We’re back in conversation with Sukumar, VP of Sales at Freshworks, continuing to explore the Inside sales practices.
In our previous discussion, we talked about the factors that influence the buying decision of a customer.
As our chat proceeds, we’ll continue to understand the relevance of ‘farming’ to the inside sales model, the various techniques involved, how it enabled us to scale up and the tools that contribute towards the system.
Let’s start with the evolution of the farming journey, at Freshworks
In the starting stages, most organizations are focused on hunting i.e. hunting for new opportunities, for new customers – they typically open the account for the company.
Freshworks was no different in this regard. For a long time, our mindset was to allocate resources towards hunting and establishing our presence in the target market.
Once the hunters are successful with an acquisition, then farming takes over. Farming typically involves the building and cultivating of relationships and opportunities, within existing accounts. So it is natural, that as the hunting became highly successful, farming needed to come into play in order to retain customers.
Let’s break this down. How does farming directly affect or contribute to the inside sales model?
Initially, we focused on hunting and acquiring customers. Today, we have a strong customer base, growing as we speak. Once we have such numbers on board, farming becomes crucial and we naturally expanded our bandwidth to accommodate it.
Since we offer multiple products, if a customer has bought one product, my constant refrain is – how do we position the other products to the customer? – Sukumar, VP of Sales at Freshworks
Being a multi-product company, having a well-oiled sales model helps us position ourselves favorably in the customers’ books. As and when there is an opportunity to present more products or new features to the market, we are ready to convince our existing customers.
After acquisition, the next prerogative is to retain and nurture the customers. This is when the inside sales model comes into play; enabling the sales representatives to connect globally with customers.
Being in touch with their needs and maintaining a healthy relationship with them lays the foundation for customer retention and ultimately, our growth.
So they not only continue to opt for our products, but also trust us to deliver what is best suited for their requirements.
We’ve built an efficient inside sales model that has proven to be effective. So the next step is to scale it up. Let’s see how we do that, Freshworks style:
For better understanding, this model basically enables us to sit out of one office and sell globally.
In today’s business operations, the onus is on value selling.
The scope of this, extends beyond inside sales and encompasses the entire structure of the business model – attributing equal importance to both sales and marketing.
In marketing, there are multiple layers under the marketing umbrella; such as coming up with strategies that open up the entry of new sign-ups for the product(s).
Whereas in inside sales, the boundary is limited to incoming sign-ups from digital platforms. Similarly, there are various nuances that come into play here, for instance; – differing according to region, product, cycle time involved in closures and the decision making process itself.
A salesperson has an eye for both sales and marketing. In the sales game, pre-sales forms the backbone and they identify and solve customer problems efficiently by ensuring that every customer is given an end-to-end implementation of the products.
Post this, customer success comes into play where the focus is on retaining customers and keeping them satisfied with the product.
Gathering intel on these details gives us the experience which enables us to act fast within the market. We are able to analyze and make predictions, based on which we repeat our numbers.
In a nutshell, the underlying focus is on: Product knowledge, assessing the customer requirements & problems and weaving a solution for it, using the product in hand.
There are various tools and technologies that enable sales – the processes involved cement these in place.
A workforce such as the one operating within Freshworks, could not have been built without processes within the sales spectrum. In order to establish such systems, we have to ensure that we choose the right tool.
If we choose a cumbersome tool that will only make the work harder, it’s a fool’s errand. The tool should be customized to our sales needs and updated properly according to what is required.
But when it comes to the sales team, inherent knowledge and the discipline to wield any tool is required; as ultimately the tool is only as good as the craftsman.
Inside sales as a principle plays a crucial role in influencing the buyer’s decision; standing true to the Freshworks motto: We don’t hard-sell, we merely assist the buyers and our products sell themselves!