Perfect your cold calling

Today with unlimited access to internet and advanced technology, cold calling isn’t as stressful as it used to be. And acing it is not so difficult at all. A lot of information is available to salespeople these days through social media and other sources.
This exercise also helps to determine fundamentally whether something will happen at all or not.
More than all the stages in the selling process, the stage of cold calling aids the sales person to interpret, to define and to command the situation – just like the conductor of an orchestra. The sales person can easily determine the interpretation, direction and cooperation between the customer and herself/himself.
This – rather than merely delivering a script to a list of contacts – is the sales person’s role and opportunity at the cold call stage.

When you dig deeper, you’ll be able to answer the question as to who is best positioned to view and respond to the overall system? It is definitely not the CEO, not the managers, not the technical project managers. The person best positioned to see and adapt to the whole system is the cold caller. Only that sales person has the breadth and depth and an apt view of their own organization as well as a view into the prospective customer’s organization. Merely understanding this helps immensely to adopt an empowered and strategic approach to cold calling


And with the help of a few pointers, a salesperson can ace sales like a pro.

1. Don’t forget to do your homework
Market research and analysis is an important aspect that needs to be always kept in mind to identify common pain points of your targeted prospects. Know about the company or individuals you are going to call in advance.

2. Keep the script ready but use improvisation too
If you’re anxious about accidental blunders or nervous tics, prepare a sales call script which has solutions to questions that customers are likely to ask. But don’t come across as a parrot. Be ready to improvise in the midst too.

3. Introduce yourself well
First impressions still matter! Your first words in the first minute or so will set the tone of the conversation. As a result, you need to prepare a stellar introduction that can entice your prospects and keep them invested in what you have to say.

4. Hone your talking style
Sales calls can be just as intimidating as face-to-face meetings. If you’re edgy before a call, practice a few times. Record yourself while rehearsing your pitch during cold calling to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

5. Don’t shy from asking for more
Get into the frame of mind where you ask your customers what they want. Ask them about their requirements, the problems their business faces and the kind of solutions they are looking for.
Cold calling is a skill and much like any other skill, it needs practice and perseverance. So, practice, work a bit harder and ace your cold calling skills!

Women Entrepreneurs – Thriving or just Surviving?

Some days ago, I was poring over an article that talked about U.S. entrepreneurship being at a 40-year low. The article also lay emphasis on how female entrepreneurship will be the one of the best ways to bettering the future of business.
Let’s look at the picture with honesty, there was and there still is huge gender disparity between the number of startups.


We live in a man’s world. While difficult to accept, it is a stone-cold fact that puts women at a large disadvantage, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship and business which are traditionally seen as a male’s work. Even though the number of women entrepreneurs is steadily rising, there are still a lot of obstacles they have to go through. In addition to the typical challenges faced by women all over the world, Indian women have to fight against deep-rooted traditions and values as well. We have women excelling in every field today. Yet we see very few women entrepreneurs.

Given that 2018 has been cited as the ‘Year of the Woman,’ it’s clearly time for us to reevaluate and look at the scenario afresh.

Looking closer home, we can see that societal discrimination also plays a part in India. The Indian society tends to think as well as believe that females are not as competent when it comes to more risk-taking, aggressive and leadership-requiring roles. Women are bred and trained to be more reserved and soft-spoken and this is also what is expected of them. A female from a rural area is even more likely to face such problems.

These values and beliefs can be observed in several situations. One example is that when it comes to raising capital, women entrepreneurs tend to have a harder time than male entrepreneurs. Investors generally give more consideration to a businessman than a businesswoman because they do not have as much confidence in a woman’s business.

But things are taking shape even if really slowly. Latest statistics from the University of New Hampshire have shown that before 2014, the number of women seeking angel investment stood at around 15 percent of the total. There was a spike in 2014 with that figure rising to around 19 percent and the current estimate is that female-owned ventures accounted for circa 23 percent of the entrepreneurs that were seeking angel capital.

That’s definitely a way forward, but women are still massively under represented. So why are the numbers so dismal? There are three main reasons:

It’s for the boys. It’s not a scenario that anyone wants to feel good about, but the truth remains that entrepreneurship has always been male-dominated. 94% of the decision makers at VC firms are men! This male domination has a clear impact for the next two points.

Looking for Support. According to an article penned by a friend, 48% of female founders are not able to find apt mentors and advisers for their business. This is mainly because they cannot find male mentorship that can provide the right kind of counsel for them or their business venture.

