Developing sales systems in Cameroon and across Africa

Javnyuy Joybert, Business Growth & Operations Design Trainer, Consultant & Entrepreneur, joins Dave Nel, Regional Host for Africa. Javnyuy will explore developing sales systems in Cameroon, the pathway to building successful sales systems, and more.

Javnyuy shared his journey from a small town in Cameroon, paying for his University training, then returning to his village and starting a training program to educate those in the local area and then throughout Africa.

Javnyuy also spoke about the challenges in setting up sales systems in parts of Africa, from distribution, through monetary systems to collect revenue, through the multitude of cultures and languages to understand to deliver value properly.

Give a listen and remain curious.

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Audio Transcript

Dave Nel
Today we are blessed and honored to have our first guest all the way from Cameroon, which is something that we haven’t had before. Jeff, no welcome. It is absolute pleasure to have you here. You’ve already told me you’re having a blessed and fantastic Monday, which is good to hear Not everyone can always say that about that we aren’t, we are excited to hear from you and learn from you today. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind just short sharing a little bit about this man who’s sitting here on the call with us and a little bit about the business that you work for.

Javnyuy Joybert
Okay, hello, everybody. It’s such an honor for me to be part of this live show. And I think it’s a very important piece. As far as business is concerned, the more we keep having platforms that we can exchange perspective and exchange knowledge and be the amazing thing about programs like this, now we get to share experiences of different locations and countries. And we just get to see how we can grow the business ecosystem. So my name is Johnny joy bird, and I am an entrepreneur, business trainer and consultant. And I’ve been doing that for over 14 years today go into 11 years, I started at a very young age, I left my first ever job after about eight months. And I just went into this training thing. Because in my severe urban area, I saw young people struggling. So my first ever business was actually a training center. Because I tried to create a business around the problem that I faced when I was done with high school, my mom cannot see me through university because you don’t have the money to do that. So I was left with a job market. And I didn’t have the skills to compete in the job market, I was left to study skills to start a business. So I decided to leave my small urban town and I went to a bigger town called bamenda. And that’s where before the odd jobs and I was able to sponsor myself to a university after that, I came back to my town. And I see so many other young people who are not able to go to university, their high school dropouts that copy the high schools on what to invest here, I came back because it was talking in a bigger time round of that. So that was when the idea came in of setting up a trading center, where we can train young people to have credibility skills and enterprise development skills. And that was the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey into becoming a business trainer in Cameroon and other African countries in the last 10 years. So that’s what I’ve been doing so far. That is what I still do. But if at some point, the dreams that are green began be that so we now have what is called cost Deaf group. So because Deaf group has started their responder Training Center, there is a financial service institution where we train these young people, and some started looking for funding that we could not get them funded. So we had to create an ecosystem whereby we can fund ourselves. And that’s where we are today. And we have a recruitment firm, will it provide recruitment services to other startups or NGOs, and small and medium sized enterprises? So that’s the work that we do.

Unknown Speaker
Amazing.

Dave Nel
What a daunting task to leave high school and think to yourself, what am I going to do? And then to and then to end up starting your own business? Which sounds like it’s really just snowballing at the moment. Now, I know, when when we chatted A while ago, you also mentioned how passionate you are about building productivity in teams. And and I’m interested to hear because you’ve got a lot of people on on the call who who do do that they actually help enable performance in teams. Could you tell us a little bit about your thinking around building productive ecosystems in sales, specifically in Africa? I’m interested to hear how you go about doing that.

Javnyuy Joybert
Yeah, you know, the nature of my work has put me in a place where I have had to talk a lot about sales, and not just sales, but sales that affects the profit and loss statement positively. I like to say that because sales on its own, that doesn’t make the company profitable. This is as a problem. So and, and, you know, the African situation. and South America is very peculiar because there are a couple of challenges a couple of issues that people get to go through. And of course, when we talk about the sales ecosystem, we’re talking about people we’re talking about processes. We’re talking about systems, which is infrastructure. And all of these things contribute to the revenue generation of of the business. And when we talk about in,

Javnyuy Joybert
in working with all these businesses in trying to influence Oh, good, I’m sorry, you lost me there for a moment,

Unknown Speaker
just for a second.

