Tag Archives: B2B

The Power of 7 (or 77) ! IBM Big Data, Wimbledon, and B2B marketing

10 Jul

Wimbledon

What a Wimbledon this was! From slides (all around the court) to falls (of top seeds), to a dream win for a relative unknown Frenchwoman followed by the win Britain was waiting for – it took 77 years for a male to win it; was the first one after 1977 (Virginia Wade – the media certainly took a beating on this one, didn’t it? – and this despite the felicitation to Ms. Wade during the championships!)) and was won on 7/7…wow, the power of 7! Maybe Murray will win it 7 times!

This number/ data crunching reminded me of the ad that I saw on ESPN while the match was being aired – it was one of the series of ads that IBM released for its “smarter planet” positioning….by the way, I like that positioning – and I do think that IBM is doing many things right to work towards fulfilling that promise.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the series

But I was really confused about why there was a Big Data campaign airing on TV! Who buys Intel? Businesses – so CEO/ CTO/ CDO and of late, ever since their CMO focus, the CMO. (See this interesting article about IBM’s focus on the CMO). These are ALL C suite execs in enterprises! Intel is the quintessential B2B marketing firm! On top of which it has traditionally focussed large enterprises though it did start a mid market push a while ago (just to check – a google search for IBM enterprise vs SMB shows a ration of 153 million to 4 million!).

So, what is the typical purchase process for IBM like engagements? Long drawn out pitches/ the typical commercial engagement cycle…resulting generally in bids against 2 others (Accenture and/or Oracle may very likely be atleast one of the others – interestingly, I found in my inbox today an email from Accenture talking about the looming shortage of analytics talent – talk about topicality! ). What is the ‘discovery’ process in this Bizdev cycle? Well, Intel in the appropriate circles I would imagine doesn’t need discovery – it may need outreach, but not discovery. Which means, that the relevant people in a buying situation WOULD reach out to IBM. Now, sure, the world is becoming more and more socially integrated – and ofcourse, the business that IBM in, has a core foundation of social. So, should they give a social presence to this new positioning? Certainly! And, to their credit, they’ve done so. I do think salience of IBM along with Big data, Predictive analytics and Smart is probably highest amongst all comparative business entities. They’ve also done outdoors visibility well on the “smarter planet” platform – including a massive hoarding just outside the airport in my hometown Bangalore. So, why on earth would they advertise on TV???

B2B branding

Which brings me to the larger premise – B2B marketing and the role of mass media – I think the only scenarios that justify the use of mass media for a B2B entity are:

a) Launch of company/ large product – one which is revolutionary! (Typically a big bang ad may work in this case if it is a well known company launching a biggie product – Apple/ Mac/ Superbowl comes to mind for this ofcourse! See my earlier related post here). If it’s an unknown company and u want to build traction very quickly, then you may want repeated airings over TV/ other media…

b) Existing company repositioning in that it is targeting a newer audience – say an enterprise oriented company expands to now address the SMB segment only – mass media seems ideal to tell you that hey we talk to you too (actually in a way, in tone atleast, the IBM ads seem oriented towards consumers/ SOHO and the SMB segment)

c) A company is going IPO – ofcourse then, the target for the ad becomes the consumer/ investing public – and given the company is B2B, the mass public may not know much about it.

d) The media chosen is very very select (and hence not “mass” at all 🙂 – but I meant select very targeted print specially if it’s a specialist domain that relies very heavily still on traditional media – Print and Packaging/ fragrances/ maybe even some tech e.g. select storage/ design etc may be good examples – these are journals that may be peer reviewed etc – and strangely enough still do not have online editions – specially in geographies across the world. (Autodesk was one such product category). A corollary is select very targeted media programs that are clearly and squarely meant for that select audience (so, not Wimbledon Men’s final on ESPN 🙂 )

Interestingly, writing this side of the story nearly made me forget the early pains of proving the utility of social media – then a relatively new life form – for B2B businesses when we were running EmPower Research. Specially the fight we had on our hands when we started selling our services to the large clients of our aquirer – these were companies that largely required BPM services from our acquirer – and so, were all B2B – and when I say B2B, I even mean utility/ transport/ heavy engineering companies. At one time, we even created a two by two matrix showing how B2B companies were NOT good targets for our effort. That is why, most articles online for B2B marketing currently are selling the utility of social media/ business for propagating B2B businesses 🙂 .

