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Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

I Have Fallen In Love with Selling

I’m an engineer by training. But have fallen in love with selling.

Here is why.

Selling is personal. Share your stories. Be vulnerable.

Selling is interpersonal. Meet new people. Build relationships.

Selling is collaborative. Get help from colleagues. Strategize with the team.

Selling is disciplined. Be consistent. Make and keep promises.

Selling is scientific. Follow the process. Learn from the best.

Selling is artistic. Be creative and solve problems. Make it unique.

Selling is hard. Face many rejections. Persevere until you succeed.

Selling is addictive. Win one, two, ten. Keep winning more.

Selling is rewarding. Create impact. Make companies successful.

Selling is mysterious. Wonder why it worked. Diagnose why it didn’t work.

Categories
SaaS Sales

Playing Chess and Selling

My 8-year old daughter has learned to play Chess during this quarantine to keep the screen time under control. 😀

So I’ve been playing Chess with her pretty much every day and realized how similar it is to Selling.

As a Chess player and as a Salesperson, you have to:

1. Think several moves ahead

2. Have a game plan

3. Follow the steps, and not play for a quick win

4. Be flexible with your plan and adjust the course as per new scenarios

5. Learn from others’ game plans and strategies

6. Practice, practice, and more practice with different types of players

7. Play with confident body language

8. Be patient, resilient, and still stay sharp

The only thing that’s different is – in Chess, another person is your opponent.

In Sales, you and prospect are on the same team.

So in Chess, you aim for a win.

In Sales, you aim for a win-win.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Philosophy Product Management SaaS Sales Startup

Know More

What separates a great salesperson from a good one?

It’s the same thing for a marketer, copywriter, engineer, lawyer, surgeon, and many others.

They know more.

There are only 3 ways they can know more:
1. They have more experience
2. They seek more knowledge
3. They continuously apply their knowledge

1. The hack to gain more experience at less age is to be more curious and take risks to work at small-scale companies.

The first job I got in 2002 after college was with one of India’s largest IT providers – Infosys.

I left it in 8 months, took a 40% pay cut, and went to work for a 100 person company.

2. The hack to seek more knowledge is to have a growth mindset and devour as many books and training as possible on the subject matter.

I’m an engineer by education, but people get surprised by how much I know about UX Design principles, Sales methodologies, or Copywriting.

All credit goes to reading a lot of books and taking online courses.

3. The hack to apply more knowledge is to try more in your day job but also do side hustles.

The only way I became an SW engineer from an HW engineer, or a product manager from an engineer, or a salesperson from a PM is – my side hustles.

So invest in yourself and know more than others.

Categories
Product Management SaaS Sales

The Extra Effort Commitment

When we had launched Avoma, we allowed anyone to sign-up with their personal email address to try it out.

But now we stopped doing that and have added more friction. Here is why…

It’s about “The Extra Effort” they have to take to demonstrate their commitment.

With the previous approach, people were not committed.

We would follow-up with them, but they would not reply.

Neither they used Avoma actively, nor they bought it.

That makes sense, as they didn’t have any meetings on their personal calendar.

They just wanted to “check it out.”

And we had many competitors also who signed up with their personal or random email addresses “to get inspiration”. 👀😀

And it was our mistake in the first place to keep it open.

But it’s better late than never.

We finally decided to block signups from personal email addresses.

Yes, we are going to piss-off a few people and disappoint them.

Yes, we are adding more friction to the user experience.

But we want people who are willing to take that “extra effort of commitment” with Avoma.

If you sign up with your work email address, we will strive to deliver the best possible experience for you.

Sometimes you have to add more friction to provide the best experience to the right customers.

Categories
Marketing Sales

No ‟link in the comment” for LinkedIn posts

Isn’t it a frustrating experience when people share their main message in the Post area and link in the Comment area?

Hey, CEOs, Sales and Marketing leaders, and LinkedIn influencers – I have a few questions for you.

