Time was a traveler in a fast moving train, rushing away from me with every moment of my life in this company. Either I get a good client or face the brunt of my boss. 2 months in the job and still no sales - what do you expect? Bonus?
I had to build my own Marketing tool kit without much expectations. I gathered all questions and sent to my boss who replied in his favorite line, "Sales of VoIP is no rocket Science". Indeed not. But don't we have training to even sell a pencil in market. There are brochures, guidance, field work and tips for acquiring any customer. But without all this, get ready to start from scratch. Of course an opportunity to build your foundation and learn on your own - which is one of the best learning.
But how can I run this region without all the formal introduction to staff, products and leaders in organization? But Yes! I joined this company without even knowing who at the helm and how it is being run. I had to develop my own way of working - more on theory of Marketing because that was the only thing I knew in Marketing (Oooops!! now I am in SALES). One thing which I always kept in my mind was "Customer Delight" - If you have the key to deliver that, you could be the best in any market.
I started reading more about VoIP by downloading more material from God "Google". "VoIP for Dummies" was one great book to read. I also kept good relations with my technical team and sales professionals to share my ideas to improve sales. It did improve to an extent that we got clients that fell in the category of Fortune 500, 5 Star hotel, Mobile Application company (which I heard could not be converted after i left the organization), Jewelers and Exporters with residential tidbits.
Main problem in selling a VoIP is that it loses its value proposition of cost and quality as soon as customer sees an immediate investment of installation for device. Normally it stays around but it differs on the kind of deal you are getting. I even went to an extent of providing free of cost installations to my clients on written agreements that after usage of 2 months, if they are satisfied, they would pay for the set up along with the renewal or return the equipments (called ATA - Analogue telephone Adapter - converts analogue signals to digits to meet Internet Protocol requirements for voice transfer). Clients did agree and were really happy with the service. It was not that issues didn't turn up, rather they did and in numbers but support we provided on instant basis was really commendable. I had my own SLA (Service Level Agreement) running for my quality work. I tend to compete with my previous service to see how I can give better than last time.
In a company (a leading mobile application company), I even went to an extent of staying in its office with its staff to see how they work on international clients and how their technical aspects could complement my service activation. It took around 5 days, and people there started thinking that I am a new employee :). Interesting!!? After 5 days of hard work and some hard core negotiation with Technical head, HR head and staffs, i could manage to provide them my service. This was a Rs 10000/- deal. Yes!!! you are right!! VoIP deals are of this standard only as it runs of your cost sir. Rs 10000 was for a 2 months only. There were various other proposals also we gave them and things went ahead. But during that time I left my position with my organization and my company missed out on this client.
Another case was with a 5 star hotel - VoIP for its usage. I was with my Business Partner (BP) in Mumbai and we went ahead to meet its IT Director by making a call. I was confident of making some good deal here as I was along with my BP, who had very sound knowledge on technical lines. At least more than i knew. He invited us in and we started with our proposition as to how it can save them costs. Within 1 minute of our explanation he said he has all his IP infrastructure (IP phones) in place. We didn't know how to take it forward. I started slowly by asking his permission as to how his calls are made and majorly for which department. What we could find that his Reservation department was the major potential for us. We asked him to forget about our earlier proposal for his 200 rooms and look at the reservation's perspective. He checked with his team and found that the calls are made by IP/Analogue phones only to destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, US, and more than 20 countries. We figured out that most of the calls land on land line and less on mobiles. We offered him a plan to have a soft phone (like skype) installed on his computer and start with Rs 500 plan with full talk time (at Re 1/min to major destinations). I even waived off the installation after talking to my CEO. This would have been the biggest brand that we could leverage. Rs 500/- was not a big amount for them and also for us. We just got a chance to deal with situation and an entry into one of the finest 5 star hotels in Mumbai, where even Priyanka Chopra came for shoot that day :). I had to manage this account somehow and I started keeping track of its calls and showed them, on excel, their current saving with Rs 500/-. Believe me, we saved their Rs 2000 that week. They recharged with Rs 500/- again and I again showed him his savings on bigger picture. I even took my time to make an excel to show the annual savings if the call rates don't drop. And guess what was the outcome, he called one day and said we want to go ahead with Rs 5000/- recharge. That was the time i realized how "Repeat Sales" is done and what all you need to do to remain in attention.
I will write more about other experiences in my next post :) Stay tuned!