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3 ways of making an unresponsive prospect speak

I have always believed, prospecting is the toughest part of sales. When you have closures and qualified leads, you are ecstatic, you are focused and just everything in the world seems perfect. You think you can do wonders in your career. But when you don’t have a pipeline, that’s when you start feeling the pinch of Sales.

So the question is why prospecting is the toughest part of sales. Because it’s frustrating to find a person who has a genuine need and most of the times prospects don’t turn up. They will not answer your call, they will avoid your emails. And you will end up making that “one last attempt” when a prospect will answer your call or email.

So in this post, I am going you 3 tips to make a prospect speak.

  • Understand the purpose you want to talk to that person : Quite often it happens that we end up putting a lot of efforts behind a prospect without even knowing why do we want to talk to him. Sometimes we wan to talk to them because he of his designation, because of the brand of the company, because he might have responded to our marketing campaigns or may be even silly, because we have the phone number.
    That shows disrespect to the prospect and the lack of  preparation at your end.  Remember the purpose of  prospecting depends on products/service you are trying to sell. There should be namely 3 purpose of you reaching out to the prospect :

    • Fixing a meeting
    • Establish familiarity
    • Getting more info
    • Closing a deal
  • Try different touches and tactics  : Don’t call any customer to an extent that he will not just respond to you, but he become unresponsive to your entire organization and want to blacklist it . If you think that prospect is so valuable, try other channels like Facebook, linkedin, their blog etc.  It’s also important to add a value to your conversation on social media.  What you are doing is trying to find a trigger event in the conversation where the customer finally notices you and thinks you are not trying to just sell something to him. For example you can do following :
    • Send him a whitepaper
    • Send him an invitation to a marketing event related him industry or topic of interest
    • Keep your LinkedIn timeline uncluttered to get updates only from the people truly matter to you
    • Join their groups
    • Send personalized birthday wishes etc
    • Contribute to the content they post
  • Stick to the basics : LinkedIn is not a tool which will give you closures or where deals are possible to be closed. That’s very unlikely. Use linkedin to grow your brand value, establish yourself as an expert in your field. And you do that curating and creating content. There are sellers who don’t update their linkedin profile for ages and just keep on sending linkedin requests, which is of no value. Some of the best practices which you can do are :
    • Try to find the Teamlink connections and request your colleagues to introduce you to the person you are trying to get in touch with
    • If you have any shared connections, use them as reference to break the ice
    • Use InMail as the last resort to get in touch with the prospects, as you will lose credits if you don’t get a reply and they will not reply you if there is no value for them.

Prospecting is painful but this is the cost you bear to earn success in Sales.

How to start “Insight Selling” ?

Consider you got a call from a sales person.

Hi Sir !!! I am calling from a company ABC and do you have plans of buying a TV ? It’s a 50” TVs, on which you can play YouTube, browser internet, check emails and we will give you a 20% discount.

After sometime you got another call from some other sales person

Hi Jai, I noticed that  recently you went to see your favorite movie, but you missed it because of traffic.  How about creating a theater like experience  for you at your home and that too without compromising on your holiday plan.  All I need is 10 mins to discuss to tell you how.  Would you be available in the evening ?

Which one you think has more chances of a positive out come? Which type of seller are you ?

A lot has been changed in Sales because of internet and technology advancement. There has been 3 types of Selling techniques :

1. Alligator Selling : Selling happens based on features and quite honestly how loud you can shout in a market place. 

This is an old style selling technique only because it’s difficult to achieve competitive differentiation. Competitors can easily come up with the same features and quite honestly in no time they will bring something better than you.

2. Solution Selling: Selling happens because of your understanding of customer’s issue.

That’s what’s happening right now. But this selling technique is becoming archaic because there are lot many who are doing this. To understand customer’s issues sellers ask open-ended questions and trust me there are many who are asking lot of questions to the prospects. They have got irritated with them because they themselves can find the answers online and they don’t have time to be questioned by many.

