Never kill a lead..

Sales is always complex, No matter what age you live in. There are always rules that tell you how to go about it. Well.. ask any successful marketer (or ) salesperson, they’ll say that they had their own rulebook. Something that worked for others may not work for you. So though, one needs to keep away from obvious mistakes, they’ve got to find their own way to success.. Let us share some of our own learnings..

Apart from other departments, sales struggles mainly in the department of pipeline management. So here are few tips that help manage the leads better:

1. Never kill a lead..

Even if a prospect says ‘no’ initially, don’t kill the record. Keep persisting with occassional reminders, mails and occassional friendly phone calls. You’ll be surprised how many percentage of such people would eventually say ‘yes’ to your offering and also thank you for keeping in touch. This is the essence of a salesperson, i believe.

2. More is not necessarily good..

Keep your lead pipeline very precise.. Do not just keep consuming business cards and flooding your pipeline. The percentage of useful leads directly affects the effectiveness of your sales activity. And psychologically too, its better to talk to people who are encouraging rather than talking to random people.

3. Let Customers market your product..

Treat every customer as your sales channel. On a successful sale, just drop in a email saying ‘Its a pleasure working with people like you. Can you please refer more people who’d be interested in our offering’. You’ll be surprised how many customers would lead you to many more customers.

4. Score your leads..

When you’ve got a long pipeline of leads in front of you, its very easy to go through the cycle and start calling everybody one by one. This would generally consume long time and the percentage of misses would be too high. Lead Scoring would help you in prioritizing the list and making sure that every call you make has the highest probability of converting to sale.

These are some of the tips that can come in handy.. Happy selling.

– Satya Narayan

Lead Simplified – Lead Management Simplified

I don’t need a Lead Management System because..

This is a collection of reasons that we’ve got from some of our prospects whom we approached for a lead management system.

It’s surprising, in this day and age, people are still shying away from embracing technology to smoothen out their business. OK, so lets cut the chase and get to the reasons:

1. It’s good but it’s costly.
CRMs were costly, a decade ago. Currently, they’re as accessible as a mobile phone or an internet connection. Also, with the SaaS offerings, it is extremely easy to own a Lead Management System.

2. It takes lot of time.
That needs a rethink of strategy. An average lead management system saves about 30% time in administrative tasks performed by a salesperson. Also it is proved that it also increases the efficiency of a sales team in long run.

3. I can manage my leads without it.
Its a different question when you only get dozens of leads per month. In that case, you really need to think if the business is viable.. leave alone the managing part. Anything above that, you surely need to have a lead management system.

Well.. A lot of people are moving on to better ways of managing leads. Hope these businesses too catch up..

[Shameless self promotion]

LeadSimplified is one such offering in the Lead Management space that helps you keep a track of all your leads and convert more leads into deals.

Startup City Experience

In the last month, I’ve had the privilege to present my product at two startup conferences. One in Bangalore and other in Singapore. There were few similarities between the two, but overall they were both very different from each other.

Let me Start with our Indian environment..

Startup City is an annual event organized by Silicon India in Bangalore. There have been 2 events so far. Both witnessing a massive response from the startup world. No surprise, since Bangalore is one of the best startup ecosystems around in India.

The event was a success with around 100 startups and 3000 visitors. There were some awards distributed.. Check it out here

It was well managed, with a professional outlook. Nice stalls were provided for the startups. Every startup got an opportunity to pitch their respective companies in front of a decent size audience. (It was my first real pitch in front of a large audience. The experience was wonderful.)

Our Singaporean counterpart was a little different..

Unconference ’09 was the first of its kind which invited startups from across Asia to come and present at an international audience. It is organized by e27 an event management organization based in Singapore.

It had around 30 startups from across South East Asia and some from Japan and HongKong as well.. The crowd was fairly decent sized as well with around 1200+ visitors. Check out their details here

It was a very young crowd and the feel was also very similar. Certainly more colourful of the two. Lots of gaming and fun softwares displayed. Not many softwares on the business space though. It was pretty hectic over there, being the only person available to give the demo from our side.

