Discipline in Sales – Direction Quantity Quality
Arvind is one of the Founders of Compact Systems Pvt Ltd , a manufacturer of UPS and Invertors. Compact systems initially started off as a division of Computer Ware in 1991 and spun off as a separate company in 1998. The four founders who were colleagues came in with complementary skills which was an added advantage. Anil K Mangla / Punkaj Jain / Alok Jain were BITSians themselves and Arvind happened to bump into them when working for WIPRO way back in 1987.
Arvind recollects the earlier days when some hard decisions were taken. Since a UPS always goes with a PC, they thought that they will approach the PC resellers and ask them to bundle Compact UPS along with the computers they sell. This is the short cut which every startup will be tempted to take as they believe that they don’t have the bandwidth to hit the field to each and every end customer. He realized that this did not work that effectively because the resellers did not have the patience to explain/demo new products to the prospects and wanted products that sells on its own, had a good price point and most importantly had good margins for them. Compact, at that point in time did not offer this because this was a startup product and could not also do trade promotion schemes to attract the dealers. The only way they could attract dealers is to create acceptance amongst endusers who the dealers can relate to. Dealer segment is important for reach, but getting that reach had to happen with winning dealers acceptance to the product/brand. The team then decided to go to the end customers directly which is one decision they are happy about even today.
Arvind, being a sales person himself by profession believed in the mantra of Direction, Quality and Quantity as discipline in selling. He defines direction as something that helps the sales team to segment on the sets of customers who will buy and also will buy enough of those repeatedly and this planning helped them to focus on large enterprises. He defines quality of the sales call as getting as much information about the problem of the customers/ competition and positioning techniques to be able to penetrate the market faster and close the deal better. He defines quantity in terms of no. of calls, meetings which helps define metrics. Arvind says that once these three things are accomplished, even a reasonable product cannot fail. There is always a pain area for every customer in any of the product they use. Unearthing the pain area is very effective when the efforts are put into the right segment of clients. To respond to prospects who were asking references which they did not have, they began providing lots of technology information and they also allowed prospects to try, use and test the product by offering a 30 day money back guarantee which helped them to get the first ten big customers which they began using as references later.
The large enterprises that gave them the initial opportunities were challenging in nature. The support in rural areas was something that the big incumbent vendors were hesitating due to complexity. They decided to utilize this as their differentiator and began setting up a service system to support remote and rural locations which they say is their business moat that is difficult to copy. The other large companies such as Banks, Resorts, village based WLL ( wireless over local loop), sales/stock depots for pan india organisations etc that had lots of rural locations began approaching them to support the UPS and Compact became a specialist in providing UPS infrastructure to rural areas.. This also led to a lot of large system integrators and medical equipment resellers promoting Compact UPS in large deals with implementation in rural areas. Once the customers began buying the product, they found that the dealers began showing interest in re-selling their products.
Arvind advices Startups to focus on Direction, Quality and Quantity in sales and spend good time in the sales process and with prospects and customers. He also advices startups to set out a target a few months before which they have to turn positive and do whatever it takes to get cash positive.
Now COMPACT is a PAN INDIA organisation with service network covering all nooks and corners of the country through own resources + service partners. COMPACT is also entrusted with the task of maintaining UPS infrastructure across the country by major system integrators who do FMS contracts with their end clients. Compact has clients who have patronaged them for more than 2 decades now. COMPACT caters to varied range of customers beginning from small home PC to Data Centres. COMPACT is well known for its ethical business practises and predictable services in the industry today. COMPACT has close to 250 big corporates of the country as its client through various system integrators and FMS contractors. The support cover of COMPACT includes ATM UPS – support across country for one of the major banks in the country. COMPACT is entrusted the responsibility to deliver high UPTIME to their critical IT infrastructure.