Our own experience – ultimately – showed us that social could be integrated into B2B businesses at various stages:

B2B Social

– Listening for reputation management/ disaster preparedness – this meant you constantly trawl social conversations to a) spot any broad reputation detractors (or enhancers for that matter) for your business; but also check for any broad/ macro events that may turn viral and therefore increase your risk profile (nice predictive algorithms could be created to show when something could get viral)

– Lead Generation – this use has been questioned – but, atleast in user groups/ domain specific sites of certain types of product categories, there are lots of questions on upgrades/ switches/ problem solution type issues. These could generally cue the smart Bizdev person to atleast prospect

– Customer service – similar to the above – just for existing users

– Thought Leadership – creating enriching/ engaging content realted to the business you are in – in an effort to broaden the horizon of what your brand stands for…

– Using Social Technologies for collaboration for better efficiencies and smarter decision making…

So, in a way, we circle back towards the points IBM is making – predictions to enable cleverer decisions, more “right” decisions, etc – and all these are what social will enable – so my point – why use mass media to make this point? And why 5 years after the point has been made already, and well?

Please note – I am not questioning the “Big Idea” of the Smarter Planet at all! I think, for a company that was to the larger world known as the chip/ processor company, the “Smarter Planet” was a really superb plank – it was motivational internally, focused on what was important – core research leading to ‘intelligence” – an idea probably before its time 5 years ago; was applicable across verticals or domains easily; and ofcourse was executed brilliantly by Ogilvy and Office. (read this for an eulogic analysis!) My objection is really to the use – after 5 years – of the campaign in mass media…still!

And ofcourse the Watson vs. Man @ Jeopardy idea was a gem – by all standards – PR, engagement, amplification, just stressing core brand values.

watson jeopardy

At the end, as the pundits would say though, what sells is success – as this, slightly older article shows, IBM certainly reaped the benefits of the campaign – whether they make incremental returns on continuing the campaign is anyone’s guess. (for those interested in some behind the scenes photos of the commercial production, click here )

To come back to Wimbledon, many may not know (I have to confess I didn’t – and in hindsight maybe as partners they get some media time anyway, and THAT”S why they aired this campaign that is making me froth at the mouth so much!!!) – but IBM actually crunches all Wimbledon’s and other Grand Slams’ data for the interesting stats and analyses – including giving tips to players, and prompting commentators as they give you a blow by blow account of what is transpiring on court! (read here for some details on their SlamTracker)

So, as far as I am concerned, advertising or no, power to IBM and its like!

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StartUp Dilemma 4 – Pricing; OR How to Make Sure You Get Full-ish Value For Your Product/ Service

4 Apr

B2B StartUp pricing

Was reading a blog a couple days ago – this is a consultant who is rightly advising folks to never sell their services for free. As a corollary, one of the 2 newspapers we take, had a front page story on Infosys’ altered pricing strategy. (the other newspaper had a headline on how women now menopause in their 20s – you can see why I perused the Infy article with far greater interest :)).

Brought me to a big dilemma we faced as a start-up – how to price/ how to get client to value your product or service enough/ can you raise price of a service one you set a benchmark to it.

Infact, when we got acquired that was one of the first strategic tasks the new management set before us – raise your cash ring/ increase your profitability/ get us better EBITDA – (as if we didn’t know we needed to do it :))

The issue is – when you just start off, you ofcourse want to acquire clients – this is true whether you have a product or a service. You in general either have a slightly differentiated product/ service – so yours is better/ faster/ cheaper/ does more things than before – or your product/ service is doing something that’s very revolutionary/ disruptive – i.e. no one has done it before. In the first case, the client may be more or less satisfied with their incumbent provider – and if they don’t have an incumbent provider – they have not been convinced of the need for your product/ service. In the second case, if no one has ever done this before, they again either don’t need it, or will not believe that you can do it.