Work-life balance. We all want to be in the utopic ambiance of the right work-life balance, but usually entrepreneurs start their ventures only in their 30s–which often coincides with starting a family or having young children. The idea of the Mompreneur is quite well-known today, but it is not devoid of its own distinct and difficult challenges.
But it’s not such a bad deal and all is not doom and gloom. Women simply need grit and persistence when facing such issues and obstacles. It is only then can they prove their worth and emerge as successful female entrepreneur in this patriarchal society.

The changing values of the Indian society, and the world at large itself, will also further support the women’s march into business. People will soon be more accepting of women as equal counterparts. These challenges will simply propel females into entrepreneurship once they’re overcome and there are many examples of women who have done so. Gender should not be a criterion for success.

Even numbers are proving that women are taking the charge and leading ahead. There are now 9.4 million firms owned by women in the U.S, employing 7.1 million people and generating almost $1.5 billion in sales. If U.S. can, so can we in India.
Known women entrepreneurs have a word of advice for women who want to start up. They advocate leveraging your personal network to find suitable mentorship and also to consider other strategies for raising capital such as crowdfunding, micro-loans or angel investors who specifically focus on female entrepreneurs.

So are you one of those women who has been trying to break the glass ceiling? Have you come been through the same barriers to entrepreneurship I’ve mentioned? If so, have they stopped you in your tracks? Do you have strategies that have helped you tide over them? As ever, I am keen to hear your thoughts.

Debunking the myths of B2B marketing

When we, as an agency meet clients, we are more often than not met with questions that are cringe-worthy. When clients want to dig deeper and want to know, “Which of these designs has skyrocketed our competitor’s sales?”, we want to say that along with the design, there definitely was a strategy in place coupled with content as well as creative.

So, we decided to give it a shot and come up myths around B2B marketing and try to solve them in laymen terms for everyone out there.

We at Sellosphere design, create, curate tonnes of campaigns, lead generation programs, and creative assets each month, and we can humbly say that our sphere is that of a fair amount of expertise and domain knowledge. And even though each and every one of those deliverables is culled out from actionable data and deep insights. We believe or definitely would love to believe that our work is customized for each one of clients. It’s not a cookie-cutter solution that we are making available to our partners. We look at our client’s objective, do a proper research of our target audience, and only then do we offer solutions


It would be sort of utopic to think that agencies like ours have a bag full of ideas, and our task is simplified to just picking and selecting one or a few more ideas from the bag to suit the client’s needs. Another point that needs to be noted is that best practices, even those that have a proven track record, are not in the least an absolute case.
There is nothing in the world including marketing that works 100% of the time. For every accepted norm and guideline in B2B marketing, there is at least one outlier, one organization, one campaign that has gone against the tide and done well anyway.
Another aspect and an important one is that consumer behaviour is never the same. It is constantly changing. Technology evolves and transforms its surrounding. What worked half a decade ago might or might not work in today’s day and age.
As marketers, we need to evolve and change with the time too. If we just decide to go with the flow and do what has already been done, we might not reach a great height any time soon. We need to take lessons from history, not necessarily replicate them all the time. We need to take risks. We need to think out of the box. And we need to become that one organization that everyone looks up to and wants to copy!

Some pointers you can consider as you climb up the B2B ladder.
Embrace transparency
Investing more in social media
Make an emotional connect with the partner
There is definitely room for silly creativity on B2B marketing
B2B marketing is not too different from B2C marketing

How is B2B marketing getting transformed?

B2B sales are not what they were half a decade back, it is definitely on the verge of a revolution. There are a number of trends completely redefining what it will take to be a market leader over the next few years.



What was effective some years ago has already lost its sheen or is steadily fading away to give way to newer concepts and ideas. And there are some potentially powerful tactics that have been overlooked for long that need to be relooked at and employed for better sales and marketing.

For example, a lot of fast-growing companies are now using advanced analytics to profoundly improve their sales productivity and drive double-digit sales growth with marginal additions in their sales teams and cost base.
Also with the radical changes in buyers’ preferences, with buyers being more content-driven, tech-savvy, and comfortable engaging via myriad channels, the tables have definitely turned. This has led to the rise of a new breed of sales leaders who bring technical expertise and a strategic mindset. This is also giving sales organizations a makeover, with a sharp drop in field sales and marketing, and rapid growth in inside sales and analytics teams.
So what are the channels that marketers have been using?

One of the most universal B2B content marketing practice is blogging. According to research undertaken, the numbers revealed that 79% B2B companies have a blog.

