Sunday Interview: Suddan S S, Founder & CEO at HR CUBE & MINTLY

Mumbai: Skills are the capital. But skills are transforming. On this context, SkillOutlook team talks to Suddan S S , Founder & CEO at HR CUBE & MINTLY.  MINTLY is an online marketplace for everyone interested in Sales opportunities. The platform builds an ecosystem where people who want to become top class sales professionals can get themselves trained, mentored, have access to a community of sales professionals and the best sales related content. Through this platform, sales professionals can get access to resources, courses, training, jobs and contribute to this growing community.

MINTLY is an initiative by Team HR CUBE to connect Sales minds from across the globe. Here are excerpts of the e-mail based interview on various aspects of skills in sales domain, exiting recruitment practises and business profile on MINTLY.

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How are key skills changing for Sales Professionals?

Answer: Earlier, a lot of selling was done via cold calls and outbound sales techniques. Salespersons were supposed to visit clients one after another and pitch the products or services.  Although these techniques used to work, there were inherent flaws in them. For example, cold calling usually catches people when they are not in a mood for a purchase. Similarly, client  visits too was considered very intrusive and people, therefore, hated sales professionals. Much of the disdain towards Sales professionals is due to these techniques.

The use of technology has increased in Sales domain too. Now, most of the selling happens online. It has become more inbound than outbound sales. Website traffic and engagement has become more important. Today, Sales professionals are trained to help and address the needs of customers rather than to hard sell. So exploiting technology to augment sales is a key skill that is needed these days. Data driven decisions have superseded decisions based on instinct.

The most demanding skills that will remain market relevant for the next five years as far as Sales Person are concerned?

Answer: Well, the most demanding skills in Sales have pretty much remained same throughout the years with some changes. One important thing that has changed over the last few years is information explosion. Now everyone has all the information at their fingertips. So, as a Salesperson, you really have to know your product inside out or the Customer has the means to catch you off guard.

So Salespersons should be able to educate consumers about the products effectively.

Ability to interpret data and adopt technology to help in sales will be in high demand.

Written communication skills will be much in demand as now most of the selling happens online and via email communication.

How can employers address the existing skill gaps in the sales domain?

Answer: Employers need to play a big role in India to address the existing skill gaps in the sales domain. What happens typically is that whenever salespersons are recruited, they aren’t given any training or orientation. They are expected to learn on the job. This result in a steep learning curve and salespersons get frustrated when they can’t meet their targets or cannot perform to the level desired from them.

So regular training programs and monthly interactions between Sales teams and various departments is necessary. We, at Mintly, are trying to address this problem, where we provide a community of sales professionals and mentors to educate, teach and mentor budding sales professionals.

How can employers leverage Sales Professionals with effective employee engagement and workplace management?

Answer: Companies face challenges of onboarding Sales professionals as I discussed earlier. There is a lack of engagement among Sales professionals. Through personalized training as well as group training, they can induct the new recruits into the company seamlessly. Along with this, there is a need to have interdepartmental meets to understand the needs and challenges of every department.

There is a need for everyone in a company to know how the sales process works. For this, Salespersons should spend some time with other departments and make them understand their needs and vice versa. Increased communication between the sales and other departments will result in effective workplace management.

What are the business activities of MINTLY?

Answer: We are targeting the small and medium-sized companies in tier 2 and tier 3 cities in South India at this moment. There is a huge gap between the job vacancies in these companies and the candidates who want to work in sales profiles. We are trying to bridge the gap.

Companies pay us a service fee for shortlisted candidates, short listing being done by our team at Mintly. Our goal here is to find the perfect match. Job seekers also pay us Rs.99/- for applying to a premium job. This has been done to separate the serious candidates from the frivolous ones. Later we will head into mentoring, sales training and sales optimization which are in the pipeline. Later we will get into a Saas model too which are in a Test Mode at this stage.

How is the start-up MINTLY addressing problems at recruitment of Sales People?

Answer: Primarily, we are in the business of helping people. Mintly should not be confused as just a job portal for sales jobs. We are trying to build an ecosystem where people who want to become top class sales professionals can get themselves trained, mentored, have access to a community of sales professionals and the best sales related content. We are primarily focused on Retail, FMCG and Finance Industries in Tier 2 and 3 cities in South India.  Subsequently, they will get assistance in finding the right job. Also, companies who want to optimize their sales process can seek our help. We will also venture into career counseling and guidance to job seekers.  So when people will think about Sales, the first word that should come in their mind should be Mintly.

At Mintly, we help companies find talent and help talent find the right companies.

Can you brief about your product portfolio and client portfolio?

Answer: As I said, we focus on small and medium-sized enterprises from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, so most of the business comes from those enterprises. At this stage, 310 companies are our clients like Chennai silks, Calvin Klein, Matrimony.com, CRISIL,  etc. On word of mouth basis, we have 25 new signups each day. We are also tying up with colleges to help students in finding the right job. On a monthly basis, we onboard 24 new clients a month. 72% of our existing clients come back to us for further positions. As a Lean Startup with 12 members working from Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata we are very prudent about spending our time and money in Sales and Marketing efforts.

As of now, we offer content targeted towards sales professionals in FMCG, retail, logistics etc. Along with our core business of helping people find sales jobs. Later we will create the entire ecosystem for sales related business.

How start-ups in India can leverage the talent potential of Sales Employees?

Answer: For any business, Sales is the most important thing. Sales team and sales strategy make or break a company. So finding and developing a good sales team is the most important aspect of running a successful start-up. You might have a great product or service to offer but you need people to go out there and sell it to people or business. For a start-up, the core team does most of the selling in the earlier stages when there is a cash crunch. But as the company grows, it is essential to have a separate and dedicated sales team.

We, at Mintly, are trying to increase the quality of sales employees and sales techniques, which start-ups, small and medium size enterprises will greatly benefit from.  A trained sales team can change the entire dynamics of a start-up and that is what, going forward, we are going to address.

 

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