You are here

The Startup’s Guide to Sales

The Startup’s Guide to Sales
How Not to Crash and Burn

First Edition

February 2020 | 232 pages | SAGE Response

From that gleam in your eye, to prototype, to production— you are all set to wow the world with your genius. You take the first step towards your goal and realize that between you and the consumer is a moat full of dragons, demons and turbulence that you must cross to make it to ‘Start-up Paradise’.

The Start-up’s Guide to Sales is a practical book that helps you navigate the perils of wrong selling. This is not sales theory, but a ‘tried-out’ recipe book for success. Read on and sail the choppy waters with sales savvy!

Roshan L Joseph and Ram Mohan Menon, mavens of sales, distribution and marketing, have trudged through global markets to find what works and what must be avoided. The language is distilled and easy, and their advice is clear and unambiguous for they have been there and done that.

Foreword by Kurush Grant
Section I. Do I Need a Sales Force?
What If I Sold on My Own?
Why Not Use E-Commerce to Sell?
Can I Outsource Sales?
Is Training an Essential Input for Sales?
Section II. Building an Effective Sales Force
Is Relevant Experience an Important Criterion for Selecting Sales Force?
What Are the Skills and Competencies Desired in a Salesperson?
What Should Be the Size of My Sales Team?
How to Conduct the Recruiting Process for Hiring a Salesperson?
Section III. Is Training of Sales Team Necessary?
What Are the Skills to Be Imparted?
What Are the Basic Selling Skills?
How to Make a Presentation?
How to Ensure On-the-Job Training?
Section IV. How Good Do You Want to Look?
How to Present Oneself in the Market?
How to Make a Positive Contact at Every Interaction with the Customer?
How Does One Start a Meeting and Follow a Template for Success?
What Business Etiquette Must Be Followed?
How Important Is It to Be Punctual?
Section V. What Should the Distribution Design Be? Is There a Method in the Madness?
What Is the Difference between Distributor, Stockist and Wholesaler?
Are Distributors Still Relevant?
What Is the Area of Coverage Planned?
What Should Be the Trade Margin?
What Should Be the Trade Payment Terms?
Section VI. Time and Territory Management
What Is the Concept of a Territory That Is Allotted to the Salesperson?
What Is a Planned Journey Cycle?
Does Pareto Apply in Territory Management?
How Can a Salesperson Develop Sales?
Section VII. Reporting by Sales Team
What Are the Types of Reports Submitted by the Sales Team?
What Are the Principles Adopted for Reporting?
Typical Sales Reporting Topics and Formats
Section VIII. Costing of a Sales Team
Elements of Cost That Are Considered in Costing of Sales Team
Why Is It Important to Arrive at the Planned Journey Cycle Cost?
What Is the Concept of Daily Allowance or Bhatta?
What Is the Role of Salary and Incentives?
Section IX. Ways to Encourage People to Buy More or Sell More
What Is Sales Promotion and When Is It Required?
What Are the Types of Sales Promotions Normally Seen?
Do Sales Promotion Schemes Get Misused?
Do We Need to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Sales Promotion?
Section X. Keeping the Spark Alive
The Dangers of Sales Team Losing Interest in Their Job
Need for the Spark to Keep Them Motivated and Perform at Their Peak
Techniques to Keep the Sales Team Charged Up
Section XI. Sales Leadership
How Is the Role of a Sales Manager Different from a Frontline Sales Personnel?
How to Make the Sales Manager Lead the Team Effectively?
Simple Techniques to Keep the Team Performing at Peak Levels
Section XII. A Tribute to Startups, Wherever

Startup entrepreneurs are often visionaries and dreamers. Champions of their own creations. Deeply in love with their offering. And blind to simple questions such as ‘who and how’ to sell their offering. Having been part of a startup in a pioneering space, there have been many eye- and mind-openers on what we could have done better and what we should not have done the way it was done. Solutions come in hindsight.

The Startup’s Guide to Sales as the book is named reflects the simplicity and directness of approach. No jazzy stuff. Simple clear steps that even a layman can understand. Starting with likening the starting a startup to falling in love, so aptly, to ending with ‘Go and prosper’, the book does what it says somewhere in one of its pages. It is sincere, honest and presentable in its approach to its customer, the reader. It tells not only ‘what is right’ and ‘what is wrong’ but also cautions ‘what can go wrong’. And all in simple question and answer format, but much beyond an FAQ. In fact, it is a DEQ— deeply experienced questions—and of course answers for each of them. Covering from ‘whether you need a sales team’ to ‘how to build a sales organization’ to ‘performance monitoring’, not to forget the costs, margins and profits, the book is a primer, refresher, guide and reference for all entrepreneurs.

Just the right recipe for a love-blinded startup entrepreneur.