3. Insight Selling :  Selling happens because of your intelligence.

As I said, there are lot many who are asking questions to the prospects to an extent that they just don’t want to give time. To be heard you need to say something which is useful

Insight selling is based on 4 factors and how well you understand them.  And to excel in these you need 4 qualities: persistence, knowledge, patience and building your own brand.

Industry

What you need to know ?

Focus on how the industry is changing, where is it  heading and what are the influencing factors ?

How can you do this ?

The best way is to create a list of few players from that industry. Then try to connect with them on LinkedIn.  Also, if you have Sales Navigator save those accounts to get regular feeds from them.  You should also think of finding a mentor from that industry if possible.

Technology

What you need to know ?

If you are a seller, you still need to be technical and have good understanding of the technology. I went to a TV store and asked the person what’s the difference between a Smart TV and  an Internet TV. Similarly if you  are in IT let’s say you are handling a Blockchain consulting services, you must understand Blockchain. You ofcourse don’t have to be a programmer.

How you can do that ?

Just develop the curiosity. You can find plenty of resources around. You can use Udemy, Udacity, other MOOCs, or you can get a book, magazine etc. The only thing you need is a curiosity of how things work.

Competition

What you need to know

Your understanding of your competitor’s offerings should be as good as yours. Customers do a lot of research online and they are already 70% ahead in their buying journey. You can’t fool them.

How should you do it ?

If there are certifications available, do it. If possible consume their offerings too. Don’t ignore the people who are already using your competitors’ offering.

Buyer

What you need to know ?

The more you know them, then better it is.  You should atleast know about their past experience, their job profile, their education and their personality.

How should you do it ?

Connect with them on LinkedIn.  Try to find a reference.  Follow them on Twitter and yes, if they don’t have an immediate requirement, just be updated with what they are sharing and keep the interaction going on.

HCX on IBM Cloud – Intro

Typically in a hybrid cloud implementation CIOs have the below concerns:
  1. I don’t have a compatible vSphere version
  2. My network architecture is different from Cloud Services Provider’s network
  3. My applications have a lot of complex dependencies and they interact with various other entities in my DCs like storage/DB Solutions, DMZs, security solutions  and platform applications
  4. They have created their own governance and control and they are concerned if they will be able to do  the same in a Cloud environment.

Is there a way they can get away from these complexities and find an easy way out ? These are the concerns which can be easily taken care by HCX. Below are some of the very important use cases of HCX .

  1. Extending to the Cloud :   when you want to extend your application may be because of the requirement of additional storage or compute.  This can be a short term requirement or even long term in case you have hard fresh refresh due.
  2. Disaster Recovery : Typically customer wants to have the shortest possible RTO and RPO for the on-premise DR site. This can be easily achieved if you have a vmware virtualised infra.
  3. Modernize on-premises DC : If you are planning to move entire DC to the cloud HCX can help you to migrate 100s of apps with just a single reboot and no change to the OS or application.

 

IBM Cloud provides the foundation to extend on-premise workload seamlessly and with minimum efforts required.  HCX enables this by extending on-premises network in to the cloud through an optimised software defined WAN.  VMware workloads can be moved to IBM Cloud from on-premise without any modifications required and without any downtime.
HCX establish a secure WAN optimised  hybrid interconnect which sits between cloud and on-premise environment.
Below is the architecture of the implementation :
Hybridity Services :  It has two parts. Target side and Source side. Target site is IBM Cloud DC and source site is on-premises deployment.
Product : VMware HCX.

Cloud Management : A centralized platform for managing the entire software-defined datacenter.
Product vCenter

Virtualization Admin : Responsible for maintaining the cloud services and environment.

