Taking your business forward

Taking your business forward

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The way forward for your business to reach excellence would be definitely to employ a well-planned strategic management process. To begin with, evaluate your company’s vision and long-term goals. Assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses & conduct a detailed market study and competitor analysis. With these inputs, draft a clear-cut strategy that will pave a well-defined path to steer your company growth towards excellence.

Implementing this plan in real-time could be quite a challenge. Whether you are in the managerial board, starting off as an entrepreneur or already are a business owner,  these some simple tips will help you take your business to the next level:

Have a clear vision

Your strategic growth plan should include a well thought-out clear vision. It must serve as a compelling catalyst for the team and inspire them to work towards the goal passionately. It must have clear targets to measure progress and a finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal.

Make sure to convey the Big Picture

Make sure everyone is on the same page. You will not achieve your goals if your team cannot picture where they are going. Make sure that the company and it’s stakeholders get the big picture. This ensures progressive growth in the set direction.

Build the right team

Invest time in the hiring process to select the right candidate. But never hesitate to fire the wrong candidate. One wrong team member wastes the entire team’s time and effort spent on training the candidate and fixing their mess. So never be in a rush to fill a vacant spot.

Keep the team motivated

Any team will be motivated to work if they face interesting challenges along the way. Keep the journey fun and exciting. Set interim targets, encourage healthy competition and offer perks and monetary benefits to keep the team motivated. Invest in team building.

Never compensate integrity

No matter how many challenges or hurdles you face along the way, never compensate the integrity of your company. Don’t ever let greed get in the way. Once you lose your reputation, you can never earn it back. In the end, nothing is worth it.

Have a unique selling point

Strive to be different from your competitors. Build a unique strategy that will stand out. Maintain a personal relationship with your customers and encourage real feedback.

Lead by example

Employees are what make a firm reputable. Inspire your employees to be the best, motivate them, and help them grow. Make sure to provide continuing education too. It is vital for your team members to strengthen skills and gain industry knowledge. Make sure that they are given the right tools and resources to do their job efficiently.

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

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Most business leaders are fully aware that in order to keep their sales teams up to date, they need to invest in sales automation and associated software that have become an indispensable part of sales and operations. 

Role of Digital and Analytics

The truth however is that mere automation is not enough. Only by harnessing the power of digital and analytics, it will be possible to identify, drive and even scale meaningful changes that will serve a company well. Companies who implement these changes in a disciplined way undeniably reap benefits, both in the short and long terms. 

Best Practices

It will pay off well, if business leaders bear in mind the following points 
  1. Mere automation is not going to significantly increase sales performance. 
  1. It is important to identify the intelligence that is required. While the market is awash with several cool intelligence and analytics products, not all of them will serve your sales reps. Involve the sales reps in the process, use data to capture the effect of all sales and then use the insights to drive revenue. 
  1. The sales leaders need to focus on capabilities that make a difference. The  parameters that will greatly influence the sales performance is the size of the pipeline and conversion rate, and ideas that are in line with overall transformation vision of the company. 
  1. Deploy the analytics tools in skill management and development. Identify the skills and strengths of your sales personnel. Simultaneously, gaps in skills will become evident.  Relevant and personalised training can be provided to your sales force. 
  2. Beat the drum! Make sure you demonstrate progress to the team and stake holders. Every small win, real-time insights and news about individual contribution will spread a positive feeling about the goal. Further, this kind of communication will make the team feel the progress they are making, motivating them to do more. 
Over all, digital and analytics tools can significantly enhance a sales capacity. However, it is important that there is a clear vision in sight and the tool should be used to achieve the same. The tool must be a significant part of a pragmatic, complete and integrated solution.
Capturing the Win

Capturing the Win

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Capture management comprises a thorough understanding of the customer, the problem statement, the solution, the competition, and then using these into making a winning plan.

Information is King

While gathering intelligence about the customer and competition, the importance of being thorough cannot be stressed enough. Pursuing an opportunity mandates collecting as much information accurately. A complacent approach has no place while collecting information for a proposal. However, it is easy to focus on the wrong things. As much as a proposal is not won because of what you know, it can easily be lost because of what you don’t.

Customer Focus

Understanding, analysing and collecting information about the customer is key. You need to understand the customer, their issues and priorities. If your customer knowledge has significant gaps, it will shake the confidence that your customer will have on your solution and service. It will cast a shadow on your abilities, skills and past performance.

Building your Capture Plan

When evaluating your progress towards the completion of a capture plan or a proposal, follow this approach:
  1. Start with what you don’t know. Knowing what you don’t know is the sensible step towards a complete proposal.
  2. Ask yourself questions that seem impossible to find answers to –  Does the customer like the current provider? If they do (or if they don’t), what is the reason? Who are the competitors? What are their strategies and pricing?
  3. Run through your networks, both internal and external and see if you can find answers. You will be surprised how much information is actually publicly and freely available.
  4. Make unanswered questions a priority. Seek those answers. Learn from past proposals. Which unanswered questions costed you the bid? Which answers sealed the deal for you?
  5. Use feedback to ensure effective capture plan processes are in place.
With a zest for continuous improvement, the enigmatic recipe for creating winning proposals will be closer.
Planning for Success

Planning for Success

It is hard to plan for something that you have no idea about. And, that is exactly what the future is, the unknown. Most companies are also unclear about how you can grow your career or what they would even expect of you to advance further. Another additional layer of stress is that at the same time you are also at competition with everyone else in your field who also want the same things as you. So really, you need to know how to develop your skills, but also, how to develop them faster than everyone else.

