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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Indian Startup Founders Are They Serious on Sales?

Eureka Bharali
Monday, January 3, 2011
Eureka Bharali
“If a product can not be sold by the makers themselves, no sales team perhaps can make the sale,” says Bharat Goenka, the Tally Chief. Goenka jumpstarted the accounting software firm by selling the first 700 products on his own, before passing on the league to a set of sales managers. But how far are today’s startup founders and CEOs in India willing to put their hands on sales?

“One has to sell the vision of the company at every point. Whether it is to the employees or to the investors, the selling does happen. In direct selling of the products, at times CEOs are not ready and rely on a more business-experienced person,” says an ex-business developer of a loan startup.

What is not realized, if one has a company, one is in some way or the other involved in selling whether in a conventional or in an unconventional way. The deterring factor is always about doing for the first time. “They are initially hesitant as it takes time to move out of their comfort zone,” says Abhishek Goyal, Associate at Accel Partners. They move forward with a better goal in mind and as their hands get full with the other core activities they tend to sideline the sale proposition.
And of course, a look at product companies, we would see more of technocrats towing the entrepreneurial line. “In terms of sales and marketing, the CEO doesn’t handle any of it he is a core IT person,” says an Associate VP of a learning solution provider. In such a scenario, they are more oriented towards building a taut product without much loopholes instead of moving across the market and making the sales pitches. “When we as VCs look towards investing, the company needs to have an amiable CEO. Look at every big product firm, Sony, LG and you can see CEOs with significant sales experience, who have also contributed immensely. So, for a startup it’s important that they do look at the sales proposition of the CEOs. However, only if the CEO has unmatched tech knowledge, sometimes sales might be compensated by bringing in an expert,” says Gaurav Saraf of Epipheny Ventures.

However, there are also founders who have plunked their hands on every possible domain. Gautam Rage, Founder and Director of Josh Software quickly pinpoints, “We make sure that either me or the other co-founder are the only ones who become the face of the company while doing sales. Infact, at times, we tend to work on the product development, do the coding and at the same time make time for proper research to pitch in for sales”.
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