Meet the Team: Sailja Talks About How Things Have Changed

Summary

In our first-ever Meet the Team interview, we are joined by Sailja. Sailja and Harris ask each other three questions to take you behind the scenes to learn more about our company, customers who are succeeding, and where we’re going next.

Show Notes

In our first-ever Meet the Team interview, we are joined by Sailja. Sailja and Harris ask each other three questions to take you behind the scenes to learn more about our company, customers who are succeeding, and where we’re going next.

Harris asks Sailja to to reflect back on what it was like when we first started our work together, how things have changed, and what it looks like for our clients who are achieving success in their sales efforts.

Sailja was one of the first people to join the Intro CRM team in early 2020, so she has unique insights to share. And she asks Harris interesting questions about the company’s asynchronous work culture and why company culture matters so much to him. 

Pipeline Meeting Podcast Cover Art
Pipeline Meeting Episode 14: Meet the Team: Sailja Talks About How Things Have Changed

Show Description

If you feel alone managing your business’ sales pipeline… Welcome! Consider this your invitation to join Harris Kenny for a regular sales Pipeline Meeting. We will discuss finding new business and pricing. Things like getting ghosted. Winning proposals, new technology, and a lot more. Brought to you by Intro CRM.

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Transcript

Intro

Welcome to Pipeline Meeting the official podcast of Intro CRM: Your virtual sales assistant. We make simple sales software and give you coaching and concierge services to help you grow your business. Learn more at introcrm.com.

Overview

[00:00:20] Harris Kenny: I’m excited to welcome our first guest on the podcast, who’s also a member of the team. Sailja is going to join me today. She’s going to introduce herself and she’s going to talk about some of the work she does, where we’re going. And hopefully just give you a little bit of insight into what it’s like and what we’re building as a company here.

[00:00:37] So Sailja welcome. If you don’t mind, maybe give a basic introduction about yourself and your background, experience, education, whatever you feel like sharing and your role on the team. And then we’ll jump into questions.

Meet Sailja

[00:00:49] Sailja Jain: Hi, Harris thank you for having me today. A little background about myself. I’m from India and have an economics degree from Delhi University and a master’s degree from University of Warwick in the UK. In terms of my work experience, I’ve worked with multiple Indian government organizations, including ministry of external affairs and invest India for the past two years.

[00:01:11] Now, I’ve been freelancing from home to spend some quality time with my family. I’ve been working with, Intro CRM for over eight months now. I wouldn’t say I have one particular role here, but largely I help with handling both inbound and outbound leads for Intro CRM’s clients.

[00:01:28] Harris Kenny: That’s a great point. I don’t think you do any one thing. I think you’ve, you’ve been very patient as we’ve done a lot of different things since we started working together and we’ve been trying different services and trying to figure out what’s the best way for us to add value for customers and take sales activities off their plate.

Sailja on How Our Work Has Changed

[00:01:47] Well, why don’t we talk about that first? How has our work evolved since you joined the team? From your perspective, the initial projects that we started doing, what we’re doing now, and then what we’re talking about doing next in terms of providing these virtual sales services and really just helping customers manage their leads.

[00:02:08] Sailja Jain: I think we started off as a company wanting to help clients with all and any sale services they needed. However, our company pivoted towards helping its clients with the outbound sales, which largely included creating a targeted set of leads with timely added other outbound sales services. We started off with email templates sequences to help our busy clients.

[00:02:32] The outbound sales services, I think we’re going pretty well. And then we realized that our clients also have a very good set of inbound leads, which were not being handled as effectively, that suddenly added a few inbound sales services, like lead qualification, and helping manage the sales workflow.

[00:02:49] In terms of where we heading next, I think we are becoming an all around virtual sales service provider, which is going to help companies manage both their inbound and outbound leads along with any operational needs they may have.

Sailja on When Customers Get Traction

[00:03:03] Harris Kenny: Next I’d love to know what you think it looks like from your perspective. When we have a customer who has a strong understanding of who their customers are, who their ideal customer profile is, because we have worked with companies, some are earlier on and they’re still trying to figure it out.

[00:03:20] Others, it seems like have a better sense of what they’re doing and who they’re selling to. For early stage people, I’m curious, what should they be trying to achieve? What should it look like? And then for people who maybe think they’ve figured it out, same thing, what does it look like?

[00:03:35] And you don’t have to name specific customers here, but just in general, when it feels like someone is really hitting a groove and we’re able to find the right leads and we’re seeing some traction, for you as, from a research perspective, Is it easier? Is it harder? Are there specific types of traits that they seem to know to look for that help them communicate what they’re doing?

