Nine Months Later..

by Raj Shekhar


Two things have happened this past week which I thought would not happen and yet knew the probability of them happening were not nil.


It has taken nine months; from 23rd April in the year 2012 to the third week of January 2013, but the SOS call to home asking for money was a ticking time bomb. It had to happen. The issue was introduced slowly and for obvious reasons a tele-call was preferred to a Skype chat. It was explained there were no ongoing legal battles, no facing bankruptcy thing, no bad loans given and was not a victim of the very enticing offer of inheriting a million pounds from the King of Somalia, provided i furnished my bank account details to the e-mail sender.


The first year of the job is where you are on top of the world; financially independent and in no ways less than a personal finance minister except that you’re pretty much a bad planner. So for the first two quarters of the FY, things looked rosy, up until the point when it became obvious that certain financial declarations made were going to be touch-and-go in terms of them being met. So three scenarios were played out – the best, average and worst cases of self contribution towards meeting those commitments and based on the median of the average and the worst case, it was thought to be prudent to inform home. And therefore, the call. 


Onward to the second and the more important thing to have happened.


We’re an indirect sales company. We do not sell to the customer directly; rather manage partners who sell on our behalf. More of a manager-cum-pseudo-seller; yes I’m there infront of the decision maker/s if there’s a need but it is still not direct sales. More of a Mahesh Bhatt movie. It is not his own life story in his movies except that it IS his own story in some ways.


This was up until now. New product out in the market; priced almost six times the highest priced current product and it promises to help take the growing SME businesses to the next level. And with such high expectations, and especially when it is the initial market-acceptability phase, for a certain period of time, you have to trust your own people to go out and deliver value to the customer; in this case a select few customers filtered on certain parameters. This is exactly what is happening and thankfully so.


Always wanted to have an experience of direct sales. Go to the customer and sell. As simple as that. It is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding jobs out there. And when it is selling to the business heads of Indian SMEs and LMEs and the solution you’re offering runs into lacs and the guy may/may-not be technically sound; you have to sell value or you’re Uday Chopra from Dhoom. You’re there but you’re not really there.


So a few things have changed in order to take on the extra responsibility. The sleep times have changed. The evening exercise time has been shifted to morning. Much grudgingly. There’s even more travel now on the cards. Product knowledge now is more important than before. There’s more of pre-planning involved now as compared to before and more of jotting down things. And there’s much less free time overall. Interesting times work-wise.


Here’s looking forward to a good end to FY 12-13. In other news, here’s also looking forward to Lotus unveiling their 2013 challenger – online, on the 28th of January and celebrating one year to the day when was victorious at the Biz Quiz at IIM-A on the 29th of January. For the time being, Happy Republic Day guys! Celebrate the good; skip the cynicism. Life’s short.