Javnyuy Joybert
Okay, good. So many things get to happen. And with all of these, in my experience, I think that in building a sales ecosystem, a lot of things need to be considered one of the most important things, of course, is talking about the skillfulness of people, the resourcefulness of the people that you meet, man, your sales ecosystem, your sales department, whatever they want to sell is very, very important. And, of course, the sales processes should be very efficient with the focus to give clients a good buy an experience, you see. So when I’m talking to up to two startups to two institutions about yourselves, this is also very important, because if your sales processes are not designed with that consciousness, that they should be efficient, and have the forecast to give your clients a good buy an experience, there will be a lot of complaints and some things about all right. And of course, I spoke about systems systems and about infrastructure. And there are two peculiar infrastructures that bring a lot of headaches, as far as continuous cell cycle is concerned, in many African countries, which input distribution system or payment system. So these two things are very important in the cell sickness cycle. If, if we are talking about you getting something from South Africa, to Cameroon, and getting me to buy that thing and enjoy it, you need to make sure that is distributed, it gets me on time when I need to use it. And that gets to be a very big challenge when the distribution system is not well done. Right. There are many countries that don’t have house addresses yet of Africa. So it makes it very difficult for you to locate out address and get this stuff. And of course, the payment system. I think Africa is the most fragmented market in the world where and today we see how very huge challenges to move money across different African nations. And this infrastructure challenge and loan when we’re talking about service ecosystems, to pay attention to that. And of course, we also need to pay attention to customers expectations, we are talking about a sales ecosystem. And of course, we know that, for my experience, when I deal with clients, and all of that customers always expect three major things they want to expect exceptional by an experience, which is very important for us to give it to them. Number two, they also expect tailored options, especially if you’re providing a premium service, they want to feel that the experience you’re giving to them is personalized welcome, especially in Africa, we love to feel special right? Back in income roll this is possible for you to see a family head comes into your office, they want to feel treated specially they want to see you recognize them that a family had, I need a community. So you need to respect me for that. And it’s very important to pay attention to that. And they want to have instant and open communication. When there are complaints they reach out to me on WhatsApp reached out via your Facebook page, quickly communicate, if you’re called communicate people in a single email, you reply immediately. So to me, these are things that are very important. As far as building assess ecosystems

Dave Nel
are so useful, you said a couple of things here. The first one is, look, bringing in sales is great. But bringing in profitable sales is is a lot more important. You just want them if they don’t actually contribute to to the bottom line at the end of the day. And you know that that idea of making sure that you design your your sales processes, sales methodologies efficiently. And so, so important, get it in at the beginning, because if you started halfway through, you’re going to have a problem, but there was a real piece of gold that you shared with us that I haven’t heard before. So thank you for that. And that is, you know, when selling in Africa, those three expectations of of your buyers, right. The first one is that the buyer expects a certain experience that’s important. And the second one there that that you know, it’s it’s tailor made. It’s specific. it’s specific to me, and that’s tough when you’re reaching across the whole continent, and then that last one of communicating instantly. I think sometimes people forget that, that Africa has almost leapfrogged. Because they didn’t have that middle piece where we relied on post and normal telephones, we just jumped straight into instant messaging. You know, there’s no, there’s no middle ground

Unknown Speaker
in Yeah,

Javnyuy Joybert
absolutely, you know, there was a time or somebody like dealing with one government official, where, for example, in Cameroon, in my country, there are some documentation that you have to do in the capital city. So I was telling him, you guys are not leveraging and free technologies to enhance. Now to leave my village, my town to the capital city is almost at 214 as the boss, so I will leave my town. And I got to the capacity before the clock, or the whoever is telling me that oh, you know, this document from the mayor. So you need to go back to the document before you come back. So I was I’m like, why don’t you have a good social media platform, Facebook, Whatsapp, something, come and ask, okay, hey, I want to come to these documents in a ministry in the capacity, what do I need to bring from my end before I start traveling, so you need to see people, my mom used to travel sometimes, because she was a civil servant to travel that full time between the capital city and my city used to get one documentation. You see, and the government also sells. So if that is done communication with your clients, the private sector, the public sector, they get to anticipate that in many African countries, when they don’t pay attention to important things.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, look, everybody wants a

Dave Nel
14 hour bus trip, anywhere to collect a form. So that is definitely a a no go. And, and, you know, again, what you’re highlighting to me is so important, especially for the sales enablement, guys across Africa is, you know, it’s not just about hiring, and upskilling, the best possible sales people, you have to look at the bigger ecosystem that you find yourself in, you know, you can’t just say my job is just to make sure that we’ve got the best salespeople you’re gonna you’re gonna lose miserably if you do that. And, and I know that you’ve set up quite a few ecosystem sales ecosystems in your career, you’re 11 years coming on 11 years, I think he said it was, I’m interested if you were a new company, because there’s so many of them. We had someone the other day patients from Kenya that was telling me this 3000 new companies that open a week in Kenya, I mean, that’s just crazy. If you one of those new companies that is setting up and looking to build an ecosystem for for your sales team. What kind of frameworks what would you be considering if you were starting out at this point in time?