[00:03:58] Sailja Jain: So for both type of our clients, whether it’s an early stage client or clients who know the ideal customer profile pretty well, our process is very similar. We ask them a bunch of questions that criteria does the ideal customer profile, their competitors. We totally go through the information shared and go through the existing clients and competitors and create a set of pleas based on the information.

[00:04:23] We then have a lead rating process in which our clients, they, the leads we give them each week, but early stage competitors, usually the ideal customer profile tends to drastically change. However, for the clients who knew that ideal customer profile pretty well, they make small changes every week. The ideal customer profile improves on a regular basis.

[00:04:45] Weekly. It’s a process that helps our clients reach a well-defined. I think all our clients should be focused on improvising the ICP on a regular basis. That should be the goal for them because that in turn helps them make better business development decisions.

Sailja on Remote and Async Work

[00:05:01] Harris Kenny: Lastly, I’m really curious what you think about the remote experiment that we’re doing here in terms of how we’re building this business. You know, obviously a lot of people have been working remotely over the last year or two, and obviously it’s just something that we’re doing because you know, we’re halfway around the world from each other.

[00:05:21] Our customers all over the world and their customers are all over the world. And you know, some things are going well, some things are challenging. We’ve tried a lot of different tools. I’m curious. What do you think about it? What do you think is working and what are the things not working?

[00:05:35] Sailja Jain: So for us, I think we’ve always had a highly asynchronized way of working since the team members belong from different countries, different time zones, I think having an asynchronized work culture has worked wonderfully for us. I personally also see it inculcating an amazing sense of work culture because now I do not feel pressurized to respond immediately to a work email I receive.

[00:05:58] And also I have the flexibility to manage my own time. I also understand that, getting everything to run smoothly and having the entire team on one page takes time. We have also experimented with multiple asynchronous tools and honestly, I don’t think he have yet figured out what is the best way, but within the few months I’ve realized that our working surely getting much more organized.

[00:06:20] Also, in terms of our customers and our clients, they are, they also belong from multiple time zones. It surely helps because someone from the team is usually available to respond to the queries as we receive them.

[00:06:33] Harris Kenny: Sailja, thanks so much. Alright well, why don’t I pass it back to you, I know you have a few questions for me.

Harris on the Future of Intro CRM

[00:06:38] Sailja Jain: My first question to you Harris this would be, what do you think is the future of Intro CRM? Which direction do you see the company heading, in terms of the key services we will be offering?

[00:06:50] Harris Kenny: I don’t know for sure, but I have a pretty good idea based on what seems to be working so far. I think that. We are going to be a tech enabled- service or productized service company, primarily, you know, we’re going to help people. And I do think we’re going to continue to build software tools to improve that work and make it more efficient, more effective.

[00:07:16] And so within that, within the types of services, I think that the three areas right now that customers really seem to have a problem. You know, if they’re having a hard time keeping up with sales work, they’re trying to find new customers, things like that, and they’re considering hiring somebody full time.

[00:07:34] The first is discovering. New markets, new customer types and things like that. You know, we’re using lead Raider to help define those ideal customer profiles. And then customers are going out and they’re experimenting with different methods of acquiring those customers. I think that is a, an ongoing challenge that, that new companies are going to have.

[00:07:52] I think the second pillar that we’re doing. Which is that qualification and meeting scheduling.

[00:07:59] I think there’s a lot of potential to expand that offering and to support right now we’re doing email, but I think we can support multiple channels for customers like Facebook or Twitter messages, SMS. I think we could have shorter guarantee times for when we’ll get back to customers, we can support different languages.

[00:08:18] I think there’s a lot of things we could do to really just own that problem of when you get a new opportunity in… Quickly responding back to engage with that customer and then getting the qualified ones on the calendar for a discovery call.

[00:08:32] And I think that’s particularly important for either of these really are particularly important for people who are doing these B2B long sales cycle complex deals, uh, and then the third thing that we’re doing is this ongoing revenue operations offering where we’re helping customers keep up with their deals. Auditing their pipeline, creating tasks for them.

[00:08:52] And I think that all three of these things are the types of things that you would bring an entry level sales person on for. So the short answer is services with software, and I think identifying, what are these sales development representative, or SDR, and business development, representative, or BDR, responsibilities that people hire for.

[00:09:13] And, and how can we offer that as a service so that people can quickly get help at a lower cost and in a way that comes with expertise and. It brings a lot more to the table than digging through you know, freelancing websites and things like that. Or hoping that someone in your local area can maybe get the job done part-time or something like that.

