- Written by Vibha Bharaddwaj
Ever since I started on this Entrepreneurial after bidding bye to my high paying job at an MNC that is a No.1 Company in several products and continues to be so since several years, everyday life throws
Me a new challenge , thereby teaching me a new lesson.
Earlier I would get hassled as I did not know.
But as I continue in this journey I realised that facing such challenges is the norm. This is how the life of an entrepreneur looks like.
Get used to it.
My Startup which is only 2.5 years old, and is based on a simple model of offering Sales and Marketing services to Small and Medium businesses.
You may ask how is it simple? Aren’t these activities one of the major functions of any business?
You are 100% right. I called it simple, because unlike other startups that are busy building hi-tech AI products, my startup focuses on offering these basic business functions (that are vital to any business), as service.
Let me explain how these functions are vital and why should every entrepreneur/business owner cannot afford to ignore it.
Sales and Marketing are activities that need commitment, consistency and great deal of clarity.
Commitment to take action.
Clarity regarding what actions one needs to take, some of them being –
Step 1 – Finding the right target audience,
Step 2 – Reaching out,
Step 3 – connecting and engaging with them.
Consistency – Rinse and Repeat. Yes repeat the steps 1,2 and 3.
Some of you may ask, when does the sale happen then?
Well, thank you for asking.
Once you have repeatedly done Steps 1 through 3. Sales will follow.
If these steps are done well, the prospective customer himself/herself will buy willingly.
It takes effort though.
I do not deny it.
It takes time, effort and energy.
One has to master their craft. Master finding that right audience, which is very vague initially.
At first, when we started selling Industrial IOT products rather than solutions to Industries, it felt that it was very straight forward.
We had to just , make a list, reach out, connect and engage.
As we started doing it, we faced a lot of objections.
We just could not connect.
In other words, we never could get a meeting.
They always had reasons to postpone it, say no to it, or give some other excuse.
That’s when I realised that, getting a meeting with a prospect is one of the biggest challenges any Sales team faces.
Now, understand this. Marketing is supposed to help generate the leads. Qualify them and provide the sales with Marketing Qualified leads.
Sales is supposed to further qualify it, build a pipeline of such prospects and get a meeting from each one of them.
Building a Pipeline is an activity that is like a ritual to every sales person, who wants to be good at selling and making their numbers.
Your pipeline will determine, how your quarter is going to be.
There is no rocket science here.
And yet I notice that, sales professionals (whatever may be the title, role in the organisation) do not work towards building that pipeline.
Most of their time, goes in doing lot of other backend activities.
I am not saying that is not important but then you got to schedule those activities after you have worked on your pipeline.
I and my team, start our day at work with this ritual.
Do we face objections? Yes.
Do people bang phone on us? Yes.
Do they give reasons? Yes Yes and more yes.
My mentor once advised me to play it like a game.
If you have to make 100 calls a day, and if your success rate is just 10%, by that I mean just 10 people say yes for a meeting, then there is no reason to feel dejected at all.
You just have to be prepared to hear 90 Nos, before you hear a yes.
Hey if you ask me it is very liberating.
Because once I tell myself, only 90 …..only 89 to go…..and so on . It is just a number game.
It suddenly feels very lively.
We don’t any more see it like a drab, or a lifeless activity.
You start keeping score. Have a scorecard. Number of calls made, number of meetings fixed.
You can have many more parameters.
Start with this simple metric.
You will realise that as you start playing this game full on.
It starts to get interesting as the numbers now start improving.
In other words, what was playing for 90 NOs; now suddenly reduces to 80 NOs .
And so on.
That is what is momentum all about.
There is magic in momentum.
I can say this because I have experienced it first hand. And I love this game. I play it everyday and so does my team.
Some of you may ask- Hey you started this whole blog as an Entrepreneur and now you are talking sales and building pipeline.
What is the connection?
Well, thank you for asking this.
And the connection is deep.
Every entrepreneur should master this skill of Sales. As this is what will keep them going forward.
You have to bring in Revenue. Period.
I have met several entrepreneurs, who are very smart and intelligent and very passionate about their product or service, what they tend to ignore or rather overlook is the revenue part.
And this is where things start to fall apart.
Some of the entrepreneurs may argue with me and list several action items that they feel are far more important.
I get that.
Generating revenue cannot be overlooked and should be one of the highest.
Revenue generation is a function of how big Is your pipeline is.
So no matter what your daily rituals are, add this to that list and make sure it gets done!
Some of you may not know how to go about it.
Some of you have tried and faced objections and given up.
Some of you have heard from others and decided not to.
Whatever may be the case, there is nothing to fear or get stressed about it.
As I can help you with that.