Info-tech

Helping you crack your first few customers!

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on July 04, 2015

He has more than two decades experience selling IT and telecom products, including a substantial part of it convincing customers over telephone to buy from the companies he was working with.

Having quit his corporate career, Balaji Chakravarthi decided to put his experience in sales to good use. He founded and runs a website – FirstFewCustomers.com – that is meant to help start-ups get their first few customers.

Why start-ups? Chakravarthi says start-ups most often do not have this expertise. The entrepreneurs behind these start-ups may be technology-savvy or come from a marketing background. Very rarely do they have a sales experience and that is one reason a number of the ventures suffer, he says.

He says he got interested in doing the website for start-ups as he conducted a few sessions on sales at Nasscom, the software industry lobby body, and TiE, the organisation dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship. He has done sessions on sales at various management institutes.

“I have done 30 workshops over the last 30 months. That is when the idea for this came,” says Chakravarthi, and adds, “the kind of questions that come, they are so basic because they are not sales people. They don’t have any experience.”

Chakravarthi says a few senior executives in companies might have gone and done sales as part of their employment background. Opening doors and closing sales is tough. No two companies are the same, he adds.

Initially, Chakravarthi thought of writing on sales for start-ups, but then realised that the Internet was a more powerful medium and how better to do it than conduct interviews with entrepreneurs who have made it big. He conducts the interviews either over phone or meets them whenever possible and puts them on the website, which is free to access.

His idea, he says, was to capture Indian examples of sales, rather than rely on what foreign textbooks and websites offer. His strategy is to ask the founders to refresh their memory and recollect the first steps they took while trying to sell their product or service, the mistakes they made and how they corrected them.

“This is a knowledge portal targeted at early-stage start-ups and aspiring start-ups. For them, this is an Indian sales portal, a live experience of people who have been there and done that,” says Chakravarthi. He plans to shortly launch a paid-for portal that provides tips on selling over the telephone.

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Published on July 04, 2015
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