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Entrepreneur in the making? Experts offer advice to walk the path towards success

Neha Jain
30th Aug 2017
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At the ELEVATE 100 conference, Peter Yorke and Jawahar Bekay gave handy tips to entrepreneurs in their master classes on marketing and sales respectively.

All of us are unanimous on the fact that times have changed and one needs to continuously evolve. An entrepreneur, especially, needs to continuously upgrade and update himself with current trends and developments to stay relevant.

Sales and marketing teams today operate in the age of the customer. In order to be successful, they must focus their strategies and actions on buyers’ problems and opportunities. How does one cope with the changing scenario?

Speaking at the ELEVATE 100 conference in Bengaluru on Tuesday, Peter Yorke, Chief Executive Officer, Yorke Communications, gave insights in a master class on how traditional marketing techniques, channels, practices are evolving in the digital age.

At the same conference, Jawahar Bekay, board member of Captive Aide, an end-to-end management advisory service, took a master class on sales for startups.

A brainchild of the Government of Karnataka, ELEVATE 100 is a combined initiative of the Start-up Cell, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information and Technology Services (KBITS), Government of Karnataka. It aims to identify the 100 most promising startups and provide them with the funds or support they need.

Peter said, “The dynamics of the world in which we live today have changed dramatically. We need to wake up to what the audience really wants and define it. The propagation technique has changed. It is no longer about us; it is about them.”

The buyer/audience should be the prime focus. This means that instead of focusing sales conversations and marketing content on product features and company glory, the focus must be on the buyers’ situation and how the entrepreneur can help them solve their problems or make the most of an opportunity.

Peter Yorke making his point at the ELEVATE 100 conference

According to data from App Data Room and Marketo, sales and marketing alignment can make an organisation 67 percent better at closing deals, with 108 percent less friction, and generate 209 percent more value from marketing. Further, a 2013 IDC survey found that B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing departments costs them 10 percent or more of revenue per year, while companies with strong alignment have been shown to achieve 20 percent growth rates.

The value proposition is a key driver in the success of a company and Peter’s one advice to all startups is to “focus on sales and not worry about the brand”.

He said, “If one knows their target audience and is adding value to them if he/she has addressed the pain points of customers, then one need not worry about the brand.”

Talking on similar lines, Jawahar said, “Consumers today are well informed and researched. As they have access to more choices, they are always looking for the easiest and best deals to crack.”

Jawahar highlighted the various internal and external challenges faced by an entrepreneur. The challenges include local and international competition, speedy time frame of execution, sales and marketing bandwidth and reach amongst others.

When asked if there was a secret sauce for the success recipe, he said, “There are various thumb rules and guidelines that, if followed well, may prove to be effective. The success lies in seeing a plan through.”

He offered a tip: “Sales have to be meticulous, process-driven and methodical.”

Jawahar Bekay giving a masterclass on sales at ELEVATE 100 conference

Apart from the traditional approach of selling, Jawahar also stressed on “Insight Selling”. A concept mentioned in Harvard Business Review, the insight selling technique focuses on identifying unrecognised needs and suggesting what can be done (the insight).

As a baseline, Jawahar advised all entrepreneurs to be ready with an elevator speech and be clear about the offering and to whom it is addressed.

Being clear about your product or process will ensure you can communicate this clearly to investors and customers, which is extremely important for growth.

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