Here is a step by step explanation of what needs to be done to use HCX
Step 1: VMware HCX is deployed in the cloud instance in an IBM Cloud DC
Step 2:  HCX is deployed on-premises
Step 3:  Virtualization administrator uses the HCX user interface in vCenter to establish the network connection
Step 4: The two HCX deployments establish a software defined WAN connection to extend the on-premises layer 2 network to the cloud instance.
Step 5: Virtualization administrator uses the standard vSphere user interface to initiate migration of on-premises workload to the target site in the cloud.
Step 6: HCX uses WAN optimization to efficiently migrate the workload to the target site, maintaining the current workload IP configuration
If you want to read more about the Solution architecture click here

Solution components and Reference Architecture

IBM Cloud provides the automated deployment of vmware solution components The offering in the solution portfolio consists of
  1. vCloud Foundation ( VCF) : vSphere ESXi, Platform Services Controller, vCenter Server appliance, SDDC manager, NSX and vSAN. VSF consists of :
    a. 4-node base cluster
    b. 2 Bare Metal Server size options
    c. Upgradable Memory option
    d. upto 27 additional nodes
  2. VMware vCenter Servers : vSphere ESXi, Platform Services Controller ( PSC ),  vCenter Server Appliance, NSX and optionally vSAN.
    a. 2-node base cluster
    b. 3 bare metal server size options
    c. upgradable memory options
    d. upgradable NSX options
The below figure shows the solution components of vmware Solution on IBM Cloud:
Below figure shows the architecture of the solution deployment:
Management : vCenter, A centralized platform for managing the entire software defined datacenter

Workloads : x86 based applications which need to migrated to cloud

Software Defined Networking :  Provides a network overlay virtualizing the physical network to provide a large number of customer defined networks (VxLAN), intelligent network routing, and microsegmentation for enhanced firewall capabilities
Product  – VMware NSX 


Compute : Enables many virtualized Linux and Windows servers to run concurrently on the same physical bare metal server providing high levels of server utilization and capacity.
Product :  VMware vSphere 

Software Defined Storage :  Local storage of the physical hosts are aggregated into a high performance, highly available software defined SAN.
Product – VMware virtual SAN 

Bare Metal Servers – IBM Cloud bare metal servers provide a dedicated, single tenant basis for deploying the clients private infrastructure. Clients can locate their deployment in any of dozens of IBM Cloud locations around the globe.
Products – IBM Cloud 

To learn more about the solution architecture, click here

 

This is blog post is second in the 10 part series of vmware on IBM Cloud. 

 

<- Intro : vmware on IBM Cloud                                                                                              VMware HCX on IBM Cloud ->

 

7 things mindful people do differently

From my childhood I have always wondered what should I do with the constant rumblings which keep happening in my mind. How to control it ? And I have figured out that these rumblings are actually common to many people and it works differently for different people.  Also, these rumblings  affect our productivity. Something which is very much essential  and almost impossible to measure in Sales. You actually juggle too many things all the time and there is a lot at stake.

So I decided to take a course which was available in my company’s learning portal. And I am glad that I took it. After going through that course I figured out below 7 things which mindful people do differently :

