My take on Work From Home during Pandemic

Why did we need a virus to teach us we can be flexible in our working environment?

Before the world hit with COVID-19 pandemic, I still remember asking my boss a day to work from home was like asking to give his paycheck to me. The day complete country lockdown was announced in India, no one anticipated that the virus will last long however we have realized now the virus is going to stay and we have to embrace the new normal.

Our health workers, law enforcement are given much importance than a celebrity as there are the ones who are serving and protecting the nation.

Offices have started to adapt flexibility and remote working has been promoted aggressively but do you want to work from home till you are employed with the organization. Honestly, I enjoyed the initial period of working from home but now I miss the smell & sound of the coffee machine in my office, I dream of that day where I could sit on my office chair, sipping my coffee and minding my work.

Working from home did give me a lot of flexibility and I was able to complete some of my long pending certifications as well but there is a different feeling to dress up and go to the office, now I am in my boxers all the time as I am working from home and no one is there to see me.

Managing the house and work is the new normal, not able to connect to the network is the new excuse of stuck in the traffic. The pandemic has also allowed exploring our hidden talents and skills, as of now I can prepare several dishes and play various songs on my guitar.

As per my view, we also need to take into consideration that many of the Hospitality, Retails, Aviation, Travel industries are suffering due to this pandemic. Everyone is in their house so no is traveling and planning for a vacation, that also means that no one is buying any new clothes to wear.

The scientist is figuring out to make a cure for this virus, we also need to help each other to uplift and grow together. Enabling digitization to small businesses is proving some success to thrive during this pandemic and we should be promoting them.

I still look forward to the world to get back to normal however we should not forget what the pandemic has taught us and mold ourselves to make the world a better place to live.
As the environment is a concern, I also look forward to fresh air to breathe, less traffic on the roads and pollution.

Let me know in the comment section how your experience has been so far in terms of working from home.

Are you still learning or you know it all?

“A Scientist reads hundreds of books but believes he has a lot more to learn. A religious person reads one and he thinks he knows it all” ~ Anonymous

When people ask me about my profession and as I answer that I am a Business Consultant in one of a leading Information Technology firm, the next question I get a lot is “Did you do an MBA degree?” of course! not. How did you land up in this profession?

Firstly, let me give a little bit of background on how the mindset of a typical middle-class family works in India. The parents have struggled hard to fulfill their children’s education, so the least expectation they have from their children is either they become an Engineer or a Doctor as this is the only two professions with high paychecks and respectable in the society. So with the same expectation, I did try my hands on completing a 4 year engineering degree however failed in the first year and I switched to a normal 3 year BA degree.

I was lucky enough to secure myself a job once I completed my degree and during my career, the only thing that has led to moving ahead in my career is I am always open to learning and I firmly believe that the learning process never stops.

I did not need an MBA degree to reach the position where I am today, it was always my curiosity and learning process that led me to my profession.

I still remember and in touch till date with of my mentor in one of the organizations that I have worked used to say to me that “If we look the profession of a Doctor or a Lawyer they are always learning and still thinks there is a lot more to know, why can’t we apply the same principle in our profession” 

I realized that even though you complete a 4-year college degree or an MBA and think that you have known everything then that’s the end of your career. After having 8+ years of experience in my profession, this is one of my new found interest in trying my hands in writing and I am still learning.

I would like to end with an example, it may not fit the context that I have written however, it’s an interesting piece.

In the 19th century when India was fighting for freedom, one of the revolutionary freedom fighters “Bhagat Singh” was to be hanged by the British Government. When the time came for his execution, he requested to spare some time so that he can finish reading “Mein Kampf” to learn the ideology of Hitler.

“Learning never ends because life never stops teaching you”

Where do you see yourself Five Years Down the Line?

I have been asked by a lot of companies during my interview “Where do you see yourself Five Years Down The Line?” The time I started my career, I wasn’t sure whether I would continue to pursue my career in the same profile where I have got the job or my interest lies somewhere. One thing I was very much sure that I haven’t figured out what my five years plan looks like and I was not worried about it at all.

To summarize the fact, after 8+ years of my professional career I never thought I would pursue my career in Sales & Marketing. If I look back and start connecting the dots, I was always curious about how does any business functions. I vividly remember the days where I was used to working at a BPO during my college summer break, my curiosity was “Why does a company located in the US or European Countries outsource their Call Centers?” this led me to know that the model has been the most cost-effective solution and great opportunity in the economy for a developing nation.

After completing my graduation I got offered in an eCommerce company as a Customer Representative and never thought that I would have a career transition in Sales & Marketing. As the company was a Start-Up I got to gain knowledge on how does an Online Retail Shop functions right from managing the inventory to delivery of products to the customer. “I still didn’t figure out Where do I see myself Five Years Down The Line” 

It was a very informative and learning stint in my career at the eCommerce company however it lasted for 1.6 years as I got an opportunity to work in Sales for a mid-size IT firm. There was no break or transition in my profession after that and after spending 7 years in the Information Technologies industry, I still think there is a lot more to learn and be curious.

