How to manage your sales process? Part 2

Most of you would have read the “Does Sales Process Outsourcing (SPO) work? – Part I”, that touched upon those phases of the sales cycle that lend themselves to outsourcing. This part of sales process outsourcing article touches upon factors to consider before an organization decides to outsource the whole or a part of their sales process.

One of the most fundamental aspects that an organization needs to consider while contemplating outsourcing is the complexity of the solution, or product, or service that is being sold. At one of the spectrum, the offering could be complex business applications that require customization as per customer’s requirements. Such solutions have a relatively long sales cycle, with potentially face-to-face engagement with the customer. Typical examples include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, turnkey solutions and business applications that automate specific business processes.

At the other end of the spectrum are products or solutions offering a specific functionality, with very limited or no customization requirement. Typically, such solutions are sold online, with the entire transaction being consummated without the need for a face-to-face discussion with the prospective customer. Such solutions invariably fall within the self-use category, or backed by a service provider who takes responsibility for delivering the output electronically. Examples include specific document conversion activities, retail products sold online, consumer products, consumer services, selling online courses, etc.

Sales Phase Attributes
Products/ Simple Solution Suitability for SPO Complex Solution Suitability for SPO
Lead Generation Typically well-defined audience Well suited Well defined audience Well suited
Lead Qualification Qualifying criteria for purchase typically well defined.  Hence easy to qualify Well suited Qualifying criteria may at times be elaborate.  A first level of qualification alone will be possible Partially suited
Solution Demonstration Product/Solution features well defined; so product/solution demonstration, service explanation is straightforward Well suited Solution/Product demonstration could involve customer specific aspects Limited suitability.  Only a high-level feature/solution walk through is possible.  Detailed, client focused demonstrations will not be possible
Solution Proposal Solution proposal would essentially be a price quote Well-suited Solution proposal would factor client specific requirements, and would be a comprehensive document;  It would also need specialist/ expertise to prepare Not suited
Negotiation/Closure Since scope of work and price involved is well defined, there is very little room for any strategic negotiation Well-suited.  The possible area where attention may be required is in working out volume discounts Values of proposals involved are high, and negotiations could potentially involve several stakeholders Not suited

Moving towards complex solutions, one realizes that sales success is dependent on selling skills and customer relationship management. While it is possible to identify the various phases of the sales cycle at a broad level, working within each phase calls for a balanced mix of ‘sales’ skills and vertical specific understanding / competencies in the chosen domain.

However, it also remains a fact that generating sales worthy leads remains one of the most challenging aspects of the sales process, regardless of the domain in question. Many a time, organizations are left with fewer options to generate leads: whether widen the scope of the lead generation process through strategic marketing initiatives, or reach out to more customers through telesales activity. When the process is controllable and has lesser risks, it becomes amenable to outsourcing.

To sum up, both marketing initiatives like digital marketing that includes online campaign management, SEO, SEM, etc. and back office sales processes are less risky and should be explored for strategic outsourcing or off-shoring. This ultimately helps them scale up their lead generation area faster, cheaper and better; it helps make use of their financial and people resources more effectively.

Sales process outsourcing is not easy, as it demands for a reliable partner who has the drive, passion and zeal to ensure success with your partnership. However, having identified the right partner, proper set up time is essential to have the right team in place. Effective coaching is critical, before they get on to the live work. Proper systems have to be in place at the outsourced partner’s end for performance monitoring and to take corrective steps, quickly, when required. Reporting mechanism should be simple but robust to ensure transparency between both parties (customer and vendor partner).

Startup Xperts is a business growth consulting firm with an objective to transform CEO’s vision into achievable, actionable goals that deliver results. Our mission is to help companies to steeply accelerate their revenue growth, profitably. Be it family run business, small or medium enterprise or a boutique firm, Startup Xperts have all the right answers to step up their growth. Startup Xperts help clients in a range of service areas including business consulting, strategic consulting, sales and marketing consulting, digital marketing, Sales Process Outsourcing (SPO), HR, Operations and leadership training, sales training and coaching.

To know more about Startup Xperts, visit us at or write to us at
The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and Startup Xperts is not responsible for this content. In case of any objection in content, IP violations, incorrect or inappropriate information, please inform us at We will do our best to act on it at the earliest.

Startups – how to get your digital marketing approach right?

Startups typically have two major challenges to overcome – Time and money. Though time is money by the old age saying, here we are considering the importance of both separately.

  • In a short period of time, startups have to create the impact, grow their business as it is a question of survival. Either grow or perish seems to be the order of the day.
  • At the same time, most startups do have limited resources (money and people) to create that impact in that short period of time. So the question unfolds as to how this can be effectively achieved in today’s world?

Doing things right Vs doing right things

You cannot do everything right. We are not in a perfect world, so you need to take right steps; doing right things are more important.