And this shouldn’t really come across as a surprise because blogs are the core element in Content Marketing. And as the market reveals, statistics have a story to tell:

97% more inbound links are generated by regularly blogging companies. This leads to higher search engine ranking and a higher likelihood of being found.

Along with other SEO strategies, blogging 2-3 times a week can lead to a 177% traffic increase.
B2B companies that regularly blog generate 67% more sales leads than non-blogging companies.
Though there are enough proof and even consensus among marketers that blogging is productive, there are also areas where views differ.

Marketers now think differently about email marketing, event marketing and some other domains such as a mix of inbound vs. outbound marketing tactics

With regards to email and event marketing, it mainly is about the execution that was the bone of contention for marketers. So, even if using email marketing with rented third-party lists for a Lead Generation doesn’t yield great results, maybe using it for lead nurturing will throw up surprising outcomes.

And with event marketing, it is another ball game altogether. While marketers whined about the high cost of live events, they also accepted that events often result in some of the highest-quality leads.
Lastly, when we come to inbound vs. outbound marketing, four out of five study participants said they were trying various mixes for the coming year—with an even split between planning to do more inbound and less outbound, and those planning to do the opposite.

Looking for other options such as Partner Marketing Programs
Even though partner marketing programs were overlooked and not used widely, there is suddenly a huge wave of interest in it as marketers claim now.

With benefits

  • Reaching new audience
  • Expanding brand awareness
  • Aiding with SEO
  • Driving website traffic
  • Enhancing reputation

Questions to ask in a startup interview

Having worked in a company that was one of the best and had even been voted as one of the “Best Places to Work”, it wasn’t really an easy decision to quit and start on my own. Before I decided to take off on my own, I had a word with some investors and had numerous exchanges with a handful of CEOs too. And then came the scariest part – HIRING the right team.

Armed with my own experiences and know-how, here are some nuggets of wisdom to all of you who wish to join a startup. Ask and you shall receive the answers! Here are some questions you should consider asking your employer:

What do you expect me to complete in the first quarter?
Almost everyone thinks they have come from a high pressure, fast turnaround environment, till they actually start working for a startup! Here priorities change by the day. The whole direction could be steered in an all new way in just a week. Make your interviewer give this question a thought and delve into details. This will also give you an opportunity to ask smart follow-up questions about the work you would likely be doing the day you step in.

What KPIs are earmarked for me and how would I be evaluated?
Enquiring about your performance review shows that you have the confidence and the ability not only to think you’ll get the job, but also to do whatever is expected to be a high achiever. Also, this is a practical question to ask. The way a startup executive looks at success may be very varied from your previous employer. Get to know what the employer expects from you and also learn about the priorities of your future seniors all at the same time.

Do you see my skill sets as suitable for this position or is it vice versa?
Now this one’s actually loud and bold! But when addressed with panache and élan, would go on to showcase how you have a sense of humor and add some levity to the interview. You want your interviewer to see your drive, determination and confidence and you also want to put them in a position where they see you as a natural fit and hire you on the spot.

Who are our biggest competitors?
This question makes the interviewer think as tough you’ve been hired and are accepting the organization as your own. This also goes on to showcase your thinking prowess as a leader. That you are someone who knows how to put the company first. In the startup world, this comes as prerequisite as leaders are forged in fire. Demonstrate that you’re ready to take on the world from day one.

What is your leadership style?
Get your interviewer to talk about herself/himself. There’s no one who doesn’t enjoy speaking about themselves! People always like to discuss their accomplishments and by asking about a specific leadership style you’re readying the interviewer to hit a home run, patting themselves on the back all the way around the bases.
There are other questions you can ask, but it is equally important to listen closely. What is more important is to pay attention to their responses and how each individual answers the questions. From their responses, you can identify if the company and you are a fit for each other.
If you are going to join a startup, you should not only be totally sure that you are passionate about the company’s vision and product, you should also be 200% excited to work with the founders, investors and potential colleagues. Your time is valuable. It is the one asset you cannot make back, so it’s critical to be protective of your time and spend that time with the people you’re not only excited to learn from but grow with.

The revival of email in the era of SOCIAL MEDIA

With the influx of data from all quarters and social media ruling the roost with spends going up like never before, do you think email communication holds a remote chance to further your business?