My “Five Years Down The Line” has been a roller coaster ride, the message I want to conclude is that It’s OK not to have a plan, you have to figure where your interest and passion lies and the path will follow.

Five Years is a long time and what I have always learned in my life and profession is that be a lifelong student, your learning process should never stop even though you complete a 4-year degree graduation.

Recently, I started this blog and write about my life & profession experiences. Who knows how’s my “Five Years Down The Line” looks like. Please let me know your experiences below in the comment section.

Why MBA? A degree or Status Quo

When I communicated with a lot of MBA’s the first thing that I ask is “Why MBA?” some of them remain clueless to give any answers, while other wanted to complete an MBA to maintain their status quo but few of them were clear on their career path and how an MBA degree would add credibility in the long run. I have always suggested a young professional or a fresher out of college that before thinking of enrolling yourself for an MBA, get some hands-on experience in any noble profession that will or not give you a path to pursuit with your career.

Being in corporate for 8+ years, I still ask myself that do I need an MBA to progress ahead with my career or shall I keep learning without pursuing an MBA further. I have also realized that no matter you have a degree or not, the learning process never stops. To progress in your life & career, be a life long student.
The world moving ahead with the advancement in technologies, AI, automation & machine learning being the buzz word we need to have that paradigm shift in our thoughts to achieve faster & better results towards our work.

Getting an MBA degree or graduating from one of the ivy colleges has no longer been the main criteria to get a job in one of the MNC’s or high profile jobs in this 21st century. If you see companies from the likes of Google, Microsoft, or Tesla no longer need an MBA or a 4-year college degree to land a job there.

You need to be an expert in your profession and as I mentioned earlier the learning process should never stop.

Your five years of life & career will entirely depend on the kind of books that you read and the people you are around it.

How to adapt change in your Sales career and achieve better results!

Over the years we see a lot of changes in our customer buying journey right from purchasing a Soap to an Aircraft. The customers are in control as they know how any information can be found as they seek before they show interest in listening to your sales pitches and going through your product/services brochure. The AI and Automation taking over most of the jobs, as a Salesperson we should adapt the changes and achieve better results in pursuit of our career.

According to recent studies by the end of 2020, the interaction of a customer and business will not be by an actual human. 40-50% of the time spent on sales activities could be automated by technologies currently available—which, of course, get smarter every day. For salespeople who follow traditional methods of prospecting, qualifying and moving closer to sale will not be good news.

Companies enabling digitization with AI, machine learning & automation are meant to simplify and streamline the processes, saving companies time & money while bringing extra value to the customers. These are clear signs that technologies can do a lot in the world of sales. Only the Smart Sales Pros will embrace change at every turn, accordingly, they will adapt and change their sales strategies.

How to adapt change in your Sales Career and achieve better results!

The first thing we should always remember that “people buy from people” the importance of human touch isn’t decreased with the advancement of technologies. In the world powered by technologies, for a salesperson having a solid reputation as a credible subject matter expert, strong network-especially with those high-level decision-makers are the most valuable currencies of all.

Instead of focusing to push the product/services that you sell and meet your sales quotas (which is also important) make time every day to build a personal brand and expand a personal network.

Think like a customer and understand the challenges that they face, start building your expertise and knowledge on how you can solve those challenges.

Write about your expertise and knowledge in a blog, talk about in a video or any social channel, present those topics which you are expert in Industry Events & Forums – make a name for yourself in the industry you’re immersed in. It’s not all that difficult, you’ve just got to want to do it. 

Lastly, it’s important to distinguish between technology replacing the role of a salesperson versus technology enhancing the ability of salesperson to skyrocket their performance. If Salespeople can learn how to leverage AI, automation & machine learning to help them delivering on all fronts without loosing the sight of the importance of human touch, they will not only succeed but also thrive in this Digital Age.

How do you define being Wealthy?

When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. ~ Oscar Wilde

Let’s get to the understanding first “What exactly is Wealth?” The idea of wealth can be different from one person to another even though if they live in the same neighborhood together. It may also change from time to time for the very same person.

It can also be a comparison of where do you live and to whom you are comparing yourself. A person living in the USA earning a salary of $50,000 per year can be compared among median household earners, but for the rest of the world, he/she is the top 1% of wealthy. In a village in India if your earning is Rs. 30,000/- per month you can live life king size however in a metro city like Mumbai you may not be able to rent an apartment and struggle your daily existence with that kind of money.

To define exactly how being wealthy can be a bit bouncer. It also tied up with each and every aspect of our lives.

Wealth can be in the form of having full freedom to pursue life ambitions without being shackled down by monetary constraints and for some, it may be experience, knowledge, good health, and family.

Are You Wealthy Enough?

If we look at some of the richest people in the world they do not consider themselves being wealthy, for some having enough cash to handle without liquidating their assets was the idea of being wealthy for others it meant having peace of mind.

When I also interacted with different age groups the idea of being wealthy was different from one another. For example, a Thirty-Five-year-old Rita wealth is a feeling of security but only when it comes to a combination of monetary assets along with knowledge, experience and commitment. However for John, his idea is in terms of material wealth which you should have earned it ethically and it should not be beneficial to others, not just yourself, age forty.

