How should sales guys handle the pandemic situation?

The first and the foremost thing a salesperson should do it, “keeping selling.” It is not that there is “no need” situation in the market. There is only a “no want” situation in the market. So a salesperson should not stop the selling. 

A new norm is there everywhere. So it should be there in the sales presentation and pitch too. Rewrite your sales pitch. Redesign your presentation. Revisit what you are selling. 

The conventional “cold email” and “cold call” is going to be tactless in this situation. The same old way of “one-stop-shop” is not going to fetch any more water. Adjust your team to the new reality. 

As per a survey, it requires six times more effort to convince a client for a deal than earlier. So the best part is to hold your clients very close to your heart. Often speak to your customers. Communicate proactively with them.

Reassure your client that you can understand their pain because they are also crossing the same situation.

Whatever may be the situation, the closure should keep on happening. Revisit your old leads. Engage with your earlier prospects. Analyze why they didn’t give you the business last time.

Finally, speak to your delivery organization to bring them on board with you on keeping the “Customer First” attitude.

Personal tip to sales guys: Don’t shift job now. Sell what you are well versed in all these days rather than going to new selling. It is not just you are going to sell. It’s the brand name of the company which is going to help you to sell. 

The synchronization of what you have with your company and your selling skill is your real motivation. You cannot sell yourself and also the brand now. It is a risky task.

Technology Driven or Technology Focused?

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The definition of this will slightly vary based on whether you focus on Service based or Product based.

If we are a product based company then we should never consider the technology as criteria at the first stage itself. Any product based company should be focusing on Market-based rather than technology based. The success of the market-based product is much, much higher than the product of technology based.

Technology should be determined based on the market need of our product and market should not be determined based on the technology proficiency of our company.

Example: A product should be analytics based and not big data technology based. Hope you can understand the difference. We cannot build a product on top of the technologies of big data. But we can leverage the advantages of the various technologies of big data to develop our product.

So the steps would be:

Market need – > technology selection – > Development Methodology – > Goto Market strategy

If we are developing on these steps then we are driving on the freeway to success. This is well experienced on large scale products and for any quick product, we can derive our own steps.

Now lets us analyze the same for a Service Based Company

Service based company can be a Technology Focussed (TF) or Technology Driven (TD). There are many differences between TF and TD. A TF company will be built on a specific set of technologies only.

TF example:

A company will say they are CRM specialized or E-commerce specialized or M-commerce specialized or Mobile App specialized, so on and so forth. Here they have to focus only on the technologies required for their specialty of service they provide.

TD example:

Any company which brings their core value as providing End-to-End Solution for the client would be automatically a TD only. Here they will suggest the client on which tool or technology would be the best fit based on the requirement of the client. Example: Based on the past experience a TD company would be in a commanding position to suggest on which Framework on which CMS on which Payment gateway a required E-commerce or M-commerce Web or Mobile App can be built with maximum efficiency and optimal utilisation with TCS (total cost savings)

If someone still says, “Jack of all and good for none” then consider he is still living in the past and this phrase has no meaning in the current trend of the technology world.

Also, this phrase is still used by the Technology Focussed companies only.

They should understand that even the developers are now “Full Stack” and not focussed on one specialty. It means you cannot get a developer on board for a long period in the name of technology focus. The percentage of people sticking to one technology is now draining fast and because of this trend, they will tend to move where they have enough for their appetite.

A Technology Driven service based company is a most versatile company to build our product rather than arguing with technology specific company.

The TD companies are on a fast track of new technology adoption and they bring more value to the table rather the technology focussed management companies.

Especially on developing countries like India where the opportunity for the developers are huge to learn new technologies and if we restrict them from getting involved in new technologies based on our company focus we will see more brain drain than the industry standard.

The most used Big Data and Analytics are gone and we are in the world of integrating technologies and concept together. Yes, we are now stepping fast into the IoT (Internet of Things) and image where we will stand if we still speak about technology focusing.

IoT is nothing but the combination of Targeting the Customer with the Electronic Gadgets into Data Capturing. Can we now say, IoT is a combination of Marketing, Electro-Mechanical, Software Development, and Analytics?

So is it now possible for us to restrict our service based on one set of technology alone? The answer MUST be an NO for any Technology Driven Company who see their company’s growth in next generation vision and mission.

If we still say that we are a Technology Focussed Company then will miss our right bus at the wrong time.

If we are a Service based company with tomorrow’s vision working with SME or SMB companies then we need to be having Full Stack Developers driving our Technology Driven company.

 

Repeat Vs New Business

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During the initial stage of your business, you will concentrate only on revenue. Later this will move to profitability. But once you reach a stage of a steady stream of revenue with profitability you will start slicing and dicing the revenue. This is when you will first concentrate on the share of revenue from repeat business.

New business gives room to your growth acceleration. But repeat business gives the stability to your business.

Take, for example, if your total revenue is 10M and if you have a track record of having 4M as your repeat business from year after year then you should never reduce your yearly target as 6M new businesses. You should again keep 10M as the target for the year from New Business.

This will give a huge growth acceleration and out of my experience, I will say that you should concentrate to have your operational cost within the repeat business revenue and should use the revenue from new business in venturing out new ideas or expansion.

Apart from the revenue part, there are also other important key factors we can get from our repeat business.

1. Strategy

Repeat business is the best contributor to design the growth strategy of your company. You can get an in-depth vision on analyzing the data of the repeat business in terms of Technology, Customer Satisfaction, and common need of these customers so that even with a very small tweak you can do magically positive changes to your business.

2. Understanding about the work culture difference

This has proved to be the most important factor in any success or failure of the relationship.

It will take time for the customer to understand your work culture and the same way for  you to understand the work culture of the client. I have seen many business relationships fails during the trial project or after the first project itself.

It will take its own sweet time to understand both sides and particularly if it is offshoring then it will take much longer time than near-shoring. Once you both cross this chasm then it will save a lot of time in the execution of the project.

3. Best Practices

Even if you have a defined business practice for your company, because of the repeat customers and businesses it will be easy for you to adopt a different practice with different clients. This is initially not possible for new customers as it may sometimes hurt the relationship itself.

How can you increase your repeat business?

It is not an easy task or a quick task to be accomplished. To understand this you should understand as when you will call your business a successful one or not.

The best answer I can say is the quote of Ilya Lichtenstein  “it usually takes at least 5 years to build a company to exit or profitability. They’re built piece by piece, making one user or customer at a time, getting to the next milestone and waiting for the next major opportunity to reveal itself”

What is the right percentage to have repeat customer or revenue?

It is practically true that you have to run a business for 5 years to take a call whether it is a profitable one or not. Until then you have to struggle and put in your best possible efforts to accomplish the task of running it.

There is no exact percentage to be capped for this. But the industry norm is to be between 25-50%.

If we have to take a call at the end of 5 years then you should be getting between 5-10% of your revenue from repeat business or at least at the end of the third year your repeat revenue should be above 25%.

If you are able to cross 50% in the 5th years, then you are very well placed in the market for the next 3 -5 years minimum on profitability. If this task is achieved then your concentration should be focussed on New Business with 30% growth every year.

If the above is reached in a Small and Medium Business in the IT service Industry, then you will be at the employee head count of 150 in the 3-4th year, 250 at the 5-6th year and would have crossed 500 by the end of 7th year.

So concentrate on New Business for the first 2 years then Repeat Business till the 5th year and then onwards your business will accelerate exponentially as you have already started splitting the revenue between new and repeat businesses successfully.