Headstart Mentor: Basics of Sales and Marketing

Hacking Sales with Swapnil Vats

Every second startup sees sales as one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish irrespective of which sector they belong to.  We invited Swapnil Vats, Revenue and Category Management, GoIbibo for this edition of “Headstart Mentor” to demystify the world of sales and marketing. Startups which were coached on these topics were ScienceplaceCleanseat and Mind Solace.

We started the session with few basic problems that the startups were facing. Some of them were:

  1. How to attract more sales
  2. How to compete with other existing companies targeting the same market?
  3. How to build a relationship with the customers?
  4. Indian market is very volatile as compared to US market which is much mature. There is a wide variety of audience we have here. Internet savvy audience and Internet illiterate audience. How to reach out to them?

Swapnil started with the following advice for all the Startups “At early growth stage you should define your business potential whether you want to be next Uber or next MMT or Flipkart which has an exponential growth.”

He said that a ‎Closed Loop Model i.e an end to end model or a subscription model should be followed at the early stages of a startup. Having a closed loop can help a startup understand who are your customers, from where are they coming and what their interest is.

We focus so much on getting the first set of clients that we forget to focus on the process. Whom to reach out and how. Every startup should focus on a few important points when planning about sales

  • Customer
    What are the sales techniques that you are applying? See if they should be continued to be followed or not such as word of mouth, social media marketing, blogs, cold calling, emails etc. There are two types of markets: high margin and low margin market. Think which suits you the best to target.
  • Cost or Expenditure
    Fixed Cost, GMV, Travelling cost, Overall profit and Unit economics profit i.e. profit of the whole company should be achieved from day 1 along with Operating expense. Most of the VCs look for such models where they see some revenue flow from the day 1.
  • Conversion rate
    He said that Out of 100 customers who reached the product platform only 4 customers reach the conversion stage. Understand the conversion matrix. Give proper attention to create and maintain your database. Maintain the flow of the process. Improve the approach in order to increase the sales. He says “Increase the mouth of the funnel which means increase the conversion rate and start looking up to scaling.

He concluded by giving a final advice to the Startups. He said “Building a good business plan is very important. Startups should think for the longer term and try to understand is it profitable in the long run.

The fee for participating in Headstart Mentor is, a pledge by the participating startup that they will pay it forward. Each of the participating startups pledged their support to contribute to the Startup Ecosystem when they are in a position to, just like Swapnil did! This is the vision with which every Headstart Volunteer works. Hope to see in one of the Headstart sessions.

On a closing note, Priyanka Madnani from Headstart’s Delhi team presented a token of appreciation to Swapnil and thanked him for contributing time to help and support these startups.

Contributed by,
Priyanka Madnani,
Volunteer, Headstart Delhi