In all cases, the proof of the pudding to a certain extent will lie in the eating. So, you WILL need to introduce some element of promotional pricing – whether it be packaged as a beta client who is pretty much using yr product for free – but in this case atleast with attendant benefits that accrue to u; or introductory offer/ trial offer. Once your client likes your product, or service, you work next at making it more and more indispensable to her – and then I guess raise the price. This is why shampoos offer free satches/ food companies offer free tastings (I LOVE to visit supermarkets etc on weekends only because of all the yummy free food 🙂 – my kids are now as bad as I am/was!). In a related way it also why Gillette prices razors low, and blades are where they skim the cream. But trial/ sample has been an entry strategy for FMCG products for a long time.

food tasting

Talking of betas, when we were trying to develop an NLP engine for our Social Media platform, we contracted another start up to develop it for us – we were in a slightly “4-yr-old-is-bigger-than-1-yr-old” type of “elder brother” syndrome fashion, their beta customer. I think we got a LOT of value out of them – just as they got a LOT of thinking out of us. And yes, despite having got them (or them having got us) to a point of really good results that we felt we could use in our platform, we never ever allowed them to raise their prices on us! Talk about arm twisting!

So how can you apply “sampling pricing” to B2B products/ services. We had a way around it – for our service which was ongoing – needed everyday/ every week or every month, and therefore could have annuity type engagements, we offered a 3 day/ 1 week trial – for that trial time period, we wd give our clients a taste of the service – we worked it like the full service. Our conversion rates for trials were very high – hence, our sales teams had a great weapon in their armory. Of course, the few instances it backfired on us was when the client needed that ‘essential” service ONLY for that week and took advantage of the trial – but these were fewer. The success of the conversaion also lay on the fact that the targeting and sales pitch for even the free trial had to be very careful – the client had to have “skin in the game” – they needed to invest time and energy going through our output and feeding us back – everyday. When that didn’t happen, we knew the trial wouldn’t convert into an ongoing engagement.

Where this did not work however, was when the purchase was likely to be one time – so a piece of research on a specific problem say. This piece of work, once executed, would not be done again – if you gave it free, you essentially had a huge opportunity cost in not being to make money from that product/ service again.

And thus here is where we had the typical start-up problem – in a bid to convince our client/ to get them to start becoming a client/ and to prove to them we could do this, we would invariably end up pricing low – way lower than the true value of the output was. (What decided true value – good question – benchmark what top of the market guy would charge for comparable output – if you have no benchmarks, get proxies. If completely unheralded category – figure out how much its worth it to the client – what is the “cost of abstinence”) Client would buy/ LOVE the results – but then in their mind set the price band at that “low” ballpark. So that future requests came at the same ballpark (hey – u guys charged me 50K lst time, how can u say this is 100K now!) And that wd be a vicious cycle – made much worse when you realized that the same client had switched jobs, and at the new company – good news – wanted you to come and bid for a project; bad news – remembered you had charged the low/ breakeven price the last time and then weren’t able to jack it up.

In a product, the scenario is easier – specially if u sell a licence version, you can threaten to cut off licence/ revoke passwords etc once hooked (that’s why it is generally more profitable to run a product company – apart from the fact that you make one product and sell it multiple times, you also know that once your client has your product, cost of switching is high, and your licence/ royalty fees goes on for a long time) – so you could even have an escalating price menu. (not if you are beta though – as evinced by our NLP vendor situation)

So, coming back to the dilemma yes or no to “free/ trial” price? My answer – actually I don’t have a great one (given that even after acquisition we struggled with this). But, I can enumerate scenarios in which it makes sense to sell free trials/ price low:

Product_Life_Cycle

a) Evangelized product – You need to prove the very efficacy of the product category – in PLC terms, its a category at the introduction stage (you milk it at growth and early maturity – by late maturity you are in the Infosys state – fighting to uphold revenues/ market shares in a commoditized environment)

b) Recurring service – like FMCG/ our daily reporting service, the use cycle is short/ frequent, once bought it will need to be bought again. So, you can “bait” the client (not traditional “bait and switch” usage here i might add) with examples of your work, and then withdraw the service if they don’t pay.

c) Competitive market – When you don’t really have a clear differentiator (well, ideally then you don’t have a business being a startup 🙂 ) in the idea – maybe only in the execution of it, or in the commercial structuring; you give the client a chance to “eat the pudding” for the proof of the eating

d) Large potential client – entry in your roster

In most of these scenarios, you have to be clear you are stating upfront that this is trial pricing for a limited time period only – maybe you even use artefacts like price cards per wish list but give stated/ obvious doscounts for stated/ obvious benefits.

Reminds me of an old boss Rajeev saying (for a very different product category) – when would you advertise your price – we are talking mainstream advertising for a semi durable product – a) either when you have a really low priced product – so u want to say “lowest price/ unbelievably low price”; or, when you have a really high priced one – and the price then is part of the indicator of the value of your product – so, like a lot of the posh/ snooty real estate projects now say – “if you cant pay over a million dollars, don’t even think about looking at this villa housing project!” In either case, your price is making a statement!