A viable growth model 

The 70-20-10 model was made to help people grow themselves the fastest. Basically, it breaks down to 70% of your professional growth will come from the direct work experience that you have from jobs that you have done, 20% is from the networking and interactions that you with other people and professionals in your field, and lastly 10% is from the educational training you undertook. Also, take every opportunity and presentation as an avenue for growth. Once you’ve completed the action, ask for feedback, and then perform the next time at an even higher level. Here is a 3 step strategy to plan your success:

1. Build a realistic vision

The first step is to gauge where you are currently and where you would like to be. Once a clear goal has been outlined you know what you are working towards instead of aimlessly striving towards an unclear vision.  When you are doing this the most important factor is to be realistic and honest with ourselves. Although objectivity can be hard, it is essential in mapping out your success. For starters, your ego has to be left behind and asking for input from a respected superior who you know will not sugar-coat the truth is a good place to work from.

2. Learn from experience

Two types of experiences will help you grow. The first type are functional experiences. These are things that help you hone in on a particular skill. The second type are management experiences. Management experiences help you develop skills under pressure and lead a team as well.

3. Seek advice

Another tip is to speak to people who are successful in your field. They can offer insight into what steps they took to reach where you would like to be and guide you in the right direction. Leave your ego behind and ask for input from respected superiors who you know will not sugar-coat the truth and guide you in the right direction. By mapping out your plan, seeking experiences that will help you grow, and speaking to successful professionals in your filed you can easily plan for success.
The human factor in a digital sales world

The human factor in a digital sales world

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The Human vs. Digital debate has been an ongoing one for years now.  Traditional sales folk vouch by face-to-face conversations, while e-commerce sales units think that everything needs to be made digital. While it would be just outright vacuous to state that digital is not important for sales, it would be equally mindless to dismiss the importance of the human touch in sales.

B2B Sales Scenario

In fact, B2B sales leaders employing effective digital achieve a several fold growth compared to their peers who do not employ the same level of digital in their operations. However, various surveys have highlighted a very interesting fact – Customers love the human touch backed by great digital interactions. It is however a very tricky balance, because the one thing that annoys customers is too much interaction. There are no tried and tested recipes to get the human-digital ratio right in the business. Businesses need to create the right human-digital proportion that works for their customers and operations. Research shows that B2B customers want both human and digital interactions on their buying journey, preferring one over the other at various stages.

Finding the right balance

When researching a new product or service the majority of customers who enjoy digital, still want human interaction. In the evaluation and consideration stages, customers mainly prefer digital tools that provide factual information, like a comparison tool and reviews. Again, post purchase, during renewal, cross-selling and upselling, digital tools remain much preferred. The trick is to identify where human interaction is most wanted and ensure it is provided – either as expertise available via a web chat or simply having a person pick up the phone when a potential customer rings.

Invest wisely

Companies also need to invest in digital where it is most valued and where digital can enable humans to do a better job of interacting with customers when the human touch is required. Digitally enabled tools can help enormously to reduce slow turnaround times, for example by connecting customers with experts via a web chat. By taking stock and analysing the sales performance of the recent past, it will be possible to identify areas of improvement. Sales leaders must then focus on whether they can implement the change digitally or by introducing some human interaction there. Either way, the optimal digital-human balance is a proven factor in boosting sales performance.
Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

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Adapting to change is necessary for surviving in a business environment. The advent of technology has shifted the very dynamics of a typical sales process. Sales executives are forced to step up their sales strategies due to changing consumer behaviour.  

Here are few methods you can adapt to conquer the current sales environment. 

Right Sales Representative 

Hiring the right sales representative is a game changer. A well informed and able salesperson can dramatically change the buying process. But successful companies hire sales representatives who are not only willing to be process oriented but also open to the notion of continuous improvement. Also make sure that the sales representative acts as a facilitator between the company and the buyers.  

Retaining Employees 

Companies are forming policies that help in retaining the best talent. Retaining the best sales representatives by providing aid for their self-development and growth will benefit the firm in the long run. A survey conducted by Harvard in the year 2006 showed that firms that retained the best sales representatives had greater than average tenure of sales staff, higher percentage of reps meeting the quota, higher average deal size and shorter than average sale cycle.  

Following Sales process 

Every company has a standardized and defined sales procedure. But very few sales executive follow the prescribed procedure. Successful firms monitor and provide feedback on salesperson’s use of the standard process. These organizations amend the process when they identify even minor changes in market conditions. These companies also have higher performance rating and are a formidable competition.   

Understanding Buyers 

Though some companies formalize the selling process, very few try to understand the buying process. Keep a track on buyer’s process by understanding the opportunity, the budget allocation and by identifying key buying influences. A proper sales representative should be able to forecast the buyer’s actions and adapt this strategy accordingly.  

Marketing 

Nowadays consumers are well informed about the product even before the meeting with the salesperson. A customer’s first impression of the product is gathered from the internet and other online reviews.  Hence, a firm should focus on the marketing aspect of the product. Sales department needs to focus more on how the product reaches the consumer to increase the possibility of a sale.  

Technology 

The gadgets and gizmos available today are focused on making sales transaction both efficient and effective. Firms use data analysis to monitor the sales process and collect data which benefit in understanding the market change. Having data-mining tools built into the CRM application and categorizing and storing the collected data in an accessible manner will benefit all businesses.  

Transparency 

Salesmen who are transparent to the buyers from the beginning are often more successful at closing a deal. Such representatives have constantly explained what they wanted and tried to reach the top decision maker. These clear and on-going efforts to get to the decision maker can produce a positive pressure on the outcome of the deals. Being open to the buyers and explaining your reasons to them can have a progressive effect on the sales process. 

It’s important to remember that the process of selling is both an art and science. It can be highly automated and process oriented but has scope for improvement and development.