Conclusion

Think about what being wealthy means to you. The “you” part it fundamental because no two will offer the same definition of wealth. Only once you know what being wealthy means to you will you be in a position to work towards it.

Starting out your Career in Sales

When I come across a lot of MBA’s graduate, they do not want to start their career with Sales. They are always on the lookout to get into Business Management or Marketing, Business Operations, etc. They always have a fear of dealing with the pressure, rejections in Sales.

The point is if you want to understand how any business functions, get into Sales. If you want to know how the revenue of a company is flowing, get into Sales. No company or organization can function without Sales and every company requires a Sales Men to get the money flowing.

Below are some of the points to keep in mind when starting with your Sales Career.

  • The first and only rule is to be very self-disciplined with your job.
  • You will face a lot of rejections while reaching out to prospects and it should not be taken personally.
  • Always know your audience whom you are targeting.
  • Follow your instinct and be a solution provider, not a salesman with your prospects.
  • Be very passionate about your job and always keep learning to improve yourself.

The more time you will spend on this career the more skills you will acquire and the more time you will face with your customers/prospects the better you will familiarize yourself with the products/services that you sell.

You will also have very good control over spoken & written communications as you will be interacting with your prospects/customers every time.

There is also a lot of commission that Salespeople earn with their job apart from their Salary. Once you start receiving this commission you will certainly have financial freedom.

The more you will sell, the more commission you will earn.

Targeting the Right Prospects for your B2B Sales

Targeting the right prospect for your B2B sales can be very challenging. You should know everything about your target prospects from their demographics and interest to their buying behaviors.

The better you understand your prospects and their pain points and motivations, the easier it will be for you to target and convert your leads into sales.

Below are some of the elements to target the right prospects:

  • The Account Development Framework: Account Development is a phone-based team focused exclusively on identifying, connecting with, and qualifying leads to generate an early-stage pipeline for the sales organization.
  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): A Sales executive should primarily focus that fits the ideal customer profile. The Ideal Customer Profile defines the type of accounts that the organization believes are most likely to close.
  • Buyer Persona: The target Buyer Persona describes the attributes of the individual prospects within an account that are ideal contacts in a sales process. Personas help you articulate the prospect’s pain point in their language.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive to follow up. The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive follow up. The MQL definition tells you who to reach out to next.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a lead that meets the organization’s definition of qualification and is ready for a conversation with sales. The SQL definition is the minimum threshold a prospect must meet to be accepted as sales qualified. You must have an answer to each of these requirements for SQL to be ready to convert to sales.

Popular Online Game PUBG teaching to be a Team Player

Online game Player Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) designed by Brendan Greene, has gained a lot of popularity. It can seem that people in several age group has been playing and also working professional during their free time. The player can choose to enter the match either solo, duo or, squad. The learning part comes when you have a squad to play i.e four people and commit to playing as a team to win the game.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

PUBG is a very simple game where the last team survivor wins however some of your players may not survive till the end. Similarly, as we all deal in our professional life either we are working with a team or leading one. Working towards our goal & targets has been our daily routine however achieving great heights has always been possible when you have a dream team.

PUBG can be the most frustrating game and for one simple reason: it takes time to form a perfect squad and your squad to play as a team. You must understand your team weakness & strength, guide them on how to utilize their ability when it is needed. It may happen a lot of times in the game that because of one player all the squad loses at the beginning of the game.

Likewise in our professional life, a perfect PUBG team requires an Armour, Navigation, Sniper expert, and most importantly a leader who can make his team work together to win the game.

When you have a team whom you can rely on, no matter what the situation comes they make the dream work come true. It does take time in every field to find the perfect fit in your team and its only possible when you understand everyone’s strengths, weaknesses and guide them accordingly.

Importance of Improving your Communications Skills in Sales

People who work in sales have the ability to speak well and to convey their ideas and their solutions. Great salespeople always find their way to improve their communication skills of listening first.

Why is it Important to Improve your Communications in Sales?

To be a success in sales, you need to have the ability to gather and provide information in a way that makes your prospect want to do business with you. The way how you convey your value proposition, your pricing, even your product’s features. You should be able to get your prospects to talk to you and listen to what you have to say.

You have to be an exceptional listener, the first step to communicate well is to know that listening well is more important. Listening to your prospects without your thoughts wandering or planning your responses, is an act of caring. It builds the rapport and connection that speaking does not.

Write, rehearse, and use your scripts while communicating with your prospects. Prospects will have questions for a needs-analysis, handling problem that occurs. You should be able to communicate with your elevator pitch, objections handling skills. This will demonstrate your competency and capabilities.

Prospects and clients use words that they have attached a certain meaning. The words your prospects use brings to their mind a certain picture and certain emotions. Listen carefully for the language that your prospects and clients use and capture their word choices. Use their word choices in your communications and presentations.

The greatest ways to improve your communications in sales is to practice speaking well in front of groups and taking their feedback and suggestions in a very positive attitude and always on the lookout to improve.

Lastly, practice the art of listening by first controlling your desires to speak.