  1. Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them :  Trust me approaching your job with a long face and lack of interest is the saddest most cruel thing which you can do to yourself. Steve Jobs once said that your work is going to take the maximum amount of your lifespan, so it’s very important you do what you love. I say to be productive you also love what you do. There are few fortunate ones who know what they love and very few fortunate people who get to do what they love. So if you are not one among them, it’s important that you love what you do. And one for that you remain curious about what you do.
    You can remain curious for what you don’t know, remain curious to improve things, remain curious to innovate, remain curious to create some best practices. Whatever it takes just approach what you do with curiosity and learn to savor it.
  2. Forgive mistakes big and small :  We often confuse forgiving with forgetting. Forgiving is not forgetting, it just means not carrying the bitterness in your heart.  And to do away that bitterness you take whatever action is required.  Just ensure you develop wisdom to act in a manner which you won’t regret later. I practice this by talking to my mentors and peers  in workplace and with my relatives in my personal lives. Trust me it really helps me to focus on present. It helps me to see things through perspective which I would never have thought.
    Forgetting on the other hand means poor memory. That’s not a virtue. The sweetest and bitterest moments of your life you should never forget.
  3. Show gratitude for good moments and grace for the bad ones : I bet you can’t do it if you have something else going in your mind all the time and you have some negative emotions like anxiety, stress etc.  It takes practice to be in present and appreciate the moment.
  4. Practice compassion and nurture connections : To nurture connection you have to make new ones. We need to get out of that shell, that office cubicle which we get very comfortable with and interrupt people to know them.  Creating a connection is tough and nurturing it is tougher. I have been an introvert and I find very difficult to initiate a conversation. But when it comes to some help I am very good at breaking the ice and interrupting people.
    This happens when I meet someone who has something very interesting to tell me and which is relevant to me.  So the thumb rule is the more things and the type of things you are interested in, the more and better your connections will be.  So it goes back to point no. 1 of being curious.
  5. Make peace with imperfections both yours and others:  I see so many people who are better than me in almost everything I  do. I have been very uncomfortable of my imperfections and I wanted to hide it at all costs.  But not anymore because I have made peace with them by accepting them. I know I can always improve and I will still be lesser than someone.
    Similarly, I have seen people shouting at their peers, picking a fight with them and bosses even humiliate their subordinates when they don’t do things as expected. Yes feedback is required and it’s rare to find a person who don’t want to determine from whom and how should he get the feedback.  If ever  you happen to be at the giving end and if at it’s possible try to make peace with their imperfections.  Trust me it’s more to do your peace rather than the other person’s good.
  6. Embrace vulnerability by trusting others : Trusting others is not very common in corporate world. And by not trusting you  can’t survive. You have to have your own trusted sources. But we become very vulnerable when we trust people. And I guess we must still trust because only by doing this we will learn. So don’t be over cautious of whom to trust and whom not to trust. Trust people but at the same time, be prepared for the deceit. With time you will learn how to optimize the damage.
  7. Accept that things come and go: Come what may, there is nothing which is permanent. Good time bad time, nothing will remain with you forever.  Your success and your failures are relative and dependent only on situation.  So better not to get swayed by the emotions.

All these are my experiences being a sales person. I fight hard everything which is happening outside and harder with all that happens inside me.  But now that I know about mindfulness and how to practice it, it just a matter of time and practice to increase my productivity. What about you ?

vmware on IBM Cloud – An Introduction

Hybrid Cloud is a combination of on-premises and public cloud services intended to work in unison to deliver value. Following are the values which can be derived :

  1. You can expand your DC with minimum efforts, expenses and on-demand
  2. You can consolidate your DCs which are located in different geo zones
  3. You can create test environments and DR sites

vmware has a huge virtualization market share. The value which IBM Cloud brings to the customers are :

  1. No new skill set required
  2. One single portal to manage
  3. You can bring your own license
  4. Monthly subscription of vmware softwares

To learn more about IBM Cloud for vmware see the this video .

Here is the complete stack of IBM Cloud for vmware solution:

Not just this depending on the use case you use the below platform extensions and solutions :

Hybrid Cloud Services or HCX : You can establish a software defined WAN between on-premise DC and IBM Cloud DC. Using this service you can move vmware workloads to and from cloud with zero downtime and modifications.

Zerto Disaster Recovery :  You can use Zerto Virtual Replication Technology to provide near zero RTO and RPO

Secure Virtualization:  Use Intel Hytrust TXT technology for secure virtualization simplify regulatory compliance and guarantee data sovereignty.

NSX Edge Services Gateway: NSX Edge Services Gateway provides connectivity between the virtualized software-defined network and its workloads and external networks.

vRealize Automation: Add automation and orchestration tooling for automated provisioning of applications ensuring users have the tooling and services they need.

If you have any queries and need help to get started with vmware on IBM Cloud then drop me a message or reach out to me over here.