The answer is yes, when it comes to doing business, email is the communication king. The amount of data around us has revived the age old form of emails and how! But that doesn’t really mean email communication is appropriate in every form and in every situation. A sophisticated, well-written email says a lot about your working style, while a poorly written, undecided communication can cause confusion and problems that lead to a loss of time and productivity. Even worse, it could harm your reputation.

Is Email always the right choice?
A vital part of using email effectively in a business setting includes knowing when it’s appropriate to send an email and when it’s not. Before you begin writing, think whether a face-to-face discussion or phone call would be easier in the long run. You might want to choose one of those options if your message is long and complicated, if the information to be imparted is confidential, or if the tone of your email could be easily misunderstood.

This has been a vehicle that’s been an inherent part of the marketing mix for over two decades. Studies have even shown that it is growing at a faster pace than leading edge channels like social and mobile. A lot of marketers have realized that emails are still the best way to re-target and reengage the target audience..

Email still rocks!
The fact today still remains that people have more email accounts than social media accounts. In fact, the number of purchases through email is more than that through social media messages. Also, a company trying to promote its brands through social media can find itself limited in its ability to reach the target audience. This is even after the audience has liked the company’s pages and agreed to receive its messages. Such limitations are not faced in an email.

There is a greater chance of your emails finding their way into a customer’s inbox than your social media messages getting viewed by those who have liked your social media page. Also, you can measure more clearly how successful your email marketing has been than how successful your social media campaign has been because at this time email auto-responder software possesses better analytics than social media.

According to research, actual marketing spending showcased direct mail as the leading channel among non-measured media. Marketers spent $43.5 billion on mail some years ago as compared to $41.5 billion on teleservices, $24.2 billion on search, and $23.4 billion on display ads.

How can you better your email open rates?

Despite working towards gathering knowledge about the industry average open rates, you really can’t set a truly realistic goal for your email open rates without bench marking your current results! Though number crunching, data and figures may not present a very pretty picture for the creative ones in marketing, that’s one of the most important aspects that no one can afford to overlook.

All you need to do is follow these few and easy steps to identify ways of bettering your own email open rates:

Updation is imperative

Have you bothered to update your lists? Have you made sure is the emails ids are still up and about? Once you’ve cleaned up your contact list, you will realize that you’ve done yourself a huge favour. You not only know who your potential customers are, you have also managed to save a lot of time, effort and energy.
Writing mails such as, “We just noticed that you haven’t been opening our emails. Would you still want to continue receiving our promotions?”, will get an action from the customer. They will either opt out or hurry back in.

Get your contact list right
Imagine you are a baker and pick up your stuff regularly from an online store. Now if this store keeps sending you updates about home decoration items, wouldn’t you want to just unsubscribe?
Irrelevant mails can harm the business. So segmentation is really important. Make lists, make segments of your customers and get on with your mailing if you want them to open it at all.

Time to experiment a bit
Don’t shy away from A/B testing. Experiment a bit with your emails and test them. Create more than one look for the same campaign. Identify which one garners more interest.

Play around with the subject lines, images, creatives, language and figure out what works best with your customers.

Identify and analyze
Next, take a look at any outliers–good or bad. Did a particular email do really well, or really poorly? If so, do you have a theory about why it did better or worse than the others? Make note of each of these outliers.
Sit back and analyze a little more. A study has just thrown up interesting statistics such as 39% marketers reporting higher open rates with segmented lists.

Perfect your timing
Sending your emails at the right time is really important for increasing your open rates.
In general, send your emails between 8:30-10:00AM, 2:30-3:30PM, or 8:00-midnight. This will avoid the times when most people are cleaning up their inbox and more likely to delete your email without reading it.

Use some humor
Humor has a way of making a strong, instant connection with people. It’s personal, entertaining, and plays around in peoples’ minds for a bit longer.
And thankfully, you don’t have to be a comedian in order to pull off a humorous email. What’s more important is that you understand your email recipients intimately. If you know their likes and dislikes, it will be so much easier to pull off a joke, or insert a tongue-in-cheek reference.

So are you all set to increase your email open rate?
Start by measuring your email open rate, because frankly, that’s where it all begins. You know you have a great product and you are sure that what’s inside the email is valuable. So why leave any stone unturned in making.
These tips can help any campaign get better open rates, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a turnaround right away. Email marketing is an art and science, so give yourself some wiggle room to experiment and find what tactics work best for your business and your subscribers.

Now go right ahead and benchmark your email open rates using the tips provided by Sellosphere above. Then take a look at your industry average to see how you measure up, and set a realistic goal for improving your open rates.