Read also an old interview about the 5 Rs. )(10 cents now) price point and its utility for FMCG products in India – I think this has become 10 Rs. now actually)

Having said that, when it comes to the crunch – i.e., the fight between getting revenues on yr ticker board vs getting higher commissions for higher sales (kind of like the “singles vs. sixers” problem in cricket) – it takes guts n balls to not remember the few additional salaries you will be able to pay with whatever the client is willing to give you; and really dig your heels in for the true value of your service!

It is a brave entrepreneur who manages to get his/her wish list price even 30% of the time with the first few clients 🙂 – so, if you manage it, kudos! And if you don’t, try try again 🙂

Sales Promotion vs. Trade Marketing; Paying vs. Incentivizing; and the Power of Relationship in Sales

25 Mar

dealer display

As I entered my grocery shop yesterday, I saw what used to be bread and butter (pun intended) for me a couple decade ago – but a sight I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a “merchandiser”/ “sales rep” clicking away at a very nice end cap shelf display – the brand in question was Kelloggs. Clearly this was either a display contest – designed to have participating retailers give up some of their precious shelf space up to a brand in a bid to enhance impulse purchase – the payoff being, like a lottery, the possibility that they win a prize and therefore money and more importantly prestige; or was “bought shelf space”, more the norm, but a fair drag on the brands’ trade marketing/ sales promo expenses.

But that’s not the story – the story was the action of the retailer personnel immediately after the merchandiser type finished clicking – they immediately got down to restoring the end cap to its usual position – this time with some nuts/ dry fruits (depending on where you are reading this ☺ – english is a funny language isn’t it? or maybe american is… )

So, either the Nuts guy had payed more money, but the retailer wanted to participate in the contest; or the retailer was scamming both companies – greedy pig (but hey, he’s not running a business for charity ☺ ); or the nuts guy had payed more money, and the sales rep/ merchandiser had prevailed upon the retailer to “just put up the display so I can show my bosses” (remember, depending on the company’s scheme – he either gets money or prestige too!) . All scenarios are likely, but for a low margin branded product that relies more on the “pull” created by advertising/ branding than the “push” created by the retailer actively promoting its brand, it is probably the last one that is applicable.

Reminded me of my years in trade sales years ago – with Leo Mattel – a joint venture company that sold toys – more a “semi durable” category. So while there was an “impulse” element to purchase sometimes, it was also equally pre meditated sales (say for gifts); and certainly purchase occasions were not too frequent/ replacement cycles were large. I used to tour the Delhi market with a young “sales rep” on my scooter – this guy was BIG – 6 feetish, heavy – and hence my arms and shoulders always ached whenever I took him around. He was also, and I hate to sound prejudiced, but its true, blessed with one of the ugliest faces I’ve ever had the fortune to see. But every retailer that he took me to – had ONLY nice things to say about young Chakrapani – “Ma’am, please do not remove this guy from our sales beat” – basically the guy was SO good at customer service, and the retailers – an admittedly tough breed in new Delhi – found him so endearing in his mannerisms, that as one guy told me – Ma’am, I have to only look at Chakrapani’s face, and I can NOT say no to him ☺. So, Chakrapani would have done what my Kellogg’s sales rep in M.K Ahmed was doing – but he would have prevailed upon the retailer to keep the display on for longer. Sorely on the basis of his relationship!

Having said that, in an impulse purchase item, its not really a bad thing to have a front display for even a few minutes – atleast for those few minutes, the brand has grabbed eye balls! Its like when a regional sales manager in the then Gillette told the then CEO as he complimented the sales team on an excellent field visit, “but you do know that these have all been window dressed for your arrival, right?” Pradeep gave a hearty guffaw and said – yes of course, but for the 2 – 3 days that this window dressing is up, more people will tend to buy our products than they would have otherwise! And true enough, even in the less than half hour that I saw action on the Kellogg’s display, 3 ladies were fingering the K for Kelloggs boxes, and I saw atleast 2 sales being made right in front of me at the checkout!

