes, it's great to land a big contract, but I get a high from all my sales. It's an addictive job." - Ida Støier
Since then, Pleo has grown sale by sale. With every sale came a contract, and with every signed contract, there was a celebration: "Every contract was a huge win back then—it still is. It's something we have always been good at celebrating with a good hit on our company gong, a group message in our 'WINS channel', and a celebratory announcement at our weekly updates or kick-offs."
"At Pleo, we are very good at celebrating contracts! It keeps motivation up for everyone." - Ida Støier
Sales are contracts, and contracts are sales
Today sales still define the culture and the growth at Pleo. Ida pinpoints: "We talk about sales and contracts every day. We look at them all the time, and they are the most integrated and important part of every day for my team, but also Pleo."
"Some studies say you sell your absolute best when you're already on a high from a previous sale. So I try to ride my winning streaks and jump right back to work after landing a contract." - Ida Støier
Here's to the future
Pleo is a business spending solution for small to medium companies. Pleo enables employees to buy the things they need for work while keeping companies in complete control of all spending. They continue to expand and are now present in countries such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, and Spain. Ida continues to lead her team of account managers from the office in Copenhagen. They work daily to land new clients and contracts. She loves (her choice of word), being close to the sales, leading a team of amazing people and celebrating all the client contracts—both large and small.