Javnyuy Joybert
Yeah, um, you know, this framework can be small, micro, or macro. And I think that it’s very important that as, as businesses starting up, you know, the entrepreneurship bubble is everywhere background methods of research, I was talking about somebody today. We are smarter than Kenya. But you get to see, last year alone, over 14,000 startups were created in Cameroon today is that purple. And of course, there’s that challenge of making sure that a good sales ecosystem is designed especially for the sales team. And I believe that in this they should look at in a macro level, first of all, they should do a couple of things that fretwork a couple of things. Number one, I like to talk about deep analysis to understand the terrain, understand where you want to sell, as I said earlier, the African market is very fragmented. And even in the same country, like in Cameroon, for example, we have over 250 ethnic groups and speaking almost different languages. So they said we can sell in one region is totally not the same way you can sell in another region. So you need to understand the terrain if example study in the Northwest region. If If a chief of a village comes in to treat your business, delighted to see how they address and recognize who they are, and honor them for who they are and treat them especially, and it for us in our culture, that is okay. When it comes down south and this product area, sometimes they come in and they’re okay with it. So that’s really differences and we are selling to these people. And then I was saying, if you disrespect our chief, we can refuse to buy from you because we suspect that he is very serious, is it so it’s really important that internally before you’re launching big or whatever I want to do take a deep analysis to understand interestingly concerning Kenya is not the same way you can sell it now. Nigeria is not a simple concern in Tanzania. And the way you can sell in Johannesburg with a better distribution or logistics system is not the same way it can sell in chat, where they’re still struggling to build it with the delivery system, and all of that. So it’s very important to understand the terrain number two markets, of course, you need to be good at your marketing. And never get too confused between marketing and sales. Marketing is, how do we know that you exist, but one can be very easy to do. But sell is utterly boring, that thing that would cause somebody to give you money, and you actually feel that you have the money in your bank accounts, or whatever else to get the money. So it’s very important to look at the marketing funnel, make sure you get the marketing, right, because the marketing is wrong, it’s still a struggle. And the third thing is get a skillful and resourceful team is very important. If you if you are building a search ecosystem, we need to make sure that a team is good. If you need to coach them, be a coach, if you need to be a mentor, be a mentor, even to bring an external trainer to upskill them, you should do that it’s not something you can believe to check. The next thing I need to look at is multiple payment channels, do your best. Do your best as a startup as an as an entrepreneur, as a business person to make sure that you are giving your clients many options that they can pay money to you. I wasn’t a problem of any local entrepreneurs, when I worked with them is that we have two major telecommunication companies in Cameroon. And always tell entrepreneurs, there’s no reason why you should not add it to mobile payment systems for your business. So I went to this service one woman I said, I know I don’t have this particular one, I used this particular one, I’m like, you need to have all any means that money can come into your business, you need to have that paint. So it is very, very important. So what is mobile payment, whether is a bank payment, whether it’s cash, whether it is emphasizing in eastern Africa, whatever any means that a customer want in Bitcoin, you can receive Bitcoin receive Bitcoin, I know one of my clients that I think Bitcoin for payments, is he is very important. Having multiple payment channels is good for your business. Then next thing, of course, is have multiple communication channels

