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Developing the right sales behaviours for long-term success

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Kumar Somayajilu

Director, Business Development, Sales

Featuring: Kumar Somayajilu, Director, Business Development, Sales

Interviewed by Sripriyaa Venkataraman & Curated by Chandrani Datta

Sripriyaa: How can someone in sales develop the right attitude and behaviours for success? Kumar, could you share your strategies and insights on this, so others might learn from your approach?

Kumar: When I started in sales three decades ago, I lacked formal training and initially approached prospecting haphazardly, which resulted in little success. Six months in, a conversation with my mentor marked a turning point. He emphasized the importance of the ‘three Ps—patience, persistence, and perseverance—which he credited for his own success. Inspired, I began consciously applying these principles and started noticing improvements in my results.

For instance, back in 2002 or 2003, while working as an Adobe partner, I pursued a major publishing house in Chennai that had been loyal to a competitor. Despite their initial reluctance, my continued persistence paid off when they invited me to provide a proposal. Our team crafted a solution that saved them over 15 lakh rupees, winning us the contract and securing a long-term client who significantly contributed to our success.

This experience illustrates the power of not giving up too easily. Many sales professionals falter by taking rejections personally and not pushing further. Understanding that a ‘no’ is not personal but rather an invitation to innovate and persevere can transform potential rejections into opportunities.

Sripriyaa: Endurance, both physical and mental, is crucial for sales success. However, persistence can sometimes lead to extremities. How do you maintain a balance to ensure you don’t overdo persistence, while still considering it a key quality in your professional approach?

Kumar: You’re right; it’s crucial that persistence doesn’t feel like an intrusion to the customer. As sales professionals, we must be sensitive to the customer’s space and timing. For instance, if I call a customer and they’re busy or dismissive, I remind myself not to take it personally—it’s not a reflection of failure but merely a situation. I then give them the necessary space before reaching out again.

My persistence is also driven by my confidence in the value of my product. If I believe my solution can significantly benefit a customer, I’ll persistently communicate this, but always from their perspective. For example, a year ago, I approached a global software organization approaching the $1 billion revenue mark. Despite several attempts and initial rejections, I persisted because I had tailored our value proposition to align with their goals. After persistent communication, including a detailed email that resonated with their needs, we secured a pilot project. This project was successful, and they became my second largest customer last year.

Ultimately, effective persistence in sales comes down to maintaining a customer-focused approach, understanding their needs and timelines, and confidently communicating how your solutions align with their goals.

Sripriyaa: From a psychological perspective, as a leadership coach, I’ve seen that addressing self-limiting beliefs can be effectively managed by focusing on a larger purpose. This shift helps to divert attention away from our own restrictive beliefs and aligns our actions with a broader goal. Essentially, keeping the customer’s vision and potential at the forefront—not just the goals of the individual or the organization—manifests in your demeanour, expressions, and communication. This approach not only transforms sales interactions but also offers valuable life skills. These principles of influence and persuasion are not exclusive to sales but are applicable across various aspects of life. Thank you, Kumar, for highlighting the importance of these practices in professional development.

Key Learnings:

-Effective persistence in sales comes down to maintaining a customer-focused approach, understanding their needs and timelines, and confidently communicating how your solutions align with their goals.

-Understanding that a ‘no’ is not personal but rather an invitation to innovate and persevere can transform potential rejections into opportunities.

To understand more about sales behaviours of sales professionals, contact us.

tripura-multinational-team-kumar-somayajilu
Practitioner:

Kumar Somayajilu

Director, Business Development, Sales
Kumar Somayajilu is a Sales Director with over 30 years of B2B sales experience in the IT System Integration and People Enablement sectors. His passion for sales is only mildly surpassed by his love for sports. In a previous life, Kumar has also held the COO position and has experience in operations, management, mergers and acquisitions and P&L.
Chandrani-datta-Content-Manager-Tripura-Multinational-Singapore-our-team 2
Curator:
Chandrani Datta works as a Manager-Content Research and Development with almost a decade’s experience in writing and editing of content. A former journalist turned content manager, Chandrani has written and edited for different brands cutting across industries. The hunger for learning, meaningful work and novel experiences keeps her on her toes. An avid traveller, Chandrani’s interests lie in photography, reading and watching movies.

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