 

Recognize Sales as a process

 

My professor used to say “If the process is in place, results will fall in place for sure“. Quite often we the sales community overlook the importance of process and focus too much on what’s the end result.  If you are one of those who really want to exceed in sales and improve the pipeline then you must step back for a moment and think what is it that can  be improved at every stage of the process.

Every sales is different, every company is different and so will be the corresponding pain points.  If you belong to a start up or let’s say you have a niche’ product/ service then for a sales process the typical use case would look like this :

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Engagement
  4. Purchase

A sales person should plan everyday so that all his activities fall in one of the below categories. You can’t just surpass one and step on to next. For this you also need to hone your skills to progress your prospects from one stage to another.

Awareness

Building awareness has two components :

  • Awareness of who you are : You want people to recognize you and remember you. This is something which you will live with forever. Who you are as a person ? What qualities you have? The best way to express that is to tap in to Social Media. Don’t think that you will spend sometime on LinkedIn and you will get some leads or closures. Not that’s not going to happen. Use it as a tool to know people and let people know you.   Show your expertise, share your views, start a discussion, contribute to a community by creating some valuable content.  That’s when people will know you and it will be easy for you to break the ice.
  • Being aware about what you sell : A lot is done by the marketing team of the company you are working for. But never assume that what you company is doing is enough for you. People are busy and they are always on to something else until they face some challenges.  You job must be keep people educated about the challenges which may or may not happen. And in case it happen you are the one to whom they should come for solutions.

But can you control this. YES, you can. Make a plan of how you will be spreading the awareness.  Make a plan to enhance your skills.

Consideration

I get thrilled when someone reach out to me out of the blue moon with a requirement without me putting any effort at that point of time. It happened recently to me that one of partner from Mumbai replied to the email I sent to him in 2016 about SAP HANA. We had a casual conversation and after that we never spoke.  Once people are aware of you and what you sell and if you are talking to the right person, he will come back to you. That’s your consideration.

But can you control this. NO. You can’t.

Engagement and Purchase

All that we need to succeed in  Sales is a good pipeline  of qualified leads.  Once you have it you don’t win or lose alone. There is a whole team which helps you out.  Just focus on the dialog to happen and getting in front of someone who is qualified to buy what you are selling.

You don’t have control on every aspects of Sales, but you can certainly your sales process to a large extent. Don’t let anything deter your focus from building a solid pipeline which starts with you reaching out to as many people as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

The 4 objectives of Prospecting

Prospecting is daunting and yes it’s the most boring part of sales. But you can’t think of doing all the fancy stuffs without this. What will you negotiate if you don’t have a deal, to whom will you talk if you don’t have a qualified lead. I have seen sales people craving for validated leads. That’s the only thing they want but they don’t want to get their hands dirty, pick up the phone and start calling.

One of the reason is we don’t know the objectives of prospecting. We don’t know the right way to engage with a customer. I have always found it hard to talk to someone on phone. Not because I didn’t want to, but only because I didn’t know what outcome do I want and hence what will I talk.

But after reading Jeb Blont’s Fanatical prospecting, I have realized that my prospecting has improved a lot and I can’t think of spending a single day without getting in to this activity.

According to Jeb, there are 4 core objective of prospecting :
1. Set an appointment
2. Gather information and qualify
3. Close a Sale
4. Build Familiarity

Objectives will differ based on product, service, sales, industry and your prospect base.

Prospecting is not for building relationships, selling or chatting up your buyer. It’s for setting appointment, qualifying, building familiarity and if possible closing the deal. You don’t need brilliant scripts. You don’t need complex strategies. You don’t need to over complicate it.

Setting an appointment :  An appointment is when a prospect is expecting you. He has accepted your calendar invite and have clearly given a confirmation that he has blocked your time.  Appointment is primary objective when the sales is complex, product and services need a deeper understanding and stakes are higher. I have selling IBM Cloud, which is certainly a complex deal. I have fumbled across many prospecting calls, because I have tend to identify the need from a prospect in the first step itself. It has never paid me off.  I have sent hundreds of emails and so many calls I have fumbled. But ever since I have changed my strategy, I have become more confident in sending LinkedIn emails and calling up the customers.