G. Srinivasan
Co-founder, RuralShores Business Services, The World’s Largest Rural BPO

The Startup’s Guide to Sales explains lucidly the various aspects that a startup entrepreneur needs to consider for selling their product/ service to the target groups. The book doesn’t use ‘jargons’ which makes it easy for the uninitiated to grasp the idea presented. The choice of channels, the importance of training in sales, the need for reports and their review and lastly but not least, the critical role that the entrepreneur must play as a leader of the sales team. The attention drawn towards the pitfalls is also very useful. The concepts of trade profitability as a means to convince the channel is explained in easily understandable steps. The best part is that the book would be useful even for sales and other professionals in established businesses and not necessarily startups!

Gautam Basu
Management Consultant and PE Fund Advisor

When we started, we were quite confident of one function, as cofounders all of us had started our careers in sales. But, In Paper Boat journey, we have made the maximum mistakes in sales, so I think the subject is relevant.

Ram was heading sales, when I joined Eveready as a noob in 1998. I was reminded of his teachings after reading this book. It was simply explained then with anecdotes and stories, and it is the same in this book. It was invaluable at that stage of my journey, and it remains invaluable.

June 1999, I was working with Roshan, then head of Eveready, in the Indore market and one of the products was dusty. He told me dust on product was the worst feeling for a salesperson and I immediately cleaned it with my hanky. Also, on that day, I was told to never wear lace shoes, as slip-ons were easy to remove when we entered an outlet. This book is full of such practical learning.

Neeraj Kakkar
Co-founder of one of India’s most loved brands, Paper Boat

Once in a while, something comes to us that makes us want to sit up and take notice. Notice the fact that what one is holding in his/ her hands is not ordinary. This is exactly the feeling I had when I went through this amazing experience of reading Roshan and Ram’s book.

This is a tale of axioms and real-time experiences woven so perfectly into every detail, I would think this is not just a book or guide but almost the first bible on sales that I have come across. And resonated with my many years at various organizations and made me wonder how beautiful life would have been if I had something like this carved out for me in those days.

Roshan and Ram have managed to put in all that flashes through one’s mind, especially when one has embarked on a startup. All the questions, the apprehensions and also the common doubts as to the relevance of GTM in a tech-obsessed society. Broken the walls between offline and online, distributor vs. direct, and all the cheap and weak vs. expensive and classy strategies.

The section on manpower is so crucial that an ingredient in today’s world has been beautifully dissected on all the elements and I feel this alone can adorn the glass walls of corporates.

Overall, it’s a must read and practice for every startup and also for many other established businesses where they may take a lesson or two from this masterpiece.

Vijay Parthasarathy
Founder Advisor Indus OS, Brand specialist, Mind Coach, Speaker

In this book, strategy has been blended with simple tools in a userfriendly way that helps reduce complexity. Simplicity is at the core of this book.

The mental make-up needed for a startup is quite different from what is required in more mature organizations. Your competitors always seem to be chasing the same opportunities you chase.

Roshan and Ram highlight the importance and effectiveness of the 80/20 process that helps focus and redirect ‘scarce’ resources especially in a startup mode. I liked the practical ‘how to do it’ style adopted by the authors while highlighting the pros and cons of various sales models. A must read for startup entrepreneurs!

Ravi Gopalan
Group Director, Human Resources, Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW), Illinois, USA.

Ram Menon, my sales guru, and Roshan Joseph, my mentor in marketing and team building, have come together to simplify the complex world of sales. I will always remember these words from them: ‘Focus consumer! Always!! Either convince me, or get convinced! Trust people, everyone is out to do their best! Achieve business goals profitably, always work in a process-oriented manner. It is important to tell people BOTH … what should be done to what should not be done! Do the RIGHT things…, do things RIGHT. A treat for both startups and for those who have started and who are padding up to RUN.

Anil Bajaj
Senior VP, Sales and Marketing, Eveready Industries

This book is a boon for all who are thinking of a startup. Roshan Joseph has been a part of setting a sales team for our Saviesa, a startup in Home Improvement. We started less than two years ago and are happy to see the milestones reached. The book is written in language that is easy to understand and invaluable for the student of sales.

Rajesh T. Ahuja,
MD, Saviesa

The challenges of selling a new product are enormous. This book provides the reader with a practical step-by-step understanding of how to go about it. Extremely useful for the techpreneur and a great refresher for the experienced.

Bijou Kurien
Former President and CEO, Reliance Retail

Roshan’s second book is a bible for startups, especially if you are a technocrat founder who is now suddenly thrust into managing a team and extracting performance. Don’t just read it as a guide to hiring/ planning/building/training a sales team. Any founder/promoter would relate to most of the knowledge. The cross-functional applicability of these learnings is enormous.

Dr Harsha Guduru
Founder, Cureosity Healthcare

(The authors’) insights are candid, clear and cut through the theory right to the how-to for good sales management… The Startup’s Guide to Sales is an excellent book about sales prospecting and new business development.

The Bookish Elf, 24 February 2020

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9789353289362