How should you treat your sales function

Entrepreneurs always have a chicken and egg situation regarding every functional pillar they need to put in their organizational structure.

Essentially it’s sales and operations for the first year or two. Sales being cost intensive becomes a debate in the conference rooms.

Questions is how much should you invest in sales and when? Do you wait for revenues for ramp up?

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(Flickr image: m.flickr.com/#/photos/idreaminir/more/)

It is essential for every organization to be a sales organization at heart. Whatever you do, excel at that but have a superb sales engine to propel the growth.

When to invest and how much to invest? At what time do you look at ROI?

I always say, sales function is like oil exploration activity. You drill the ground. You drill the ground. You drill the ground. Your competitors are also drilling the ground. The more ground you have with your drill machines, the higher the probability of your hitting the oil.

Choice is yours!

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The Airtel’s 3X 3G plan is brilliant!

I use Airtel. Don’t judge me, please!

I am on a 950/6GB 3G plan and I just about manage my months with that. My primary usage of 3G and so much data is tethering. Well, I am a sales guy and generally out of office.

My billing cycle is 20th to 19th of every month.

Well, yesterday, while I was taking an afternoon siesta, my daughter went on a Doraemon YouTube spree on my phone and brought me to the brink!

I really can’t go back to edge for Internet now. Well, who has that much patience now? I went to an Airtel Centre and I enquired if there was anyway, through which the situation could be salvaged. There I came to know about the 3X 3G plan.

Simply put, you can have 3 times the 3G data plan you have opted for, of course, at a price. So how does that work?

My plan is 950/6GB which comes to around 158 bucks/GB. If I exhaust my data within my billing period, I will get upto 12 GB extra 3G data at 158/GB.

This is brilliant. So for months, where I exceed my data, I do not have to wait for the cycle to get over for FUP to switch off and 3G to switch on.

It keeps me online and lets me do my work from out and about. In my case, being out and about matters more than 158/GB because, by being out, my chances of closing a deal go up. I have a better crack at that bonus, you see!

It gives the freedom to people who need data and it gives revenue to the mobile company.

Think, that’s the way forward with the data. It will help, if the 3G speeds move up a bit, is a different discussion altogether!

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The Foursquare dilemma

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See that?

When you phone gives you as much battery as mine, it’s neither here nor there. It’s teasing enough to get you through the day without the additional load of a power bank in your pocket always. ( I carry mine but they have been shifted to the carry bag now :) ).

Now this span of life is squeezed by certain compromises, one of them being keeping location services off.

I love Foursquare. I love the explore section. It’s of immense use. But then, keeping location services off makes me forget to tap it on and check in and then tap it off.

It’s just a little bit of that extra effort! :)

So….. Will see.

For the phone, I louuu Moto G!

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The Paradigm Shift

Have a look at this PwC report of the world’s top 100 companies by market capitalization. In simple terms, how the shareholders do the valuation of the companies. Doesn’t mean that, solid multi billion dollar revenues do not automatically make you the most valuable company in the world.

http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/audit-services/capital-market/publications/top100-market-capitalisation.jhtml

YET, the paradigm shift has not taken place so far. Traditional companies in traditional industries having physical transactions and billions and billions of $$$ sales are still the most valuable companies in the world.

Google is the only exception. Just wondering, if the intellectual innovation based tech companies ( Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Foursquare etc ) with no transaction value can break into this league.
If so, why? Just because, they have the power to INFLUENCE your transactions with these traditional companies.

The landscape may change very soon!

( Note to self: I shouldn’t really be writing a tit bit post while passing time, stuck at a traffic junction )

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Travelkhana.com – Brilliant

As I browsed the site, I found out it’s me only who has been slightly late in spotting this service.

We all know how those catering tenders in Railways are floated and how they are awarded. We all know that 105 people out of 100 don’t like the quality served on trains.

Someone spotted the opportunity and viola!

There are millions who use trains in India daily. The words to focus in the previous sentence are MILLIONS and DAILY.

The business model was pretty easy. Take a percentage of that as a business goal for every 5 years and work towards that. I am sure these guys at http://travelkhana.com would have that already figured out. Success or failure are the only two options when you start a business.

They have the attention. They have been awarded the Startup of the Year, they have been covered in Wall Street Journal and the ilk.

Their website is ridiculously easy to understand and order.

Amazing! My two paise to them would be this:

1. Make an absolute mobile friendly site.
2. Cash on Delivery is great but has a problem of leakages. Have your own coupons which people can keep. Something like Sodexho.
3. Apps gonna help you increase penetration.
4. Build and promote the SMS facility. The ocean lies there. The volume lies there.
5. Let’s go back to the sentence of success and failure being mentioned as the only two options. You have multiple kitchens. Ensure the maximum investment happens in keeping the quality uniform. Build a niche, have your positioning (low fat or Indian Thali or whatever) and hammer home the point on uniformity.

As for me, whenever I am traveling alone the next time on train, I am gonna try you guys.

Once again? This is brilliant!!

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The best To-Do app

Well this post may seem biased to iOS and Android users since I use a Blackberry with just its calendar as the best possible to-do alternative.

Well, it’s just that digital to-dos just doesn’t cut ice with me.

