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LinkedIn Top Voices 2020: India

LinkedIn Top Voices 2020: India is out. In case you missed it, you can view it here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-voices-2020-india-abhigyan-chand/

In a world where people, ask you to double tap for a surprise or copy paste others’ stories or narrate stories about how they gave a job to the most deserving candidate or ask you to click on these icons – “like” or “celebrate” or “support”, if you like working from home or office or both, here is a list of people who genuinely drive engagement on their posts with their insights and tips in their domain.

If you are not following them, you should, depending on your interests.

LinkedIn has released Top Voices 2020 in various categories:

  1. Data Science and AI
  2. Design
  3. Education
  4. Entrepreneurship and Small Business
  5. Equity in the Workplace
  6. Finance and Economy
  7. Frontline Health Care
  8. Frontline Retail
  9. Job Search and Careers
  10. Marketing and Advertising
  11. Sales
  12. Sports
  13. Technology

Also, LinkedIn has released lists region wise.

Here is the complete list: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-voices-2020-meet-professionals-driving-todays-roth/?published=t

#HappyLearning

#HappySelling!!

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#tech in #sales

Young couple. Jus’ married. That was their first movie together [b’cos it was an arranged marriage]. They went to the theater early, to beat the crowd. Stood in the queue & asked for corner seats when they reached the counter.

Not anymore. You can book seats of your liking online. Thanks to #technology.

You make your own pizza online & get it delivered in flat 30 minutes. You use their kitchen as if it is your own.

You assemble your own computer online. Dell revolutionized this concept long long ago. #directmarketing

In future, you will make your own coffee in your coffeemaker @ your home. You are already doing that. Aren’t you? What’s the difference, you ask. I hear that.

You will start brewing your coffee @ your home just before you leave from office. It will be ready when you get home. Just the way you like it.

And the AI in your car will look at the traffic & suggest you the best route to take to get home faster, easier, in style & with comfort.

#Sales has changed as well. We have bots answering our customers & taking care of them. Whether they like it or not, we don’t care. Jus’ kidding.

We now know when our #customers are opening our #proposals, how long they looked at it, whom did they forward it to, their email ids, what will be our revenue next Qtr, what our competitors are up to, who our customers are talking to, what’s the latest news about our customers, who in my target segment are ready to buy / looking for products that I sell, what our customers are talking about, what our customers are saying about us etc. We know much.

But as long as emotions & feelings are there with humans, sales cannot be on autopilot. Beyond a point, that is. You still need to sell. At every touch point.

I receive many automated emails. The senders don’t do any homework on me. Why should I then bother to reply?

Your customers have a need to feel special. And they are special, aren’t they?

We can / should use #tools & #tech [b’cos this is 2020] but it is our #humantouch that will make all the difference.

#standoutfromthecrowd

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #business #entrepreneurship #innovation

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Healthy Competition!

I am not sure if you had seen this tweet from Burger King that actually asks its customers to buy from McDonalds. Here it is:

This is not the first time that a brand has shown some love for its competition.

During Aug 2018, when swedish furniture giant IKEA entered India, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder welcomed them with a tweet and a video. Please see below:

Keep your #competition close to you and your #customers closer to your heart!

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #b2b #sales #innovation #creativity #changethegame

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Ideas are nothing, it’s the execution that matters!

That was a time, a friend of mine & I were deeply engrossed in discussions on what to start. I was running a small Professional IT Services firm & he was employed with an IT major then.

We met during the weekends and spoke about everything under the sun. We kept our eyes and ears open & saw what was happening in the market.

Once, he had just returned back home after a short trip to the US. He asked me if we should develop a taxi hailing app. That was much before “Taxi For Sure” or Ola in India or Uber in the US. I am not sure what happened next and why we didn’t jump into that at that point in time.

I have learnt one thing in life. You have to take risks. There’s no easy route to success. And it’s never late. There’s always an opportunity. Or ways to differentiate what already exists.

If you are chasing a dream of starting up on your own, I advise you to start it as a side gig and work on it passionately outside of your 9-5 job. Rajiv Srivatsa, COO of Urban Ladder, an online furniture retailer said, in Aug 2018: “In the next 20 years, the strongest brands in any category will start purely online, reach out through the power of these marketplaces, and, as they build a sustainable brand, look at other channels to expand to.”

Put on your thinking hats!

Get creative!

Build something!

HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #entrepreneurship #business

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An Underdog’s strategy!

Have you ever seen a business welcoming its competition, much less with folded hands?

When IKEA entered India during Aug 2018, online furniture retailer Urban Ladder did just that. “Namaste @IKEAIndia Welcome to India,” tweeted Urban Ladder along with a gif of its staff welcoming the furnishings giant with folded hands, reported DNA India then.

“The retail ecosystem is one of the most exciting industries today—it’s fast-paced, constantly evolving, and ever so demanding. As the retail sector enters a new phase, home-grown brands like ours need to find ways to stay ahead in the game.” wrote its COO Rajiv Srivatsa, in an article published by Live Mint, in Aug 2018. Here’s the link to that article: An-underdogs-winning-strategy-against-Goliath.

Some of his strategies, as mentioned in that article, are:

  1. Ear to the ground: Listen to your customers, offline & online.
  2. Adopt an omni-channel approach.
  3. Know your strength & exploit it to the hilt.
  4. Get the pulse of global trends.
  5. Speed & Relevance will differentiate brands.
  6. Meet the demands of the consumer.
  7. Know your customers well.
  8. Build a strong supply chain with a local flavour.
  9. Assure Quality & ensure that your product fits the demands of consumers.
  10. Utilize tech as a key differentiator.

HappySelling!!

#b2c #b2b #sales

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What makes a good story?

My wife, son & I are big fans of Mr.Harold Finch, Mr.John Reese, Ms.Root, Ms.Shaw & Mr.Fusco.

