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Business Career Choices

How to Start With Business Development


Ever wondered if you have what it takes to be in sales? Or are you just lost in how to start with sales? Well, here you’ll get the answers to both these questions and more. Read on!!


Milan Raj

Business Development & Operations Manger, Tinystep

When you start with a sales/BD job, you might often hear things like:

Sales is done by those who can’t do anything. It’s a never ending job. Sales means calls, that’s all?

Let me start with an interesting study, most of the CEOs of any leading company have a sales background. Don’t trust me? Check yourself !!!!

If you peak into any successful company’s recipe, you will find two ingredients, Awesome Product and a Crazy Sales Team. Being in sales usually means being a part of the most important team in the company. One that actually brings in the money!

You are gonna have the best experience with loads of challenges and learnings. If you have the HUNGER to build an organisation rather than just to work for an organisation, SALES is your place.

Your next question might be, does it need a background?

To answer this, I will give you a quick peek into my story.

I am Milan, born in a small city by the name Tata Nagar in Jharkhand. We live in a nuclear family (me, younger brother, dad and mom). Dad had a lot of transfers, and finally landed up in Delhi. I did my schooling there, and then did my engineering with specialisation in Mechanical, MSRIT’17 in Bangalore. Got a job with BD profile in a startup – Tinystep (A Flipkart funded company)

Let’s take a break here. The whole reason why I shared it is to tell you that just like YOU, I too am nowhere related to sale or business development. No fancy coaching!! No business relations!!

It’s been 3 years now. I worked with a small team that built a business model for the company from scratch. Onboarded the first set of clients in the form of leading brands of India (5 among the top 10 FMCGs in India). And delivered!

I will stop boasting now!! By the way, I forgot to mention I also closed the first million dollars for the company.

Instead of just saying IF I CAN, YOU CAN, let me just ask you this. Can you relate to any of these?
> Want to be part of the most important team of the organisation?
> Love to solve problems instead of doing mundane jobs.
> Want to have the craziest network ever?

If yes, then I would say LET’S DO IT !!!!

Before you get in full force, here’s a disclaimer for you. This article doesn’t have tricks and tips which will lead to 100 million worth sales overnight. Rather, consider this as a Tool to crack sales that will help you channel your hard work.

So let’s get started-

BELIEVE in the product you are selling

“If you believe your product or service can fulfill a true need, it’s your moral obligation to sell it.” – Zig Ziglar, an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

I still remember the first time my boss asked me, “Do you believe in Tinystep?”. In my mind, I was like how is it really relevant? ( I said Yes obviously at that time ). But What did he mean? More important, why did he ask me? Like you, I searched for it on Google – How to become the best sales person.

First step is understanding the product. It is necessary because when you try to understand a product you ask a lot of questions. This prepares you for client/ customer meetings. Not clear. No worry, let’s take an example:

Your brand is a cosmetics brand preparing 100% natural alternatives. Your product is a 100% natural cosmetic product.

Now before you read further, let’s do a simple 30 sec exercise. Consider yourself as a customer and ask questions about the product. Write the 4 most important questions as per you on a sheet of paper.
.
.
.
.

Here are the first 4 questions I thought of :
1) What company is this?
2) What is so special about it?
3) Has anyone used it yet?
4) Why should I use Natural products?

Let’s answer them now.

(1) We are an XYZ company. We started with an aim to deliver the best for your skin.

(2) The product is 100% natural and FDA approved. But this doesn’t make us THE BEST. We have sold 100k products in just the last 6 months.

(3) Don’t trust us? Visit our website, social media handles and see the reviews by Indian women who trust us.

(4) While researching, we realised that the chemicals cosmetics companies use result in dryness and even pigmentation at times. When there is a Natural alternative, why use chemicals on your skin?

When you look for answers, you end up knowing more about the product. Look what we just did? We came up with the first version of the pitch.

In a nutshell, you can’t deliver the best pitch if you don’t believe in the product.

Decide your TARGET audience

You are gonna hear this word – “Target Audience” at least a million times in sales. So be prepared!

When I started doing BD, I had two questions about Target Audience. First, who are they? and second, how to find them?

Let’s try to come up with the answers.

Who are they?

After loads of hits and trials, I finally landed with this common trick. First, I look for general categories of my product/ service. Then, I Google leading companies for those categories. Lastly, I search for, “Customers of <Company Name>”, and read all the articles on the first page.

That’s all! You are all set to start.

How to find them?

Here’s what you can do. A Business is broadly categorised into two categories, B2B (Business to Business, where you sell your service/product to other businesses) and B2C ( Business To Customer, where you sell it to the customers directly).

For B2B, the most common platform is LinkedIn. Send a request to 20 different employees of the target company (combination of different managers) along with a brief message about your organisation. Once they accept your request, get them on a call.

For B2C, my favourite platform is social media. Look out for groups and relevant hashtags. Follow them, and just like that, you are a part of your audience’s online world.

Sell what THEY want, not what YOU have

This is the most common mistake. Generally, after we understand the product or service, we start bragging when pitching it.

Why does it happen? Is this not the right way?

Think of the most successful brands and their campaigns. Let’s take Cadbury’s favourite campaign – Aaj Meetha Hai Khana Aaj Pehli Tarikh Hai

It’s a 59 sec ad with the product mention of max 5 secs (Approx 8.3% of the total ad length). Rest of the ad is dedicated to the audience.

The best way to understand your customer or client is to wear them. When you buy a service/ product in your mind you think about how that can benefit you. Like while you are buying a soap you might be thinking of an offer or the moisturiser content or anything. You will buy that soap only when it has ALL THAT YOU WANT.

This is the art of knowing your audience. Now once you know the audience, how do you connect?

The answer is simple, talk to them (atleast 100). Ask them about your product/ service, and make notes of it. This will help you analyse your product/ service from various perspectives

Continuing with our earlier example of Natural Cosmetic products, your target audience will be women between 24 – 40 years of age primarily. Talk to 100 women of that age group and ask them questions like- Do they know about natural products? How much will they pay for it? Did they like the packaging? Which product do they use now and why? How do they decide which product to buy?

Simple, isn’t it? Communication is the key to knowing your audience.

Remember you have the motivation, and you can do it. Sales is not difficult if the approach is right. Just take out a pen and start working on your How To Sell, instead of Why To Sell.

“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” – Steve Jobs

Note: Digital Dialogues holds the right to use this piece of content as authorised by the owner. If you wish to use material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Also, there might be references taken from various sources on the internet. The main intent is to share across information to the reader!

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