Some very obvious differences were..

1. The nature of the applications

The Singapore event was full of games and fun applications and mostly online. Some of notable ones being, and few others. Where as our Indian version comprised of more serious softwares (if that is what Enterprise software means) and mostly catering to the Indian segment. Some of the notable ones being, and

2. The nature of startup founders

The startup founders at Singapore event were full of young kids some still in their colleges.. It was a total youth affair and I was very surprised (pleasantly) and impressed with their involvement. While at Startup City Bangalore, we had some really senior people, and it was a completely formal affair.

3. The size of booths..

Well, this matters a lot and you can see the two version. On the right is the booth in Singapore, which was basically a stand-up dinner table. and of the left is Bangalore, which is a full-blown space to showcase one’s product and offering. Both demanded creativity. We were better at Bangalore, as we were around 4-5 people there.

Singapore Event
Startup City, Bangalore

Made some good associations at both the places.. With the rise in the number of startups, these events would also increase and give us a greater chance at stardom.

Great, looking forward to many such appearances. Probably move into the larger corporate sector as well..

An year of dreams and realities.

We just completed our first year at Quads, and I just thought why not recap what we’ve achieved and learnt in the past one year.

It was around may-june in the year of 2008 that we started off the company and named it Quads. The name primarily meant a group of four people. Four of us got together and started off the venture with an aim to make products, software products.

Initial idea:

Our initial idea was to make an online fashion community. A community where people from fashion world would come and share their collections and their tips and tricks. This would encourage people to come over and learn the new fashion trends and start discussions around them. This would eventually serve the purpose of predicting fashion trends for a particular region based on the user behaviour from that region.

We went around talking to fashion designers and some wierd ones as well, about our idea and their thoughts on them. Some were interested but generally there wasn’t enough excitement, not something that would impress us and motivate us to go ahead with the idea.

So we decided to hold the idea for a while and plan to make it a while later. So if you’re reading it and interested in implementing it, do let us know.

The accelerator:

In the meantime, we got an offer to make a travel portal for one of the large travel companies. It was an offer that kickstarted our activities and fuelled into the enthusiasm. We started our hiring and got 5 developers on board with a consultant. Quickly ramped up the office space, the furnitures, the computers and all the necessary legal stuff. Quads started rolling..

Ok. While all this happened. Two of our founders decided to leave, fearing the typical entrepreneurial route. It was a difficult time for us and we had to decide what we were going to do. We decided we’d go ahead with or without them. We added in another person into our group and kept on going. Now we were three people.

LeadSimplified :

It deserves a chapter of its own. We started LeadSimplified more as a project for one of our clients and we later proposed to release it as a product with a SaaS offering. There was a general nature in the application that attracted us and allowed us to think that it would work over here.

Months of effort brought the first version of LeadSimplified to life. We loved the initial look of it, and as days went the product improved its shape. Then suddenly one month we got enquiries from some major banks in the country requiring this platform for their usage. We were totally baffled. We didn’t quite know how to handle it. Well, we did what we could and stuck to our basics.

But we were surprised at the nature of conversations we had with these large corporations. Mostly they didn’t have any knowledge of the technical part of the business and they were really bargaining their boots off. This was a total surprise to us. We didn’t expect discussions of this low nature from reputed organizations. But well, you treat them as they are. None of them actually transformed into sale, yet. Well.. you never know when they might come back.

These incidents left us totally blank, we didn’t know where to go from there. We didn’t have the finances to keep us running behind these giants. Also there were lot of personal issues that we were finding ourselves in.

One thing we did all through this was keep improving the product and now its a ripper. Its one of the better pieces of software available on the internet. This paid off and landed us a deal with a large multinational corporation.

Now its a product that represents us more than we represent it.

Well, we’re a long way from over, but this one year has been one of its kind. With all the highs and lows it certainly deserves to be one of the best years of my life.

Well, I also released a picture filled story of the same. Its available at slideshare. you can also have a look here.