I joined Exotel from a sales outsourcing company. Oh, yes, it is a real thing. I worked for companies that outsourced their leads to us. We had to talk to their customers and sell the product/service. When I joined Exotel, it was like a whole new world for me. I felt like I was learning to climb a mountain here. And I’m afraid of heights. So, you can imagine my plight.
Where I came from, the type of selling I was familiar with was rather simple. The sales process had one simple objective – selling.
This is what the process of sale looked like where I came from:
Change is inevitable, and change is constant.
This is very true in the context of sales. Selling has remained constant, but the way people sell evolves with the market and customer maturity.
1. Solution selling doesn’t work
As I mentioned earlier, the kind of sale I was familiar with was centred around me – how well I knew my skills, my target, my sales pitch, my selling – me me …
As of April 20th, 2016, Exotel is four years and 10 months old as an organisation. In the start-up investor jargon, Exotel is a VC-funded, high-growth start-up. Our home-grown on-demand cloud telephony services, powers over 1000 businesses of all sizes and shapes.
Now, if that’s a lot to take in in one go, welcome to the startup world. This sense of overwhelm is the reason employees and entrepreneurs alike find it fascinating.
The la-la-land of startups
Entrepreneurs are storytellers of the modern age. They know that the most famous stories are simple. The story’s appeal is founded on fundamental human emotions. There is always a hero and a villain. Surprising twists are always around the corner. They succeed because they’re able to captivate their investors and the initial set of employees with their story.
The early employees in any startup make or break it. Given this, it is essential that startups work with the best people they can find. But today, the world is filled with folks who want to join a start-up but have no idea why. They are …
“Neat Meats” is an e-commerce startup that promises to deliver fresh meat at the customer’s doorstep.
No doubt it is a challenging space.
For one, customers are hugely sensitive to the hygiene factor. Next, it is a time-sensitive purchase.
As one of their curious customers, here’s a short account of my experience with Neat Meats.
One of the first things I noticed about their online presence is their website. It totally lives up to its fresh and clean image. There is a sense of authenticity in the ‘Company’ page that speaks about the experience of the founding team in the food and retail space, in an open, honest tone.
Since I had never ordered meat online, I wanted to have a chat with the team before placing my first order. The presence of a mobile number on the top left corner drew my attention.
I had such a great experience with their team that I decided to get a little “behind-the-scenes” with this great venture.
How many times have we seen this? A product with great design, clean lines, super finish – we are almost compelled to try it. But, no sooner have we tried it than we know the product falls flat on its face. How? Why?
Somewhere along the way, the product team seems to have lost sight of the vision that the product needs to be used by the target audience- and used with ease.
Recently, HelpScout released an article suggesting that the role of a product manager might be a superfluous one – even something that could be detrimental to the quality of a team’s output.
Theoretically speaking, they are right!
So, when do we get a great product on hand?
Usually, when the team is crystal-clear on the requirements, when it has the right skill mix, when they have figured out a way to work seamlessly on the design and engineering, when they know exactly what every single stakeholder wants, when their schedules sync up perfectly and so on – that’s when you can have a great product.
In the …
Terrace talks for us, has always been about learning something new & interesting. We’ve had people from all walks of life, giving us the opportunity to listen to their wonderful experiences. At last week’s Terrace Talks, Sabbah Haji too brought us a very enterprising story. Within the hour that she spent with us, she took us through the journey of Haji Public School – where it was and where it stands today.
Sabbah Haji grew up in Bangalore. Visiting Kashmir often during her summer break, Sabbah realized how different the quality of education there was from the education she had received. Although the kids there were equally bright, their only disadvantage was the quality of education they received or lack thereof. Sabbah soon decided it was time to move back and do something for these kids. And so, she did.
Haji Public School was born as a result of this. It is a school started and primarily funded by Sabbah’s uncle, Nasir Haji. Its aim is to educate kids in the Doda district of Kashmir. Each year, volunteers come from …
There are hundreds of events happening all over the world every single day. Assuming you’re from the startup fraternity too, no one is more aware of the explosion of events around town.
But take a minute to think about this –
When was the last time you attended an event so well organised that it blew your socks off?
If you’re thinking of organising an event for the first time, there is a lot of information available on the www and it can get overwhelming. So, I’ve put together a list that will help you finding a starting point. Organising an event is a lot like cooking. When you’re a novice cook, the best way to find your way around the kitchen is to find a kickass recipe and stick to it.
I have been a part of various events of different scales. And whatever the type of event – technical, entertainment, social, cultural, or educational, all you need to do is stick to the recipe.
Here are my 5 pointers to make your first event a success!
You know it’s time for holiday gifting when you start receiving spam emails about “unique” gifts for all budgets. This year, we received about 348 spam emails from gift companies. Just kidding, we probably got a lot more.
Everyone who has spent a reasonable number of years in a corporate set up knows what it is like to be bombarded with diaries, pens, the endless boxes of sweets and oh, the infamous dry fruits. I personally dislike sweets and dry fruits the least. At least, they’re yummy.
2015 was a big year for Exotel. And we are mighty excited about what 2016 has in store for us. We wanted the gift to convey this to our customer. For, after all, it is because of them that we had a phenomenal year.
But, we also wanted to check a few boxes to ensure this exercise gave us the maximum ROI.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So…get on your way!
And this is what perfectly sums up how we, at Exotel, are looking at the new year.
Churn is an important metric for a SaaS business. Strike that. It’s one of the most important metrics for a SaaS business, especially, in its early stages. There are never ending discussions on what an acceptable churn rate is. Honestly, I don’t see how there can be a universal benchmark figure for this. For example, when SaaS businesses in India compare themselves to their American counterparts, they will see a marked difference in what they can consider “normal”.
Whichever way you see it, tackling churn is crucial for a business. The study of churn metrics and what it means for a business is a separate topic in itself. To not digress, I’m linking to an article that talks about it in detail.
In the above article, the author talks about the concept of “negative churn.”
“This [negative churn] happens when the expansions/up-sells/cross-sells to your current customer base exceed the revenue that you are losing because of Churn.”
In addition to the above – cross-sell/up-sell/expand – can you …