Gather Information and build familiarity: Jeb highlights a right point that sales people tend to waste too much of time in ugly deals. They fill the pipelines with deals where there is no decision maker involved, no buying window is defined, budget is not clear.  A prospect can fall in one of below phases :

  1. Qualified and in the buying window
  2. Qualified but not in the buying window
  3. Semi-qualified: You know there is potential but you don’t have enough information
  4. Potential buyers but have no information about them
  5. Record in the database is bogus.

This classification has made a huge difference in the way I need support from marketing and my prospecting strategy.

Build Familiarity : 

Familiarity plays an important role in getting the prospect to engage.

Building familiarity is a long term activity and is required a strategic planning. That’s the reason savvy sales professionals creates a strategic prospecting campaign (SPC) that leverages all the possible touches to build familiarity.

Spectre and Meltdown

Google security blog recently revealed a  security flaw in all the modern day processors. The vulnerability is based on the speculative execution which is used by the CPUs to optimize system performance. As a consequence, nearly all the Cloud Services Providers which includes AWS, Azure, IBM, Google had to update their systems to protect them from the possible vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are Spectre and Meltdown. You can find out the detailed information on both of these vulnerabilities here.

So what are Meltdown and Spectre ?

Understanding CPU architecture  will  help us to set the back ground. There are two architectures of CPUs, 32 bit  and 64 bit, which essentially means that processor can process this much data and memory addresses.

32 bit architecture : The CPU has a limitation that it can address 4 GB of data. There are two types of data which the CPU handles 1. Kernel data 2. User data. In 32 bit architecture Kernel data takes 1 GB of data and is always at the beginning of the memory space.  Whereas User data takes remaining data and it occupies the remaining 3 GB.  Theoretically visibility from User memory to kernel memory is restricted.

64 bit architecture :  The addresses which CPUs can read got increased and the 4 GB restriction was also removed. There is one more important change.  Kernel now has something called KASLR, Kernel Address Space Layout Randomisation. KASLR reserves an address space for Kernel data which is random and thus becomes difficult to identify where the Kernel data is stored. This was done to resolve the vulnerabilities that could happen when an attacker could find out Kernel data.

The processor has a Translation Lookaside buffer (TLB) which is used to switch between user space and kernel space. Kernel space entries of TLB are not flushed because it’s a time consuming process to repopulate TLB. So long as memory leaks from kernel space do not find their way into user space, an attacker would not be able to infer the kernel’s location. Unfortunately, such leaks do occur, either from software errors or the hardware itself.

Another important concept that has to be understood is speculative execution which means some tasks are performed even before it’s determined whether they are needed to be done or not. If the speculation is correct that the tasks will have to be performed then it’s fine otherwise the results are ignored or discarded. It’s like you carry the umbrella or rain coat speculating that it may rain today.

It’s discovered that user space instructions can be used to retrieve kernel memory due to processors’ use of “speculative execution” that will attempt to guess what code will be executed in the next few cycles and “pre-execute” it in an attempt to increase performance. At times, this may mean that multiple code segments are pre-executed at the same time until the correct one is needed. The other segments are then discarded. Attackers may take the advantage of this speculative execution, insert their malicious code and retrieve sensitive information.

Meltdown :
Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system.

Spectre ; Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre

Below devices are affected because of Spectre and Meltdown :

  1. Servers
  2. Desktops
  3. Mobile
  4. IoT Devices
  5. Browsers

The attacker can do the following And here is all that are vulnerable :

  1. Steal passwords from password manager and browser
  2. Personal Photos
  3. Emails
  4. Instant Messages
  5. Business Critical documents

Which systems are affected by Meltdown?

