There have been gazillions of articles on sales and ways to do it right. There is obviously no rule book but each viewpoint is an experience which becomes a part of the collective you use to make decisions. Pritesh Vora has over 8 years of experience, first as an event organizer, then as a part of an MNC and the latest being a startup.In the last stint of over the last 19 months, he was the Business Head of 1000Lookz (VDime Innovative Works Pvt Ltd) that develops Virtual Makeover Applications for retail industry. Over the years, a couple of things became very clear: B2B sales is hard and that story telling is very important. “I have literally met more than 1000 companies in the last 18 months and the ride has been amazing,” says Pritesh.
Acquiring about 10 clients from 1 on the web and from 25 to 250 on the mobile for a very premium solution, the journey has been arduous as they cater to the “nice to have” segment. In this segment, one has to start with demand creation first and then work on demand generation requiring a strong strategical approach to acquiring customers. Since such solutions are not budgeted by clients for any of their needs, it becomes especially challenging to convince them.
Some key general learnings that Pritesh shared:
- Getting into too many verticals ignoring the resources in hand can be detrimental. The best way to go forward is to focus on the key areas and a build a team around it to not only sell but support as well.
- Projections are probably just projections for a startup but it is important to have a long term product roadmap and constantly evolve to achieve product Nirvana. Keeps things in perspective.
- Obsession with the product is a trap which many entrepreneurs fall for. Listening to the signals from the audience and changing accordingly is necessary.
On deal closures and B2B2C sales
By default, a salesperson person should have a large pipeline especially in the Indian scenario where deal closures take a considerable amount of time. And here, offline relationships become very important. “You can be an online industry but you cannot undermine the impact of offline events and creating relationships offline,” says Pritesh. Things are a bit different when you have a very global product but even here, maintaining relationships is the key. An Angel customer early on can provide that necessary impetus/encouragement and the success story should be used to get more business.
And here if you're able to identify a friend from the clients side for backing and support, you have done 75% of the work (for selling to big corporates where deals take time to close).
There are a lot of common sales techniques but here are some uncommon but heavy sales strategies that worked for Pritesh:
- Merry Christmas: An excellent ice-breaker is to always try and share some good news (even if small) with client before initiating a meeting. This sets a very positive tone and usually gives positive results for the pursuing opportunity.
- Utilizing power of body language: Body language is a very key element not usually highlighted in sales techniques.
- Auto sales mode with partnerships: Partnerships are the fastest means of scaling a business. Partnerships with key companies ensure a sales mode for the company
- Zero rupee sales team: If you can crack this, you are the Sales Ninja. Always look out for an opportunity and ways in which you can partner with an organization where in you utilize their sales resources to work for your organization (of course working towards the same vision). You will get access to their teams for selling your product without spending a penny.
- Utilizing human psychology –This is where good old homework on the industry and company pays well. Use the homework to play the right card of how not acting swiftly may benefit their competitors if they take up the solution first. (it’s a given that adopting your product will deliver them benefits).