Javnyuy Joybert
is very important. Don’t just walk past the age whereby you only receive calls for complaints of others have multiple communication channels, beyond half calls, SMS, WhatsApp, Instagram, if you can, Facebook, if you can emails, if you can just be where there are human beings. And where you can see on us is very important. Because there are some people that are very good at Instagram, and they love to do that. I know a lot of people that have reached out to me use our services that they are not they don’t use Facebook at all, but they use Instagram and they’re okay with it. So what if you are not an Instagram, I used to have, in another way be able to communicate in all of those channels, be able to receive complaints, all of this channels on the receiving end customers willing to reach out and do to them and of course guarantee continuity. Don’t be today on Facebook. And then two weeks later, you say, I don’t know how to maintain a Facebook follow up again, that’s not good. I think that’s it, this is done in a macro level before going to be a lot of things will be handled as far as the core system is concerned. And of course, I think it’s imperative that looking at the macro section. Generally, I mentioned that. In a macro level, let’s look at it more pay attention to the cultural tradition. When Africa is very important, we should we should not ignore that life example if your uncle stays in Nigeria, you see how important there are certain things that we are in a euro bias with the evils which we have is that there are some things that are very important to them. And it’s important that if you get in an ecosystem, don’t ignore that. It’s very important. Number two, observe and understand the current supply chain and fill the gaps. Because there’s nothing new under the sun, no matter how innovative you want it to want to build something you must find somebody in that same industry that do something similar and try to observe their current supply chain. I always say there is no complete sales cycle without a supply chain. You need to be able to see the whole thing from beginning to the end. And in that supply chain, observe carefully and fill the gaps. You will see a gap that you can feel you will see a gap that oh these dice are not succeeding because they came to the market. They were trying to use their fleet of cars. Meanwhile, if they use local commission to buy a brand that will deliver faster see But if you want to do the same thing you will, you will face the same problem that they faced. Because my for example, it covered under African countries, permission was too bad, right? There’s no the city better than even Google Maps. So if you look at somebody may come to the to the market and it’s failing and is struggling to look at their sub look at that their whole chain is missing, that does that piece. And you bring it that piece of the puzzle by commission to advise them on how to be friendly, customer friendly, and dress well and look better and use smartphones. And yet you can you can be in business. The next thing is understand government policies. And also pay attention to the gaps, and always have a plan B. You know, when dealing with governments in Africa, always, they always have a plan B, these guys can just get one morning, and they release a new policy that can affect your business operations anytime you see. So pay attention and understand government policies in their particular country, it’s very important to hire somebody if you can, don’t assume government policies of the country, or another country, or that country, these are all different governments were so fragmented as a continent, we have different things that we will look at, as far as the government side is concerned, pay attention to government policies. And the next, of course, be very agile, and pay attention to new innovations by startups that can influence your business. There’s one thing that we should never forget, there is the entrepreneurship bubble coming out. And it therefore means that

Javnyuy Joybert
118 year old guy from nowhere, can just build an amazing business, that will just disrupt whatever you were doing for the last five years, and you’re like what just happened? So we always say that in whatever you’re building, let your sixth sense. Pay attention, what can come out of nowhere, and kick me out the market is very possible. And you can, you can be building something, but it lasts for a niche for last five years, 10 years, and a 16 year old build an amazing technology that just kicks you out of the markets pay attention to that, I think it’s something that we should do that. And of course, in Africa, right now, if you’re looking at building a sales ecosystem, we should not ignore the African continental free trade area is the bringer of policies that will enable free movement of goods across the African continent and human beings. And hopefully, it’s going to increase access to payments and all of that. I’m really praying that all of these amazing policies around the free trade area in Africa should be limited peacefully, and will bring a lot of benefits as far as selling across the African continent. Absolutely. We can’t

Unknown Speaker
wait, which

Dave Nel
obviously, the Southern African area for free trade, the African one which will come very similar to the Euro, it will make a will make a massive difference. But you know, listening to macro micro 200 different over 200 different ethnic groups in one country, many, many different languages, just Raptors who are 18 years old, and Norway creating things, multiple payment systems. I mean, it just it blows your mind. And the thing that keeps coming up for me is, if you’re going to work in a sales ecosystem, you have to be aware, you have to constantly have your eyes open, and you’ve given us a you know, a couple, quite a few but a couple of very, very key points to be aware of, will you get it right every single time? Can you predict the future? My friend, if you can, you and me are having a secret conversation after this. We’re gonna make we’re gonna make a lot of money. You can be aware, and you can think that i think that that’s probably true for startups in in Cameroon, or for listed corporates in Nairobi, it doesn’t matter is it make up and and be aware, and that’s useful. Thank you. Really, really, really useful. I want to ask you, this is and you’ve spoken a lot already. So I’m not sure if you have more to add or not. But it is an African sales channel. And I’m thinking man, if I was going to be starting a business in Africa, you are the man who I’m going to be calling to say come and help me think because you seem to have so many good areas to focus on. But if I was a company coming into Africa, and you had to say there’s one like unique thing, one challenge one thing that’s different unusual, either in Cameroon or in Africa in general, for people selling building sales, ecosystem sales, and Edelman, what would you put out there? What do you think is the the number one thing free advice that you’re happy to give to anyone?

