How have you adapted your prospecting approach?

Posted by on 10 Aug 2013 in Sales | 0 comments

As an enterprise software sales professional, I’m constantly sourcing and experimenting with different prospecting approaches.

Experts generally focus on effective sales messaging, call openings, and lead nurturing as the fundamentals of cold calling. Most of you will probably remember sales techniques such lead ladders, sales funnnel and solution selling.

I came across strong sentiments in recent years that cold-calling has lost its relevance, and sales professionals need to embrace a new prospecting technique. I have also interacted with some clients who are “friendlier” online than over voice, and one of the opportunities my team closed recently came from a web lead with a sales cycle of around 90 days.

It is clear that prospecting approaches need to be complemented with other dimensions beyond cold-calling. How have you adapted your prospecting approach?

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Another day in office

Posted by on 28 Feb 2013 in Journal | 0 comments

Today was pretty much normal, just that the office was pretty quiet with me alone for the afternoon. Nevertheless, I’ve got an unexpected interest from a prospect to join a meeting next week! It caught me off-guard because I didn’t receive any acknowledgement to the email I sent – I was sent a calendar invite by their team immediately. The rest of the afternoon passed slowly, with much of the time spent locating potential prospects.

I’ve met up with a friend from the army, and got to learn something interesting about the US military system. I always thought the way our local military place a premium on degree holders just does not seem relevant for this day and age. The US, however, splits their army into 3 groups – The officers, warrant officers and enlistees. There is a mutual form of respect across each group based on the seniority. It’s kind of like 3 different business units, each with their own bosses. In Singapore, the ranking and hierarchy is so clear – I don’t really agree with the way it’s organized, and that it’s an antiquated model to follow.

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Prospecting Plateau

Posted by on 27 Feb 2013 in Journal | 0 comments

Met a prospect from the insurance industry this morning. My colleague, JY, last got in touch with them a contact from the company back in 2008. Since then the contact has left and we lost contact with them since. We’ve managed to re-establish contact recently, and met up with a couple of contacts there – one from the infrastructure and the other from the core application.

It was quite challenging for us to understand what the contacts were thinking, as they kept quiet throughout the presentation. They didn’t share much about their current operations, save for a couple of question by the infrastructure guy. It’s interesting because most of the time, prospects should have some questions during our presentation. Just when we were concluding our overview, and wanted to check with them on their assessment – They were interrupted by the receptionist who shared with them that they are needed to handle some issues. I don’t place too much hope that the result will be positive – Probably they will have asked for the slides out of courtesy, and asked for some time to let them review internally.

It was really nice however to receive a note from them apologizing for the incident, and requesting to meet up next Tuesday. Am looking forward to the session to assess their feedback next week.

Went back to office in the afternoon to continue prospecting. I have probably reached a point where the easily accessible leads are reaching a plateau. Selling to public sector clients have a long sales cycle, while most banks here have their own global standards of software to follow. I hope I still have enough leads and prospects to keep me going before the next wave of them comes in!

Received a call later in the afternoon from an ex-colleague, who wanted to catch up to explore partnership opportunities. Had a good exchange with him, and hope that we can work out something. It’s definitely in my interest to look out for more events and demand generation activities. :)

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Career Development

Posted by on 2 Feb 2013 in Journal | 0 comments

I was looking through my blog and found that I have not maintained it well. The most interesting development was for me to take a step out of enterprise technology sales from a Fortune 20 firm, and moved to take on another role.

After more than 4 years, I felt it was time to explore other areas of development and personal growth. It was not an easy decision for me to make, given that I have joined the firm upon graduation. I will miss the vibrancy of the company, and definitely my colleagues and close friends there. It will probably

I’ve joined a French software company, ORSYP, who specializes in workload automation, specifically in the area of job scheduling. The plan is to develop business for the APAC region, as part of their globalization effort outside of France. I will be taking care of sales and channels management for the region.

Being a niche player has our advantages – Being more flexible and agile to respond to the clients, and having the pride that we are the subject matter experts in the area of workload automation. It’s kind of like a startup, just that our product is more established after being in the market since 1994.

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot moroe work needed to gain more visibility and traction in the region. It’s nice to have overall control of the entire sales development process, from demand generation, prospecting, sales engagement, closure and delivery.

It was also a good time to touch base with my previous industry contacts whom I did not have much chance to collaborate with. It’s always interesting to exchange pointers on how to develop win-win situations.

Deep inside me, IBM has formed an integral part of my development, and their core values will probably stay with me throughout my career. It’s the company that reinforced my personal belief that

  • Trust and integrity are the fundamentals of a successful relationship
  • A focus on client success will align the goals of both parties together
  • Innovation that matters helps maintain the long term competitive advantage of the company.

I will make a mental note to keep focused to continue blogging. I felt like a part of me was hollow when I stop blogging. Probably because I prefer listening over talking when I meet someone face to face – Blogging still remains a good way for me to share my thoughts without worrying that someone will get bored with my life. I will also make a better distinction between opinion essays and blog posts.

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Django – ‘django-admin.py’ is not recognized as an internal or external command..

Posted by on 18 Jun 2012 in Programming, Technology | 0 comments

I’m working on a new project, and will be using Django as my platform of choice. I’ve experiemented with Ruby on Rails previously, but didn’t like the approach that it’s too magical. Will start to use Django and document my progress from here in terms of my learning experiment. I don’t have a major in computer science or software engineering, with some elementary programming background. My choice of Django is mainly because of my preference towards Python compared to PHP or Rails. PHP looks ugly, Ruby is too “magical” for me and their code makes it hard to understand.