So, yes, the relationship is very important in sales, the money tradeoff while important will not ensure action necessarily – after all, the next brand may come in and offer more money! A sales guy needs to be building those relationships at all points. This is true whether you are selling Kelloggs and Razors, or Engineering services and tech products –

As Vrinda, one of our sales people in EmPower told me, the true test of my rolodex is if when I leave this company and go to another, I can call every name here and ask them to try my new product/ services, and they will say yes! (the equivalent in the FMCG world is Balbir, a rambunctious sales guy telling me – you are truly a powerful sales manager if every retailer on your field trip greets you with cashews ☺ – nuts anyone?

For a POV on the “other side” of the coin – the dealer salesman, read this old article of mine here

StartUp Dilemma – 1 (Core Mission vs. Revenue Gen)

14 Mar

startup cartoon

I got this idea from Wendy who has a really funny blog, and from Bucket List publications . These guys basically have serial posts – so its one idea, and then you write on multiple ramifications of it. (I’m still struggling with remnants of writer’s block – so looking for ways to circumvent it!)

Add to this the fact that in the past 2 days I spoke to a bunch of start-ups at various stages of their life cycle, and brainstormed with them on various issues.

So, that’s my inspiration – I am going to do a series of typical problems that startups face…not necessarily one after the other all the time, but certainly whenever the urge strikes me!

The first one came to me when my friend – lets call him John Smith or Ram Shyam if you prefer an Indian name 🙂 – (who is developing generic but customizable mobile apps for business processes on the cloud targetted at the various domains) swung by and disclosed his angst over a very standard start-up question.

Background: JS/ RS and his associates used to work at a large networking firm. They quit to follow their dream – some 6 or so months ago. They’ve been burning the proverbial midnight oil getting their app platform up. They even have a cple early customers on it – paying customers hallelujah! They are now busy figuring out the top verticals they should sell to – its a small team, and they obviously want to focus their efforts.

Problem: Their ex boss called them and said – can you build a “box” for me directed at say x vertical – it’s a vertical the team wants to target, but the boss’ request is not quite front and center of what they have set out to build. If it works, and is successful, they may get immense scale. However, he is unwilling to give these guys any guarantees…

Dilemma: Working on the boss’ request will take roughly 6 months of effort. Only some 30% of this is code they can reuse for their own platform – what they really want to do. However, it will give them an entry into the vertical of their choice. Also, saying no is tough. Not only does this effort give them some cash flow, in true start up style, they want their ex employer as one of their biggest clients (or partner – at early stage obviously they are open to all commercial angles); and they don’t want to close that door!

Sounds familiar? What would your advice to them be?

Well, what I said to them was:

a) Ofcourse it depends on the relationship between these guys and their boss, and their judgement of how true to his words he is
b) The positives are –
i. they get entry into vertical of choice – with many outlets. Boss has indicated readiness to partner – but is not guaranteeing (ie its not on paper) that they will get co-branding rights. (Which may also be OK for my trio – they should be, and are, open to white labeling)

ii. They keep the boss happy

iii. It does give them ready cash

c) The negatives are –
i. They lose 70% of 6 months of work – after all, if they wanted to build stuff for their old company, they wouldn’t have left it!
ii. More importantly, they have just started outreach to the market – if they do get interested clients biting at the other work they are doing, they will be hard pressed to service that (unless they hire ofcourse 🙂 – good problem to have, huh?)

So, knowing that in early stages its very very difficult to say no to client/ revenue; i asked them to ask either for the branding such that they can leverage the access/ relationships with end clients in their future work – when they really need it; or ask for guarantee that they will get future business from their old company; or ask for enough money to make the 70% of 6 months worth their while…when I say ask – i mean either in writing or in terms of conviction in old man’s word…

I remember in EmPower – in our early days when we were sniffing all around for revenue – we would not say no to anything! We started with one division, and pretty much by chance, developed the other 2 – basically because potential clients came up to us and said – “can u do this?”. This evolution kind of walked alongside with our thinking on what the company should be – so all divisions stayed within the guard rails…conversely, when we were some 5 years old, there was immense pressure from the sales team to chase Primary Research dollars – it was an adjacency, the clients were common (Social Media research got bought by consumer insights people), it was a labor intensive service, technology made it outsourcable – but we said a steadfast NO – there were keenly fought debates, but boy, am I glad we did say no!

I don’t know what JS/ RS finally did, but I have a strong feeling, like a lot of us, he WILL go ahead and build the box for his boss – and take the risk 🙂 what d’u think?

Parallels to share?