Javnyuy Joybert
I think the free advice will be to dictate your payment system. How you receive money from your clients, you know, sales is not completely gone Monica your hands. So if and it’s a very big challenge and and that is why one of the most amazing things I’m really grateful for that has happened in the last few weeks is the recent partnership between fruta with the Nigerian FinTech company and paper, that collaboration will greatly greatly allow African nations to accept and make payments, like, easily, if we’re able to have that it will be a very big blessing. So if as as as as anybody planning to come in, pay attention to that, if you’re not able to Eclair, multiple systems that you can receive money into your business, make sure you get that right before you’re launching, because there’s no need of launching big having a good print out a good team, good marketing. And then it becomes very difficult for somebody to actually get the service because they can, they are finding it difficult to actually pay for that service. And if I want to get that I think a lot will happen a positive for the business and of course distribution distribution in northern countries. cities like Johannesburg and Canberra, Canberra cities already have very well structured cities, that makes distribution very easy. But as you look at expanding in Africa, in minut, semi urban areas, and even poorer areas, that will be a very big challenge, if you will need to tailor your distribution model, you cannot copy and paste, you need to find a tailored model that can make it work yesterday example yesterday, somebody reached out to me who wants to do something, one village and wants to do promotion. And after their research, they noticed that if they do the promotion in English, they will not understand because when they went there, everybody was speaking the local language. So they are looking for a translator and somebody who can record something put in front speakers in a big fan drive around the right area of people to listen that you need to pay attention to this tailor solutions because that is what actually works. As I always say it goes beyond technology and grammar. So coming in from certain areas in Africa, very practical the field and get it done. I mean, that’s

Dave Nel
useful. It feels like when it comes to distribution in Africa, you must have Plan B but maybe also Plan C, because, because who knows what’s what’s going to happen. And again, you can spend all of your time building the most beautiful, perfect, highly skilled sales team. But if you can’t collect payments from your clients, your sales team is not going to stay for very long. Going to be annoyed and irritated with you. And they’re going to think well I’m gonna go sell somewhere else where we can actually close, close the system or close the loop. So it is a great a great tip. Thank you so much. We’ve got one last question for you. This has been all about you sharing advice and and ideas with us. And really, I’ve learned a lot today. And I think I hope a lot of our listeners have as well. But take a minute, you’ve done a lot in your 11 years. And I’m keen for you to to brag tell us something that you’re incredibly proud about. I know you spoke about the training business that you started way back when. But I don’t know if there’s anything that you you’re just really smile and just wake up in the morning and are so grateful for and would love to share with us.

Javnyuy Joybert
I think that one of the most proudest things you have about is being able to build a thriving, trading and consulting business because it’s not just part of the continent. It’s not something very, very popular when I started that in 2011 or so. And it was hard it was difficult. But being able to successfully build our model that works for us has really really been very, very important. Without Of course one of my proudest creations is still Serbian, the Africa institute that is the training center whereby over the years, we have been able to walk with incredible entrepreneurs and corporate enterprises in providing them employability skills training and helping them tell their businesses better as far as how market is concerned, also expanding and wanted to tour our countries. We’re also proud, of course, their finance, as we said, because their finance our services and institutions created to be able to finance the ideas, and already existing business of people in our ecosystem. But now we are already going beyond our ecosystem in our community. And doing that financing, where see businesses being able to do that last time when my team was trying to change the employment impact of what we have done as far as financing is concerned. And we’ve noticed that the businesses will finance as much currently employing staff under 26 people. And that’s something that we’re really proud of the people we’re working on and getting the market for finance them in terms of working capital, asset, financing, stock, all of that. And there are some that we started with them from scratch, you know, getting loads of pitch dollars and so on. But now they have grown up continuously and able to employ more people. I think we’re super proud of that. One of our dreams, of course, is that someday led businesses with financial pilot and employ 10,000 people. Once the ripple effect of the worker. That’s one of our long term trends. Of course, we attend that we can sell a new goods 100,000 people for fun.

Dave Nel
Yeah, well, I think we lost last year there for a second, but I just want to say 10 to

Javnyuy Joybert
see a very good ripple effect of the work that we do in the community.

Dave Nel
I was just gonna say 10,000 people, we’re gonna have we’re gonna have to have a party, a 10,000. Created party, but I love that you go. But when it’s 10,000 maybe then it’s 100,000.

Javnyuy Joybert
Absolutely. We keep dreaming big.

Dave Nel
Listen, it has been an absolute pleasure learning from you today. I’m sure that I’m not just volunteering you here. But if anyone has questions, comments, or just wants to think a little bit with someone who has been there, done it and learned some hard lessons in life when it comes to building sales ecosystems, they can reach out to you and and happily have a conversation. Anytime. Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure and we will definitely have you back again soon for the 10,000 party.

Javnyuy Joybert
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Dave, and hoping to check on you when I when I’m in Cape Town. You know, I’ve not been in Cape Town before in South Africa twice, but I need to be complicated.

Unknown Speaker
Let me know when you’re here.

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