My interactions with entrepreneurs, across various cities and various stages of their organizations at NASSCOM led roundtables & workshops has been nothing short of an eye-opener.
I have interacted with technology founders who had no formal sales background. They took a blank canvas, leveraged their contacts, hired the initial sales team and have scaled their organizations and have acquired a commendable number of customers. I see every one of them willing for the transition of the sales process – from being a passion driven sales culture to that of a systems driven one.
The Internet is a great leveller. Information is available to everyone – one’s offerings, one’s competitors, one’s prospects. There are also many similar products and services claiming to offer the same benefits jostling to capture the attention of prospects. Technology alone cannot be the main differentiator (unless one is in the IP business). A good sales engine makes all the difference. In each workshop, we discussed specific issues, ideated various options, narrowed down on common themes, and devised strategies for the transition from a founder-driven, reference-powered sales system to a systematic scalable outbound sales system.
All the founders had almost the same challenges in hiring the right sales team who can make things happen for them. The challenges also compounded in on-boarding the sales team with training, assessments and re-training to making the team as efficient as the founders were when they were selling. Implementing a good support system around the sales engine to make the entire organization sales driven was another aspect that each founder wanted to have to make the sales process system dependant.
Constantly discussed was the fact that a sustained Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning strategy backed up by a solid Sales Operations Plan which will let companies nurture the qualified prospect at multiple stages of the sales cycle and provide the right solution to close the sale. Once the initial success becomes consistent, i.e., dots become a trend, then the sales model becomes predictable and the sales team can be scaled.
I am extremely glad to find many organizations having a disruptive product or a service which will get them to compete and win in the leagues of the biggies. I am also excited that beyond the workshops and case studies, many founders have taken it upon themselves to build sales engines. Privy to many of those continuing conversations, I can gladly say that we are building a sales culture out here.