These people save people who are in danger by risking their own lives. They are selfless, true patriots, good at heart, efficient & fast. We will not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

We finished watching the last episode of the last season of #PersonOfInterest on Prime yesterday.

That’s, only the second time so far. With Covid-19 still restricting our social lives, that’s not a surprise.

We love the series. Yet, we are unhappy with certain parts of the story. We wanted the team of protagonists to win all the time. I hope #JonathanNolan takes note of this. 🙂

Here’s the snapshot of the #Story:

Harold builds “The Machine”, an AI that gets its feed from the Gov data, public cameras et al. It watches people, sees violent acts of terror, identifies the danger to people & then segregates those numbers [social security] into relevant & irrelevant [b’cos gov considers them so], sends relevant numbers to the Gov & irrelevant numbers to Harold’s team, who then get into the act of saving them.

The storytelling in this TV series keeps you on the edge of your seat & is definitely worth emulating in our marketing stories, to capture our customers’ attention.

Dissecting it further, I think, the framework for a story is:

  1. You need a purpose. [borrowed that term from Harold].
  2. You need problems to solve.
  3. You should become God. Ok, you become a saviour of sorts.
  4. But let them be the hero of your story. Or identify themselves with the hero.
  5. Show proof, maybe case studies.
  6. Be honest. Let truth be told. Flaws can remain. We are just humans after all.

Happy Storytelling!!

#HappySelling!!

#b2b #sales #marketing #business

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Why do you find Pizza Hut next to Domino’s?

We went shopping. Our son, who is 12 years old, noticed something during the trip.

Once we got back home, he asked:

Why Domino’s & Pizza Hut are next to each other everywhere?

That’s a good observation, I told him.

This is called as #NashEquilibrium named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.

In game theory, let us say, there are two players – Alice & Bob. They choose strategies A & B respectively. Then (A, B) is a Nash Equilibrium, where the players don’t have any other better strategy other than (A,B) that maximizes their pay-off in response to the other player. [credit: Wikipedia]

NE applies to a #zero-sum game whether there are two or more players. If you add up the profits of all players & subtract their total losses then it sums up to zero.

You don’t gain by changing your strategy in response to your competitor if they also don’t change theirs. On the contrary, you stand to lose if you change your strategy. The optimum level is discovered and each party sticks to the same strategy.

This is the reason you find,

KFC next to Taco bell [& Burger King & Mc Donald’s].
Pepperfry next to Urban Ladder.
Max Fashion is followed by Reliance Trends & Pantaloons.
Petrol bunks located next to each other.
Starbucks, Costa Coffee & Barista next to Coffee day.
Restaurants are grouped together.
Jewellery shops in the same location.
Silk Saree shops all lined up together.

You may want to watch a TED-Ed video titled “Why do competitors open their stores next to one another? – Jac de Haan” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jILgxeNBK_8]

This is the reason you find Amazon’s “The Great Indian Festival” overlapping Flipkart’s “Big Billion Days”.

This is election season everywhere. Some countries have two players whereas we have multiple players, in India. 🙂

Find your Nash Equilibrium Vis-a- vis your competition!

HappySelling!!

#b2b #b2c #sales #innovation #entrepreneurship

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Perspective in Sales!

#Perspective roughly means “a feeling or opinion about something or someone” according to the dictionary. In other words, it’s a viewpoint or standpoint.

It has something to do with a person’s cultural background, age, qualification, experience etc.

Now, what is perspective in #sales?

It is the seller’s point of view.

According to a 2018 #CSO #Insights report, “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” the buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights & perspective during the sales process.

“To do that sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success”, according to #MillerHeiman Group,

They say, “perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. They further state that the ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.”

Miller Heiman group further says, “Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea.”

They are of the opinion that “by providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.”

So, we get it. It is perspectives all the way. Conveying your perspective to the buyer, making the buyer to think differently, helping them solve their problems & helping them grow their businesses will see you through.

On the lighter side, here is an example of perspectives in life:

I drew this picture today [can’t believe, I did]. What are your thoughts?

You might imagine that this is a picture of a twenty something woman with big eyes, a bright smile & full of energy. That’s your perspective.

On the other hand, someone might look at it and say “this is someone with grace, kindness & full of love at an age where her warm smile beats the best make-up kit ever made.” So, that’s another perspective.

Coming back to Sales, offer the right perspectives & insights that benefit your buyers’ businesses.

Offer perspectives & insights. Win hearts!

#HappySelling

#b2b #b2bsales #innovation #problemsolving #elevatesalesprofession

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Cold call by an Edu Tech Co.,

I received a call from an education technology company recently. The lady who called said that she is calling from an xyz company. She then went on to say that we had made an inquiry regarding their coding classes. I said “we didn’t”. She insisted we did and asked me to check.

I patiently told her that we had enrolled our son into one of their programs at our apartment few years ago. Told her we didn’t like it after one or two classes and hence opted out immediately and that we had a tough time getting back the money paid. It was such a bad experience. But we never made any inquiry ever after. Told her that maybe they have the name & mobile number from that campaign.

Neither did she listen to that story, nor did she feel sorry for that bad experience. Instead, she went on saying that we had made an inquiry, but that wasn’t true. I normally encourage such cold callers. But, I had to disconnect this call since she yelled at me. Yes, she did.

I am lost. To what extent will these edutech companies go to get customers?

They are doing more damage by making such calls.

My advise to them:

  1. Teach your sales people before you teach others.
  2. Listening is an art. Learn that first.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Don’t yell at customers, even if they are wrong.
  5. Try and give a good customer experience.
  6. Turn a bad experience into a good one.
  7. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to delight your customers.

#HappySelling!!

#b2c #sales #coldcall