5 Things I Was Doing Wrong As a Salestrepreneur

The last time I wrote on medium, it was from the lens of an entrepreneur.

Today I am wearing the hat of a ‘ salestrepreneur ‘ and feel thrilled to tell you why this might be the best phase of my professional life in India and how Orgzit has played a major role in it.

Orgzit is a workforce productivity platform that my brother, Pavan Verma and I built to save time and digitize business processes in an one-in-all platform for all business processes.

Let me give you a brief introduction about Orgzit if you don’t already know about it.

From a marketing perspective, I put my MBA degree to use and narrowed down the industries I thought would be best suited to use the platform and get setup for scale.

It’s been a better part of a year since Pavan and I have been working on Orgzit. In the course of this time, I have assumed different roles, worn multiple hats and tried to establish myself as an ambassador, rather than the co-founder of Orgzit.

Recently Kartik Dulloo, Growth Hacker for Orgzit, wrote a Orgzit-life inspired piece on how building relationships with customers is more important than closing a deal without establishing significant ground for trust.

Not only did I completely agree with him on this subject, but took inspiration and decided to do a little recon of my own as to how can I improve my interaction with a client while giving Orgzit demos. It’s been a month since that thought took over me completely, and today, I feel confident to share my experience with you.

When I started getting demo requests for Orgzit, I made up a sales presentation and started the cycle of sales exactly how I read it in this article when I was still figuring out what where does my true ambition lie.

(I remember my professor at INSEAD telling me that techies make the worst salesman ever. Not surprisingly, Pavan agreed on this point too and passed the baton to me. I took it un-grudgingly.)

Let me tell you, after giving 30 Orgzit demos to small and medium business owners, I realized a few things I was doing wrong as a salestrepreneur:

Constantly Changing Sales Process

I realized that every Orgzit demo customized was quite different from the last one. So it was difficult to follow a defined process. Ironically, this collided with Orgzit’s core value, and constantly pushed me towards that bottomless pit which made me question my ability as a product manager turned product salesman. Pavan and I are big on processes. But after a quick meeting with my friend and colleague ( Nitin Kumar), I figured out a way to define a process.

In one of the Orgzit’s weekly meetings, our whole team sat together and we set up a sales process -

If you think that’s a cakewalk, I would love to schedule a demo for you and you can judge for yourself.

  • Ask client requirement and look if existing solutions in Orgzit can fill them
  • Impress upon Orgzit’s flexibility to create a custom solution the client way
  • Close the dialogue asking for feedback and two references

Take Away Lesson: Define a sales process before rushing into the act of making the sale.

Doing Sales via Marketing

I know that marketing is something that any product can’t shy away from. Be it B2C or B2B, it is a sure shot way to reach your target audience. But was doing sales through marketing a good decision? Let me tell you why is wasn’t -

Kartik started sending value-adding newsletters to our team’s LinkedIn contacts via Mailchimp. Since the value of an email in today’s information age doesn’t last more than a day, we analyzed the reports after two days (I love being optimistic). From a total of about 2000+ mails sent, almost one-fourth were opened, and one in ten clicked on any one of the links. I found it to be a reasonably good campaign.

Value-adding emails

But when we composed an email with Orgzit’s sales pitch (which took nearly 3x the time to prepare) for specific industries and sent it to approximately 500+ people, I could hear the MailChimp analytics window sigh like a ‘Guru’ and mock at my mistake after two days. Not many were tempted to open a mail from an unknown SaaS firm they never heard about.

Sales emails
Take Away Lesson: People (might) open unsolicited mails only if it adds value to them. Use marketing channels to focus more on customer research and increase your outbound reach. Pitch the sales message after you have initiated a dialogue.

Less Listening & More Talking

Now let me just rewind back here and ask you a question — if you have developed something unique, wouldn’t you like to show it to the world? And that’s exactly what I did.

During the initial demos, my Orgzit-crazed alter ego took over and I started animatedly discussing about what ALL Orgzit could do than listening to what the client wanted it to do. Only when Kartik poked me I realized that I was overselling the product. From the next demo onward, I defined a ‘in-sales’ rule that I follow till date -

As a salestrepreneur, I need to let go of my over-zealousness just for the duration of the demo. I can always get back to it when I am developing it.

Take Away Lesson: Always give your client a 15 second breather and ask if you are on the same page in order to keep the exchange of information balanced from both sides.

Sales Presentation Over-Dependence

When I gave my presentation for the first time, it felt great.

The second time — good.

The third time — Fine.

Halfway through my demo spree, I realized that the words started rolling fluently, without a single glance at the presentation. i.e. I started talking less MACHINE and more HUMAN.

I even identified some common client idiosyncrasies while giving them a demo and added another point to my ‘Salestrepreneur To-Do List’ in Orgzit.

Take away Lesson: Profile the client according to his/her inclination towards the sales presentation. If you think you are boring the client with background information, skip the presentation and start with the actual product demonstration.

Open-Ended Sales Meetings

In the beginning, I used to give access to customized Orgzit apps to clients that they could play around with and revert back with their feedback ANYTIME. But I realized that my inbox never received the message that I expected. So I defined a timeline which gave my demo users free access, but only for duration of two weeks. This stipulated time-frame subtly conveyed the message that the demo access for the customized apps was temporary and not permanent.

Take Away Lesson: Orgzit like many other SaaS products has a Freemium plan. Your Freemium plan can have no expiry dates, but your offers made during sales calls need to have an expiry date.

More importantly, I abided by the cardinal rule at all times -

Don’t Sell The Solution, Sell The Problem

Whenever I wear the sales hat, I go back to Spiro blog and refill my sales energy quota so that I am prepared for the next demo. It has taught me few things that are important and quick to implement.

I feel that medium is the space where I can easily pour out my heart to the world full of entrepreneurs, only separated by distance. I will be extra pumped if you could tell me where am I going wrong or how can I better evolve Orgzit.

P.S — Did I already tell you that we went live with Orgzit’s video a month ago and crafted a blog post to help product entrepreneurs do the same?

Here you go (Video) -

Orgzit Introductory Video

Here you go (The ‘How to’ Blog) -

I am an infrastructure finance professional who found his true reckoning in trying to help teams and businesses enhance productivity for which I built SaaS information and task management software .

Recommend so that the ‘Humans of Medium’ can push it.
Please provide your feedback and suggestions.
See for yourself as to why I think Orgzit can work for you and your team to optimize productivity.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on May 1, 2017.