Let’s Face It – We are all Sales People (or Need to Be)

4 Mar

salesman

Many years ago, my colleague Sridhar addressed a Global Sales Conference with the words – “Good Morning, ladies and men….after a small pause, he said – “I said men, because there are NO gentlemen in sales!” (cue for canned laughter)

Remember the merchant in Aladin who sold the magical lamp? Glib talking stereotype!

But its true – while we revile and treat badly most sales people – whether its the tele caller selling credit cards, or the medical rep who comes in to the doctor’s clinic with beautifully crafted “detailers” and drug samples; when you look at all of us, at any situation in life, irrespective of what we are doing, we are pretty much involved in some negotiation/ some give or take/ in effect, some sales…

Look at my 7 year old – she is ALWAYS selling/ negotiating – at school, where she sells her desire to become a narrator in the school play rather than be in the dance group ; at home when she sells her “neeeed” for candy – ok then cola – ok then yakult (probiotic yoghurt brand) – in her after school classes where she is a regular pest but manages to get personalised attention from all the coaches!

She’s got the basic tactics of sales nailed down to a T –

a) be “in your face” and keep on and on and on and onnnn till folks give up for the sheer nuisance value; (I think most “real” sales people will tell you thats rule no. 1 – do NOT get discouraged by the phone hung up, the door banged or the martinet exec assistant who doesnt let you get past him!)

b) choose timing of request really well – ( was easier when mom was working and perpetually on telecons) – again, all “real” sales people know monday mornings are bad, friday afternoons are bad too. Tuesday to thursday mornings work well to call and set up appointments.

c) choose the decision maker vs influencer stakeholders well – in this case play mom vs. dad vs. older sister. Depending on type of business, the procurement big daddys vs the CMO…

d) keep “stuff in the pocket” – ask for more than u need so that after whittling down you’ll get what u really wanted – or close enough. Can I eat 4 candies after I drink my milk?

As one of her teachers said the other day – you can love Achchu or you can hate her, but you certainly can’t ignore her!

But I can’t blame Achchu – she’s figured out that life is a sea of negotiations and sales – after all, All of us are selling too – in our personal as well as professional lives.

We sell our aggressiveness when negotiating for THAT book or toy with our siblings, we sell our one-upmanship when we honk at other traffic on the roads, we sell our intelligence, articulate-ness (I know that’s not a bona fide word 🙂 ) and aptitude when we go for focus groups for college admissions; we sell our abilities and attitude when we go for job interviews, we sell our worthiness as life partners when we meet potential spouses, we sell our “better judgement” to the same spouses at crucial milestones – house to buy/ baby to have/ etc etc; and ofcourse we are continuously selling our superiority as parents to our kids – all day, everyday, most of our lives!

In professional lives, we sell ourselves at appraisal time, when we are asking for resources for our departments, ofcourse when we really actually “sell” our ideas/ our businesses/ our services to someone else. This is true at all levels of the corporate hierarchy – infact at senior levels that’s ALL you are doing – selling. It may be called different things – “getting buy in”; “pitching”; “presenting”; “getting approval”; “getting consensus”; lobbying….but its all sales…

sales_cartoon

And, as a natural reaction, the world around us also starts behaving in a way that expects us to sell – I remember discussing an action point with an HR guy once and telling him that I was waiting for approval from the Senior Executive – he told me, just call him. If you want it badly enough, show it to him – unless you call, he won’t approve. While I was fairly pissed off at what I thought was high handedness, truly, I realized over many years that it wasn’t just ego that had the guy waiting for me to call – in that system, it was just another filter that indicated the strength of the need for that item (whatever it was).

In the same way, when you let’s say budget for resources, you ALWAYS ask for more than u get – it’s the 140% rule…ask for 140%, you will get atleast 100 (kind of like bargaining in flea markets – you pretty much halve what the peddler quotes and settle for midway maybe)

But I often wonder, if the above is true – what all the hoopla about career planning/ stream selection/ specialization is for? Maybe we should all enroll in the school of sales – and teach and learn to be salespeople. (As my sales friends would say – it gives you license to eat drink and make merry at company’s expense – if only to drown non quota making sorrows in the liquor!)

Really, I think that should be my next business idea – begin a string of School of Sales (if I want to be extra alliterative I can call it Sangita Specialized School of Sales – SSSoS!!! ). It is, after all a lesson that needs to start at birth and continue till post retirement.

sales

As one of my first bosses Guptaji used to say – “the crying baby gets more milk – conversely, the baby who doesn’t cry, doesn’t get as much!”……

baby