Just tried to install Django, and had issues with the installation process and getting it running. This is my first error message when I tried to run django-admin.py as per the documentation here(https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.4/intro/tutorial01/)

“‘django-admin.py’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.”

Searched a few times, and turned out that the problem was related to the setting of environment variables in the PATH. Followed the instructions on this site (http://djangolife.blogspot.sg/2008/06/part-vi-django.html) and it still doesn’t work.

It was only later that I found out the reason why it didn’t work. I didn’t restart my shell/command prompt after I changed the variable. Apparently, the event change did not pass on to DOS. Seems like I need more polishing in my problem solving skills!

–Vincent

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Online Photo Storage Review – Smugmug vs Picasa

Posted by on 11 Sep 2011 in Review, Technology | 1 comment

My photos are taking too much space on my computer hard disk space. The plan is for me to offload my photos onto a reliable photo storage site, so that I can clear up the free space on my hard disk. I had a hard time deciding between Smugmug and Picasa, but I think Smugmug seems to be the better choice for me until Picasa can resolve my problems. Let me share my evaluation and thought process with you.

My Problems:

  • Huge volume of photos on my computers and other devices that made it difficult for me to appreciate the photos I have previously taken.
  • I do not find external USB drives reliable for long term storage and tend to keep multiple copies of the same set of photos on at least 2 different drives (on top of what I already have on my PC).
  • I am looking to free up 20-30GB of photo storage on my PC to work on other stuff.

Drivers for finding online photo storage:

  • I find myself getting out of touch with the online tools over the past 3 years while concentrating on my work.
  • Facebook disabling my account without evidence of me violating their terms of services made me lose all my photos tagged of me overnight. This made me re-think about whether photos
  • I was looking for a way to synchronize media from multiple devices (mobile devices, PCs from different sources, web pictures) onto the same storage platform,

Considerations:

  • Credibility of long term backup storage, ie do I think the company’s business model is feasible for it to survive?
  • Ability to mass download/export the photos on my local drive when needed.
  • Security and Privacy with fine-grained gallery/photo based access control
  • Decent navigation and good user interface capabilities.

Smugmug
I actually wanted to get a SmugMug account back in 2008, but I just graduated and did not want to commit to a monthly expense that can take potentially up to infinity. I’m also not a professional photographer, and I’m not sure how much I will be using Smugmug.

Smugmug Pros:

  • -Fine-grained access control that allows users to password protect their galleries and specific photos. People who are invited to view your photos need not register an account with Smugmug.
  • Beautiful organization of photos with different themes for the display of photos.
  • Single application provider which provides iOS applications themselves, and their willingness to open up their APIs provides for a lot of third party tools to be created.
  • It does not compress your photos upon upload, but retains the full resolution of the photo.

Smugmug Cons:

  • It’s relatively expensive compared to Picasa (difference of US$20-US$35 a year for basic users with less than 20GB photo storage).
  • Their iPad application seems to be a little unstable. I can’t pin-point it exactly, but it seems to keep crashing on me when I use it.

Picasa 3.8  (as of Sep 2011)

Picasa Pros

  • It’s cheap, and operates on a pay-as-you go basis. This means that light users will not be penalized for what other users are using.
  • It helps that photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes will not count towards your free storage.
  • It is functional and the photos are relatively well-organized with minimal frills.
  • It has some good third party iPad applications.

Picasa Cons:

  • Lack of fine grained access control for individual albums and users.
  • Privileged users has to register a Google account just to view photos (not everyone has a Google account)
  • It is not optimized for a single source of backup despite what it mentions.
  • The web sync is a uni-directional sync. Users who are not careful might end up losing their photos for good if they delete the photos on their local drives, thinking that their web copy will stay intact. It’s not very nice to know that Google is unlikely to restore photos that you have removed from Picasa Web Album.
  • I am not convinced about Google’s roadmap and direction for Picasa web albums since they are too highly diversified. It didn’t help that the roadmap I see so far is only on the Picasa web client.

My decision:

While I’m really attracted to the pricing of Google Picasa, and finds that Picasa has its technical merits – it does not help that I’m not confident in data privacy when it comes to storing my data with them.

Because of Picasa’s lack of fine-grained access control for photo viewing/sharing, and that I do not think it functions well as a single online photo backup solution – I have decided to go ahead with SmugMug. I’m uploading my photos to test out their trial account now, and will probably purchase the application once the 14 days trial is over.

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Inside the Dignitas house | Society | The Guardian

Posted by on 22 Nov 2009 in Society | 0 comments

I was just sharing with my closed one today that living to the age of 100 in 2050 may no longer be a luxury. We agree that at this point in time, we don’t see why we want to live beyond 70-80. Why add further to the country’s medical expenses, and also deprive the world of further resources beyond what is necessary?

What if, at some point in the future – The concept of assisted suicide is made possible. An option where people can choose not to wait till “that day comes”, but rather make a proactive approach to end your life in a hassle-free and convenient way?

It’s ironic that I just came across this article unintentionally about the concept of assisted suicide in Sweden. It looks a pretty attractive option, especially for countries with aging population. I believe that there is a limit to how much developed country should continue to increase their average life expectancy, except for a select few who wants to live as long as they possibly could given the technologies available. What I’m thinking however, is that there’s an increasing number of people who has opt out of longevity beyond retirement age.

You might want to read this article, and assess whether this is relevant for you. :)

Inside the Dignitas house | Society | The Guardian .

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