Declined an offer to become the next CEO and joined bellFace. Creating the future with a former classmate.
Hello. My name is Nishijima, a supervisor in the human resource department at bellFace.
Today I am speaking to Mr. Kosuga, a man who changed his career and accepted a job offer to work
with us in July 2018 and who also claims he loves working for bellFace even though he has not
officially started working with us. In the previous career, he was engaged in sales for learning
materials for 11 years. Although the company only had 10 employees, considering his remarkable
achievements, he had been approached to become the next CEO of the previous company.
What made him decide to turn down the offer and change his career to work for bellFace? After
spending his whole career in sales, why has he reviewed and reconsidered his own sales strategy
after joining our enterprise? As a matter of fact, Mr. Nishiyama, our company’s director, holds the
View Nishiyama’s article from here.
Kosuga talks about his old episodes with Nishiyama, and the experiences that changed and moved
Could my current sales strategy be “out of date”?
-What kind of work were you involved in the previous job?
In the previous job, I had been engaged in sales for educational materials for private cram schools
and private primary and secondary schools. After I graduated university, I got a job at a Toyota-
related car dealer. My colleague at the time changed career first, and he asked me if I was
interested in a sales position after I could not find a job independently. I was not interested in
education at all, however I did not want to turn down the offer from my colleague as he had helped
me change my career. I just did my very best in a new position.
I was mainly visiting existing clients and was responsible for 200-250 companies. Customer
management was the hardest thing, so I visited them based on their priorities.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed seeing my clients happy about our products, which is the same as
selling cars. To be honest, I love surprises (lol). I used to surprise them when I was in sales. For
example, I had brought 20 copies of sample flyers that I created when one of my clients was having
trouble with designing a flyer. It made my day when they said to me, “You did not have to do this.
Thank you very much”. I really enjoyed resolving my clients’ issues, which would lead to increase in
sales for my company.
-I heard you had been approached to become the next CEO at your previous company. What
made you decide to change your career?
It is because I wanted to master my selling skills. I had joined my previous company when I was 24.
5 years later, I had been promoted to a manager for the sales department, and to a director a year
later, and then I had been approached to become the next CEO when I was 31.
However, when they told me I would be the next CEO, I was not confident about managing a
company at all, especially when I did not have any knowledge other than the small education
industry. I felt like I was living in my own world.
So, I had made up my mind to study more. However, as I studied more, I had begun to wonder if my
present sales strategy was unsophisticated and out-of-date. Instead of studying by myself, I had
started to think that it would benefit more if I joined a company where the sales mechanism was
When I was trying to change my career, I thought to myself “Every company
should be introduced to bellFace”.
-I have been told that you found out about our enterprise from reading Nishiyama’s article on
Wantedly, and you were in the same class with him at high school. Which part of bellFace were
you interested in?
When I was considering changing my career, I had found Nishiyama’s article on Facebook.
I had some knowledge on management as well as KPI, but to be quite honest, I had learned that “the
era of inside sales is coming” for the first time. It is a system far more efficient than the face-to-face
sales strategy. I could not help but wonder what I had been doing in sales all these years.
When I was job hunting trying to change my career, I thought to myself “Every company should be
introduced to bellFace”. Then I had decided to contact Nishiyama.
-You had not seen Nishiyama for 10 years since you saw him last at a friend’s wedding. How did
you feel when you asked him about bellFace in person?
At that time, I was so fascinated to know what they do, so I investigated every single detail about
But I did not tell Nishiyama that I intended to join his company because I did not want him to think
that I was desperate. I searched “bellFace” on Twitter and investigated what type of people were
talking about it. Some people left comments saying they were not happy with what they do, so I
tried to figure out who were not happy with bellFace and how they should do business with
unsatisfied clients. I talked to Nishiyama about his enterprise very passionately, so he was quite
Then he got his 2 computers out and put me through to his office saying, “Would you like to meet
-You had felt strong connection with bellFace and had decided to join the company. You will work
in sales under supervision of your former classmate Nishiyama. Have you felt any conflicts?
We were classmates in 11 th and 12 th grade in high school. Nishiyama was a leader back then, and he
was quite honest to anyone and he could fit into any group of friends.
He had always been a leader and he has not changed. I will follow him anywhere (lol). In order to
pull the whole enterprise together, Nishiyama will lead everyone and I will fulfil my role. I know
what he is like, so it is a very comfortable working environment for me.
A very organized working environment for a venture enterprise, which was
-You had been working in the previous company as selected personnel. Being a venture
enterprise, bellFace would be the same. How did you feel after accepting the job offer?
bellFace is hiring more people at this stage and is going through a rapid growth. In addition, the
structure to motivate employees is fantastic.
Not to mention personnel assessment and training system, they had considered my interests and
strengths and put me in the sales department, where I wanted to be in. There are only a few people
in the department, but they work very efficiently and effectively. The number of people working in
the department does not affect their performance.
A couple of days ago, I attended a training session for new employees even though I have not
started working with them (lol). I am grateful that my strengths and skills are evaluated objectively
-With the working environment you can grow in and the products you are devoted to sell, I
understand you are quite excited about starting work at bellFace. What are your plans?
What I would like to do is to solve my clients’ problems, and that has never changed.
I had talked to an educational material manufacturer about our enterprise the other day, even
though I could not give them the company’s name as I have not officially started working here. They
seemed to be very interested. I used to travel all over Japan for work, and there were some clients
whom I could not visit even once a month due to geographical issues. Even companies like them
would be able to engage in sales once a week through bellFace.
However, the “inside sales” strategy is not a main stream. Therefore, I would like to approach
progressive companies that would accept innovation and expand my targets. Some small and
medium-sized enterprises would place importance on the number of visits, including the cram-
school-related clients I used to work with. Companies like them would not be interested in
effectiveness of inside sales. It is accepted differently depending on the industry and their corporate
culture, so I am going to study thoroughly and suggest solutions for my clients.
-Changing career is all about timing. When do you think is a good time to consider changing
From my experience, I would say when you want to grow quicker.
However, I have learned so much in the last 11 years. For instance, I would have changed my career
to run away from the previous job if it was 6 years ago. Now I know how I want to grow and where I
want to work thanks to my previous working experience.
I really wish I had thought about changing my career like this a lot earlier (lol).