I wasn’t thinking about it but then Mr. Anaggh Desai (@anaggh) tweeted something on pen and paper lists and I realized, I just can’t do without pen and paper lists!

I have no answer to why? Just that a small Bilt Diary (you know, the really small list one?) and the pen.

So how does it work for me?

Well, I split my day into two lists.

1. Personal – This is made at 7 AM. What all I need to do for the day. You know, Groceries, Bill Payments, stuff

2. Office – This is made at 9 AM. All that which needed a follow up, all that which needs to be done today and the pending follow ups for tomorrow.

Other than that, at times, I pull this out to jot down spontaneous things. Numbers, Ideas, references, CEOspeak

It’s simple. It works. For me at least!

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New Year Resolution

Making New Year resolutions is trendy, in and makes you look kewl!

Not to be left behind, I am making mine. Now this time, it’s gonna be completely opposite of what all I have repeated all along!

Only one.

FAMILY DINNERS AT 75 NEW RESTAURANTS ALL AROUND MUMBAI AND JUST ORDER “SPECIALITIES”.

Simple, no?

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Umeedon Wali Dhoop!

It’s that time of the year. You know, sending or responding to New Year wishes.

A lot of water has flown under the bridge and I hope the past 365 days have advanced your life constructively as well.

It is not a monologue on what I did last year. When did I poop or when did I have a chocolate.

Just a post to celebrate these advertising game changers. It’s not easy to break away from a category and own a part of people’s lives. Well, every company wishes to do so and few succeed. I am going to write about the following three who I think have been able to own these daily emotions of our lives.

1. Coca Cola – Happiness. It’s amazing how this company has tried, tried, tried, repeated, repeated, repeated and finally ingrained the very word of joy and hope on its bottle.

This is so beautiful. The message, the research, the children, the music, all symbolize joy, warmth, new hope and happiness. How easy it is for an aerated drink to stand juxtaposed to happiness? Well, you can if you are Coca Cola. Amazing, how they persisted in India and made their second innings so successful.

2. Cadbury – Again, Khushiyon ka Shubharambh. They have dared to challenge the very concept of new beginning and how, wow! It may take several years/decades for Cadbury to replace sweets but they have war has been declared. In fact, the upper strata of the society as already shifted or begun shifting to Dairy Milk hampers instead of Sweets. (try and remember, did you get a dairy milk hamper on Diwali this year? :) )

Now, not just that, please notice their ads. They are cutting across age groups, demographic profiles. They have adverts targetting family, young children, youth, working professionals,  (this remains my favourite due to personal reasons. I also like the way, the boy says, main! That’s the reason, out of many all of which are winners, this one’s here!)

3. Last but not the least, Tanishq – Ever noticed Tanishq recent ads? the two of a kind make a perfect pair or this one below? They are cutting across their category WITHOUT actually crossing over. It’s a wedding and Jewellery is part of wedding. They are not promoting remarriages through messages but still, so subtle, so beautiful.

Enjoy. They are bound to change your mood! As the Coca Cola says, Umeedon Wali Dhoop. Yes, hope the world turn a better page in 2014. Happy New Year :)

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9 days with a dumbphone!

When you feel “constrained” by the “limitations” of your smartphone, try living without it for a week.

I use a Blackberry Bold 9790. It had fell down a few days back. On the concrete road. It developed a snag. The volume rockers were not working. I was fine. The lock button was not working. I was fine. But then, it started restarting on its own. Then, I had to give it to the Service Station. They said, it would take 8-10 working days. I was like, ok. But then, I did not get a substitute smartphone and I had to make do with a Samsung dumbphone.

Those 9 days with just names and messages.

Minuses : I found out, the biggest use of the smartphone is passing time. Because that became my biggest challenge. Tea breaks, post lunch breaks without a smartphone are tiresome.

Pluses: battery life! Haha. Charge it once and then forget it for 3 days.

Learnings: All said and done, emails on phone are still the most critical thing for me. The importance of having emails while being mobile is huge, especially for me.

Gratefulness: The only site I would open on my dumbphone was m.timesofindia.com . Thank you. *sob* *sob* There was no micro sd card, no music, sad camera, N.O.T.H.I.N.G

Social Media: I was off Twitter/Facebook/WhatsApp etc for 9 days and there was no withdrawal pangs.

Getting back your phone after a week is crazy. I have set it up back. With bare minimum essential apps. Should be active in a day or two! :)

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Best way to connect with an “Always On”

Some 15 minutes back (May be 20) my friend on Twitter Saurabh (@arbit) tweeted about connecting with an “always on” friend. Actually, think about it, there is someone you know who is in your phonebook, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and what not.

How do you connect with that person?

Let’s assume, s/he is not a childhood friend and not your boss. What I mean is, there is that “little” formality in the relation.

What’s the best way?

Of course, if you are calling, nothing else matters.

You are not calling and it’s just, ainwayi.

My preferred mode of communication in that case would be Twitter. It’s not too direct, not too intrusive.

You are just nudging someone (who is ready to be nudged) in the most gentle fashion. Twitter to be the conversation starter and then take it to the medium depending on where the talk leads.

What would you do in that scenario?

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