The Sales Conundrum

Subash Menon
Subash Menon
The year was 2001 and we were faced with one of the toughest challenges ever. A challenge that threatened to wipe us out from the face of the earth. Simply stated, we were not winning any contracts. And this, despite our best efforts. Let me delve into the details.

After having switched tracks from being a telecom hardware systems integrator to a telecom software product vendor, we had launched our first product “Ranger”, a fraud management system in February 2000 and were risking our entire future on that product.

We had high hopes and were working towards winning significant contracts. Given the extensive requirement for the product in developing countries in Africa and Asia, we had generated several leads and were actively participating in a large number of tenders and similar activities. The going would be great,
we reckoned, even if we were to win a small number of those opportunities.

This level of heightened activity continued for about a year and at the end of that period, it was clear to us that although we were being short-listed after technical evaluation, we were being rejected at the next stage. In short, we were not winning any contracts. At the end of 12 months, we did not have any overseas customer to talk about. The future looked bleak and the morale was at its nadir. It was at this juncture that we decided to take the bull by the horns and evolve a strategy to address this grave issue.

The Solution
The first step was to identify the cause for this dismal performance. We evaluated every case that we had lost and hit upon the point that we were being rejected by the decision maker as we were an unknown entity to them.

The short-list of technically approved vendors would have our name and a couple of other known names like HP and Ericsson, and the committee that decided was always going for the known devils. Once we identified the key cause for failure, we evolved a 3-step process to set this right.

Step 1: We assessed each opportunity using one key parameter. That was familiarity of our company among the decision makers and our ability to create that familiarity. Without familiarity, we were never going to win any contracts. At the end of this step, we had three groups of companies-the first group was where we were quite close to the decision makers and they knew us quite well. The second group was where we had a possibility to improve the awareness about our company. The third group was where we were not known and we could not do anything about it.
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Reader's comments(3)
1: Thanks for sharing such a valuable info in an open forum.
i wish Subash Menon very best in the coming days
Posted by:Rajesh Ravilisetti - 05 Nov, 2009
2: It would help learners like us, if Mr. Subhash could tell us, what exactly did he do on the ground... to make the decision makers know subex?
Is it like he sent them mailers, he sent them gifts, he sent his sales guys more frequently to them, he met them on the golf course....? what is the core act that clicked for the company.
Please let us know.
Best wishes,
Posted by:Imtiaz Kalburgi - 08 Jul, 2009
3: Superb Subhash! Thanks for the post!
Posted by:Ravi Janardhan - 26 May, 2009

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