- Square, the merchant business of San Francisco-based digital payments company Block, is betting an overhauled sales approach will bolster growth.
- In July, Square finished reorganizing its U.S. outbound sales team, which seeks out new clients, dividing employees into restaurant, retail and service verticals, Block CFO Amrita Ahuja said during a Wednesday investor conference appearance. In April, the business did the same for its U.S. inbound sales team, which handles calls coming in from potential customers.
- Square’s also experimenting with field sales and contracts, said Ahuja, who is also Block’s chief operating officer. The business had never employed contracts with its merchant clients before, but is finding some larger merchants value the pricing stability and structure that contracts offer, she said.
In the past, Square had a smaller sales team that was mainly generalist, Ahuja said during her Wednesday appearance at a Goldman Sachs conference in San Francisco. The sales team was primarily inbound and “primarily payments-focused, in terms of the messages that we delivered to those sellers,” she said.
Square got its start in 2009 with the little white card reader that enabled merchants to accept credit card payments. As it has expanded the software services and tools it offers, the business has faced competition from companies like Fiserv’s Clover and restaurant fintech Toast.
Block Head Jack Dorsey said in May that Square needs to do a better job of getting its foot in the door as point-of-sale and merchant services rivalries have intensified.
Square’s sales have suffered because the business has historically shied away from typical sales practices in favor of focusing on technology, Dorsey said during a May conference appearance. In particular, competitors took advantage of Square’s gap in outbound sales.
The company has now pivoted, creating inbound and outbound sales teams with account executives specialized in the restaurant, retail and services verticals. As Square has built out its merchant offerings, “we’re not just focused on telling a payments story,” Ahuja said Wednesday.
Since revamping the sales approach, Square is seeing positive returns, such as increases in gross profit per account executive, Ahuja said.
To drive future growth efficiently and further the company’s pursuit of larger merchant clients, the refocused sales team is a “key investment area for us in the future,” Ahuja said.