  1. Do you really know who your customer is and their need?
    Focus on your customer and their need. Rather than creating a product or service, trying to spend your resources and energy into selling it (I am not referring to blue ocean strategy here) do understand your prospective customer’s pain and/or gain. If you are not solving a big problem (like Uber, booking a taxi with a click of a button rather than waiting on the streets), or not able to demonstrate a big gain (like Apple iPhone, that created a bigger impact through rich user experience) then you may have to seriously relook at your offerings. Else create a ‘differentiator’ that stands apart. Bear in mind, you don’t need to be miles ahead to win a race, but just nose ahead!
  2. Create and expand your brand identity digitally
    It is a no brainer that startups need to create their brand identity, and not think that the brand building initiative is only for established or large enterprises. It is all about creating differentiation, building trust; and digital will be an easy and cost-effective way to build your brand. The first step is to create a website that resounds well with your business. With good dot-com names virtually not available, this might need a lot of searches to arrive at the right name that can strike a chord with your customers as well.
  3. Cheap digital marketing Vs cost-effective digital marketing
    I do keep receiving mailers that say that they can get website page rank in top search results; and that too at very cheap rates. I do wonder how this may even cover the cost of such resources if it has to be done in the right way it is supposed to be. To top it all I get zapped when they list out strategies that were used a few years ago, that’s not going to work in today’s scenario. Of course, how many do really know Google’s new algorithm released this year? Many startups have come back to us after experiencing these cheaper options, as they realized it is just a drain of money and time. Here the important aspect to note is that, time loss is a precious loss; and you have already burnt sufficient amount of your limited resources (funds) hoping that digital is going to create that impact. If it didn’t work, don’t blame digital; just that you didn’t do it right! So go for cost-effective digital marketing that has a well thought out strategy and execution planned, with clear timelines.
  4. Pick the right strategy
    You all very well know that no one size fits all. Digital is beautiful in that way, because custom strategy can be carved for every one of you – be it a boutique, services firm, product startup, retail outlet, etc. I have stressed the need of SEO many a times in my earlier articles; a balanced approach to SEO, SEM, and SMM is important for you to succeed in this business. There are strategies (pre-launch, during launch, post-launch) that you need to pick depending upon the stage of your startup.
  5. Do not put all eggs on one basket (Rephrased: Do not spend all your money on just one strategy)
    It is always advisable to go for A/B testing. Create two or more sets of messages (needless to mention across social channels, Adwords, etc.) to see which one works best. Fine tune and try to see if improvement in performance is seen. Result is always a moving target and so constant fine tuning is essential to get the overall momentum and impact right. I do notice, many make the mistake of spending their precious funds on a particular message, and come to a conclusion that digital hasn’t worked. I was not surprised because the messages were not right, or the audience was not chosen right, or probably wrong timing. Be it LinkedIn, or Twitter, or PPC, you need to take a balanced call as to which combination can maximize your visibility and achieve your set objectives and goals.

It is easy to say ‘go digital’. But digital is not just a technique; it is a tactic (strategy). Digital certainly can be done in a cost effective way, and more importantly measurable. You will be able to see where your dollars go, with reference to your spends on various buckets. So, starting this New Year 2016, are you ready to go digital more effectively?

Startup Xperts is a business accelerator supporting startups, small medium enterprises, boutique firms, by driving their go-to-market strategies, digital marketing, smart sales initiatives, to accelerate their revenue growth.

To know more about Startup Xperts, visit us at or write to us at

The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and Startup Xperts is not responsible for this content. In case of any objection in content, IP violation, incorrect or inappropriate information, please inform us at We will do our best to act on it at the earliest.

Digital Marketing’ New Age Mantra for SMEs

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should focus on creating their brand identity and uniqueness that can differentiate them from others to showcase in the market, said Shyam Sekar S, founder and chief mentor at Startup Xperts which is advocating digital marketing. He emphasised the need for the Startups and SMEs to pursue ‘digital marketing’ and position themselves as thought leaders in their space.

Addressing the third edition of ‘Start Manage Expand: A Knowledge-led Small Medium Business’ conference organised by Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Federation (APCCF) here Wednesday, Shyam Sekar felt that SMEs and Startups could leverage through smart marketing strategies by which they can position themselves better than competition. Effective and smart branding can help win clients, increase revenue and profitability.

“While pursuing digital marketing tactics, focus should be on the customers and their need. Twin strategies need to be adopted – inbound and outbound, where a right balance between these two, is essential for companies to succeed,” he said. Inbound involves SEO, blogs, and social media posts, while the Outbound include SEM and social media ads. Depending on the industry they are in, market, customer segment, budget and other factors also should be dealt with. “With the right digital marketing evangelist and business consultants, SMEs and Startups can use this opportunity well in our marketplace,” he added.

APCCF vice-president and Sravan Shipping Services managing director G Sambasive Rao said that the SMEs were playing a very potent role in all sectors especially in automobile sector to shipping allied services like ship breaking and dry docking. APCCF Vizag chapter chairman Pydah Krishna Prasad spoke on the need for technological knowledge in the prevailing ambience.

THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS press release page link: Click here

Mr. Shyam can be contacted at