You say you’re customer-centric.

You say you strive to deliver the best customer experience.

But your customers are your prospects first, who are your LinkedIn connections.

Why don’t you strive to deliver a better experience for your LinkedIn connections?

Why do you ask me to read something in your post and then keep searching for a link in the Comment area?

LinkedIn is stupid to encourage such behavior.

But just because they didn’t fix this issue, why are you taking advantage of this situation?

Where is “don’t be evil” or “being right” value?

I’ve made this mistake too.

I’ve fallen into the trap of LinkedIn hacks.

But not anymore.

I’ve decided not to share any post with “link in the comment” hack.

Even though it means it comes at the cost of not getting more visibility.

Let’s do the right thing.

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

Pain Killer Vs Vitamin

Is exercising a pain killer or a vitamin? 🏋️‍♂️

Is a reading book a pain killer or a vitamin? 📖

Is eating nutritious food a pain killer or a vitamin? 🥗

Is playing sports a pain killer or a vitamin? ⛹️‍♂️

Is meditating a pain killer or a vitamin? 🧘‍♂️

All things that are essential to living a happy and healthy life don’t seem to be a pain killer. 🤔

Then why the heck while running a business, everyone advises buying only a pain killer? 🧐

Isn’t it too late to buy a pain killer to fix your broken organization?🤦‍♂️

Shouldn’t you actually be investing in running a better organization and making sure it doesn’t break all the time? 🤔

Of course, you can still buy a pain killer (or a band-aid) occasionally when the organization breaks. 💊🩹

But why be reactive when you can be proactive? 🤷‍♂️

Categories
SaaS Sales Startup

Relevant, not Personalized Email Outreach

Sending “personalized” email outreach is a thing of the past. Sending “relevant” email outreach is what we need in the industry.

The current way of outreach using prospect’s first name, company name, school, etc. is not personalization. It is a table stakes.

The right way of outreach using prospect’s needs, responsibilities, future aspirations, etc. is a true personalization. It is being relevant and helpful.

Categories
SaaS Sales Startup

Happy Planning 2020!

As we’re preparing for the new year, it’s a good reminder for everyone –

Do not overestimate “planning” 🎯and do not underestimate “constant corrections” 🧭.

Planning is essential, but constant corrections are inevitable.

Happy planning 2020! 📈

Categories
Uncategorized

The First 10

It was an intense but a healthy discussion I was having with my co-founders. We were debating about our strategy, our positioning, how we are different than our competitors, what story we should tell to VCs so they would fund us, how can we define a new category and be a leader of that category, how can we build a big independent business instead of entertaining early acquisition interests, etc.

All were important topics. But after a while, I realized they were just not timely. We were talking about the end state after 18 months, 3 years, and 5 years.

I was worried about this month and this quarter. All I wanted to do was – onboard first 10 customers for Avoma.

Somehow we agreed on key points and wrapped up the discussion. But the first 10 customers concept stuck in mind.

Since then, while I continue to think about longer term vision, strategies, etc., but in the end, I always bring the conversation back to getting the first 10 of whatever that key milestone we wanted to focus on.

Some of the examples are:

  • The first 10 manual prospecting emails before we implement email automation
  • The first 10 trials converting into paying customers
  • The first 10 paying customers that we don’t know
  • The first 10 customers who absolutely love us and can’t live without Avoma
  • The first 10 customers came from one particular channel
  • The first 10 customers that were referred by existing customers
  • The first 10 $10K+ contracts

This mindset always helps me to get tactical and start acting on the next milestones immediately, without getting lost in over planning and delaying the execution.

Obviously, the downside of this mindset is that once you are bogged down in achieving the first 10 of “x”, there is a high chance that you are not thinking about the bigger picture. You need to find a good balance between the both.

As they say, entrepreneurs are a special breed who need to have a great macroscopic vision and at the same time they need to have a great microscopic vision.