Desktop, Laptop, and Cloud computers may be affected by Meltdown. More technically, every Intel processor which implements out-of-order execution is potentially affected, which is effectively every processor since 1995 (except Intel Itanium and Intel Atom before 2013). We successfully tested Meltdown on Intel processor generations released as early as 2011. Currently, we have only verified Meltdown on Intel processors. At the moment, it is unclear whether ARM and AMD processors are also affected by Meltdown.

Which systems are affected by Spectre?

Almost every system is affected by Spectre: Desktops, Laptops, Cloud Servers, as well as Smartphones. More specifically, all modern processors capable of keeping many instructions in flight are potentially vulnerable. In particular, we have verified Spectre on Intel, AMD, and ARM processors.

Which cloud providers are affected by Meltdown?

Cloud providers which use Intel CPUs and Xen PV as virtualization without having patches applied. Furthermore, cloud providers without real hardware virtualization, relying on containers that share one kernel, such as Docker, LXC, or OpenVZ are affected.

What is the difference between Meltdown and Spectre?

Meltdown breaks the mechanism that keeps applications from accessing arbitrary system memory. Consequently, applications can access system memory. Spectre tricks other applications into accessing arbitrary locations in their memory. Both attacks use side channels to obtain the information from the accessed memory location. For a more technical discussion we refer to the papers

References

5 reasons Sales is an attractive career

After my MBA, I wasn’t sure of what I want to do, but I was sure that I would never take up a sales role. It was the time when almost all my friends had the same thoughts. We desperately were looking for something in Marketing, Operations, HR but Sales was never on the cards. I started my career with a non-sales role, but after only 6 months I realized I am in a wrong place.  Luckily, I got a business development role soon. I was still scared of a sales role and I was just surviving in my previous organization. Then I moved to a marketing role when I joined IBM.  I thought now my life is set. I worked in the marketing role happily for 2.5 years,  but after that, I was completely convinced that, if there is a career which is lucrative, glamorous and rewarding then it’s sales.  I was fortunate enough that I got a Sales job in IBM. It was when I was not doing Sales I realized that MBA is first about business development. Every thing else is a business support function. Not that they are not important, but if I were to list down the roles, I will put Sales at the top because:

  • Money matters :  Among all the professions I have found Sales is the most rewarding one.  Yes you have an issue of variable and fixed pay, but if you really look at it, fixed component covers almost 60% – 70% of any other professions. So if you are in Marketing or let’s say a developer with similar no. of years of experience and skill sets and if you are earning is 1000, atleast 700 would be the fixed component in Sales. But it’s the variable which makes the difference. You are stuck with 1000 for ever, but in sales you can make it 2X or 3X depending on how you perform and unlike other professions you will be rewarded next month or next quarter.
  • Apply what you learn:  You really get a chance to apply what you have been trained in the company or what you have learned in your academics.  To be a high performing sales professional you definitely need to be good in the following skills
    1. Technology
    2. Domain
    3. Industry
    4. Softskills

There are many sources of learning and if you are like me who want to be questioned and apply what you have learned  in real life scenarios, then sales is definitely for you

  • Building relationships : Every other professions are most limited to office premises and your interaction is limited. There is no limit of whom you can meet in Sales. And you get chance to build to a relationship with a person sitting at reception to CEO of the company. Relationship matters in all the aspects of life. You simply can’t ignore them. And you will not get any other profession which will challenge you to establish a relationship for your success. To an extent you can exist on your own but sales doesn’t work like that.
  • Everyone need you badly  : What is THE most important thing to any human being ? The feeling that someone need you badly and someone values you to an extent that they just don’t want to let you go. In sales you grow business. You know how to make money for the organization. And if you succeed in doing that, then you will certainly succeed in becoming one of the most essential person for your company, customers, business partners and of course boss.
  • Challenges every single day : Every deal is different, market changes with time, geo, demographics, products or services  and you have to learn to handle change to exist.  You are challenged every single day and with every single deal.  There is no formula set to win.

Sales is all about numbers and discipline. It’s a pure game of consistency. It’s a game of perseverance and a lot of smart work.  You are at your best when you do all the small things and put your acts together.