VP, Samsung Electronics
What was the most challenging moment in your career?
one has had many challenging moments in my career.. but one of the most challenging moment has been managing the team's motivation and ensuring their full commitment when the going is not good.. its it's when the chips are falling, that's the time when its it's most difficult and challenging to keep the momentum going and bounce back.. what's most important thing to do is have regular and transparent communication down to the last person in the team, applaud and celebrate every small win, make team feel how important is their contribution to the overall goal and that this is only a temporary phase.
How do you deal with criticism from clients?
we should alalways take customer criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve.. infact its it's a great opportunity to delight the customer eventually by taking care of his concerns. even if at times we feel that the criticism is not objective, we should sieve the message without any biases and pick up those one or two key inputs which can help us improve our services or help become a better professional. a customer who criticizes is a customer who can be won back, but a customer who never criticizes will just move away and may jot even give us an opportunity to continue to serve him.
Does a sales job help with a greater understanding of the market?
absolutely.. there is no other you can succeed or more importantly continue yo succeed in your career.. two most important things that a sales man should be fully conversant with are a) full knowledge of his product and its capabilities b) knowledge about the customer, / market / business segment, its key priorities and how our product van help him grow his business..
Can you explain the steps you take, from the beginning of the sales process to the end?
the place where I like to spend the most time is in the first stage of the sales cycle.. that's where I focus on identifying customer / customer segment relevant to the product portfolio that we have.. then we should go into the depth of understanding that segment, its needs and how our product / service can benefit him.. prepare a sales pitch of the benefits that the end customer can get from our products.. the most critical part of the sales process where we have to identify the right benefits and pitch it to the customer. he should get a feeling that you as a sales man understand his business and know what he needs.. and if he is convinced that you can deliver him what he wants and help him grow his business then you wont need to seel after that. he will sell for you internaln the company.. hard sell never works.. may in the short term but never in the long term.
Do you alter your sales strategy according to diverse customers? if so, how?
absolutely the sales strategy needs to be flexible and adapted basis the end customer / vertical / market / geography.. you should consider it to be like a war in the market where every small battle is faught basis the enemies strength and weakness at that point in time.. the strategy can be basis pricing, relationship, service, offerings etc.. there will be some customers where you will be able to charge a premium but give excellent service and relationship.. while there will be others for whom you may strategies to loose (money) in the short but have a clear possibility of making it up in the long term with other products and services. for some new customers you may need to have an entry strategy while for other existing customers, a mantainece strategy.. some customers need a high touch approach and some customers are happy being left on their own.. overall you need to see how u manage the fine balance between topline and bottom line with a portfolio of customers.
How do you handle customer objections or arguments?
The most important thing that you always need to keep in mind is that the customer is above all and we always need to have a relationship of trust and transparency where customer interests are above ours. if we keep that principal in mind and our actions are consistent with it, then any objection or argument will be very objective and positive with no biases involved. its absolutely fine to agree to disagree or have a different point of view, and the customer would respect it.. and beyond a point if the customer insists on continuing on his agenda, its absolutely fine to agree to his decision but after clearly laying down your version of pros and cons of the decision.
How soon do you revise your target strategies?
It all depends on what kind of strategies you are looking at. there are some obvious long term strategies which I believe we should review on a six month to a year basis and adjust depending on changing business and competitive environment.. however there would always be some short term strategies which should be monitored on a month to month basis but look atleast a quarter for any change... it also depends on the pace of the industry that u belong to.. while the above may be true for a high growth and very competitive industry, others may look at a much bigger time interval before changing strategies..