[00:09:33] I think with it we have the potential to offer something that’s just much better in terms of outcomes. From a sales perspective

Harris on Remote and Async Work

[00:09:40] Sailja Jain: Next, I would love to know what you think about the asynchronized work culture. As a team is growing, you think we can sustain long-term by working in an asynchronized manner? Also, do you think that it’s sometimes acts as a barrier for effective communication with either your clients or employees?

[00:10:00] Harris Kenny: Now, this is one that I definitely do not know the answer to. But I can tell you how it’s going so far. I like asynchronous work because it lets our team work at the times that work for them. And I think that’s very appealing and it’s going to be appealing for attracting new talent. As we grow people who want to have control over their schedule.

[00:10:23] It also helps us deliver a better product because we can be available and essentially working around the clock from a customer’s perspective. But in practice we’re just working at the times that are convenient for each member of the team

[00:10:37] But it’s just a means to an end. I mean, it’s how I prefer to work and I think it’s how a lot of great. Talented employees would prefer to work. And I think customers don’t necessarily want to have meetings with us either. As we’re helping them growing their business. I mean, meetings are just a means to an end.

[00:10:54] But that said we do rely on real-time communication with customers. We do have check-in meetings and we do have. You know, back and forth messaging and slack.

[00:11:04] So we have a mix right now, and I think that we will continue to do so.

[00:11:09] If it’s becoming an issue in the future, if it’s preventing us from being effective, then, we can add more real-time meetings, or conversations. You know, I think the most important thing is that we’re building a good company that is solving this problem for customers and helping them grow. And if the way that we’re working becomes a barrier to that, then we’ll change it. We’ll try different tools or what we’ll try different things. Time will tell on this one, I don’t know.

Harris on Workplace Culture

[00:11:39] Sailja Jain: Lastly, I’m really curious to know why is having a fair workplace of utmost priority to you? You’ve always made sure that the employees are treated in the best way possible. You’ve made sure to take our opinion on every business decision you make. So what inspired it?

[00:11:57] Harris Kenny: This is an easy question to answer. And the short answer is that I’ve worked in some fairly toxic organizations before. And I’ve worked for some people that treat other people really poorly. And it is the thing that motivated me to start my own business in the first place. As my wife and I were looking to start a family and I wanted to have a different type of experience at work so that I could be present as a parent.

[00:12:27] I spent a lot of time thinking about that. As. I went from solo consulting to growing a team, as I felt like we’re onto solving a bigger problem and it made sense to bring more resources to the table. That’s the motivation for me, just some really negative experiences I’ve had. And I don’t want this to be a place like that.

[00:12:47] I don’t want this company to do that to the people who make it possible. Uh, for us to help our customers and for us to make money, I just don’t think it’s worth it. I don’t think it’s necessary. I’m not interested in building a company at employees’ expense like that.

[00:13:00] Now, it doesn’t mean I’m always going to make the best decision. I will definitely make mistakes. And I’m sure that will be times when this is not the best place to work, but I don’t want it to be structurally harmful to the people who work here.

[00:13:16] And some decisions I might have to make on my own. Other decisions may only include some people and everything may not work out perfectly for everyone every time. But I know what I don’t want it to feel like and hopefully we’re building something different than that.

[00:13:32] It seems like people have enjoyed working together so far. And I think there’s a lot. That we can do together. To make this even a better place to work. Not only do I want it to not be a bad place, but I actually want it to be a great place to work.

Closing Remarks

[00:13:46] In closing, I just want to thank you so much Sailja for joining me. I really appreciate you being open to being the first person from the team to do an interview like this. I’m wondering if you have any other questions or thoughts that you wanted to share before we wrap up our conversation?

[00:14:03] Sailja Jain: Overall when I started working with Intro CRM, we were more in the exploring stage. We’re still discovering the services, which would best suit the company and the client. However, now I think that we definitely have a better sense of direction and stability. Thank you Harris for having me. I’m super excited to see where we are headed to next.

[00:14:26] Harris Kenny: Thank you for joining me! Folks, if you found this interesting, we’re going to be doing conversations like this with other members of the team. So please subscribe to the podcast and you’ll catch all of those conversations. Plus, we’re going to start talking more about what success our customers are seeing as they’re working with us.

[00:14:46] We’re going to take you behind the scenes to know what it looks like when you’re getting traction. What does it look like when you are really landing on a repeatable process in your sales? And you can start to take yourself out of that workflow. To focus on product focused on strategy or just relax and take some time off.

Outro

Harris Kenny:
That’s all for now. You can find show notes at introcrm.com/podcast. The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal and it’s shared under a Creative Commons-Attribution, or CC-BY, license. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks.

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